Visual by Tina Maria Elena
This is, hands-down, one the hardest things to do, no matter if you are a man or a woman, whether you’ve been abused in your childhood or your teen years or even adult life.
Abuse leaves psycho-emotional scars at all ages. And our body may have a hard time coming back to its normal preset after experiencing this episode.
However, one foundational aspect here is that our bodies can heal. Most of our challenges also have a cure.
#1. We need professional help
Though the best way to heal is with nourishing relationships, most of us aren’t trained to handle every possible challenge out there.
No matter how much we may love a person, their challenges may sometimes overcome our capacity to help them. And that is entirely human and understandable—as long as we do not put pressure on ourselves to rise to absolutely every challenge, including ones that we’re never trained for.
With abuse, the absolute must is to seek professional help—from the medical perspective, all the way to the psycho-emotional aspects.
Abuse means that we’ve been through one or more episodes where our intellectual, emotional & sometimes also physical capacities to handle ourselves were exceeded.
As such, our nervous system either shuts down (freeze) or goes into defensive mechanisms (fight or flight) that it can’t control even after the episode is long terminated.
This is why specialized help is crucial. For our body to kick back into its normal functioning, it needs help to manage the enormous charge it took and hasn’t been able to release.
This help may require time—weeks, months, or maybe years. No person is the same; no situation is the same. Therefore no healing process is the same.
In this article I’ve listed some specialists that might help, including with healing after abuse.
#2. Nourishing relationships
Yes, after specialists, we need loving, supportive, and nourishing connections. The more in number and in variety, the better.
One important caveat here: suffering can consume you and your lover tremendously. Secondly, it isn’t attractive. This might be harsh to acknowledge, but please understand this comes from someone who went through this.
Our magnetism and appeal are shut down when we suffer. Therefore, many of us may experience break-ups when dealing with the aftermath of abuse. It doesn’t mean the person doesn’t care for you (except when they’re the one on the delivery side), it means that their energy was drained, their attraction disappeared, and their sexual needs were crushed in the process. This is one of the most challenging places to be in, for both people.
As a personal and professional observation: lovers might find it hard to love us in the same way they had done before we had experienced our abuse or before we opened up to them about it.
In such a case, I recommend having a support network to help you cross the waters in the most harmonious way possible. By this, I mean friends, support groups or communities, peers from your sports, or other activities. Social engagement and connection help tremendously in the healing process. And they assure that our healing does not put pressure on one person only or drain the energy of our loved ones.
#3. A personal journey within
Healing happens within; this is the most important thing. Nobody can heal you from the outside—that’s simply not possible.
A person that has a certain level of self-knowledge and self-dependence is a person that is halfway through the healing process.
Our bodies, psyches, and hearts are resilient. But for that, we need to trust ourselves and work with them. A person that knows themselves does all these almost instinctively; or with more peace and self-reassurance.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by a process (you can’t shake out fear, constriction, worry, anxiety, you feel like you are unfortunate, etc.), then chances are you are unaware of your resilience. And it’s a sign you need some support in discovering it.
Rest assured, we are resilient. We have the innate ability to heal ourselves and get back to our sense of self.
#4. Bring relaxation & pleasure in daily life
Pleasure cannot exist in emotional suffering, with few exceptions.
So, once we’ve shed most of the charge and got a better grip on ourselves, then the first two elements to bring are relaxation and pleasure.
Those are the building blocks of our sexual expression. For these, we don’t have to jump straight away to sexual activities. Each one of us has many activities, non-sexual, that bring us relaxation and pleasure.
The biggest surprise is when we find ourselves aroused though we had done nothing arousing.
A hilarious thing to consider: those of us horny in the morning find the feeling of being rested extremely arousing. Or our bodies do so.
But we can feed our sexuality through so many other things: music, fresh air, breathwork, sensual touch, movement, various textures on our skin, sounds, words, thoughts, reading, images, etc.
Anything that enchants us has the potential to turn us on too. I root for us to open our perspectives: extreme joy is another way our sexuality expresses itself. So are inspiration & passion.
One last thing: health is a must. Our healthy bodies are necessary for enjoying sex. Therefore, we should consider nutritious food, healthy movement of our body, other self-care practices, and rest and recovery time.
These are my four elements when considering moving away from abuse or traumatic experiences.