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Healing from child abuse Self help techniques

How do you heal from childhood sexual abuse? (Part 3 of 3)

How do we heal from childhood sexual abuse? Part 3 (22:26 mins)

In the first blog on this topic, we talked about the impacts of abuse and mentioned some tools for healing. In the second blog, we focused on the impact on your sexuality and ability to interact lovingly with others. In this third blog, we focus on the pain and releasing it from the cells of your body.

When great trauma occurs it is often too intense for the person to cope with. They escape it in some way. It may be by pushing the pain down in their body – swallowing it, holding it deep inside locked in the cells and muscles of the body. Others push it out, try to escape it by pushing it away, pretending it didn’t happen, not wanting it to touch them ever again. This keeps it in the person’s energy bodies and it does still affect them and touch them, just energetically. It is like the black cloud walking along behind or above them. Either way, the pain and trauma stay with you.

You can tell the trauma is still there by the bodily reactions when someone comes close to you. Do you react in fear? Does your breath stop or become shallow? Do you flinch? Do your muscles tighten? Do you try to shrink and become smaller to avoid their touch? Do you become angry and resentful? Do you puff up trying to become bigger to ward off the person and protect yourself?

Clearly, any of these reactions show that the body is not relaxed and at ease, the body is not feeling safe or trusting of other people. This shows the body is still locked into the trauma and is in a state of fear, not love, not peace, and certainly not joy. It can be. You just have to release the trauma out of the body.

The trauma is stored within the cells and muscles of your body. That’s why you get tight muscles. They’re literally frozen, tensed up in fear, ready to react to defend yourself, run away or freeze and be still so you hopefully can hide and not be seen.

It is exhausting for the body to be tense and on hyperalert so much. This tension and the trauma underneath it can be released out of the body so that your body relaxes and so that your mind doesn’t feel a need to be so defensive. Relaxing the body results in the mind softening and your defences melting. We literally thaw out the frozen parcels of trauma stored within the body so they can melt away.

One way to do this is through ‘tremoring’. Your body has an inbuilt shaking mechanism to help shift out the trauma and tension from your body. All mammals have it. The shaking uses up the adrenaline and cortisol, the fight or flight chemicals that were created in the life-threatening moment. If you couldn’t run away or fight back at the time, then these chemicals didn’t get used up. They stayed in your body resulting in tension and clenched muscles.

Your body was primed, ready to fight or run, but it didn’t get to and afterwards the body didn’t relax fully. It still felt on edge, nervous, anxious, because these chemicals weren’t discharged. The trauma activation never got released. Later when we get triggered, when our body startles easily, is on edge, even if there is no real danger, it is because of these unfinished trauma activations.

You can use ‘Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) to help the body complete these activations, to use up the fight or flight chemicals through shaking, resulting in the body finally being able to relax, to know the war is over, that you survived and you’re okay. 

TRE is a very simple process and once learned you can use it yourself forever for free, to release stress, tension and trauma. If you’d like to learn more about TRE click here to watch some videos or to book an appointment in person or an appointment online to learn TRE. It is well worth doing so your body can finally relax.

Another important process for helping the body to relax and to complete the trauma stored within is inner child recovery work. When you get triggered or scared it is actually a younger part of you that is triggered and scared.

By becoming conscious of your bodily reactions it enables you to start self-soothing. You can tell yourself “You are safe, it’s okay I’m not in danger here”. You can self soothe by holding your own hand, so to speak, or lovingly stroking your arm or your hair. This calms the body, to know it is held and cared for. I have literally stroked my own hair at times of distress and it feels like a safe adult is brushing the hair of a vulnerable child, and this act of self-kindness leads to a softening of the emotion and relaxation back to peace.

Basically, you become the protective, loving parent of the scared child within you. There is literally a scared child inside you and an angry one and a mad, bad, stomp on all the bad guys one who wants to punish those that hurt people. These are the parts of you from the time that you were that age and experienced those things.

You can easily access these inner children by closing your eyes and asking to see them. At first, they may be hiding from you, you might just sense a closed door or a room of furniture with the inner child hiding behind the sofa, just peeking out at you. You need to win their trust, to have them feel you are safe, you will be there for them and they can tell you how they feel and what they need and you won’t reject or abandon them.

