When I was a teenager in the 1960s I was impregnated by rape. The rapist was a sexual predator "boyfriend" from whom I could not escape. Abortion was unavailable. That catastrophic pregnancy traumatized me horribly for my entire life. I was rescued by a confidential adoption, which was "overturned" over 30 yrs. later and my private information was then given to a predatory adoptee who hunted me down like an animal. I have never recovered from this profound trauma and still, at 74 years old, struggle with this. I cannot even hear the word "adoptee" without having a frightening flashback. My heart goes out to all women whose bodies will now be under the control of a predatory government. Reproductive trauma is profoundly real. If I could have garnered the nerve, I would have ended my life at 16. I have in the past regretted my lack of courage to take a razorblade to my wrists.
…she is worthy of your trust
When I was an infant my mother slashed her wrists with a razorblade in a grim attempt to end her life. I was there. It was mayhem. I have no visual memory of this dismal event, but for over sixty years I carried the energetic mass of this trauma inside my own body as an imbedded horror story I could feel but could not touch—an occupied crypt with no name.
As a child I obsessed over the pale, ropey scars on my mother’s wrist asking her again and again how they came to be. Her scripted explanation was a lie that gnawed at my bones. Each telling of it pouring acid into my blood. Because I knew better…I knew something…but I didn’t know what.
Sexual assault of a child often follows the same path. Her body is present during the attack but her mind incapable of visually registering images or recording any verbal memory of the event(s), leaving her with no means to comprehend the incident(s); no validation. And ultimately, immense religious and cultural pressure to condemn and ignore any troubling and frightening feelings that might arise from her unnamed, haunting darkness. So it is left to her body to chronicle and silently bear the impact of the anonymous trauma—trauma that will eventually create significant emotional, and even physical, harm to her.
All along, she knows something. She doesn’t know what. But her body knows.
While writing Forget About Heaven, I decided to listen to my infant body’s account of mommy, blood and mayhem. I decided to trust her to tell the truth. She did. I heard her. I believed her. Finally I had my answer. What I knew since that bloody day was all true. My body--she—had the answer the whole time. I had the answer from the very beginning. All I had to do was listen. I had my validation. The storm passed.
It is essential that we regard our bodies as our authorities of truth even, and most definitely, when our brains—or outsiders—seek to discredit what we sense is true. Our brains are for logic and intellect. Outsiders have agendas we cannot even begin to contemplate.
Your body, your spirit, contains your reality and will guide you, if you allow her, into understanding and ultimately emotional freedom…onto the energetic path of physical, mental and spiritual health.
Believe her. Believe what your body is trying to tell you. She is worthy of your trust.
wrapping your hands around the ghost.
My mother did not survive systematic sexual abuse. I did not survive systematic sexual abuse. Though our bodies presented as externally intact, functioning, we were—as all victims of sexual brutality are—forever altered in secret, energetic ways. And in places too dark, too unacceptable to articulate in this superficial, impatient society. So, we are termed “survivors.” A description as one dimensional as a cartoon cutout. And as lifeless as an abuse victim with that ten-mile stare enduring yet another flashback. A flashback triggered decades after the active abuse.
To be clear, systematic sexual abuse and its catastrophic consequences decapitated my life. Severed my sense of beauty. My joy in my plump, emerging feminine body. Severed my freedom to move gracefully like a delighted ballerina through familiar surroundings that had become treacherous.
The I—the girl I once knew before the abuse—was not the girl who survived. The girl that survived was someone different, unrecognizable…a ghost. Furtive. Broken. Scared. A folded girl. A girl, whose body was permanently altered. A girl whose body was stinging with shame so raw it felt like acid boiling beneath my skin.
When a victim of sexual brutality clutches onto survivorship as a path to wholeness, they automatically and energetically limit their evolution and restrict possibilities of deeply understanding the living impact of the imposed trauma.
Sexual abuse trauma changes a person forever. The person that was, will never return. The ghost that survives, that emerges after the war, must begin anew. Find ways to breathe. Eventually, if they are to thrive, victims of abuse must accept the reality that trauma must be perpetually managed. We have to learn to wrap our hands around the ghost. Wrangle it. Corral it. Shift away from it. Curse it. Learn from it. Pull out its truth. Build inner light. Develop strength. Enough strength to endure the flashbacks when they rush to us involuntarily.
