Psychologically Unsafe Living Environments


"My living environment began to get highly toxic and uncomfortable to the point where I cried a lot, was angry with myself, and was in a state of depression."

-Brittany D. Jackson


I felt this! I could relate to the author as she detailed how hard it was for her to live in one toxic environment after the other. These environments take a toll on us mentally and emotionally, making it difficult to trust others. Suppose you have ever felt extreme anxiety, low self-esteem, worthlessness, or feeling drained being around certain people more than likely. In that case, you are living in or have lived in an unsafe environment. Most of us have, at some point, experienced these living conditions at an early age in our childhood homes.


I grew up in psychologically unsafe living conditions. There was access to designer things and everything else to look good on the outside, but the internal structure was in shambles. I could not wait to get out on my own; there was no reason for me to want to stay with my family. While some may encourage others to stay because it is hard to live independently, they do not understand the debts of living in fight-or-flight mode, or maybe they are conditioned to accept abusive behaviors. Not to mention staying with family to their means, "you are an adult, but you are a child under me, so you will do what I say because this is my house." Just another way to exert power over you and control you. The cycle continues. Our first bullies are parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, etc. We could not go to school to find safety or at home. Therefore, I did not tell anyone after being bullied by a teacher in 2nd grade. I had no one to tell. I held on to that pain until I was in my thirties, when I shared it with my therapist.


In 2015, when the city flooded, the thought of living with others triggered me on many levels; the thought of living with others burdened me. At that point, I had been in my place for eight years, and moving my daughter and me into another's space led to anxiety attacks. I tried finding a hotel for us, but there was nothing. I bounced around to multiple homes until I settled. During that time, I learned how welcoming people could be and how quickly they could turn on you. While I may have felt safe initially, it was only for a moment.


Staying in psychologically unsafe living environments might contribute to depression and foster conditions like PTSD, leading to a constant fight-or-flight response that produces large amounts of cortisol. Large amounts of cortisol in the body show up as:


  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Facial hair growth in women (imbalanced hormones)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rapid Weight Gain
  • & More



Thanks for Reading!


If you or anyone you know lives in physiologically unsafe conditions, please evaluate the situation and your circumstances and devise a plan to WALK away. Set a goal to leave and remain focused as you work towards that goal. Do not tell anyone; move silently, and take your life back.



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