In time as you imagine sitting and talking with them, they will start to trust you and come closer, they will start to share their deepest secrets about what hurt them the most. Listen to them, reassure them you love them and that they were not at fault. It was not their fault if someone older sexually abused them or interfered with them. Many inner children may be confused. They may have allowed the contact to occur because the perpetrator was being nice to them, showing them love and tenderness when others weren’t. When it is a parent, step-parent, Uncle, Grandpa or family friend involved, it is extra confusing to the child as that person was known to them, was a safe space, but then all of a sudden wasn’t.

The child may not have thought what occurred was wrong, they may have thought it a game, only to find out later it was labelled as bad or sinful. There are lots of different scenarios.

The point is your inner child is likely to feel confused and until that is cleared up, they won’t feel comfortable trusting anyone else who enters your life. They will always be cautious and on guard, wondering if this new, supposedly safe person is going to one day hurt them as the family member did. Therefore, they don’t relax, they keep their guard up and stay alert for danger.

In this way, they refuse to let love in. Even if the other person is genuinely authentic in their caring for the person who has suffered abuse, it is difficult for the abused person to accept it, believe it or reciprocate it. This, of course, has detrimental effects on relationships and prevents true intimacy and the feeling of being loved for who you are. Without love coming in from within – to ourselves, or from without – from others, our cup becomes empty and we can fall into despair, depression and feeling worthless, unloved, unwanted and think the world is a horrible place.

Yet the love and the light is there, good people are all around us, we just have to learn to let the love in, and to do so we need to allow ourselves to feel vulnerable, to take the risk to love and receive love, to surrender to life and its process of awakening.

While the inner child is still confused, scared, angry or ashamed this process is blocked or minimised, often to the point of almost complete annihilation. Anyone who dares to show you love or acceptance becomes seen as a threat, a bad person or a foolish one because if they truly knew you, you think they shouldn’t love you, and hence if they do they must not be very wise, smart or worth much. So you judge them and push them away.

To stop such patterns you need to heal your heart, talk to your inner child, send it love. Any time you feel scared, know it is your inner child asking for reassurance, wanting to know you are aware of its concern, and you are taking care of the situation, that you will keep them safe and it’s okay for them to go play or have a nap. They may prefer to stay with you, clinging to the back of your leg, watching to make sure you do handle whatever interaction is occurring that has led to their nervousness.

In time, once they have seen you do handle it and keep them safe, then they will relax and go play, they will become a joyful, innocent child again and this frees you the Adult to also enjoy life again. Your body relaxes, so much so, that when someone approaches you, you do not react with fear or hesitation. You can welcome the person and interact joyfully, peacefully, light-heartedly. It takes a long time to reach this stage, but it is worth the effort.

All it takes is becoming conscious of your patterning and comforting yourself, your inner child, becoming the good parent to it and guardian of it, and in time it will relax. Then the pleasure is amazing. You can stare at the leaves moving in the tree and feel transported into a magical place again, you can feel the awe and wonder that a little child feels for life. You can see the beauty and love all around you and you can let it in.

You can let yourself receive love and goodness and the Universe pours it into you. It always has been doing this, but our defences have stopped us from receiving it. With those defences melted away, we can finally accept the goodness and allow ourselves to have a happy life, with friends, love and peace. It is wonderful to do so. Blessed BE. Amen.

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Healing from child abuse Self help techniques

How do you heal from childhood sexual abuse? (Part 2 of 3)

How do we heal from childhood sexual abuse? Part 2 (20:10 mins) 

In the first blog on this topic, we focused on the fact that a lot of healing is required to release the buried emotions and pain that result from childhood sexual abuse. We gave some advice on how to move through tough emotions that surface and demand our attention.

Today we talk about the wider implications. When one has been sexually abused as a child you can lose the sense that your body is precious and should be treated as such. You can forget that sexual intimacy is meant to be loving, kind and about connection with self, other and God/Source Energy. It is a sacred act resulting in a union between man and woman. It results in conception, birth and parenthood. It is a sacred act necessary for the continuation of the species. It is meant to be enjoyable and safe.

For those who have been sexually abused as children sex does not feel sacred or safe – It can feel scary, dirty or carnal. The sacredness can be regained once healed, but for many who have suffered abuse sex feels like a threat, dangerous, or worse, meaningless – something you do just to please your partner or to get attention from another.

Many who have been abused as children continue to let themselves be abused by others. They don’t know how to set boundaries or say no. They don’t know that there is a choice to say no or that sex can be different to the physical activity that they have experienced.

Sex can become an addiction, a seductive tool used to get what you want in life. This really devalues your body as it is used by others. But someone who has been deeply hurt may be so numbed from their pain and hiding from their true feelings that they don’t even notice that they feel devalued, used, taken advantage of, etc. In essence, they let the abuse continue, not knowing that they deserve better.

