The most profound legacy of trauma may be this timeless feeling of being battered by unbearable physical sensations: crushing feelings in your chest, agonizing tension in your shoulders, and burning pain in your abdomen, accompanied by the conviction that you are utterly helpless to do anything about it. The body, instead of being an ally in one’s road to recovery, becomes the enemy. Many traumatized people learn to tell a story of what happened, so that friends and relatives can understand why they are so frightened, angry, or out of control, but the real problem is that they do not feel safe inside – their own bodies have become booby-trapped. As a result it is not OK to feel what you feel or know what you know, because your body has become a container of dread and horror. The enemy who started on the outside is transformed into an inner torment.

– Bessel van der Kolk

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