What does it mean to dissociate from your body? It is quite tricky to get your mind around the fact, that this body we carry around with us everywhere, can feel like it is somehow a foreign ‘object.’ Let me explain what I mean. I have listened to many women in my practice over the years, who have described their relationship with their bodies with, distain, disgust, loathing and in some cases repulsion. Many of these women have experienced emotional neglect and abuse, which is at the core of Complex PTSD, and some of them, sexual abuse. At some point in their lives, to stay safe, they dissociated emotionally, and severed the connection to their body, as a way of surviving. Consequently, it then becomes relatively easy to overeat, smoke, self-harm, act out sexually, and treat the body with disdain, offering up a stream of constant self-criticisms and comparisons. We have become fragmented, the body is then a mental idea, a concept that resides in our minds and not part of the whole of who we are, mind, body and spirit.
Many years ago, I had a dream whereby I was bobbing along the road on my head, without my body. It seems my subconscious mind was trying to tell me something! I remember thinking in the dream, how am I coping without arms, legs and a torso? I was so glad I awoke, but it left me feeling quite unsettled. Since a child I have always felt disconnected from my body, and know this was a result of childhood abuse, but until that dream I had managed to ‘numb out,’ just existing without any real sense of authentic connection, this manifested itself as bad eating habits with a serious sugar addiction, excessive alcohol, self-loathing, with a relentless harsh inner-critic that constantly told me ‘you are just not good enough.’. I didn’t care about my body, I just wanted it to be and look different. However, the older I got, the more my body started to ache and complain, with excess weight, terrible headaches, stomach issues, low immune system and IBS. The list of ailments was increasing, and to be honest I was getting concerned that it would lead to a serious illness. The time had come to take responsibility and heal, not only on a physical level, but also emotionally. I wanted my body back, to feel ‘at home’ in it, after all it was the only one I was going to get. I could either continue to make it my enemy, or my friend.
What does it take to connect? It is not a simple process, especially if there is childhood trauma. Some clients of mine have the idea that if they lost weight, then they would feel differently about their body, that all it takes to create an authentic connection is to be slim. Unfortunately, when there is abuse present, then shedding excess weight, holds no weight at all! That is magical thinking and a way of avoiding the deeper issues. Slowly building an authentic and kind relationship with our body takes steady progressive steps, especially after fragmentation, returning to wholeness is immensely and deeply gratifying. It also creates a point of no return, a state of being that has, at its heart, higher vibration feelings that can be accessed and integrated internally. Why would we want to revert to the past? When we love ourselves wholeheartedly, then we do not want to overeat, addictions lose their allure, and we choose self-nurture over self-abandonment. It is a journey home to our true selves, and it begins one step at a time, using Hypnotherapy, EMDR and The Havening Technique, releasing emotional trauma, toxic emotions and accessing the subconscious mind. It is deeply rewarding, but the journey can be challenging. The amazing Brené Brown said “there is no act of courage without vulnerability.” I have never once said to any of my clients that the healing process is easy, but I have said that it is liberating, that it is a thousand times better than staying stuck, feeling like you’d rather die than continue feeling so wretched. There is a middle ground, where potential exists, and that is making a conscious choice to change, to embrace vulnerability and to evolve out of the limiting constraints of the past.
Years ago, I could never begin to imagine that I would be where I am today, I was so immersed in my emotional trauma, and dysfunctionality. It took a lot of internal work to bring my body ‘home’ to be present in my own skin. Gone are the days of relentless body ‘not good enough’ criticisms, bad eating habits, and overall neglect. I wanted to cultivate a deeper relationship with my body, one that would illicit vibrant health and a quiet mind. Complex PTSD creates an internal, harsh critic, which is a relentless bully. Recognizing that voice and embarking on my healing journey, created space and allowed me to focus on the quiet voice within, the only voice I’ve grown to trust, and it has my undivided attention.
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I have a YouTube channel with specific recordings created for a deeper body connection
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