Me Too, Now What? A 7 Step Process For Healing From Sexual Trauma

pawel szvmanski / Unsplash

To all the lost ones without a lighthouse, this is for you, this is for me.

1. Accept it.

Whatever happened not only happened, but it happened to YOU. Don’t shove it away to only be found decades later with deeper scars and demons. This may be the hardest step for many. Especially because there is so much shame and guilt around this. It doesn’t always happen the way it is portrayed in the media. Your pain is real, what happened is real, and you really need to let it absorb, don’t fight it anymore. If you are harboring pain and suffering that often comes with repressed emotions, it is time you fully accept what happened.

2. Forgive yourself.

Please hear me when I say: it doesn’t matter what you DID, what you SAID, what you WORE, what you FELT. You need to forgive yourself. Too many of us are choosing to just internalize the situation and hold on to self blame. Just because you let someone buy you a drink, or you were told you were “at the wrong place, the wrong time” does NOT make it your fault. My dear please don’t drink this poison. You can’t love yourself fully if you cant let go of any self blame you might be harboring. Blame, shame, and guilt have no place in this process. It is not your fault. Say it outloud. It is not your fault. Take a breath.

3. Uncover Subconscious False Beliefs.

Our subconscious mind is a beautiful and tricky thing. It can be our friend if properly trained, however, when a person experiences trauma they often develop false beliefs they are not aware of. We need to resolve those false beliefs. Acknowledge those nasty, festering beliefs hiding in the dark depths and bring them to the surface. We are going to bring them to light. Let it out darling, it so badly wants to come out, but instead it is coming out in this mutated twisted way that is negatively affecting your life. Fuck that. A negative false belief I uncovered doing this work was that I believed I didn’t deserve unconditional love. I needed to provide some kind of financial, superficial, or social status based value in order to be loved. Wow, was I hurting. See I had been a victim of violence but the beliefs I held afterwards kept me victimized. I made sure of that. When actually, the truth is, I am infinite love, I hold infinite space. I hold infinite value. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. Does. So grab your shovel and go digging, see what beliefs come up. See what pain and anger is hiding within disguised as something else. Find it, bring it to light, and give it a kiss on the forehead. Feels so good doesn’t it?

4. Release it.

Now that we’ve made it this far…….what now? Experiences leave energy imprints on our personality, on our beliefs, and on our soul. Traumatic or major life altering experiences leave a large energy imprint on us. Whether it be positive or negative energy. It can get trapped in our bodies so what I want you to do is release it. In whatever way you possibly can. However it looks like for you is perfectly fine. Whether you can release it through painting, poetry, gardening, boxing, crying, writing, running, yoga, meditation, hula hooping, pogo sticking, hugging, jumping up and down, or even screaming. Let it out, let it loose!!! When we consume it by breathing it in deeper, or eating how we feel, it consumes us. We need to release it and give it back to the universe. Energy cannot be created or destroyed only transformed. Science 101 and darling you are no exception. We live in this world and the energy of your experience needs to be transformed or it will remain. Let it out.

5. Forgive the other person.

Hear me out.

Forgiving someone for what they have done wrong in this life is not saying it is okay. It is not saying it is acceptable. It is saying that your healing and well being are more important. I do not believe people are born evil. I am not asking you to have the same belief; but I think people who cause great pain hold great pain. And what I do know is that this cycle repeats. People who have experienced great trauma, especially at a young age, don’t understand the meaning of sacred space. Or what it is to have their own bodies treated as sacred space. We need to break the cycle of pain. We need to do it for ourselves and the collective conscious. Tony Robbins says in his documentary I am not your Guru. “If you’re gonna blame people for all the shit, you better blame them for all the good too. If you’re going to give them credit for everything that’s fucked up, then you have to give them credit for everything that’s great.” Life is duality. One time I sat on a Philadelphia street corner for hours and cried to my friend on the phone about all of the horrible things I had experienced in that city and how desperately I wanted to move. Without hesitation or sugar coating, she told me what I just told her wasn’t reality (Bitch, what?). She told me the story I just told her wasn’t real and that actually, I have grown a lot from the things I have been through and used them for positive change. That yes I had experienced more shit than most people will ever experience their whole life, yet, the story I was telling wasn’t reality. That in between each fucked up event was something positive that came after. And that DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY. However, this is real life my loves. There is contrast, there is good and bad and kinda just okay. And that is the truth. So I forgive those people who have wronged me and they also have their own self work to do around it. Trauma is an energy exchange and the imprint is not one sided. I repeat: life is duality. So I believe in order to fully heal ourselves from trauma, we must forgive the other person. The world needs more healed individuals sharing love and forgiveness, and I am proud to be one of them. I know this isn’t an easy step but it is so so so imperative to healing.

6. Love and Accept the Lessons.

It is time to love and accept the lessons learned. A step closely related to the last one, we are strong souls so full of LOVE. If that wasn’t true you wouldn’t be here right now, if it wasn’t true you wouldn’t be reading this. We are warriors and when we stand up stronger it’s because we have learned how to be stronger.

We are alchemists and have turned a shit sandwich into fertilizer for our flower gardens.

We took pain inside someone else’s heart that led them to do horrible things, and used it to make lanterns. Bringing darkness to light, we are breaking these cycles, we are demanding a better world, we are birthing a more loving world and its causing some labor pains. We are shouldering this shift. We don’t have time machines yet. We can’t change what happened, but we have a choice. There was a time when I shut the curtains and hid under my bed. I drank myself into oblivion. I let others disrespect me and my body. I took my life, my family, my friends, my job, and my dog for granted. I couldn’t face myself. All I could do was drink my pain away and continue hiding fear in hangovers, hypochondria, and empty sex. But now I can proudly say I fucking LOVE MYSELF. And I LOVE YOU. I love our light pieces and our dark bits and you know what? I am always down to share. Let’s lay them on the table and make a beautiful picture from our puzzle pieces. When I opened my curtains and let my heart defrost, my god there were so many tears. And so much time spent alone, so much time and attention figuring out what this bigger picture meant. I turned my problems into gifts I can now share with you. I have turned my pain into lanterns. I hope to lighten your heart. And once you have a raging fire burning inside I hope you break a piece of yourself off and share it with another. My favorite line from the Maitland song Luna is “Our gardens need tending and we’re the ones for the job.” I cannot wait to help you tend your gardens my friends.

7. Live in the NOW.

Progress in any form takes time. It comes in fragments and bits and day by day. All we can do is take it one day at a time and most importantly always try to live in the HERE and NOW. I was a victim at one point, hell at multiple points, but I am choosing to keep myself a victim by not healing from it. There are so many gifts in the present moment and no one can take that away from you but you. So let it in, feel it, be grateful. Our real stories lie in the future. Our futures are full of infinite possibilities. Don’t miss it carrying around something that isn’t your responsibility to carry. Accept it, release it, heal it, forgive it, learn from it, and let the dawn come. What a beautiful sunrise you witness if you wake up to see it. Don’t stay in the dark my dears. Live in the now.

I’ll see you there. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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