Some do the opposite. For some, the abuse was so terrifying that they won’t let anyone close and sex becomes something that simply doesn’t happen as it feels too dangerous. In between these extremes is the person who can have sex with their partner, but may not feel much physically during the act, their mind wanders thinking of other things, so energetically they are not present or fully participating in the act – they have left in their minds to a safer place.

It takes much healing to get to the space where you can be fully present during sex, enjoy it and see it / feel it as a sacred process of surrender – allowing yourself to merge with your beloved partner and God. God is of course not involved in this, but the energy of union, of oneness, of love, is God and it is through the sexual act that we become most vulnerable and intertwined with another – we become one with them and therefore return in the moments of deep connection to Source, to our true state of oneness with all that is.

Another aspect of life affected by childhood sexual abuse is our self-image of what it means to be a man or a woman. It will affect what we think about ourselves, our worth, our appearance, our attitudes, etc. 

It shapes our view of the world to one that is less than loving and kind, less than supportive and caring. All of this has to be worked through as we learn to love ourselves and dress according to our personality or being. For many years a sufferer of childhood sexual abuse may dress like a tomboy to avoid feeling feminine or threatened by further abuse. Baggy clothes are common, trying to hide the fact they are a woman or young teen.

Of course, those who have gone the opposite direction dress provocatively revealing their sexuality to all, showing they have power over others by alluring them. That is what the provocation is truly about. It is the person’s way to attempt to feel powerful, to have control over others. That way if they feel they are in control it is less scary than thinking others can control them. It is just a form of self-defence.

Both responses are okay and understandable as a result of what they have been through. The goal however is to heal and find balance, where you can just be you and dress how you like because you want to – not because you are trying to prove anything to anyone else or to get approval.

When we heal fully we come to a place of self-love and acceptance where it doesn’t matter what others think. When we are in this healthy place we can live our life doing what we want, being present to the moment and enjoying all that comes. We are not preoccupied with the past or the future. Our body is relaxed, not on guard, not scanning for danger or looking about needily or for protection. We are at ease, peace, trusting, flowing with life.

You can get to this stage and you will. All human beings will. It just takes time and effort – a willingness to keep dealing with whatever emotions surface and releasing them to the light, so that your body is ‘lighter’ and you do not feel so burdened, weighed down, heavy from it all – which is what depression is. It is a person feeling ‘de-pressed’ – pressed down by all the weight of their life, their stories of what has occurred to them and their fearful, angry, shameful reactions to it.

“Depression” is calling you to “deep rest”. It is your body’s way of saying I need you to stop now, to feel and heal this, to let it go. Enough running, pushing it away, trying to pretend it isn’t real. Stop, feel and heal. REST then you can feel better, find peace and happiness. This is what is needed. You deserve it. You are allowed to have it and you have done nothing wrong.

Any actions that you have taken resulted from your pain, your past experiences. You had no control over what occurred to you. You did your best to cope and live life. If you did some things you are not proud of, forgive yourself. Forgive and free yourself of any shame or guilt and choose to behave differently from now on. Know you did the best you could at the time. Let yourself off the hook and let yourself have fun and enjoy your life. You deserve to do so, to be free of the past and making the most of your now.

A big part of healing from sexual abuse is learning to trust another, to let a partner close to you – to be able to determine when it is safe to do so and the person is someone who is trustworthy, who will treat you well and who wants to be in a loving, intimate, connected, heart-felt relationship with you.

Recognise however that if you are not in such a relationship with yourself you are not likely to do so with a partner. Are you loving and supportive of yourself? Do you respect and treat yourself well? Do you lovingly speak to [yourself] and honour your own needs? If not, don’t expect a partner to do so. Their behaviour will reflect the way you treat yourself. If you treat yourself poorly you are role modelling to a partner that they can do so too.

Part of healing is learning to see the truth that people may treat you poorly if you let them, but as you heal and become more whole, you won’t attract that behaviour. You simply wouldn’t get into the relationship as you would know deep in your core, your intuition and gut feelings, that that person is not suitable for you as a partner. But in order to access your knowingness, your intuition and gut feel you have to be connected to yourself, to listen to your feelings, and identify your needs. This requires learning to be fully grounded in your body, present within it. 

You can do this by simply closing your eyes and focusing on your breath in your belly. Get used to breathing deeply and witnessing your body’s reactions, practice feeling/listening to what is occurring inside you. Throughout the day notice whether you are in your body or if you have floated off into your mind or escaped into fantasy / left your body, so to speak.