It does not help me to congratulate myself that I am a survivor of sexual abuse. Because that’s not true. I didn’t survive. My body survived. But that’s not enough. I had to become my own superior force. That was a lot of work. And it still is.
Saying the Words
Some years ago when I was writing my first book, Women In Hiding, and before I embraced my mediumship, I reached an impasse of such shame I was unsure if I could continue on. Because to continue absolutely meant I had to inch my way through a passage so dark, just the thought of it suffocated me with scalding dread.
The sexual predator, in a public act of sexual bravado and sinister, bragging mummers, claimed his authority over and possession of his prey, me—a frightened, traumatized young girl—his victim. It was an incident of such unspeakable public humiliation that the details instantly burrowed inside my body and took up permanent residence as raw, hemorrhaging shame.
I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t say the words. They would have to remain buried safely out of sight, away from malicious prying eyes and the pointing fingers of strangers who were literally standing in line waiting for the opportunity to attack. It was all ugly.
I sat there with my fingers hovering above the keyboard and asked the air; the universe; the spooky little things that lived in the sky or heaven; the invisible impetus that encouraged this book in the first place: “Do you really want me to say this?” I expected a resounding rebuke. At the very least an accusatory silence where I would hang my head in more shame and go about living my life with the trailing depression that shaped it.
“If you don’t say the words, nothing will change,” was the immediate response.
So I said the words. Wrote in detail…agonizing detail. Words that possessed power. Blunt truth. Words that connected deeply to the incident, to its lasting legacy of personal trauma. Words that mined the pain. The disgrace. Surgical words. Words that cleaned the wound. Excised it of poison. Words that left an open wound that I did not think would ever, ever heal. Words that I wanted to take back and re-bury. Words I was terrified of. And here I had set them free. And I did not know what they would do. Though I was pretty sure that they would torture me.
Writing Woman In Hiding was not cathartic. I did not see how it could be. For years after writing it I wanted to go back into hiding. Return to the safety of a blanket over my head. Return to crying in private and smiling in public. Just like I’d always done since early childhood.
But what began as a futile effort to articulate the inexpressible became an act of courage on my own behalf. Gave foundation and structure to that which I had no understanding. The words—as tough and excruciating as they were—forged a path into a light that I did not know existed. I can only call it freedom.
If you don’t say the words, nothing will change. I said the words and everything changed.
Some time ago we had a client who was convinced that he was a murderer. The cause of this was rooted in severe cultural and religious propaganda—condemnations that dripped acid into all his wounded places.
For years he had relentlessly punished himself—a conditioning that was reinforced by the incessant noise of societal rhetoric. It shaped who he was. And from this locus of darkness and emotional isolation, he conducted his life making decisions that confirmed his belief about himself and looking for relief in energetic situations that were acutely attuned to destruction. He had absolutely no awareness of his innocence.
It was clear from the beginning of this client’s Intuitive Reading that not only was he not a murderer, he was energetically incapable of such a transgression. Behind the prison wall he had constructed to protect his heart, he was kind and gentle with the soul of an artist. In fact, it was he--his spirit—that had been “murdered.” Energetic signatures of trauma…of physical abuse and verbal toxins…were palpable and visible in his energy field.
Our souls--our forever selves—and our intuitive and spiritual guidance knows deeply who we are and communicates this to us persistently. But we’ve been conditioned, as our client was, to ignore, and even ridicule, our deepest, truest self—our innate, soul intuition whose purpose is our survival and evolution. Instead we are persuaded to defer to the ominous, tyrannical voices that taunt us with our darkest fears and endless failures.
Our client was allowing himself to be led by outside influences. Forces that manifested in cruelty and deception. And isolated him so emotionally that even at celebratory gatherings of loved ones, his heart could not be reached.
Our soul’s fieriest call to find our light is through stark pain and the weight of emptiness crawling beneath our skin. No, our client was not a murderer, as he believed.
He’s an artist waiting to blossom.
If forgiveness actually worked,
It Would Be Obvious
Recently a victim of childhood sexual abuse revealed to me that she had “forgiven” the sexual brutalizer who also happened to be a close relative. And here is where the forgiveness protocol reveals itself as a universal lie.
