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Healing from child abuse Personal Development Self help techniques

How to relax, have fun and play?

When your early life was full of fear and tension, you brace yourself for the next fight, the next bout of anger that gets taken out on you or your family. You live frozen in fear ready to detach, fight, flee or hide. You live braced for anger and you lose your ability to relax and have fun.

This is the legacy of being raised in an abusive home filled with violence, be that physical or emotional or both. You freeze inside. Your energy is tied up with protecting yourself and those you love. It is focused on ways to escape or avoid the worst situations you fear. You scan for ways out or ways to diffuse the bomb so explosions don’t occur.

All this fear, all this tension, makes it hard to relax and have fun. That doesn’t even enter your mind. You are exhausted from being on watch, on guard duty, helping yourself and your loved ones survive.

As you grow this pattern becomes ingrained – a strong sense of responsibility, of duty, of action to protect self and others pervades all you do. You can become over serious and focused on work or your chosen cause that you fight for – whether that be protecting children, the planet, animals or some other group that you feel is being exploited and abused.

You can become so focused on your duty and responsibility that you forget to actually live your life. You feel it is so important to keep going, keep trying, keep doing ‘what is right’, what is needed.

But in doing this you are depleting your energy reserves. You are being sucked dry of all your vitality, your joy and your enthusiasm. Eventually you will give up, it will all seem too hard, and then you collapse, exhausted, burnt out and wondering why life is so hard.

Life isn’t that hard. You’ve made it hard by driving yourself relentlessly on a cause that doesn’t need your energy. You alone do not need to save the world, the children, the poor, animals, etc.

You do not need to sacrifice your life in order to help others. You are allowed to play and have fun. You have just forgotten how to. It is such a foreign concept for you. You don’t even know where to begin.

There are so many fun things you could do, but they seem like a waste of time, unimportant or too much effort. This is just your conditioning, your habit, your fear of relaxing, being vulnerable and feeling what is underneath your compulsion.

You are not going to die just because you slow down. You are not going to be crushed by the emotional pain inside or the abuser who may no longer be present in your actual life. He is just in your head, your thoughts, your self-critical or abusive voice telling you off inside. You are not at war any more. It is okay to put the guns down. It is okay to rest and enjoy life.

This is the challenge now – to relax, to enjoy life, to find the passion and joy that you had as a child and buried when pain took over.

You have to let your true, original-self back out. This part of you may have been buried so long you don’t even recognise it as part of you anymore. It may be so deeply repressed and depressed that it takes a while to find it, to get to know it, to believe it is okay to have fun.

This is the inner work and healing you need to do in order to enjoy your life. You have to work with these inner parts and defense mechanisms to dismantle the armour, so you can relax and be free to enjoy your life.

Just being aware of it, of facing the truth of what is occurring in your life helps. It helps loosen the ropes, so you can go within to untangle yourself and free yourself from the inner prisons you have been trapped inside. This all takes time. And it takes a willingness to surrender your roles and responsibilities. A willingness to let go of focusing on helping others, the planet, animals, etc and honouring yourself – making yourself the priority, believing it is okay to do it, that you deserve it and that it is safe to look underneath the facade of your life to the deeper processes at play.

You don’t need to spend years analysing yourself or locked away doing healing processes. This is another distraction, another trap that can become all consuming, tiring and even exhausting if you do too much.

Your body needs time to integrate the shifts and changes. It will tell you when something is needed – be that healing work, rest, changes to diet, etc. If you listen your body will tell you what is needed. It will help you move forward.

When your body trusts you to listen, it will let baggage surface at a rate it can handle, for you to heal the issue and make the necessary changes to your beliefs, habits and thinking patterns. It will guide you to what you need at the rate you can handle it.

You don’t have to search for issues to heal. You don’t need to avoid life by focusing on healing or on rescuing others. You don’t need to avoid yourself and your life out of fear or emotional pain.

Sit with yourself. Sit with what arises. Feel into it. Breathe through it and let it shift. You don’t have to run away from it any more. Let yourself be. Let your self be still and absorb the healing energy of nature, of love, of friendships, of fun activities and playfulness.

Let the seriousness go and let life lead you forth. In time you will learn how to play again. It will just happen spontaneously as you slow down, relax and trust life to lead you forth with ease and grace to your destined future. You can’t get it wrong. You don’t need to figure it out, solve it or make it happen. You just need to relax, unwind and listen within.

Let it happen naturally and peacefully. It doesn’t have to be war like any more. Let the war go and know that you’re perfectly okay. It’s just habits to let go of.

If you have a very strong, determined mind, you have to detach from it and focus on your heart, your body, and listen to what they need. They can lead you forth. Send love to your mind and ignore its suggestions, it’s have to’s and must do’s. Let go of its priorities and to do lists and just BE.

Listen into your heart, your inner child and let them speak softly to you about what they would like from you.  Re-establishing these connections, the ability to be peaceful and at rest in your body. These are what lead to inner joy and freedom to be playful. It is an inner stance; an inner way of being that is then easily translated into living life with love, joy, fun and vitality.

