This short video explores the impacts of emotional abuse and what is required to heal from it. I hope you find it useful. Many blessings, Jodi-Anne
This short video explores how to move through depression and find peace. It looks at why it can be so hard and ways to support yourself as you heal and find peace. I hope you find it useful. Many blessings, Jodi-Anne
Many of you who have had deep pain and hurt in your younger lives have learned to survive by doing whatever is necessary to get through your day. You work, you smile, you help, you laugh and you hide away at home when you can because that feels safe. In essence you are still expecting attack and you work hard to avoid it. Your focus is on getting through each day without attack, with minimal dnager, conflict and abuse. You collapse at the end of the day exhausted, satisfied to have survived and to have gotten through relatively unscathed.
In doing this you are simply surviving each day, you are not enjoying your life very much or creating what you really want. You are not living your authentic self, you are using a range of cover ups and defense mechanisms to protect your vulnerable, scared child. That feels more important than having fun, socialising. This is true for many of you.
There are others who are also just surviving, but they focus on pleasure and not much else. They have given up trying to achieve anything or to be successful in their chosen path. They have given up on their dreams believing it isn’t worth the effort to pursue them. They settle for comfort food, alcohol, drugs, sex and a simplistic, hedonistic life, without contributing very much to society.
There are many survival patterns, underneath them all is pain, pain waiting to be felt and released, so you can step up and show your true self to the world, so you can enjoy life and contribute to the welfare of all by shining your light brightly.
You do not need to stay hidden, small to be safe. You don’t need to keep yourself small, stuck to feel like you have no control, no choice, no option. You do have options. Every day, every hour, every minute you are making choices affecting your health and wellbeing. You choose to do nothing or to sulk or pout or be angry or disappointed or to feel hopeless, like there’s no point trying. You choose to repeat the same mundane day over and over – go to work, eat, sleep, wake up, repeat over and over. You choose to numb out and watch TV or to eat or drink or whatever method you use to escape your dissatisfaction with your life. You are choosing to be stuck, to be a survivor or victim of life and your experiences.
You could be choosing to do something new, to try a new hobby, to connect with people and do activities, to have fun and socialise. You can choose to do study to work towards a career change or to volunteer at a nursing home or food shelter or other act of service, which not only helps others but results in you feeling better about yourself and your life. There is so much you could choose to do, but you have to choose it. You have to action it, take the risk for things to change.
Don’t let your life slip away. Take charge and live it. Flow with what life brings you, the ups and the downs, and make the most of it. When you get triggered or you get insight into your defense mechanisms, your pain, work through them to heal them and free yourself up. You don’t have to stay stuck in the old patterns and pain – free yourself and live.
One way to do this is using Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). It can help you to calm your nervous system and body, so it drops out of fight, flight or freeze. TRE is a simple set of exercises to activate the body’s own tremoring mechanism which uses up the stress chemicals, cortisol and andrenaline, which get created when we are triggered and stored in our body if we don’t actually fight or run away.
When your nervous system calms, your body relaxes and it’s easier to make new choices and changes to behaviour, as your neocortex comes back online, the rational decision making part of the brain. When we’re in fear the amygdala and emotional part of the brain, the hind brain take over and focus on survival only. This is why it can be hard to think or make decisions when you are scared. The rational part of the brain has shut down so you can respond instinctively, quickly to increase your chance of survival.
You don’t have time to contemplate your choices when a lion is chasing you. You need to act fast and run or hide/freeze hoping not to be discovered. If you’re going to be brave and fight you need those extra stress hormones to give you the energy and drive to charge in. Your body will also fill you with opioids so you don’t feel pain as much, just in case you do get hurt or worst case scenario killed. The opioids numb the pain. They also are part of the dissociation process, helping you to feel less connected to your body, so you don’t feel what is happening to it.
TRE can help you to unwind all of these patterns and stored energies in your body, so you can be relaxed and at ease, more able to make choices from a calm state and to enjoy your life.
It is time to have fun, to be free, to shine your light, to do what you missed out on, to experiment and discover what you enjoy in life. It is time to LIVE, choose it and the Universe will help you do it. CONNECT with nature, with yourself, with others. Let yourself be seen, heard, supported and loved. Let the goodness in, it is all around you, waiting for you to open your arms to receive it. It is time, it is overdue, it is banging on the door hoping you will hear it. Step up, speak up, live your life and let go of the old ways. It’s time to live more fully, not just survive. Blessed BE, Amen.