She had taken ill, her body, mind and spirit weakened by fever and chills. In those moments of diminishment and vulnerability, the brutalizer’s shadow crawled in bed beside her dragging with him vivid, tormenting flashbacks of the violence he inflicted upon her all those years ago. Once again she was the helpless child—the brutalizer that she had “forgiven,” once more all powerful. The forgiveness doctrine exposed as no more than propaganda scribbled like graffiti across a derelict billboard. Meaningless words that offered no protection against the onslaught of her waking nightmares when she was in dire need.
Understanding trauma is to understand how energy works. Energy flows forward toward the horizon. That is always its purpose—to flow, to seek harmony. Of course, energy can be blocked. Obstructed. Forced backward. Misused. But in its natural, uncorrupted state, energy flows freely into balance.
Energetic properties—undisputable spiritual characteristics of nature—eternally bind the principle of forgiveness to the resonance of truth. And that truth must be present, be absolute and self-evident within the individual. Forgiveness is resolution of harm, an evolution of consciousness. Forgiveness of abuse cannot be granted—that power does not lie with the victim of abuse or anyone else. The abuser must align with their own truth. Forgiveness, if it is to be, travels energetically from the victimizer to the victim. Not the other way around.
Forgiveness always requires action from the victimizer. It is the spiritual responsibility of the victimizer to acknowledge and accept liability for the abuse they perpetrated. The victimizer must embody deep contrition and demonstrate profound understanding of the consequences suffered by their victim. The victimizer must establish necessary behavior congruent with sincerity and compassion. And also must develop the courage and self-control to bear the entire burden of their abusive actions without further imposing their needs and will on their victim by begging for forgiveness. The likelihood of this occurring is slim to none.
No victim of violence is set free through the enforcement of the forgiveness myth. Force has no spiritual value, no evolutionary purpose. And yet, it is imposed on victims of violence as the path to freedom. If forgiveness actually worked, it would be obvious.
When you think of the person who so brutally violated you—when you say their name, when you hear their name—do you experience the wave and glow of peace surging throughout your body? All the way through to your mind and spirit? Does the radiance of freedom inspire your day?
I listened to her speaking about “forgiving” him of the violence against her little girl body. I listened as she recited the doctrine--the script—of forgiveness. I heard the tone of her voice, its volume. I listened to the words she chose to tell her story. I felt the abuser’s presence inside her middle aged body. It was painful. I wanted to cry.
When we, as victims of violence, dispense with the fantasy of forgiveness as the path to freedom, a brand new life opens up for us. A life brimming with possibilities. Personal empowerment. Creativity. And opportunities for profound understanding that draws our hearts toward the healing power of self love. We create our own freedom.
THE EMPATH UNDER THE BRIDGE
A Christmas card arrives from the edge of wounds and torments. Sad poetic visions posing as a holiday greeting—a glaring illustration of an empath living in the gloom like a troll under a bridge. I’ll spare you the morbid details. Suffice it to say it involved Baby Jesus. Tiny hands. Sharp nails. And a very large hammer. It didn’t end well.
Empaths are the most sensitive among us. Prone to injuries of the soul. Susceptible to the dark forces of misery. Feeding on the festering emotional wounds of the living. And the imagined suffering of ghosts that have long since found the light. Empaths intensely feel the pain of others, so naturally attuned are they to the vibrational energy--the intuitive voice—of anguish. Fugitive pain lodges inside their tender bodies like hairy growths. And inside their spirits like thick mucus.
Empaths are drawn to drama. We want to…no, need to…be of genuine service. To heal. And be healed. We consume the suffering of others. Absorb their pain into our hearts. We ache to help. Heedlessly, without rational thought, we jump instantly to the rescue. Without being asked. Without even the slightest notion that our impulsive action on another’s behalf may stop the very process of a life lesson we do not see or understand in our eagerness to be of assistance. And because of our misguided interference, that exact moment, the alignment of all that is necessary for that learning opportunity, is lost.
Because we don’t realize the consequences of “smother love,” inevitably somewhere along the way of this noble calling, we fail. Miserably. Slipping deeper and deeper into the shadows—into a darkness that we cannot control. Darkness that in our longing to help, we somehow confuse with light. And unknowingly—and innocently—create for ourselves the very situation we are desperately trying to avoid.