While you are still standing there frowning with seriousness or angry that it seems so hard or furious because it should be easy. Any of these just block your peace. Of course it looks silly to play or relax when you are wound so tight you are about to explode.

Find a way to soften. Find what works for you: being in nature, gardening, being with kids, pets, or friends, doing art or music or exercise. Find whatever way in works to get you to let go of control and surrender into softness. Bodywork, massage, etc can help, as can a relaxing bath, a piece of chocolate cake or lemon tart – anything that brings joy more to the surface, so the serious you steps aside, retreats back into the background, allowing you the chance to experience another aspect of life.

You can do it. It is happening already, just you judge it because you would like it all fixed now, thank you very much! This is a process. It takes time. It takes patience and kindness. Frustration, impatience and judgement just slow it down. Be kind to yourself and others as they unravel their armour, their conditioning and their way of seeing life.

It is a complete personality shift to let go of being so serious, fighting for a cause, and sacrificing who you are and your life for a valid reason. To see that it is all a choice, to see that it has been used as a way to escape or avoid being vulnerable and taking risks. It is hard to look at all of this, for your very foundations are being shaken.

God does not require you to self-sacrifice to fight any battle. God just wants you to evolve into a God-like being of love, kindness and peace, sharing these energies wherever you go. How you choose to live your life doesn’t matter. When you have this inner peace and love inside it touches everyone you interact with. Your light shines out positively affecting all. You don’t have to effort it, force it. It just happens.

You don’t have to make yourself the best you can be. STOP. Stop this. Just relax and be you. All of us are good people. All of us are innocent, kind and loving underneath our wounds. We just have to drop below the surface and reconnect to our innate qualities, our true self. For that is already a beautiful child of God. We don’t have to improve that. We can’t. It already is perfect as it is.

Each of us truly is okay, truly is enough. We are just learning to accept that, to believe that and to love our self and others in a way that we all can relax and just BE, knowing we are okay and we can choose to enjoy life, have fun and play. No seriousness needed. Trust life to lead you forth, to guide you to your passion and your joy.

No need to try to figure it out. Just relax and BE. That is all that is needed. Drop the judgement, the trying, the forcing and just allow. Allow life to happen – in all its glory and majesty, and in all its boredom and stagnation. These are just phases you move through, like the ocean waves. There are highs and lows. There can be intensity and calmness, even flatness. These are all just phases. None are better than the other. When the time is right the winds of change will blow and move you into the next phase of your life.

So relax, let go and BE. It doesn’t have to be so challenging. Put your feet up. Read a book. Watch a movie. Go for a walk. Cook some food. Enjoy life in its simplicity and its day to day tasks. All can be enjoyed if you see it this way. Blessed BE. Amen.

By Jodi-Anne (17 March 2019).

  • Further free guidance on healing techniques and self love are available on the Life Insights and Healing from child abuse pages of this website.
  • If you found this blog useful you may wish to consider purchasing a copy of Jodi-Anne’s book ‘Advice from a higher Source’ which contains 85 more answers to questions about life. The paperback book or ebook can be purchased online at – http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/JMS2011. (Once you have clicked into view the description of the book, go to the top of the page and choose the flag symbol for your country, this will show you the price in your currency and enable you to purchase it in that currency)
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Healing from child abuse Personal Development Relationships Self help techniques Uncategorized

How do I stop reacting from the past?

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To stop reacting from the past you need to let go of old hurts and realise that the actions today are not related to the past. The person with you today is not the person from the past. They do not think, react or explode like the person in the past. Any similarities are there as triggers to help you release your past residue. They may have some similar traits, but it is not the same.

In the past when you were hurt so deeply it was because you were a child and felt helpless to control or shift what was occurring. You couldn’t escape the pain unfolding in your childhood home. You couldn’t leave. You couldn’t heal the adults or talk them into a better feeling state. No matter what you did to make life better – being quiet, cleaning up, being funny or cute or getting good grades. No matter what you tried you couldn’t shift what was going on inside the adults involved. It was up to them to heal themselves, to take responsibility for what was occurring and to do something about it.

Likewise, if you are still expecting the worst, reacting to your partner or others as if they are that past person, then it is your responsibility to shift the feelings and patterns inside yourself.

Your partner is allowed to behave the way that he or she does. They are allowed to have their ups and downs, their challenges and time required to find a way through them. They are allowed to be human and imperfect. They are allowed to be who they are with their quirks, habits and abilities – good and bad.

As long as they are not abusing you or being mean to you, you have no reason to truly be upset with them. It is not their fault that you fear the worst. It is not their fault you expect World War III whenever they get a little upset. It’s not their fault if you misinterpret their reactions and feel unloved, ignored or left behind. It is not their fault what is going on inside you. That is your area of control and responsibility.

Let the person off the hook. They haven’t done anything wrong. They are just being themselves and you are triggered by some of their behaviour. The trigger is in you and it is occurring to help you see there is some wounding in you that needs to be seen, felt and released.

