Seven years of sexual, psychological, emotional, and social abuse from the age of 13 – 20 at the hands of a man 14 years older than me had left me completely emotionally crippled.
I spent most days either in emotional turmoil or completely numbed out. Even the most ordinary situations, like buying clothes or meeting someone new caused me extreme anxiety, I had trouble speaking, couldn’t voice my opinion let alone stand up for myself. Any minor criticism would shatter my already fragile psyche, and I would take days or even weeks to recover. I lived almost as a recluse with few friends and rarely venturing out of my little London bedsit.
It came to a head one day when on a day out with some friends to the Isle of Wight, I stood on the cliff top at The Needles looking down. For years every waking moment I’d felt my whole being utterly wracked with pain and as I peered over the edge I realised that down there, at the foot of that drop, the pain would stop.
If I was to take only one step forward it would all go away.
A spent a few moments contemplating this and imagining the bliss and relief from the torture my life had become.
In that moment I made a decision. I stepped back and made a resolve that I would recover.
I would get over this.
I would live my life and find a way to be OK, even if in that moment I had no idea how to do this or where to find help. I stepped back from the edge.
My quest took many years, many wrong turns and blind alleys. But I have recovered. I am happy, with a family, great friends and, I run a business helping others to release their pain and trauma and teaching others to do what I do.
The biggest myth about emotional trauma
One of the biggest myths portrayed by the media, films and stories is that once you’ve had a traumatic experience that you will be emotionally scarred for life and that the best you can hope for is to learn to live with it, understand it.
However, recent years have brought about a plethora of techniques to release emotions. This list has been put together based on my personal experience of these therapies in my own quest to recover from childhood sexual abuse.
I am a walking testament to the fact that emotions CAN be released. Limiting beliefs like “I’m no good / I deserve to be punished” can be released forever. Here is a list of some of the techniques I’ve tried and how effective they are.
Which therapies work and which don’t
Psychotherapy has its roots in Freudian analysis and is essentially a “talking cure” centring on the client talking through their issues with a therapist. It involves the client lying on a couch with the therapist sitting at the clients head, the client and therapist to not look at each other.
The idea is that talking about your problems and past will give you a better understanding of yourself and raise self awareness.
But I found it ludicrous. To say I didn’t feel comfortable lying down in the same room as a man I could not see was an understatement. I was terrified of most, no, ALL men. Not in a running away screaming way, but in a just not able to relax in the presence of a man. I frequently couldn’t speak to men directly. So being asked to lie down, powerless and vulnerable, on my back in the same room as a man whom I could not see caused me extreme anxiety.
I tried another psychotherapist whose way of working was to sit in comfy chairs facing each other which was marginally better, but the results were poor.
I was told it would likely take a long time, years even to get any benefit. I stuck at it for a few months but found it pretty ineffective. I knew what my problem was and continually talking about it seemed to make it no better and only caused me to repeatedly go back and relive those horrendous experiences of the past.
The rapes, the lock-ins, the rejections, the humiliations ran round and round in my head all the time so I didn’t need to talk about them as well. I realised it was actually making it worse for me.
I don’t believe that simply getting an understanding of your problem actually fixes it. Most people are all too aware of why they have low self esteem (or whatever their problem is) but that doesn’t actually cure the problem.
Understanding your problem doesn’t solve it. That’s like taking your broken car to the garage to be told exactly what’s wrong with it and told to learn to cope driving a car that’s broken.
Saying positive affirmations might change your state or mood in the short term, but it doesn’t remove limiting beliefs. Also in order for affirmations to change your state you have to remember to say them.
Since we don’t have to remember to feel bad, it happens automatically, having to remember to say your affirmation’s makes this technique pretty limited. Sometimes I found short term relief but often saying something that I felt completely untrue inside and contradicted my feelings jarred and often only reminded me of how bad I felt.
This is where you act out painful situations from your past and change them so you can experience something different, like fighting back, feeling more powerful.
This technique gave me some benefit and helped to change the way I felt about certain past events, but was quite time consuming. It only really worked on one issue or past event at a time. As it’s done in groups it can take a while to feel safe enough in a group to share your past and your pain.
