If you prick an amoeba (single-celled organism), it contracts. Slowly when it is safe again, it puts out a tentacle again to explore the environment. And more tentacles will stick out when it's completely safe. However, if you prick that amoeba again and actually traumatize it, that amoeba will stop exploring at some point. It's completely contracted and now lives in a narrow, ignoring reality. Your body responds to trauma in exactly the same way. Especially if you have experienced several consecutive trauma's, you become afraid to be involved in and explore your environment. Everything is locked. Your relationships, your emotions, your feelings, sensations and your body. Your life gets very tight in an effort to stay safe. Not being able to remember everything, having difficulty with concentration and dissociation are symptoms of this. An extreme example of this is agoraphobia, the fear of going outside. It can even go so far that the trauma continues to repeat itself unconsciously. This explains, for example, when some people have a car accident a number of times in the same way. Or after you end a relationship with neglect and then have a new relationship with someone who goes beyond your limits. Or how a Vietnam veteran robbed a bank every year at 11 am because he had experienced something terrible in Vietnam at that time. When your trauma is resolved in small steps, when you begin to reach out again, there is expansion when the underlying energy is discharged. You become more open again. Often this is followed by contraction as a counter-reaction to the expansion. It's not a linear process when you're recovering. You will slowly learn to build up the expansion. It takes a lot of confidence and courage to stick out that first tentacle again. But as your confidence and level of security grow slowly, your nervous system will restore itself back to normal. Having a sense of security is crucial in all stages of the work.