Until we, as empaths, learn to distinguish between our own emotions and the fugitive emotions of others, until we learn to establish boundaries, accept that we cannot illuminate ourselves or anyone else by focusing on pain—until we can learn to trust our own light—we are destined to troll the shadows. Offering what we mistakenly believe is light, but is really us crying out from under the bridge.
I wish you light on your path to understanding. khf
~~Author Cyndi Dale has written extensively on empathy. Her books are well researched and instructive.
Trauma’s Infinite Stranglehold
In the waning weeks of my mother’s physical life, I was sitting next to her on the sofa in her tiny, neat-as-a-pin apartment, talking softly, tenderly to her. She was frail and calm. A departure from the mother I knew who always carried a match in one hand and a stick of dynamite in the other. On this day, there was no hint of feral anger. No blast of antagonism to repulse me away. Dementia had stolen all of her protection. Had left her features velvety smooth. Her heart defenseless.
My mother had been sexually brutalized many, many times during her life. No human— no child—can withstand such harm. It is not possible. When anyone forces their energy into another, whether it is physical, psychological, emotional, religious, verbal, it is an assault. Assault causes injury. Injury creates pain. Pain unresolved expands into trauma. The powerful, powerful force that is trauma becomes lodged in our body, in our emotions. And does not let go.
It was always a bad-luck day when, as a child, I found myself trapped alone in the family sedan with my stepfather. He was an angry man. And his children were his target. As soon as the key hit the ignition, he would start: excoriating, humiliating and generally berating me for faults real or imagined. Leaving no flaw of mine unexposed. Firing contempt straight into my young heart. I didn’t know that he was force-feeding me hatred and lies. I thought it was truth.
My mother with her sublime bakery skills, her intuitive understanding of color and balance in her sewing craft work, and her sensitivity to creative energy, had “the touch” for transcendent artistry. But over the years, she became isolated in the pain that had solidified into the living, breathing entity of trauma. And that trauma turned insurmountable as she aged. Creativity became more and more of an emotional challenge as trauma and its vicious lies robbed her of any joy.
Sitting so close to her on that sofa that day, her eyes clinging to mine, I longed to return to her the beauty she had offered this world, despite the crippling anguish of her personal despair—trauma, that highly skilled enemy combatant, had never, not once, left her side.
As I was waxing poetic over her impressive artistry and her creative accomplishments, describing her as a true artist, and lamenting the fact that she never had the opportunity to flourish, she bowed her head and whispered, I never had the opportunity. I never did. She was in that moment defenseless against kindness. And broke down into heaving, convulsing sobs. Guttural, feral cries breaking through the wall of imposed silence. Gurgling up from a bottomless pit of bleeding wounds. Wounds she’d kept buried for a lifetime, now exposed.
In those moments, witnessing my elderly mother in such intense agony, I was terrified that I was actually killing her with kindness. And that is the legacy of trauma—its ultimate, infinite stranglehold on a haunted heart. Where love is refused entry. Where love becomes the deepest cut of all.
Seeing love in your frustration…
Seeing love in your anger…
Seeing love in your darkness…
Seeing love in your fear…
Seeing love in your anxiety…
Seeing love in your fatigue
Seeing love in your misunderstandings…
Seeing love in your mistakes…
Seeing love in your defenses…
Seeing love in your illusions…
Seeing love in your impatience…
Seeing love in your resistance…
Seeing that you are inherently connected to the good…not to the “bad”.
Connecting your reactions to the seed of your existence
—which is love--
is deep wisdom.
Would you be willing to consider hidden trauma?
Would you be willing to envision hidden trauma as real…
As painful as a bleeding head wound…
To see its pulse as anger…
Its heartbeat as fear…
Would you be willing to allow that hidden trauma treats no one with tenderness…
That it is never gentle with any hostage…
Would you be willing to consider that hidden trauma is profound darkness…
And cannot guide anyone into their light…
That hidden trauma only breeds more of itself…
Would you be willing to see hidden trauma as a silent bully…
Disguised as intellect…
Masquerading as knowledge…
Are you willing to consider that all wounds cry out for the therapy of love…
And that the only love that can truly heal the trauma hidden within is self-love…
What’s wrong with me?
Are you willing to consider that you are suppressing hidden trauma…
And that it is bleeding out through your behavior…
Through your self-talk…through your question…
Are you willing to see the clues that will lead you to your answer…