Shamanic Approach to Healing from Emotional Abuse

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soul retrieval drumming

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I recently came across the Native American Shaman  concept of Soul Sickness. I found this idea very interesting and it seemed to coincide with other things that I write about. There is a phenomenon that occurs with many abuse victims, which is a kind of leaving one’s own body during the abuse. 

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The idea is that the victim’s brain cannot accept the level or type of abuse into their reality.

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In order for the brain to protect itself from trauma, it takes itself into a derealization / depersonalization state. This is something that you may have experienced if you ever in an abusive situation, or even any life threatening situation. 

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Depersonalization is a state the brain goes into, in order to protect you.

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The feeling of this state is likely somewhat different for different people, but there is similarity in the way people describe this state. The feeling is as if one can see their body and how it is involved in the event, but it is as if the body belongs to another person. 

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The order of the events is processed, but it is like someone else is doing the motions, and handling the things that are happening. If someone was hitting you, then you would see the body being struck, but not really relate to that body as being your own. You could block your face from being hit but it would feel like someone else was actually controlling those hands which no longer feel like you are attached to your hands.

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Derealization is the feeling that the whole scene is like you were watching it in a movie. You may not even really know for sure if it were really happening. You might wonder if it is actually a dream or a nightmare that you are actually in. The scene does not feel like you are an active part of it. It is more like observing a dream or watching a movie. 

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Soul Sickness. as the Shamans see it, is when the soul has become ill, or parts of it have left the body all together. During a situation, such as sexual abuse, the soul was going to be damaged by experiencing it, so rather than be there for the trauma, it just left the body entirely. 

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This idea of part of you leaving the situation, because it could not endure it, is the same as the derealization and depersonalization experience. The person is there, but not all of them is there to be traumatized. 

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But trauma is sustained nonetheless, because the very situation of being forced to go into a derealization state is traumatizing. If the soul, or part of the soul was forced to exit from the body, then you were left with something missing.

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Either way, there is a damage sustained by the soul, or the spirit part of you, in a addition to your brain and body. 

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It is often discussed these days that mental abuse is the worst part of physical or sexual abuse. It is clear that the emotional / mental trauma is even worse than the physical experience, or the bruises which are left.

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Even the women who have had acid thrown in their faces, now live with extreme mental pain, and humiliation to have to be forced to exist every day with those scars….reminders of the cruelty and heartlessness of the men who inflicted them.

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The Shaman theory is that the soul has left the body and now the person lives as an incomplete person, because that important part of them has fled. The soul need to be retrieved. 

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They believe in doing rituals called Soul Retrieval, in order for that person to get the missing part back. Before the soul retrieval, the person will live with depression. anxiety and all manner of mental, and physical illness. The soul retrieval process is to help the person to become whole again.

 Many abuse survivors experience a feeling that something is wrong with them, even years after the abuser has left.

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There is sense that they are different than other people, in a way that makes them carry toxic shame. This is very difficult to explain to anyone who has not been through abuse.

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During verbal and emotional abuse, people are called names, degraded, gaslighted, demeaned, and treated as non-humans. Their humanity is stripped from them, as is the humanity stripped from people who are sexually and physically abused. 

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The experience of sexual abuse is too much for a person to bear that their own body was involved in the acts, so they detach from their bodies in a way to not be a part of the sexual abuse. Later on, this can lead to eating disorder, cutting and other kinds of self harm. There is a disharmony between the body and the  mind. The mind no longer accepts the body as its own. 

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The missing link between the mind and the body could be spiritual in nature. I think that it makes sense to try to include a spiritual element to healing from abuse. When someone experiences rape, or the on-going abuse of a narcissist, they are broken in some way. There is a lack of wholeness that stays with you. 

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While medications for the depression, and anxiety disorders, which usually follow abuse, can be helpful, it is not the entire picture. We are spiritual beings, and having your soul raped by a personality disordered person, is traumatizing on every level. 

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I believe that healing needs to be all encompassing of the entire person.

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A holistic approach to healing is more likely to generate healing, than by simply dealing with it from one angle. If you are healing from abuse, I would recommend trying a variety of healing modalities.

