Letting go of outdated coping mechanisms can be challenging. Sometimes we have done them for so long it seems like who we are. It can feel weird, and unsettling to choose to behave differently.
For instance, I have been a people pleaser for a long time, trying to win love and approval because I felt so alone, so sad and scared at times when I was young. My Dad worked away from home for weeks on end, and my Mum wasn’t very happy or child-focused. Her Mum wasn’t a cuddly Mum either so it was normal for her to tell me to just go away, go play, and leave her alone. This taught me to be able to hide, not take up too much space, be somewhat invisible and repress my needs for contact, affection, and togetherness.
The positive of this was I became more connected and attuned with nature, wandering the farm on my own. I became focused on studying and later work/career as a way to occupy myself and distract myself from my loneliness and sadness. I too was a lot like my Mum telling my needs to go away, leave me alone. And as I got older I treated my friend’s kids as a bit of a nuisance too. I’d be polite and friendly, but get bored quickly and wish they would go play so I could spend time with my friend. What occurs to us when little stays with us until we heal it.
I wanted to have kids but never did. They’d take up so much time and energy. I had so many fears of them getting hurt, of not being able to protect them, and of not wanting to hurt them myself. I had so much family baggage and entanglements with my ancestors that the fear was overpowering.
I’ve had to work through layer after layer of conditioning and entanglements to release them and be more open to caring for my inner child, meeting my needs, accepting what occurred in my childhood and understanding why my parents behaved the way they did, and that it actually wasn’t about me.
Their moods, their sadness and confusing behaviour weren’t about me. It was a consequence of an unhappy marriage that wasn’t working out and was heading towards separation. My parents, like a lot of us adults, were caught up in their own pain and life challenges and didn’t notice my needs.
This is very common and kids are very adaptable. They find ways to get by, to cope, to avoid or distract themselves from their painful emotions. They change the way they behave trying to win or earn love, attention, and approval.
I was the queen of that! Do a PhD, try and save the world, and help improve the sustainability of the planet. Added bonus I’m so busy working and studying I can ignore how sad I am or how lonely I feel because I’m doing important work. I’m being useful and good, earning my place in society, and hopefully getting seen, loved and accepted.
This pattern of overwork and study, helping others and helping the planet and society have continued through all I do, but I try to be more balanced with it now and to do it because I love it and enjoy it, not because I have to or am trying to win love, attention, acceptance or thinking that others need me to save, rescue or fix them. That’s classic codependence and not healthy.
So now I focus more on what I want to do and what I need. I meet my own needs and take care of the younger selves within me who were hurting. I look at life with more adult eyes, instead of wounded child eyes, and I realise my life is good. I have what I need, a home, a good job, a loving partner and family, friends, hobbies and more. My life is actually really good. It was just all the old hurt, old story that made it feel less than, not okay, lacking.
As I settle into this ‘enoughness’ I start to question “What do I want to do? How much of it do I want to do? What do I value most and where will I put my time and energy?” It’s a recalibration of the old coping mechanisms into a newer, freer, more flexible way of being, able to say no, to rest, to be quiet, still and receptive, reconnecting with body and heart, not just mind and feelings.
It’s a big journey coming back home to feel safe and okay in your body, letting go of the old story and accepting what has been and is, and choosing how you want to live your life.
Our pasts may have been painful and filled with challenges. We don’t have to like that, but fighting against it, and complaining about it just keeps us stuck. When we do the work to heal we can break free of the patterns and open to the new. It is worth the effort.
Many blessings to all,
P.S. There is a range of free resources on my website that may be of assistance to you with your healing journey.
ANZAC Day in Australia – Today we give thanks and remember those who have fought in wars to defend our country, their homes and families. It was done in a belief that we needed to defend and protect ourselves from a very real enemy that threatened us at that time. Most of us still feel that threat internally. We live as if there is danger around us when often there isn’t. The memory of war lingers in the cells, in the DNA and is passed down for all of us to feel and heal.
Our loved ones if they did come home, came back altered, wounded and traumatised by all they had seen and experienced. Our homes, and our lives were altered in their dynamics. Domestic violence, PTSD, despair, desperation, and addiction often occurred to help avoid the pain and cope the best they could. We are all affected by this legacy, this drop into survival mode, the activated nervous systems locked in to fight, flight, freeze and or collapse.
Thank you to all the brave souls who were forced to go off to war or chose to go. Thank you for doing what you thought was right at the time. Thank you for coping the best you knew how then and now. Thank you to your loved ones who worried about you, cried for you and feared losing you. Thank you to the beautiful children who grew up without their loved parents, Aunties/Uncles, or grandparents by their side. Thank you for making it through so the current generation could arrive and live in relative peace (here in Australia. Blessings of peace and goodwill to the war-torn areas of the world where this pattern continues).