This technique is based on tapping meridians to release the emotion. The tapping points are usually on the face, torso and hands.
This was my first experience of a real emotional release technique and it really does remove the emotion. However, it is limited in that it only removes the emotion from ONE memory at a time. If, like me, you’ve had 7 years of pretty horrendous emotional torment it can take a lot of tapping to show a significant difference.
By paying attention to where you feel the emotion in your body, allowing it to soften and flow using attention, the feeling leaves your body and with it the emotion.
As with EFT this only works on one memory at a time so this process can also require lots of sessions before you notice a significant difference. Because there is no or little conscious understanding of the problem sometimes the feelings and emotions seemed to get stuck. This had limited success with me.
6. Shamanic healing
Based on various tribal cultures this uses altered states of consciousness, dream work, energy work and symbolism to change your experience of the physical reality.
Shamanic extraction is a powerful shamanic technique that removes “energy” left in your energy body by past trauma.
Soul retrieval is another that brings back parts of you that have been lost or left in the past. During times of trauma bits of your soul leave for safety reasons.
Following both of these processes I experienced a massive shift. It gave me the confidence to ask for a raise from my boss without fear, and I was able to have a “normal” relationship with a man for the first time, I am now married to this same wonderful man.
Shamanic healing does require you to be rather open minded as there is little theory as to why it works, but for me it just did! And the results were instant.
7. NLP Neuro-Linguistic Programming and hypnosis
NLP is a collection of techniques that are based on modelling successful therapists and therapies.
I found this amazingly successful at enabling me to access more resources and cope with situations that had previously caused me great anxiety. It’s quick and effective.
8. Timeline Therapy(TM)
This is an NLP technique but as not every NLP practitioner knows it I’ve listed it separately.
Time Line Therapy(TM) is not to be confused with Time Line or walking the timeline.
TLT is phenomenally powerful and as someone who had been haunted by my past daily, was barely able to function normally, and found even the most ordinary situations traumatic and terrifying TLT was a miracle.
In one 4 hour session I had released all the pain and trauma of my past. It didn’t involve me going right into the memory, so it was gentle and completely safe. At no time did I have to “face my fears”
I simply let the emotion go and it was indeed GONE. I couldn’t believe it.
The result was like flicking a switch. I was able to be around men and feel ok about it. The flashbacks stopped. Instantly, and they never came back.
The great benefit of TLT is that it releases all of the emotion from ALL of your past in one session. So that’s ALL your anger, ALL your sadness, ALL your guilt, ALL your fear, and so on. It also completely removed and deleted limiting decisions so they are just NOT true for me any longer.
9. Higher Self Therapy
This technique is even more effective than Time Line Therapy as it is even quicker and removes emotions at an even deeper level.
Whereas TLT removes the emotions from the emotional and mental body, Higher Self Therapy also releases it from a soul or karmic level.
These last two are the ones I now teach to my students and are the ones I recommend most highly.
My self esteem issues vanished overnight. I now know I am a good person. I didn’t deserve what happened, and I have been able to forgive my abuser. I still wouldn’t have him round for tea, but I no longer harbour the hatred for him that had previously been festering inside.
As a direct result of making a single decision on the cliff top I went on a journey of recovery and healing. I am now healed and whole. I’m not perfect (I’m still untidy) but I am not only “OK” I’m bloomin’ fantastic. My life is filled with joy, and happiness and love. I am loved, feel loved and love easily. I live my life as I choose.
In fact I believe I am more free and filled with joy now than most people who have NEVER had the kind of past I have. I am braver. I am able to speak my truth. I don’t take offence easily. I am confident. I really like who I am. And if others don’t like me or take offence at me, I forgive them.
If you have had trauma in the past, even if you are not healed yet, please take this one thing from reading this.
YOU CAN RECOVER!
All you have to do is decide.
If you have decided, get free instant access to how to recover from abuse, go to www.recoverfromabuse.com or take our free online course – Emotional resilience http://www.psycademy.co.uk/emotional-resillience/
By Dr. Lisa Turner
Lisa is a Trainer of NLP, Time Line therapy, Hypnosis, NLP Coaching, Shamanic healing and other healing processes. If you have been affected by any of the topics mentioned here contact me via email@example.com. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.