Client Journal: Tasting the Wound

Tonight I shared my story. I spoke about what happened with my grandmother, and my cousin as well. I also spoke about what was going on in my family, how emotionally abusive my father is, how I felt and feel abandoned and rejected by my mother. I spoke about how hard it is for me to trust and connect with people and myself, to stay in my body, to be open and vulnerable, and my fear of letting people know the real me. I spoke about my cutting and eating disorders and how that it (in my opinion) led to me getting epilepsy. While I was talking, my body felt triggered. I was feeling anxious and scared. I was crying, I felt dizzy, my fingers went a little numb. My tongue felt numb and I got a metallic taste in my mouth. After I shared my story, the facilitator asked everyone what they connected with.

One woman identified with the counting. To cope with her abuse, she started counting how many steps she took and how many words she wrote down. Another woman said that what was strong for her was when I spoke about one of my seizure episodes. (I was about 16 or 17 and I was trying to ask for help. I was thinking, “I need help!”, but what came out instead was, “I’m going fishing with my sister!”) She said she connected because she understood the feeling of thinking and feeling one thing, but saying something completely opposite.

What surprised me where the physical sensations. It was the first time I felt dizzy and got that taste in mouth. When I finished speaking, I asked for a hug. I needed some comforting and something to bring me into myself. Everyone gave me a hug and I felt warm and safe. I told them that and thanked them. Right now I feel physically tired, like I ran 4 miles. Emotionally, I feel very full. And that fullness has me feeling warm and safe.

Yesterday at group we spoke about how we received the first woman’s story and what it brought up for us. I spoke about how since she was talking about her father, I started thinking about my own father and how scared I am of him. I’m scared of his rage. How I feel extremely sad and hurt because we do not have a relationship. I spoke about how I project that onto men, how it is hard for me to relax and be myself because I am scared that I will end up with a man who is like him.

One of the other women then started to talk about how she minimizes what happened to her; her mom is a victim of sexual abuse and constantly reminds her that her abuse was “nothing” compared to what she went through. As this particular woman spoke about her relationship with her mom, I resonated with what she was saying in the sense that this woman bases her identity and emotion on what her mom thinks, feels, and acts. Everything in my body tightened. I felt anxious sad and scared. I had to get this feeling out of my body! I took a deep breath, and told this woman in the way I could relate to what she was saying. How I spent a large portion of my life trying to be my mom, part 2, and how I am in the process of untangling myself from her so I can find my own identity. My own self.

When I started talking about it, my body released and I didn’t feel as anxious. The facilitator noticed this, and asked the other women what happens to them and their bodies when they are triggered. She spoke about how it’s is a normal reaction to trauma, but stressed the importance of expressing and releasing.

I never thought I would say this, but it is getting easier to express, and a little easier to identify the gripping that happens in my body when I am triggered.

Feeling, Expressing, Receiving, Time, Touch and Attention

Marta Luzim trained in an intimacy process with Doug and Naomi Moseley: The Moseley Method…read their book The Shadow Side of Intimate Relationships, available through Amazon.

Feelings are a tricky deal. Many times we THINK we are feeling but we are in a story or description outside of our own true experience. Clients I’ve work with protest, “But I have been feeling my sadness and anger all my life, it won’t go away.” My reply is, “You have been repressing your feelings and sadness and that is why they are stuck.” When we go into our bodies, the connection to feelings are more intense and direct: anger, grief, sadness, joy, excitement, hurt, love, fear, terror. Emotions are energy. They need to move. These direct feelings, primal feelings, are felt in the body and have a primal energy of movement. When we talk about our feelings, give descriptions we are usually not in our bodies, but in our heads. It is a difficult journey to identify, locate and access a true emotion in our bodies. Most times we are reacting with feelings to another’s behavior, not directly feeling our own emotions in response to ourselves and what we feel and need. Communicating a feeling in a healthy way does not come from blame, judgment, attack or manipulation. It is clean and direct. Our feelings heal us when we stop trying to make them go away, dump them on another or fix them.

Intimate expression comes from our hearts and souls. Inside our bellies are feelings that tell us what we want and need. Most are afraid to directly say, I feel, I need….they are afraid of rejection or criticism. So they disguise their emotions and needs and try to manipulate the other to be heard and seen. When we trust ourselves we able to directly feel and ask others for support and love; or express our hurt, anger, sadness and all feelings in ways that do not attack others or collapse us into a depression. Movement of emotions helps prevent stress, illness and chaos in our lives.

Receiving goes beyond listening with our ears. It is the opening of our heart, soul and every cell to allow ourselves to fully open to the other. When we stop, breathe and take in what another is saying and feeling without judgment we then can respond from our truth back to them. Receiving also is a practice in order to have self-love and self-acceptance. When we receive ourselves we are fueling our body and soul with the life force energy. If we shut down,and say NO to life then we cannot grow or be guided in life. Receiving is surrender, not a giving up or submission, but an allowing of each moment to be exactly as it is so we can learn and grow. It is a lifetime practice to receive and stay present. Daily meditation can help us learn to receive.

Endless number of stars can add up to the infinite number of souls that live in timeless space. Time is limited in our human existence, but endless in our spiritual existence. If we pay attention to the moment, then our whole life can reveal itself to us. So many people take time for granted. Then one day they look back and have regret. Why didn’t I enjoy that vacation? Why didn’t I enjoy my children? Why didn’t I enjoy my youth? Why didn’t I go after that career? Why didn’t I put more time into my marriage or relationship? Why didn’t I have more patience? Why didn’t I take better care of myself and slow down and just be thankful I am alive? Time is precious. Time is the container for intimacy, creativity and joy. How you will spend your time today?

My first Psychology class in my undergraduate work the professor showed a film of monkeys who were “touch deprived.” They separated the mothers from their babies at birth. The infant monkeys were aggressive, depressed and self-mutilating. It stunned me. I had never realized that touch deprivation was so prevalent in our society. So many clients I work with remember that they were rarely touched as a child. Touch is as important as air and water. Affection, stroking, holding, hugging and other intimate ways to show love, not just sexual, are part of the emotional food that we need in order to thrive and feel joy. It is also important to touch ourselves with inspiration, spiritual juice and simple ways of self-care; massage, yoga and meditation. How do you allow for touch in your lives?

It is human to need to be seen and heard. But how much do we listen to our own inner voice, feel what our bodies are telling us, embrace our needs? If we don’t follow our intuitions, believe in our heart’s guidance and follow through on our desire, then we will hunger for constant unhealthy attention from others. Healthy attention is mutual compassionate and passionate communication. However, we need to first locate what we feel and need, then we can know what form of attention we need from others. Stop, listen and breathe. What type of attention do you need? Physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual? It takes time to allow ourselves to feel we deserve attention. It is only human to feel we exist and have value.