May we all find peace. May we all heal the internal scars and drop out of protection and defendedness, so we can feel the love of those around us and appreciate the many gifts and blessings in our lives. Thank you to all of our ancestors and their difficult journeys. We remember you and your sacrifices and we wish all of our family systems to find peace.
(I asked this question and received the below answer via automatic writing 26 Nov 2021. Some of it is specific to me, but the guidance on the healing process is relevant to all so I thought I’d share it. I hope you find it useful.)
Your deepest wounds are those core hurts that you experienced as a child, those events and feelings that cut you like a knife and have been bleeding ever since. When wounded this deeply it affects your whole life. Part of you is frozen in pain, terror, rage, and fear. Part of you is stuck, trapped, hidden away and you spend a lot of your life force energy keeping it buried and building self-defence mechanisms to protect yourself from ever being hurt like that again. You live in fear of what could occur and pain from what did occur and there is little room left for joy, fun, friendship, love, trust, surrender and growth.
It takes a lot of courage to dismantle these defences, to open up to love, to live life with an open and unguarded heart, to return to your original state of innocence and joy. The vulnerability involved in risking exposure, connection, the possibility of more hurt, rejection, or loss can feel too much to give in to, to surrender and step into. This is why many people stay stuck their whole lives. They stay frozen internally, numbing their pain and the disconnection from their true self and heart with addictions and other distractions, such as keeping busy, fighting for some cause, working too much or being of service helping others while continuing to neglect their own needs. Sound familiar???
To move past this, to heal and relax and enjoy life there is no magic wand to cure it all. You have to shift it bit by bit, layer by layer, to release out the stuck, stagnant energy, to feel and release the emotions, to comfort and rescue the younger selves who went through it, to show them you have survived, you made it through and you’re doing okay. You have to start taking care of yourself, honouring your needs for rest, play, pleasure, connection with self, others and Earth. You need to make yourself your top priority, to eat well, exercise, have fun, rest and recreate.
You see healing occurs at the rate your body can process and integrate it. If you are pushing yourself too hard, if you are exhausted, empty, collapsing in overwhelm and despair or angry and rageful at feeling so bad despite all you do, if you are in one of these overactivated, exhausted scenarios then your body is not capable of processing and healing your deepest traumas. You simply don’t have the energy or internal strength to face, feel and release it.
So to heal your deepest wounds you really have to stop your overactive, distraction-filled lifestyle and create space and time for going within, connecting to your body, listening to its messages, feeling and breathing through the emotions, connecting with, supporting and nurturing your younger selves.
You know the techniques needed. You know how to guide yourself and others to do this release work. You just have to be patient and take it day by day, week by week, step by step. Your body lets up the residue it feels you are ready to process. It only lets it up when it feels you are capable of handling it. Otherwise, it stays locked in your cells, buried in your body, waiting for when you are ready. If you want to move through your deepest patterns you need to help your body to feel safe, to trust you are ready to handle it, to face it.
Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) helps greatly here as it calms your nervous system out of fight, flight, and freeze back into calm, social engagement. It helps to release the stress, tension and trauma in a gentle way, shaking it out, releasing it so your body can relax, your mind can calm and your breathing can deepen. As you start to feel safer within it is easier to feel the emotions and clear them out as they no longer seem so big or intense.
Yes, it is challenging as deeper layers of conditioning surface and you reach your core wound, the one that hurt the most. Of course, it was this one that was buried the deepest and will be the last to surface before you breakthrough to a more peaceful life no longer affected so much by the past. Of course, it gets harder in some ways the more you heal. But even though the issue arising is harder you have the tools, the knowledge and skills to process it, to breathe through it and to integrate the shifts and changes.
So have faith it will shift. Keep tremoring, using your TRE and doing your embodiment practices, yoga, meditation, time in nature, time with friends, etc. Keep comforting your heart, body and younger selves when triggered. Keep doing what you are doing and face whatever arises knowing it is shifting out, that more and more of your body is clear from the pain, that there is less frozen energy inside, that your body is getting healthier each day as you drop out of fight, flight, freeze (sympathetic) survival mode and into rest, digest, repair (ventral vagal parasympathetic mode).