So thank the person for showing you your route to freedom – they have shown you where you need to focus your healing energy, so that you don’t automatically react with fear around them or others, so you don’t live on egg shells waiting for the walls to crumble, so you don’t live tensely waiting for the moment to run and hide.

That high level of preparedness, of reactivity, is bad for your health. It not only impacts your ability to enjoy life. It impacts your immune system and digestion, and many other bodily functions. Instead of being in rest and digest mode (parasympathetic nervous system), you are in fight, flight or freeze (sympathetic nervous system) with adrenaline and cortisol pumping through your body. Blood is diverted from your organs and into your periphery, your muscles so that you can react instantly.

You need to calm your body down. You need to come out of hyper-alertness, hypervigilance and relax. Easier said than done! There is an alarm going off in your head shouting “Danger, war. React”. But really there is no danger, no war. No need for overreaction.

The work that needs to occur is inside you. It is not your partner’s responsibility to fix what is inside you or to not trigger you. If the pain is inside you then you will get triggered. Even if they altered their behaviour you will get triggered by something else because the pain is inside you.

Leaving, being on your own, isolating doesn’t resolve the pain. It just avoids it, delays its resolution. So it is best to stay and face it, unless the relationship truly is toxic and abusive, then you should leave for your sake and your children’s. But if there is love, if there is tenderness, closeness, compassion – some of the time – then the relationship is a beneficial one.

It will never be perfect, no relationship is. Each person is here to evolve and grow, so they will have times of feeling stretched, triggered, lost and despairing.

It is the path to freedom – to feel these things and move through them. That’s the challenge to move through it so you’re not constantly reacting the same way to the same thing.

When triggered remind yourself this is not the past, this is not the same, this is not my parent or whoever it was who did abuse you in the past. Remind yourself I’m not a little child anymore. I do have power. I do have choice and I choose to support myself through this reaction. I recognise this is my stuff. It’s not about the current person and his actions and reactions. He/she is okay and probably doing the best they can right now, same as me. I’m going to honour us both.

I’m going to sit and breathe and let these feelings flow out of me. I’m going to do whatever I need to, in order to honour myself and my body and balance back up. I’m not going to beat myself up for reacting.

I’m going to speak softly and soothingly to the younger part of me who is hurting and hug them, hold them, comfort them, help them to let go of the past pain and see that it’s okay now. It’s safe to relax and have fun. I’m going to invite that younger part of me to rest in my arms, or a garden, or a fun place in my heart; to see that they are cared for and loved, and safe and protected. That’s my job as the adult that I now am. I need to look after me, so that I do feel safe and can let go of the past.

What happened in the past is not occurring now, but it feels like it is as the trauma is still present in my body. I have to help my body let it go and I do that by being kind and gentle with myself, and my partner or whoever it is that has triggered me.

I am the one who got triggered. Therefore it is me who needs to do something to feel better. It is not about them changing. It is about you altering your inner reactions so you do not trigger so easily. So stop blaming, judging or condemning the other person, and focus on healing your inner world.

Do what is needed to soothe your body – spend time in nature, have a bath or foot soak, have a massage or other form of body work, rest, draw or write to shift the energy out, relax, rest, meditate, listen to soothing music, smell relaxing smells – essential oils, incense, cooking. Do whatever you need to do to look after you.

And know that each time it happens you are letting go of the old so you can be present to the now, to be here now, not dragging along the past in your back pack or body. In this sense it is good that you got triggered, so you can clear out more of the past stuck within you.

You may resent the fact it is still occurring, but the truth is it needs to occur to help you heal, to give you the opportunity to honour yourself. And the more pain you went through, the more there is to be released. It just is what it is.

Don’t fight against it. Don’t resent it or the other person – that just prolongs it. Do what you need to do to find peace. That is the most useful thing to do. There are many tools and techniques you can use to release stress and trauma out of your body, but listening to and honouring your body and its’ reactions is a very, very good start and it is free. There is no need to see a practitioner, unless you want to or feel that you need help to build the skills to self soothe.

Whatever you do, choose peace and kindness for yourself and the others involved. Each is doing the best they know how with their current mindset and feelings. Each is serving the other with what gets triggered and each can help the other as they move through their releases by just being there and accepting the process.

No one needs to be rescued. Just seen, loved and accepted as they are. Give each other that gift and in time you will blossom.

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This is just residue releasing so that you can be more present to enjoy the now together or apart. It matters not. Free the space within you, so love can fill up the space previously occupied by hurt, loss, disappointment or grief. Let it go and let love fill the space. You can you know. It is worth the time and effort to do it, so you can enjoy life more. Blessed BE. Amen.

By Jodi-Anne (24 February 2019).

  • Further free guidance on healing techniques and self love are available on the Life Insights and Healing from child abuse pages of this website.
  • If you found this blog useful you may wish to consider purchasing a copy of Jodi-Anne’s book ‘Advice from a higher Source’ which contains 85 more answers to questions about life. The paperback book or ebook can be purchased online at – http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/JMS2011. (Once you have clicked into view the description of the book, go to the top of the page and choose the flag symbol for your country, this will show you the price in your currency and enable you to purchase it in that currency)