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Traditional therapy and medications need to be complemented by healing methods which speak to other aspects of the entire person. We are emotional beings and mental and physical beings. But we are also spiritual beings, and the spirit is sensitive to being traumatized by abuse, just as much, or more than the other aspects of ourselves.

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Most people that have been abused feel that there is a darkness about it.

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There is a malicious, dark element to abuse that is carried by the survivor. It is hard to explain to people who have not experienced it.

 It is like a feeling of darkness that is carried with you. 

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I think that this darkness has something to do with the spiritual aspect of abuse.

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When someone who has a darkness about them, invades your personal freedom, and boundaries, there is something that you pick up from them. The darkness feels like it follows you into your nightmares, and lingers around you. 

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I do not think this darkness can be ignored, if we are to heal from abuse. Many people do not speak of it, because it is so hard to define and explain. It is beyond the physical world. 

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So, let us treat ourselves as whole humans, including all the aspects of our humanity.

You have innate self worth, and that reality was stripped from you be a person that has elements of darkness about them.

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It does not make you dark like they are, but you may be carrying that feeling that the abuser’s darkness somehow was stuck to you and you are doomed to carry this darkness in your mind .

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There is nothing wrong with you that makes you less worthy than other people.

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You would not feel that way, if it were not for the abuse you endured and suffered through. Psychopaths and narcissists have a way of leaving a part of themselves to haunt you, but it is time to get rid of that. 

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It is unfair for you to have to carry toxic shame, feelings of darkness and low self esteem, just because someone decided to use you as an object for their own dark designs. They wanted to strip you of your power to blossom and to be free. We do not have to let them have their way, years after the abuse is over. 

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I wish you all healing and peace of mind, as you continue on your journey of healing, love and empowerment. You have a greater purpose in the world than you are even aware of. You are a light that can bring light to others. 

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Namaste,

Annie – Holistic Methods for Healing from Abuse …join the emailing list at the link below

gentlekindnesscoaching.com

Moments of Clarity – Guided Meditation Poetry

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feet grass

image from pinterest

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You can feel the sensual texture

Of the cold grass under your feet

Its wetness between your toes

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The healing warmth of sunlight

Streaming its goodness

Onto your neck and shoulders

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And down your arms

Ahead in the distance you see

The most perfect house you can

Imagine with every detail exactly

The way it would have been

If you had built it in a dream

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You create, conduct and orchestrate

Each tiny sound that you hear

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The sounds occur at once with

Your inner hearing and desires

Each birdsong and the whisper

Of the wind through the

Rustling trees that stand strong

Yet sway with a dance-like magic

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As if they are at once set upon

Their wisdom and beliefs yet

Able to adapt and flow with the

Unexpected and the unpredictable

As if they innately realize that

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Resilience has the characteristics

Of water as well as of rock…

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You venture forward towards

That beautiful dwelling and at once

You recognize it is yours because

It has every tiny detail

In just the perfect way you would

Want it to be and have dared not

Even think to dream of having but

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This is the moment to dream

In perfect clarity and minute detail

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Yes surely this is the moment

For dreams to become clear

Because we exist in both realms

At once the waking world reality

And the dream state of illusion

Where we dare or where we don’t

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Where we can accept what we see

Or create something new

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Create

With the paint brush of your imagination

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Because the more you believe

Is possible in your dreams

The more you will manifest here

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 The physical world that seems unalterable

Compared to your dream reality but

But is actually less solid and set

Than you have been conditioned

to believe and to perceive

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By others since the day you were born

But this very moment is not the

Time for thinking nor regret

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It is not the time for blidly following

Anyone or anything

Because this moment

Is the only moment there is

The moment that can influence future

but not by worrying about future

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This present moment 

That you have been conditioned to discard

For past and for future moments

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And interpretations of those

Invisible realities which they will

Tell you are more important

Than the only moment which

Really exists which is now

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So revel in its power asleep

Create in its power awake

And open your inner eyes to see

What is hidden but in plain sight

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Your Inner Child

Love Your Inner Child

inner child

Love your inner child.

We all still have the inner child inside of us. Sometimes the inner child takes over and feels things as if we were that vulnerable small person again.

