For many of us wounded sexually as children, intimacy and sexuality are a struggle between trying to consistenly feel our sexual feelings or give up caring about relationships. Incest and centuries of repressing the feminine and truncating the masculine (in us all) make intimacy difficult for many, often hard work, and sometimes frought with triggers. I feel healing such pervasive effects requires we come to live in our deeper feminine, the true nature that lies beneath the wounds. At our core we must be whole and I want us to find our way back to that wholeness and original innocence.
I love doing therapy with the heroic people who've not only survived incest and childhood horrors, but manage to have a life while freeing themselves of being ruled by the past. My guides have joined me in committing to find faster, kinder ways for survivors to heal than reliving memories and being victim to the pain again and again. I studied soul retrieval as done in shamanic traditions and found Spirit and I developing many ways to retrieve and nurture fragmented parts of the soul. In bringing all of the person into current time, the memories recede into another time and the person's Essence separates from their experience.
Betrayal by one's closest loved ones shatters the psyche, which cannot hold both a child's need to love and trust its caretakers, and their violent intrusion of boundaries, without splitting apart. Many of us with multiple abusers split into myriad pieces, all containing some part of the radiance of our self, each playing some role in the complex adaptive scheme we needed to survive. Some handle anger, some fear, some get invisible, some present a good face to the world.
I find survivors amazingly inventive of ways to cope with the unacceptable and live with the unforgivable. The more vicious the abuse, the more parts the child may develop to handle it. The more they loved the abuser, the more separate the splinters must be to hold both love and hate. There are many levels of dissociation before that called "multiple," which is only the end of a very long continuum.
Once splits are brought back, the task is to love them, learn about them and nurture them so they can trust life enough to come live in the present. The present is the safest place to be, especially if you do spiritual practices to be with Presence.
You'll often hear someone saying they've been "triggered," which I feel means they've contacted a place inside "caught in the past." A younger self is still at the moment of the abuse because they could not process it, which is how one closes the door on the past. I've learned to use the trigger as a signal a younger self needs my attention and has something old to release.
Because sexual invasions are so incomprehensible and splinter the psyche so deeply, one's sexuality becomes scattered and disorganized and one develops strange coping mechanisms not so adaptive in adult love. This shows up in various ways: promiscuity or being shut down sexually, being able to flirt and seduce but not sustain intimacy, objectifying self and other in an attempt to get sex over with and return to safer ground. Others lose themselves in addictions, obsessively having sex or compulsively running fantasies to avoid feeling. Therapy can help clear some of these patterns, energetic healing can release them from the cells, but one must also learn new, effective behaviors and have support in replacing the old ways of avoiding pain with adult ways of making love.
Experiencing years of sharing Tantra in circles of loving people taught me how important it is to have an on-going support system for exploring your sexuality and learning healthy skills. I offer tantra in on-going women's groups because I know it takes continual use of spiritual practices to release the old coping mechanisms and enter into a sacred and positive relationship with one's sexuality.
In ancient times, upon adolescence, we would be taken to temples of love and be initiated in the arts of love-making and honoring spirit in each other. At each new stage of relationship, we would return and be guided by high priestesses and dakinis (trained sexual healers) in developing knowledge of love that allowed us to be fulfilled in our relationships and kind to our loved ones. If sexual violence were ever to happen (unlikely in a society where sexual needs are met), the child or adult would be taken into the loving arms of those who serve the Goddess to be restored to love and trust.
It's time to re-create those temples and be sexual healers for each other. We've been forced to hide our sexuality, not talk about it, make love only in private, and often with closed eyes, when we ought to celebrate our sexuality and exhalt it as the bridge from soul to soul it is meant to be.
I recently guided a three day retreat with a highly dissociated survivor, a successful corporate trainer, who's found relationship elusive and sexuality difficult. My task was to remain a clear vessel through which Spirit could direct the re-coalescing of her parts: over 30 splintered sub-personalities we've come to know over a decade of healing memories and reclaiming her splits. As she integrates her soul energy back into the body, and lives from her wholeness, she finds life rearranging itself to be more what she wants, and gains the courage and wisdom to study relationships and learn new skills.
Reclaiming sexuality this damaged involves removing all that blocks you from you. I exchange with a healer who teaches me about realigning one's energy fields with those of one's soul, one's Highest Intention, one's Essence, the Heart of Source. One's own light is the organizing force that will bring order again into the shattered places.
I do this practice often for I must reclaim my wholeness regularly or I slip into feeling shattered by life and disorganized. I find as I call in these higher levels of alignment, I become the purity before the wounds. In this woman's retreat, I got to witness recovered splits and fragments become, once again, the Divine Child. What an honor and a validation of our right to believe in and approach complete restoration.