By Jodi-Anne M Smith (23October 2017).
Further free guidance on healing techniques and self love are available on the Life Insights and Healing from child abuse pages of this website.
Love this TED talk about the negative impacts of loneliness on our health. So many of us feel deeply alone, isolating to protect ourselves to avoid rejection or abuse, scared to let people close and risk feeling more loss if that person leaves. This has been and continues to be one of my deepest challenges. For me it has been easier to hide in work and study than risk more loss. I have learned to love any way and to let people close and for that I am eternally grateful. Much love to all who struggle with loneliness, may you take a risk to connect and find your tribe.
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.
Yet another article with the science showing what survivors of child abuse have always known. Abuse in childhood leads to significant physical, emotional and mental difficulties in adulthood. The good news is that more and more people are recognising this and that we can’t simply “get over it”. Abuse changes the way a child reacts to stress and constant exposure leads to changes in the child’s DNA resulting in the ‘fight or flight’ system being always turned on. The ongoing, chronic stress unfortunately leads to inflammatory and immune responses that damage health as adults.
Joan Kaufman, director of the Child and Adolescent Research and Education (CARE) programme at the Yale School of Medicine, recently analysed DNA in the saliva of happy, healthy children, and of children who had been taken from abusive or neglectful parents. The children who’d experienced chronic childhood stress showed epigenetic changes in almost 3,000 sites on their DNA, and on all 23 chromosomes – altering how appropriately they would be able to respond to and rebound from future stressors.
Likewise, Seth Pollak, professor of psychology and director of the Child Emotion Research Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, uncovered startling genetic changes in children with a history of adversity and trauma. Pollak identified damage to a gene responsible for calming the stress response. This particular gene wasn’t working properly; the kids’ bodies weren’t able to reign in their heightened stress response. ‘A crucial set of brakes are off,’ says Pollak.
It is great that science is catching up. They are also recognising that there are many ways to heal which can help survivor’s bodies relax and not be in ‘fight or flight’ all the time.
Science tells us that biology does not have to be destiny. ACEs can last a lifetime, but they don’t have to. Just as physical wounds and bruises heal, just as we can regain our muscle tone, we can recover function in underconnected areas of the brain. If anything, that’s the most important take-away from ACE research: the brain and body are never static; they are always in the process of becoming and changing.
Even if we have been set on high-reactive mode for decades or a lifetime, we can still dial it down. We can respond to life’s inevitable stressors more appropriately and shift away from an overactive inflammatory response. We can become neurobiologically resilient. We can turn bad epigenetics into good epigenetics and rescue ourselves. We have the capacity, within ourselves, to create better health. We might call this brave undertaking ‘the neurobiology of awakening’.
Today, scientists recognise a range of promising approaches to help create new neurons (known as neurogenesis), make new synaptic connections between those neurons (known as synaptogenesis), promote new patterns of thoughts and reactions, bring underconnected areas of the brain back online – and reset our stress response so that we decrease the inflammation that makes us ill.
In the article they specifically mention ‘Meditation, mindfulness, neurofeedback, cognitive therapy, EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) therapy’ as some of the tools that can help survivor’s to calm their bodies and reprogram their minds.
I have found a wide range of techniques helpful including:
- Energy and body work, such as crystal bed sessions or reiki, to help the body unlock and relax;
- Psych-K or Lifeline Technique to release trauma and reprogram the subconscious mind so you can change negative beliefs about life and the world into positive ones e.g. so you are not always expecting the worst and you can start to feel safe, so you believe that you do deserve good things and that people can treat you well;
- Mindfulness and meditation techniques to still the mind and create space to witness what is occurring instead of reacting automatically;
- Skill development including thought stopping, boundary setting, inner child, and self love skills, so that you no longer allow yourself to be abused by others or by yourself;
- Family Constellations to heal the trauma in the family system and reconnect with love, thereby allowing greater lifeforce and harmony within.
There is lots that can be done. While adverse childhood trauma does have a massive impact on your life, it can be healed.