Healing Sexual Trauma
First off, let me tell you a bit of my story. When I was a little girl, the priest who was the hero of my childhood sexually molested me on several occasions. I had suppressed these memories and they surfaced in my mid-forties when I was working to heal from debilitating pelvic pain. For ten years I worked to heal the patterns that were developed in my mind and body as a result of this abuse. It was a huge effort, but it was worth it. I am no longer in pain and most importantly, I feel spiritually connected, happy and peaceful. I now work with clients combining my physical therapy background with holistic bodywork, and many of my clients have a history of sexual abuse.
I've learned a lot over the healing years. If I could talk directly to the wounded part of me- here are the top ten things I would say. I'm sharing these messages in case the wounded part of you needs to hear them too.
1. You have not been abandoned by God. What you experienced was hierarchy, a misuse of power, fear, blame and shame. This is not God.
2. You are valuable. You are wanted. You belong. The more you consider that these things are true, the more you will see them in your life.
3. You are a sexual being, and this is not inherently bad or evil. When this part of you is shared with loving intentions, it can be even be life-giving and joyful.
4. You often hide your feelings or numb yourself from really feeling them. You have a right to your feelings.
5. When you hold fear, shame, blame and rage inside your body and mind, it can make you hurt emotionally and physically. I encourage you to release these emotions in ways that don't cause more harm to you and the people around you. For example, tell someone you really trust. Write in a journal. Picture the person who hurt you in your mind, and express your emotions. Beat up your bed. Scream into your pillow.
6. Even though the act was incredibly wrong and it violated your boundaries, it is possible that there was also a sense of connection and pleasurable feelings. This can be very confusing and scary to think about. You are not bad or evil, and it wasn’t your fault. You are a sexual being and this is just life.
7. Be honest about how you have reacted to this trauma in your life. The more you feel safe with yourself, the more you will be able to really look at how this trauma changed your beliefs, thoughts, emotions and actions.
8. You can’t change what happened to you in the past, but you can change how it affects your heart and mind- NOW. Staying in the present and tuning in to your reactions is the way you can take back the power and heal.
9. You are more than this experience. You have been given a huge challenge, but also a huge opportunity to grow. Sometimes when it is really dark, it is easier to appreciate the Light. You have felt a lot of pain, and it is possible to feel the same levels of joy.
10. You may not feel loved or supported in your regular life, but it is always possible to open up to receive spiritual love and support. You are worthy of this connection; it is your birthright. When you feel more spiritually connected and self-loving, you will be able to perceive and experience more love in your life.