There are many techniques you can use to help you settle back into your body. One that I use is Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). It helps the nervous system to relax and unwind, so that the body drops out of hypervigilance, fight, flight, and freeze, so it can return to its normal relaxed state.

TRE is a simple set of exercises you can do on your own at home to start the body’s natural stress, tension and trauma release mechanism. We have an inbuilt mechanism to shake off all the tension and trauma. It uses up all the fight and flight chemicals, like cortisol and adrenaline, that get stored in the body every time we get triggered and don’t act.

If we did run or fight back these chemicals would get used up, but if we freeze or we push through forcing ourselves to stay present in a situation where our body is uncomfortable and telling us to flee, then those fight/flight chemicals stay within, adding to the muscles clenching and tension patterns in our body.

Using TRE helps the body to relax, to let go of those patterns, to feel safer and more peaceful within. When that happens the mind also relaxes and our defences melt as the mind is no longer being sent danger signals by the body. It no longer senses threat at every corner.

There are other techniques you can use that also help the body to calm, such as spending time in nature, meditation, gentle exercise like yoga and much more.

Learning to be present to what is occurring in the moment and being grounded in your body is a major step in healing as you can then feel and process what needs to be let go of. When you are present in this way, you can get inner guidance as to what to do and how to improve your experience of life.

The answers are all within you. Your soul knows what you need to do and it will talk to you. Listen to your heart and follow its guidance. This is the goal to reach to live as happily ever after as possible. Healing from childhood sexual abuse takes time and effort, but it is worth it, to find the freedom and peace that awaits you when you heal. Blessed BE. Amen.

Here is the link to part 3 of how to heal from childhood sexual abuse.

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Healing from child abuse Health Personal Development Self help techniques TRE - Tension & Trauma Release Exercises

What is dissociation and how to reduce it?

Dissociation is a natural mechanism designed to protect you from feeling overwhelming pain and terror. When a person is in a life-threatening situation and there is no escape they may dissociate, jump out of their body so they don’t have to feel the trauma of what happens next to their body.

To help soothe you during intense moments the body gets pumped full of opioids to numb you so you don’t feel what occurs. That is what dissociation is. It is a splitting off of consciousness so you don’t have to feel the pain during life-threatening moments. It is the out of body experience that people have during Near-Death Experiences.

For some, dissociation can become a very common experience. The body can get into the habit of being in a highly stressed and activated state so that the slightest thing can result in jumping out. This occurs when a person doesn’t feel safe to be in their body.

The body holds all the past traumas, pains and emotional residue from our early life experiences and even past life experiences. Those traumas affect how we feel and our ability to relax, be calm, grounded and present.

If we are dissociating regularly its showing there is trauma to be released from the body so that the person can stay in their body.

There are many ways to calm the nervous system, release tension, stress and trauma. For some meditation and mindfulness helps but for others this leads to more dissociation as witnessing and feeling into the body and what’s stored in it can be overwhelming.

I like to use Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) which activates the body’s natural mechanism for releasing stress, tension and trauma so that your body can come out of the freeze, fight and flight back into a state of calm relaxation. The body will literally stretch, shake, twist and move as it lets go of the built-up energy that has been locked inside of it.

Every time we didn’t get to speak up, run away, fight off an invader, etc. the uncompleted trauma reaction gets stored in our body. We were primed to flee or fight but couldn’t so the adrenaline and cortisol remains in our body creating tension, soreness, and tight, aching muscles.

TRE allows the body to release this trapped energy slowly, at a pace that the body can handle. It is an automatic unwinding of the tension patterns in your body. When your body feels more relaxed and peaceful you will feel safer to be in it.

As your nervous system calms you won’t startle so easily as your body won’t be so wound up and tense. You won’t react automatically with dissociation. You’ll have more space and choice.

Some people can become addicted to dissociation as a coping mechanism, as a way to numb out and feel the bliss of being connected to Source, Spirit, All That Is. The expansiveness of being out of your body is an amazing experience, the freedom, the flow, the sense of all-pervading love and acceptance. This peacefulness can result in some people not wanting to return to their bodies, especially if the body has lots of emotional pain, trauma or injuries to it.