You are doing what needs to be done. You just need to be patient, to nurture yourself and rest, so your body can integrate the shifts. Stillness, rest is key, connecting with your body, feeling and releasing it all is key. You know what to do, it just takes longer than you would like, that’s all. Trust your process. You had a severe amount of childhood trauma to clear and it does take time and energy to move through it. This is your work for yourself and to assist others. You had to experience it fully, deeply to be able to understand what others go through to be able to help them process their hurts and come back to their authentic selves, their pure hearts, and a state of joy, with connection to self, others and Earth. It is all okay, all happening as it needs to. Trust your body and its wisdom. Keep doing what you are doing and celebrate the freedom and liberation you feel more of the time now. Celebrate the progress rather than be annoyed at the residue. You will clear it out. You will live your life more fully.
If you have suffered extreme wounding as a child healing becomes the major task of your life. It doesn’t matter what you had hoped to do in life. You have to surrender that and work with what is. You have to honour your body and meet its needs. You have to give to yourself what you missed out on so you do feel loved, heard, seen, accepted and cared for. That’s your job. That’s your purpose, to come back to wholeness and peace. The rest of life is superficial by comparison.
So don’t compare yourself to others. You have no choice in the sense that pain from childhood persists. It won’t stay buried. You have to feel and release it. You have to face it eventually. Most do they just need to learn the skills of how to heal, how to process it and shift it out of their bodies. This is where you excel and it is what you will do, teaching others for the rest of your life. You will love it and find it very rewarding. Blessed BE.
Inside of us, we have all the emotional residue, the stress, tension, trauma and unfelt emotions that we’ve bottled up inside. If we use the analogy of a home it’s like we have filled up our spare rooms and it has overflowed into our living areas making them cluttered and less enjoyable to be in.
This residue, this clutter shows up as physical pain, sore muscles, even tight shoulders, necks and backs. In its more severe forms, it shows up as frozen shoulders, shallow breathing, lowered immune systems, digestive disorders, and if left to worsen this can lead to a range of diseases. This is because when our body is in the fight, flight or freeze, survival mode, it doesn’t focus on restoration and recovery. It’s preoccupied with scanning for danger, being hypervigilant and on edge, ready to flee, fight, freeze at any hint of danger, real or imagined. Over time this takes an adverse toll on our bodies.
When there is deep emotional pain or trauma locked into our bodies it is like a mould in the bathroom. If we don’t deal with it then it spreads and it affects our ability to breathe deeply. It lowers our health. Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) can help us to shift out these blocked emotions, traumas, stresses and tensions. But you want to do it gently, bit by bit, befriending your nervous system, helping your body to feel safe, held, looked after and cared for. You want to be kind to yourself as you shake out all this old residue.
Just like when we spring clean, we need to open the curtains, look inside those unused spaces and sort through what’s been hidden away in there. We have to acknowledge it and let some of it go. In the body’s case, this involves feeling some of the emotions as they shift out, allowing parts of our body that have been numb, disconnected, to come back online. We need to reinhabit them. If it becomes intense or overwhelming then we slow down. We use other tools and processes to support our body and mind to integrate the shifts and changes.
Just like mould in a house we have to use special care to get rid of it, to clean it out. We have to open the windows and let air through. We have to reduce any moisture and fix any leaks so that the room can dry out. We have to use mould cleaner, bleach or vinegar to wipe away the stains and once cleaned thoroughly, then and only then can we repaint over it. Because if we do it too soon the mould will come back.
Our traumas and emotional pains are similar. We can’t keep them locked away, pretending they are not there. We have to learn how to feel them, breathe through them, support the younger versions of us who feel them and set them free of the pain. We need to reclaim all the spaces within our body, so our energy and vitality can flow freely, joyously, fully and our body can drop out of survival mode back into rest and digest mode, where it can focus on living more fully again. Where we enjoy interacting with others and feel safe, playful and joyful.
TRE can be your partner in this journey back to wholeness, back to living within your body, not escaping out of it with dissociation or numbing it with addictions, busyness and distraction. It’s time to come home to you, to spring clean, redecorate and enjoy life more fully being comfortable in your own skin.
If you don’t have the tools to clean your own house or the mould is too big a job for you to face, then you always have the option to pay a professional to clean it for you, to partner with you on your journey. With our analogy this is the difference between doing TRE on your own and doing it with a TRE provider, like me, helping you to go within, feel and heal. If you’d like a safe space, a comforting support person to cheer you on and make sure you’re on the right track then having TRE sessions with a TRE provider is a good idea. It can make a huge difference to how fast you heal as your body may need that support person to feel safe enough to release and you may need it to find the courage to go within and look at some of those darker corners, those unused spaces within where the hardest emotions and traumas have been hidden away.
