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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 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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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.

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Healing from child abuse Personal Development Self help techniques Uncategorized

How do you stay balanced and grounded during tumultuous times?

When unexpected events occur it shakes your foundations, your normal way of being. If you feel uncertain, unsafe or scared then your nervous system will react with either fight, flight or freeze responses.

People who get angry at what is occurring, who rage that more should be done are having a ‘fight’ reaction. The adrenaline and cortisol pumping through their veins fuels an aggressive reaction.

There may not be an enemy that can be fought. In this case, you can’t fight the Corona Virus in the traditional sense. It doesn’t have have a physical body for you to face up to, seething and threaten it and go several rounds in the boxing ring.

This is what those in a fight response are ultimately wanting to do because the act of fighting uses up the adrenaline and cortisol enabling them to calm back down, for their nervous system to regulate.

Without the fight, the cortisol and adrenaline stay in their blood and gets stored in the body as tension, tightening of muscles, clenching of the jaw, etc.

It takes emotional awareness to notice what is occurring and to take action to self-soothe, rather than lash out at others with the upset that you have. Be aware many people may behave in ways they normally wouldn’t as they are in ‘survival’ mode, feeling unsafe and a need to protect themself and their family. To some, it may literally feel life-threatening, so their behaviours may be extreme.

Those who react with a ‘flight’ response will want to run away to escape the danger. They will find it hard to be still and being locked in their home may feel stifling and like being in prison.

The cortisol and adrenaline in their system are priming their muscles to run, run, run, so it’s almost impossible for them to meditate, relax, deep breathe, be still and enjoy the chance to rest and strengthen up. The flight reaction of their nervous system is telling them it is not safe to relax and enjoy the time at home.

Even though they may consciously want to relax, they can’t. The reason for this is that the ‘survival’ mechanism is a different part of the brain, the hindbrain, that takes over when we’re in a fight, flight or freeze response. The neocortex or rational thinking part of the brain gets suppressed.

Evolution wise this made sense. When a lion is about to attack you it doesn’t help you to be able to talk to it or to think slowly through all your options, the pros and cons of each, to decide what to do. You need to react instinctively and quickly in the face of danger, and that is what the limbic system does. That’s why it is so hard to think clearly and express yourself if you’re in a heightened nervous system reaction with high levels of a fight, flight or freeze response occurring.

Those people that have a ‘freeze’ reaction are instinctively hiding and holding still, hoping that the lion won’t see them. They hold their breath, breathe shallowly and slow down their internal bodily reactions, coming to a place of panicked stillness in the hope that they won’t be seen.

They may dissociate from their body, literally escape it by focusing elsewhere in their mind, off in daydreams or splitting off part fo their consciousness.

They literally jump out of their body, like energetically floating above it. This is the out of body experience people can have during a near-death experience. They see their body from the perspective of being outside of it. They’ve been so scared, so terrified of death, they’ve jumped out of their skin.

This too is part of the ‘survival’ mechanism. If the lion was about to eat you, you don’t want to be fully conscious in your body and feel it, so you jump out. The body also gets pumped full of opioids which numb you, so you don’t feel yourself being eaten or killed.

That’s why some people will seem numb, not fully present, not with you when you try to talk to them. They’re not. They’ve escaped. This can be dangerous as someone who is dissociated from their body can be accident-prone. They’re not paying close attention to what they do. It takes them longer to notice that they’re touching the hot kettle and it’s hurting them.

They may be forgetful. If you are dealing with someone who has dissociated, numbed out, know it’s not that they don’t care. They have switched off out of panic, out of terror, feeling like death is imminent. We need to help such a person to reconnect with their body, to bring them back to the present moment gently, compassionately.

Don’t expect too much of them or ask them to do anything complex. They simply can’t. Until they calm back down they can’t concentrate and be responsible for others. This is where compassion and understanding can help prevent any judgements, arguments and accusations. When you know what is occurring you can adjust your expectations to help the person to recentre, to come back into their body.

Looking them in the eyes, holding their hands or feet, talking to them softly, this will gently invite them back into connection with their body. Standing on the grass with bare feet will help them to ground. Touching things, smelling things, tasting things – reengaging the senses will help bring them back. There’s a lot you can do to assist such a person.

Essential oils can be very calming and again help you to connect back to the present moment. The olfactory bulb is connected directly to the limbic system, the emotional part of the brain, so smells quickly alter how we are feeling emotionally. Within seconds a comforting smell can result in a little or a lot of relaxation.

Gentle movement can help a person who is coming out of a freeze response. Whether that be yoga, tai chi, qi gong. You don’t want to do heavy aerobic exercise as that ramps the body up. You want to do gentle, calming exercise so the person feels safer.

One process that can help with all of these reactions – fight, flight and freeze – is Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). It is a series of gentle exercises designed to start the body’s automatic stress, tension and trauma release process.

The body has a built-in mechanism to ‘shake off’ tension, stress and trauma. The shaking uses up the adrenaline and cortisol from the fight, flight, freeze reactions and it enables the body to calm back down, to drop out of a parasympathetic freeze reaction or a sympathetic fight or flight state, to the calm parasympathetic state where we can connect and relate to others.

Graph depicting reactions that occur as arousal from stress, tension and/or trauma increase within the body and how movement can help discharge the arousal, returning us down the curve to a calm, relaxed state. Used with permission from: Richmond Heath, TRE Australia, https://treaustralia.com.au/

It’s a natural process available to all of us. If you would like to know more about TRE you can visit my TRE webpage, the TRE Australia website or the global TRE website.

I can teach individuals TRE as part of an online appointment or an in-person appointment. You can then use it to help your body calm and relax whenever you need to. It’s a great self-care tool that not only helps you to come out of a heightened nervous system state but also helps you to open up and expand.

When your nervous system calms, it no longer sends your brain signals that you’re in danger, so the mind relaxes too, and the defensive mechanisms that you’ve used to protect yourself start to soften. They start to loosen up so it’s easier for you to choose to think and behave differently than you’ve always done. You’re no longer fighting against yourself so much.

When we’re in a defended state we may consciously want to change or start a hobby or change our life, but internally our body resists it, subconsciously thinking and reacting as if the change is a threat and should be avoided, hence the resistance and difficulty taking action.

When your nervous system is relaxed and calm, and your body is feeling safer, you don’t have so much resistance. your body actually wants to connect with others and enjoy life.

It is my hope that this blog helps you to understand the various reactions that those around you may be having during this challenging moment in time with the Corona Virus. It’s not that people are cold, callous, uncaring of others. They’re just reacting in survival, feeling a need to compete with others in order to survive. They want the toilet paper, food, etc to ensure they and their loved ones are okay. This is part of our primal, instinctive reactions when we’re in a fight, flight, freeze reaction.

With empathy and compassion, we can help each other to calm, to do the best we can through all of this. Try not to take people’s reactions personally and do what you can to help yourself and others to balance up, stay grounded and enjoy these times as much as we can. Blessings to all. Namaste.

By Jodi-Anne (28 March 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.
  • 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)