In time you can learn to maintain a connection with your body while still feeling connected to Source, to that expanded state of being. It comes as you clear out the old traumas and lightness can take their place.

woman in brown spaghetti strap dress standing on rocky shore
Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels.com

Being in nature, somatic experiencing, inner child recovery work and TRE are all ways to help heal the trauma and calm your nervous system so that you feel safer to be in your body. There is a lot that you can do so you feel at home, safe and sound within your body.

Even simple visualisations can help you centre within. Close your eyes and breathe in gold light. See your body being filled with soothing golden light, like the rays of the sun warming you. See tree roots start to grow from your feet down into Mother Earth. See the Earth’s healing energy coming up these roots filling your body from below.

The Earth’s energy and the golden energy merge in your heart centre which opens more to receive this light, this goodness. Feel the fullness, the love, the peace of this high vibrating energy. Feel your feet on the ground. Feel the tree roots anchoring you to the Earth calling you to come more fully into your body. Do so. Climb down the silver cord which tethers the dissociated parts of you to your body. Call these parts back. Tell them it’s safe for them to come home now.

Know you are supported by the light to come together into a greater fullness. Welcome these parts of you back, hug them, talk to them, and listen to what they have to say. Tell them you’re sorry it has taken you so long to call them back but you’re here now, willing to connect to them, to support them and help them heal and find peace.

You, the Adult part of you, is capable and strong. It’s just the wounding that has led you to feel weak, stuck or helpless. But that can all drain out of your feet back down into Mother Earth. See any gunk or goo leaving out your feet, anything that no longer serves you, see it dropping away as the light continues to fil you and raise your vibration.

It’s up to you to become your own best friend, your own supportive, healing source so that you become stronger, and feel safer to be in your body more of the time. This is how we anchor into our body and dissociate less.

We need to clear out the trauma, heal our wounds and become the carer of all the parts of ourselves that were hurt and have been waiting patiently for us to rescue them and welcome them home into our body.

Just as we spring clean our physical homes, we need to do the same with our bodies, keeping them as a nice, welcoming, comforting space to spend time in, and a place where we do feel at home and can relax.

That’s our goal, our birthright and TRE and the other modalities that help you to release trauma, calm the nervous system and relax are all powerful tools to assist you with the process.

Dissociation occurs as a coping mechanism. You jump out, disconnect because it doesn’t feel safe to be in your body. This is a subconscious, automatic process. Your body dissociates automatically in response to the threat and danger signals it perceives from the sensations in your body. As you heal those sensations and unwind the tension, your body will calm and relax. It won’t perceive so much threat or need to escape. Then it will be easier to stay in your body.

Be gentle with yourself as you go through the healing process and reach out for help when you need it. Many people will need to work with a therapist that they trust so that they feel safe enough to go within and face what is stored in their body. There are many people who can help you as you embark on the quest to feel safe within. Blessed BE.

Channelled by Jodi-Anne (13 Dec 2020).

  • Further free guidance on healing techniques and self-love are available on the Life Insights and Healing from child abuse pages of this website.
  • Jodi-Anne is available to assist with your healing journey through appointments online or in person.
  • 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 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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Health Personal Development Self help techniques TRE - Tension & Trauma Release Exercises Uncategorized

Free TRE online, self-study course

Here’s a video launching a free online self-study course for Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). The online course is suitable for anyone WITHOUT any major medical or mental health issues. It will help you learn how to use TRE to release stress and tension and to relax your body using its natural tremoring mechanism.

For those who have experienced significant traumas and who have had mental health challenges, it is best to learn TRE with a trained TRE provider like myself so that the TRE provider can make sure you learn how to use it safely and effectively. Once you have learned TRE and are confident in your use of it you will be able to use TRE at home on your own to help heal, balance and calm your body. If you would like to book an appointment to learn TRE with Jodi-Anne you can do so on her appointment booking online calendar.

The video I’m sharing here is the official Australian launch. Richmond who created the course gives an explanation of TRE then there is a group tremoring session (starting at approx 26 min into the video). Here you can see me and the others present tremoring. Each body moves in a different way as it shakes out what no longer serves it and integrates the shifts and changes.

Here’s the link to the free online, self-study TRE course.

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Healing from child abuse Health Personal Development

Understanding the fight, flight, freeze response.

Stress has a negative impact on our health and wellbeing. I love how this 5 min video explains why so many of us are stuck in survival mode with bodies constantly activated with fight, flight, freeze energies stored in our bodies. Thankfully Trauma and Tension Release Exercises (TRE) can be used to help release these energies from our bodies so that we can be more relaxed and peaceful. If you’d like to learn more about TRE or experience it please visit the TRE page of my website.