Over 5 million people have learnt TRE. It is taught in over 60 countries worldwide. TRE can be learned via an appointment in person or online. A minimum of 3 sessions is recommended to ensure that you have learned how to self-regulate your tremoring. You can bring a friend and share the cost! Once you have learnt how to self-regulate you can continue using TRE at home for the rest of your life as part of your self-care routine. You do not have to see a TRE provider regularly. However, you may choose to have occasional or regular sessions with a TRE provider if you want more guidance or support with your tremoring process.
TRE can also be learnt in workshops and through a free TRE online course. Please note the free online course is not suitable for:
Anyone with psychological/psychiatric conditions that require strict regulation
Anyone with fragile psychological defences
Anyone who has a history of complex trauma (near-death experiences, abuse, violence, major accidents, natural disasters, surgeries, severe losses, etc)
Anyone with physical conditions that require strict regulation
Anyone with physical or medical limitations.
For anyone in the above categories, it is best to consult with a TRE provider, like me, to make sure TRE is suitable for you and to teach you how to use it safely. To learn more about TRE click here.
This is a gigantic topic that can not be addressed in one blog. We will give some general guidance and cover other aspects in future blogs. Childhood sexual abuse is a heinous act that takes away a child’s sense of innocence and trust in the world.
Whether the act was done in a violent or loving manner it rips apart a child’s identity. They are no longer a child living in a world of mystery, awe and learning. They no longer can lose themselves in the moment, they lose spontaneity and joy for life.
In its place come watching, scanning for danger, for fear of it happening again. Confusion terrifies – is it good, bad, dirty, evil? Am I a bad person because of it? Why is it a secret? Why mustn’t others know? All of this takes a child out of a child’s mindset and experience of life. It robs them of their freedom to live life innocently and openly connecting with self, others, nature and life.
Each experience is different, based on the particular circumstances, but none of them is beneficial to the child. The child may feel some pleasure in the physical touch. They may feel love towards the perpetrator who is giving them special attention. They may become jealous of the other parent and sharing the perpetrator with them. This sets up an unhealthy competition between mother and daughter (if that is the scenario). Or the mother may be depressed, father/stepfather unhappy and the child steps in to compensate, hoping father will stay, not leave.
There are many combinations and the above relates to incest by family members or friends of the family. These are the most common forms of incest. Strangers molesting children is much rarer. It is usually a person known to the child. Someone they trust and this also has a massive impact on their ability to trust others.
Whatever the situation, healing from childhood sexual abuse is a long and tedious process. All the various emotions have to be felt and released. The dysfunction of the family and the complicity of those involved have to be seen and acknowledged. Your parents / the adults should have been protecting you, but they didn’t. Shame, anger, rage, grief, loss, isolation, pain, all has to be worked through, before the light can start to enter.
Because these events were so painful and confusing it is automatic to push the memories and feelings away when they surface, but suppressing them does not help. It just keeps them locked inside the body and the person numbed out from feeling fully. This means that they can not experience great joy or happiness either, as their feelings are numbed, on autopilot, shut down to the bare minimum.
This all releases in time as the person learns to feel the emotions and release them. This can be done willingly or not. The body will trigger releases when it feels you are ready for them – be it flashbacks, memories surfacing, body aches/rashes, pain or emotional outbursts. It surfaces in many ways and it will impact your ability to function in your day to day life. Surrender to the process and allow the emotion to be felt and released. It will take time, a lot of time, but it will get easier as you learn how to deal with an emotional release and support yourself through the process.
Eat well, rest and get lots of sleep. Your body is undergoing massive shifts and changes. If the trauma or emotional pain was too intense it gets locked inside the body and it all has to come back out. It needs time for this to all occur. There are no miracle cures or quick answers. It has to occur bit by bit so you can cope and process the emotions that surface.
You will need to work through feelings of loss and its impact on your life.
You will have to work through feelings of betrayal and perhaps a desire to punish those involved for what happened, and for not looking after you.
You will have to work through any shame you feel and learn that it is safe to open back up to love, sexuality, passion and joy.
You will need to learn to trust others and allow yourself to be vulnerable again.
There is much healing to occur and it does take many years to fully resolve. That is the sad truth of it. It is a major impact on a person’s life and they have to deal with it the best they can. It does lead to lots of personal growth and insight, which is a good thing, but it is a hard way to get it. Especially when others around you may seem to be having a happy, easy life. So jealousy and feelings of ‘Why me?’, of victimhood, also have to be worked through.
It is a tumultuous ride and no wonder the body may struggle at times to cope with it all. Depression is common as people work through the issues. Do your best to support yourself with kindness, love and friendship. Be the loving parent to yourself that you wished your parents were.
