This week, I've heard from four different women seeking advice on dealing with childhood sexual abuse healing/legal matters as well navigating life with an abusive partner or ex-partner. I'm so grateful they are reaching out. I certainly don't have all the answers, but I have lived it and hope what I'm sharing is helping.
Part of my healing journey has involved therapy. In fact, I hadn't been to see my therapist in months until yesterday. While I didn't feel I necessarily needed to work on anything specific with her when I booked my appointment, I knew I wanted to catch up. And I'm soooo glad I did.
Deanna Vance—a wonderful therapist I've known since 2012—was a volunteer at the non-profit I founded called the The Little Light Project. She's worked with families and children for roughly thirty years. It's funny to think that I met her because she volunteered her time and expertise for the non-profit, but ultimately, she became one of my life savers. I started seeing her when I was coming to grips with learning about the childhood sexual abuse I endured in early 2014. Then, when Scott and I split, I saw her pretty regularly. It takes one moment in her presence to know her heart is as big as Texas and her heart was bleeding for me while fully understanding that the journey I was on was painful, but ultimately healing.
Yesterday, I happily sat in the calm of her cozy office excitedly relaying all the stuff that's transpired since I saw her last. Let me tell ya, it was a lot!! I told her how Scott and the kids are doing, and about the memoir I'm writing about my life's journey. She listened intently with a huge smile spreading across her beautiful face. After all, she saw a very shattered, confused, crying Kiersten in many sessions over multiple years.
Three years ago, I shared with her that I would get this weird energetic buzzing feeling on my right hip when I would tell her about an incident where I was being shamed. I was perplexed by it but at the same time, much of my intuition had started presenting itself in physical ways as far back as 2009. Chills. Pains. Smells. Sounds. The whole shebang. She helped me understand that the buzzing sensation I was feeling was "Little Kiersten" trying to get my attention. I've written previously about how I felt I wasn't in touch with my inner child and thankfully, both therapists (one at the university and Deanna) said I was not experiencing Dissociative Identity Disorder. I flat out asked and was happy to hear they both agreed—I was not dealing with multiple personalities, but rather with the repression of abuse. I had also buried my little self. They both said my personality was strong and in tact—I wasn't splintered but I wasn't integrated with my child self.
What does that feel like to not be at one with your inner child? Here's what it's like. When I wrote a letter to my childhood abuser telling him I know what he did and how I felt about it, tears started rolling down my face but I didn't feel any build up of emotion. You know how you feel when you're about to cry? I didn't have that. That's how separated we were. When I would endure shaming speak, I would feel the pulsating, buzzing sensation and if it was severe, I would start shaking uncontrollably. That had never happened before 2014 but it clearly took physical signs for me to understand that my emotional pain body was carrying a lot of past trauma that was being triggered—ultimately showing me where I needed to heal.
I told Deanna that I haven't had that feeling in a very long time and that, for me, it points to integration with my little self. I had pretty much forgotten, at one time, I was feeling that sensation a lot. Apparently, Little K needed to be heard. She needed the abuse to stop. She needed me to step into my power again. Once I did that, all of the physical signs disappeared.
My therapy life saver confirmed my revelation and reminded me that when I do feel triggered, it's merely a reminder that I need to let myself feel whatever it is in order to heal it. It's taken almost a full year to get here, but I did it! And I'm immensely grateful.
If you are healing from abuse, pay attention to the physical cues you experience. There's a pattern and a roadmap in the bizarre world of physical, intuitive signs. And it's a life saver, believe me.