In my practice, I hear many stories of childhood and adolescent sexual abuse and it never fails to turn my stomach. Not only because of the trauma of those experiences, but due to the severe emotional repercussions, shame and the body dissociation that inevitably ensues. Shame replaces innocence, trust and self esteem.
We are made to feel defective, flawed, unworthy and humiliated. As a way of coping with all these really difficult feelings, we can ‘leave’ our bodies and dissociate. It is hard to imagine that the body that we inhabit and take everywhere with us, is the very body that we feel no connection to. This reality can manifest in various ways, we may eat compulsively, be overly critical of our body, allow ourselves to be used as sexual objects and constantly berate ourselves that we don’t fit into the stereotypical ideal shape that is portrayed by the media. Also, we may feel that there is no innate power in our femininity – that in fact we are powerless.
As part of our dissociation we have created a defence mechanism that colludes with the lie created by our perpetrator and society – we deny our core strength. It remains hidden behind the illusionary veil created by our past experiences. We believe the lie so strongly, that we have created a whole reality, a self concept from something borne out of someone else’s wrong-doing. We have become a fragmented version of our authentic selves. That is, until we decide to become conscious and wake up to the reality of who we really are, until we decide to heal.
Hypnotherapy for Self Esteem and Inner Child work can start to heal all those denied and difficult feelings. Living in denial was a much needed strategy for a while, because it kept us safe. It is only when our lives become an unmanageable and chaotic drama that we realize we simply have to do something different, but what? It can feel insurmountable and for many, a journey into an unknown and rather scary land, just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, on her Yellow Brick Road.
We may not have a cute dog and sparkling red shoes, but what we do have is a courageous heart, it is there, hidden beneath the fear that was installed right back when we didn’t have a choice but to surrender. But now we do have a choice, to awaken and affirm that ‘there is no place like home.’ We can come home to our authentic and powerful selves and create a life that is a true, bona-fide reflection, never losing sight of the rainbow when we feel challenged, or uncomfortable.
However, feeling uncomfortable is better than feeling stuck and unhappy. Starting out requires trust and a change in perspective, to one of hope. Once the healing begins, we realize that it is not so scary after all, just unknown. We begin to understand that we can create new dreams, and move towards them with renewed hope and expectation, rather than pessimism and defeat. Ultimately we discover our innate core strength. In the words of Glinda, from the Wizard of Oz “You’ve always had the power my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself.” We will never know what is on the other side of that rainbow, and if dreams really do come true, unless we start.