Be patient and kind to yourself, you are doing the best you can. Know it will shift in time and while frustrating, your feelings and experience are normal. It is part of the process. That is why we said it is a heinous act. It is one that destroys a person’s natural ability to live and enjoy their life. It dominates their reactions to life and the way they interact with others. All this damage, this processing and conditioning, has to be worked through and released.
Many people become overweight, even obese, as a result of childhood sexual abuse. They hide under the layers of weight, feeling more protected and safe. At some level, they hope they are safer as they feel less attractive and hope no one will attack them again.
Some remain extremely thin, afraid to exist and not accepting nourishment. They hope if they look weak, thin, like a child, people will take pity on them and hopefully look after them. The self-loathing, shame and rejection of self can lead them to self-harm, to punish themselves and therefore not nourish their bodies appropriately.
Some people armour up. They put layers of energetic and physical armouring on their body, which hardens them. It makes them rigid and cold and deflects off anyone or anything that approaches them. It acts as a defence but keeps them isolated as no one can get close enough to give them love. Love would melt the armour and help the emotions to surface. But until a person is ready this feels threatening so they would push away anyone who comes close and tries to love them. They may judge those who come close as unacceptable, untrustworthy – finding some fault in them to justify their actions and rejection of them. This can be a very lonely and sad way to live.
Some channel their anger and rage into their work. They may fight for some cause, some charity, in an attempt to protect the vulnerable in society or the planet itself from abuse by man. This fight, this burning passion to save others or the Earth is due to their own buried pain and the need for themselves to be saved, rescued, loved and supported. It is a projection outwards of what they actually need.
They need to allow themselves to be vulnerable, weak, and to be looked after by others. They have been trying to be strong for so long that eventually, they will collapse and burn out. They will need to rest and face what is inside. They can’t go on fighting forever as they are depleting their energy reserves and no matter what they achieve in their work it will never feel like it is enough because it isn’t what they really need. What they really need is to look inside themselves, feel the emotional pain and release it, so they can then enjoy their lives as much as possible.
Finding peace after childhood sexual abuse is possible. It is just a long journey. Call on the Angels and your Guides to help you. Find practitioners to support you – energetically with healing; your body physically with releasing, and nutritionally with vitamins.
There are many different tools and techniques that can be used to support you through the process. Try different things and see what works for you. The key is to remember to be patient, loving and kind with yourself. You have suffered enough, so don’t burden yourself by feeling not good enough or getting mad at yourself.
Inside you is the scared, wounded, confused child who went through the experience. He/she needs your love and support. They need to be talked to, listened to and reassured. They need to be helped to feel safe again and to trust that you, the Adult you, will look after them. Then they can relax and play again, they can become a natural child again – free, spontaneous, in awe of life and full of joy at what they see. This then unlocks the door to your freedom to enjoy life more fully.
So love yourself through it all. Talk to your inner child regularly. Tell him/her that you love them, you will protect them and you are sorry about what they went through. In time they will trust you more and open up. You can visualise with your eyes closed and imagine playing in the park with your inner child. You can eat ice cream together and do all that you missed out on. You can have fun and form a strong connection and feeling of safety, of being loved, accepted and safe. That is important to do. It brings light into your life and the ability to have fun and play.
Life is meant to be enjoyed. Just this and other experiences get in the way. Do the work to free yourself from the past, so that you can enjoy the rest of your life and make the most of it. You can do it and it’s worth doing.
Don’t keep pushing the emotions away that prolongs the process.
Breathe through emotions as they arise.
If it is really intense you can scream or yell.
You may want to hit cushions against your bed or lounge to release the anger.
Buried emotions within my bodyYou may draw pictures of how you feel releasing the energy onto paper. Whatever method works for you to get it out of your body.
Some people like to go the gym or run until they are exhausted and the energy has shifted.
Hot, salt baths help to cleanse and soothe the body after a release.
Massage and other body work can help muscles to relax and the body to let go of tension and being in constant fight or flight mode ready to defend itself.
Time in nature helps ground us and strengthen us to cope with what we are going through.
Feel the Earth’s energy and allow her to hold you, support you. Imagine her energy coming up through your feet and filling you with love and support. See all that you don’t need draining out of your feet, back into the Earth – give her your heaviness, your pain, your emotions, she can process them for you, turning them into positive energy. The Earth is fertilised with our crap and that of all animals. It is why we put manure into the soil. You can do the same energetically. She can cope with it all. Do this visualisation daily or whenever you feel you have something to release.
Counselling can help if you find a therapist who is familiar with these issues and the complexities involved. It is not completely necessary, but for many people they have isolated themselves enough, they have no one they trust or can talk to about what they are going through. If this is the case a counsellor can be that person and someone you experiment with being vulnerable, revealing your secrets and your fears, desires and truth.
Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) can help your body to release stress, tension and trauma. It can help you to come out of numbness, shut down and depression. It can help you move out of freeze, fight and flight, back down into calm, social engagement where you feel safer to relate with others. It takes consistent use over time to achieve a relaxed, calm body that feels safe, can be present in the now, no longer scanning for danger.
TRE can be used for free once learned, so you can use it regularly at home to support yourself and your body to release out the stuck, frozen energies, allowing you to thaw out and come back to life. It is well worth learning so you can use TRE to support yourself for the rest of your life.
It helps to shift the internal pressure, the intense charge out of your body, so it is then easier to feel the emotions and release them as they no longer feel so big, so explosive or threatening.
TRE helps you to come home to yourself and to feel safe in your body. It really is a blessing for those of us that have suffered sexual abuse and other forms of abuse and trauma. It is best to learn TRE with a practitioner for the first few sessions to make sure you know how to self-regulate and can use it safely, knowing how to recognise the signs when your body says “That’s enough for today“. If you are unsure or would just prefer to have a supportive person holding space for you then you can continue to do TRE with a practitioner, but there’s no need once you’ve learned it. You have the choice to do it on your own at home or with a TRE practitioner like me in person or online via Zoom.
Each person’s journey will be unique to them and it all takes time. Go easy with yourself. You don’t need to dig through your past trying to find clues about what did or didn’t happen. it will surface when it is meant to when you are strong enough and ready to process it. So just enjoy your life as much as you can and know that you will remember or be triggered by others when the time is right for you to complete the next part of your healing journey.
Know that you do deserve peace, love and happiness, and you can get it. In time you will be free and you will be so grateful for that. You are brave souls on a massive journey. We cheer you on from the sidelines and we watch your progress. We hold your hands when you cry and laugh along with you when you laugh. We are always here, supporting and encouraging you, whispering in your ear helping you to intuitively know what you need to do next. You are never alone. You are held in the arms of God and the angels. You are cherished and cared for by those of us assigned to you this lifetime. We see your beauty. We see your strength, your innocence and your goodness. It is our job to help you to see them too. We love you. Blessed BE. Adieu.
In this first blog, we have talked about the impacts of abuse and mentioned some tools for healing. In the second blog, we focus on the impact on your sexuality and ability to interact lovingly with others. In the third blog, we will focus on the pain and releasing it from the cells of your body.
This is a brilliant video summarising how childhood trauma can lead to addictive tendencies, and what is needed to heal it. I love Gabor Mate’s work and his way of explaining things. Below is a summary of some of the key points:
Trauma is not what happens to you. It’s what happens inside you as a result of traumatic experiences.
Trauma is the disconnection from your self, your emotions, your body and your gut sense or intuition. You lose connection to yourself and how you authentically feel.
This disconnection results in difficulty being in the present moment and in the development of negative views of your world and of yourself. It results in a defensive view of other people.
Addiction is not the primary problem. It’s an attempt to solve a problem, which it does temporarily, but it creates even more problems in the long term.
Recovery is rediscovering, finding your self again, reconnecting to your self, your body, your emotions, your gut sense and intuition. You reconnect to who you authentically are and how you authentically feel.
Recovery and healing are about reconnection.
There are many ways to release trauma and reconnect with your body. One of the main methods I use is Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). I am qualified to teach TRE to individuals and within a few months will be qualified to teach it to groups. If you’d like to learn more about TRE and how it can help you to reconnect with your body please visit my TRE page.
When life has been challenging and you’ve experienced multiple disappointments it can be hard to believe that it can get better. Your past experience is that it doesn’t and you can lose hope and faith in a more positive future. In this video, Jodi-Anne explores ways to move out of disappointment and feeling stuck, so that you can enjoy life more.
In this video, Jodi-Anne explores ‘How do you let go of disappointment and expect the best?’ It is one of over 100 questions she has asked about life and channelled an answer through automatic writing. All of these answers to questions about life, how to live peacefully and happily are available for free on the ‘Life Insights‘ page of her website.
Science now shows that the cause of addiction is not the addictiveness of the drugs themselves, but the underlying reasons for taking the drugs – the emotional pain, trauma, and disconnection/loneliness that users feel. The drugs are simply an escape mechanism to avoid feeling the pain and to feel connected to something. If as a society we help people to heal the pain, to feel connected to others and enjoy life, then the use of drugs will decrease. Love and connection is the answer.
When a person has suffered many disappointments in life, they learn to switch off from life, from expecting good things or even believing it is possible for their life to work out okay. This is a self defense mechanism aimed to limit the pain received and protect from further disappointments.