If you had any mental abuse or other abuse during your childhood, then your inner child will still feel the unfairness of situations and experience it as if you were back in time. Sometimes we can have a feeling of helplessness, that is the same as we felt when we were small children or teenagers, and dependent upon others for most everything.

Sometimes certain people may behave in such a way that triggers the trauma response from things we experiences as children. As an adult we are not sure where this severe emotion and feeling of helplessness is coming from.

We may react to the person out of our trauma response, rather than act out of thought. If we are sent by our brain back to that feeling of helplessness, then we may feel angry, afraid or sad.

When dealing with manipulative people, we need to be in an emotionally detached state of mind. Then we can observe what they are doing and not get caught up in the emotions of our inner child.

Keeping an emotionally detached state, when dealing with manipulative people, will help to keep you from being taken advantage of.

We do not have to feel what this person is trying to force us to feel. We can choose how much emotion this person is going to be allowed to get out of us. Maybe they are not even worthy of you getting upset to please them.

Perhaps we do not have to comply with their desires when they are unreasonable.  After all those are their desires not yours.

Love Yourself

Listen to your inner child and care for them.

They are still a part living inside of your mental makeup. Your inner child has wounds that may have not have healed. Maybe your inner child still feels helpless and as an adult you sometimes fall into a learned helplessness state.

Learned helplessness is the feeling of being helpless in a situation even when you have the power to walk away or make changes, such as controlling your response. People can push you around and manipulate you easily when you are in this state if being.

You are not helpless and you can control your responses in situations. But your inner child needs to be tended to, if you are going to able to take more control over situations where manipulative people are trying to dominate over you.

love is trending

If the inner child has things to say, then they need to be heard. They were treated unfairly in situations and perhaps they were not given the love and feeling of security that they should have been given.

You can comfort your inner child by communicating with them and telling them that you understand that they are hurt and confused. Let them know that people could have and should have treated them differently in many situations. It was unjust, unkind or abusive.

When there are times that are appropriate, you can have this communication with this part  of yourself that lives inside of you.

Time seems linear but as far as your inner child is concerned time is stuck at the point where their developmental growth was interfered with.

They are stuck in the pain of the time on your life where you were most vulnerable and your rights were violated.

Children and teenagers should be given respect and room to express their thoughts and feelings. If your was not, then they may still have thoughts and feelings that they want to let you know about.

Care for this inner child, as if they were under your guardianship, because they are. Ignoring them will cause for them to come jumping to the foreground when you are in stressful situations, especially ones that remind them of injustice they experiences.

It is okay to still carry those feelings from your childhood, but it can be damaging to you to ignore them. You would have treated the child differently, if you had been the adult caring for them. The same goes for when you were a teenager.

Let them know that you would have done things differently in the situations that are bothering them the most. You can go over the situation.

Allow your inner child to tell you what they are hurt about.  

From an adult point of view, evaluate where the caregivers did things that were thoughtless or selfish. Then tell your inner child that it should not have happened that way and you would not have done that to them.

Let them know that they deserved to be treated better. Even tell them exactly what should have happened and how a loving adult, like you, would have cared for them.

Any feelings that are being carried by your inner child, are valid and they matter. They cannot be left unattended. This will only cause for you to become disabled in situations where another person is attempting to manipulate you.

Some kinds of toxic people are very good at targeting the people that have a wounded inner child.  They can tell and they know where to push your buttons, to make you go into the learned helplessness mode.

Love yourself and your inner child.

It was unfair that you were mistreated as a child or a teenager. You need to let your inner child know that you know this and are feel for them.

Care for yourself and your inner child. Learn to identify when you are being triggered by a situation that is making you feel that vulnerability, helplessness and unworthiness. Children who grew up with people who made them feel unworthy of love and attention, carry that feeling into adulthood.

Let your inner child know that they were always worthy of love and affection.

You were worthy of your feelings and thoughts being listened to. As an adult you are also worthy of love. You are worthy to have your feelings about situations respected and considered.

Once you can know that you are just as worthy and special as anyone else, it will be easier for you to make your voice heard and let others know that their feelings are not the only feelings that matter.

Blessings,

Annie

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