But switching off from life, hope, faith is a disasterous thing to do, it is a giving up of life force energy, of joy, of hope, of happiness. It will inevitably lead to judgement, ridicule, low self-esteem, depression and feelings of unworthiness.
If the major traumas occurred when a young child, 0-7 years old, it is highly likely that a pattern of learned helplessness was embedded in the child’s unconscious and as an adult plays out constantly in all aspects of life, leaving the person feeling a victim, feeling unable to change anything and accepting life is always going to be this way.
With such pessimism life becomes drudgery, one boring or scary or threatening and dangerous day after another. It is easy to see why people may self medicate through addictions to avoid the emotional pain and sense of helplessness and hopelessness.
It is a cruel way to exist, it is a numbing out of life, a walking dead scenario, feeling as if there is no point in staying alive or trying to change anything, because it feels like it never works or changes, it never gets better.
This is a very painful place to be in internally, to feel this hurt and broken that you don’t know how to go on, how to survive, how to live. You give up trying and just survive one day at a time. Life is monotonous, bland, boring and suffocating. Sadly this is a common state of being for many people. Gladly, you don’t have to stay stuck in it.
You only feel so helpless because it is younger parts of you that got hurt and disappointed, whose pain is so high, that it is over ruling everything else. If you heal these wounds and help free your inner child or younger selves then that pain will not be your primary emotion or experience of life.
You the adult has every opportunity to make different choices, to have fun, to be positive and enjoy life. It is just hard to do when your vitality, your life force is stuck in the past, playing out a repetitive loop of negativity.
So how do you free yourself of the wounds? There are many ways that help. At this stage it is just important to know you can break free, that you can heal and that life can become better. To let a glimmer of hope exist.
Just because people in your past hurt you or disappointed you, doesn’t mean it has to reoccur over and over. If you heal the wounds you can flourish. You will no longer attract in that treatment as you will no longer be a vibrational match to it. Once you have released the pain, your body can relax, come out of fight or flight and shut down zombie mode. Life force energy can flow freely through your veins again, revitalising you to live life fully, embracing possibility and taking action to live your dreams, your greatest potential while here on Earth.
To achieve this the wounds must be healed, the emotional pain must be released / transmuted and your heart opened back up to allow love in, to trust and take action, to risk changing / trying something new and letting people close.
When people are closed down out of disappointment, it is like they have bolted the door, put up a security fence, have guard dogs snarling, attempting to keep out anything good from occurring, so that they will not be disappointed or hurt further.
People with good intentions attempt to come close and they are faced with snarling dogs, electric fences and machine guns aimed at them, as if they are the enemy, when all they want to do is love you. It takes a strong and determined person to persevere in this situation and say “Let me in, it is okay, you can trust me”.
Many just walk away, they see the wounding in the other, the closed door, so they turn away. Hence the hurt person ends up alone, isolated, desperate for attention, for love, but not allowing it. No wonder they feel so hopeless.
There is a war going on inside, keeping the goodness away.When someone does come close they can over react with anger, feeling like “How dare they expect me to let them in, how dare they expect me to take a risk”. You push the person away so hard.
Depending on how deep the wound will depend on how automatic this rejection process is. It can be so strong that rage is triggered and a feeling that you could set the person on fire because they have threatened you and your safety by daring to enter into your closed kingdom, and it literally feels like a threat to your existence. So sad when really the other is saying “Hello, do you want a friend? Do you want to play?”.
It is like two young children meeting in a playground and the first person has planted their feet, crossed their arms, stomped on the spot and said “NO”, shouted “NO, you will not play with me, go away, leave me alone”. They are totally closed off in their tantrum about how they feel and what has occurred to them in life. Then they sulk, pout, kick and scream about how unfair it all is. Most of us can see this behaviour in toddlers, young children quite easily, but we fail to see that as wounded adults we are doing the same thing.
Life can’t change dramatically for the better unless you uncross your arms, suck in your bottom lip, and you open up to connection, to playing, to having fun. While you are shouting NO nothing much can change. So you have to be willing to lower the defenses, to open up to another way of being and to feeling and releasing the emotional pain underneath the wounds, then it dissolves, then you walk free of itand you can see the blue sky and sunshine and let it in, you can see the beauty in life and let yourself be replenished by it and experience good things and have your life work out more enjoyably.
It is clear that it is up to you to take action to heal the wounds. Noone else can do it for you. Even those brave souls who wear suits of armour and non-flammable overalls who come close wanting to help you move forward. Their efforts can only help if you let them in. If you keep shouting NO energetically or actually saying it through your words and actions, then their efforts can’t help.
It is up to you to take the risk to let life be different. You can do it and it is worth it, so worth it, to walk free from misery and enjoy life, to be pleasantly surprised by the mystery of life and finally see the goodness in all things. You can achieve this, simply by healing the past so it doesn’t cloud your future. It can be done and I and many others can help you do it, if you let us, if you open up and say “YES to life, YES I am willing to move forward and to risk being happy. YES I can do this, I will do this, I choose this”.
Then life will lead you forth to the right people, places, books, courses and whatever else you need that best suits you to help you heal and break free from the pain. It will be different for each person based on their current state of awareness, willingness, and ability to feel and release their pain. Some will need to do self-study at first, before they would be willing to risk seeing a therapist and trusting someone to help them move forward. Some may prefer talk therapy as they don’t yet feel safe enough to go into their bodies and feel what is there. Some may prefer to start with body work modalities to help the body relax and let go, preferring this as they are too scared to voice their concerns or speak the truth that they have tried to hide from their whole lives.
Inside your body are all the trapped emotions and memories from the traumas you’ve experienced. It results in muscular tension and holding patterns that are so common in our society. It results in tight, sore shoulders, necks and backs. It is literally like the body has clenched, locked down, armoured up in order to protect itself.
A large part of healing is releasing this tension, melting the armour and the hypervigilance that comes from being in fight, flight, freeze so much.
This has to be done slowly, gently. You can’t take the top off the volcano and have all the pressure escape at once. It’s too volatile, too dangerous, too overwhelming. You need to let out the pressure and steam slowly, gently, so you don’t explode emotionally, but also so your body can integrate the shifts and changes.
There are many ways to reduce the internal stress and pressure, soy ou can cope more easily with whatever life brings you. When you’re already stressed up to your eyeballs internally it makes it so hard to cope. It’s like you’re exhausted with nothing else to give or any capacity to take on more – whether that be a challenge at work, a family member wanting your support or asking you to do something.
When you’re already at your limit, when your plate is full, any additional stressors can result in strong, undesirable reactions. You might react in anger or rage, or just be irritable and cold pushing people away or ignoring their needs. Not because you don’t care. You do care. You just don’t have any more capacity to cope with another stressor.
Thankfully you can use a range of methods to diffuse your internal bomb. Most people turn to addictions to try and numb it, escape it, avoid it, distract from it. They get busy or drink or shop or play video games or any other distraction that stops them from feeling what is occurring inside.
Clearly, this is not a healthy or long term solution. Your nervous system still has all the charge in it, all the pent up energy and emotion, so addictions just form a temporary fix that is bound to fail as the internal pressure continues to grow and the person eventually implodes or explodes.
A much healthier way to reduce the pressure, to let out the steam is spending time in nature, going for walks or swims at the beach. Anything that helps you to slow down, to have greater relaxation and ease in your body.
I have found Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) particularly useful, as it lets out that tension from the body bit by bit, calming your nervous system and giving you more capacity to cope with day to day life. As you release the pressure, it is like you’re taking some of the burdens and pressures from your plate, so there’s room, capacity, to handle life events with a bit more grace and ease. You don’t get shoved into overwhelm as quickly.
TRE is a set of simple exercises designed to help the body access its innate stress, tension and trauma release mechanism. This is an inbuilt tremoring process that uses up the stagnant energy, melts the armour and helps you shift out of fight, flight, freeze into relaxation and ease within. When this occurs it is easier to interact with others as you feel safer in your body, less threatened and defensive. It’s a powerful process for calming the body back down to it’s natural peaceful, playful state.
Excitingly TRE can be learned quickly and once learned you can use it for free for the rest of your life. You can do the exercises and tremoring releases in your own home, whenever you want.
If you want to go deeper, learn more or have some support as you go along, you can see a TRE practitioner like me, but you don’t have to do that regularly. You can just do it when you want to or if you need some extra support.
TRE gives you back your freedom to engage in your healing journey and to heal at a rate your body is comfortable with, listening to and honouring your body. It is well worth learning TRE to empower yourself and move forward with your life. You don’t need to stay stuck, defensive or hidden. You can be free.
There are many roads home, to healing, to your heart and wholeness. It doesn’t matter which road you take, what matters is your willingness to take a step forward into the unknown, into life being different. If you are willing, the Universe will meet you and guide you forth.
May you learn to run joyously along your path, knowing you are taken care of, and see the beauty of life and love all around you. For it is there just waiting for you to open your arms and embrace it. Life really is good once you heal your pain and can see more clearly. May you obtain inner peace as quickly and as easily as you can. With love, Amen.