Today's take-away: I'm not Sybil
"You haven't split into different personalities—your personality is very strong. You do not have multiple personalities, you just haven't been able to integrate "parts" of you, like little four-year-old Kiersten who was abused."
I almost kissed my psychologist today when she said that. I truly never thought I was dealing with dissociative identity disorder; however, upon learning about the abuse I suffered, I started to question everything. Not being able to easily access memories from childhood also makes all of this feel really fuzzy.
Apparently, my inner child is someone I need to get to know better and integrate more fully into my whole self. She seems to want attention and love and has been trying to get my attention as well as steering much of the way I react to things in life. I just didn't know this was what was happening. Sexual abuse is what she knows; therefore, abuse equates to love for her. Honestly, it's strange to write about her like this because she's part of me.
My psychologist gave me some exercises to get to know her better. I'm not gonna lie—it feels kinda scary and foreign to me. I'm sure that sounds crazy being that I frequently channel spirit and THAT in itself feels crazy to a lot of people. I'll try anything at this point. I'm going to give it a whirl and trust that she's coming through to me now because I'm fully ready to heal.
One thing that has become very clear over the last few weeks is that little Kiersten—due to the sexual abuse I endured between the ages of 3-6—believes that it's her job to keep a man happy and do what he wants. This is NOT how I was raised by my very progressive, loving parents, but as I grew, I continued to people please and focused on making everything ok for everyone around me, male or female and I didn't even fully realize what I was doing all of these years. It was just who I was—the caretaker, the perfectionist. I'm starting to fully understand the meaning of a mid-life crisis and just how much your subconscious affects your life!
So what's next? EMDR therapy is next. I've heard wonderful things about this type of modality for trauma survivors and I'm hopeful that it will help me be able to integrate Little K.
Like other survivors, I want to heal and move on. I want to honor what I've been through in life but not let it become my identity or consume me. I truly just want to get to know the "REAL" me, the whole me.
I have questions for you!
I'm preparing to put together a Ted Talk on recovering from childhood sexual abuse—specifically coping with repression and its affects. I am gathering information for this talk (and plans for future healing centers) and would GREATLY appreciate your help.
If you experienced childhood sexual abuse and repressed memories of it until you were older, please take a moment to fill out this quick six-question survey. It's anonymous and should only take a couple minutes.
I'll be sharing the results as soon as I compile the data.
Thanks so much for helping!
Have you seen The Keepers on Netflix? The seven-episode series focuses on the 1969 disappearance and murder of Baltimore nun Catherine Cesnik, as investigated by two of her former students, as well as an allegedly wide-ranging cover-up that protected a priest accused of sexual abuse at the Catholic high school where Cesnik taught.
I've been watching this heart-wrenching series and relating on many levels. For one thing, the topic of repression is spotlighted. As a woman who repressed the sexual abuse I endured from ages 3-6, I can relate to hearing about how the memories come back, the shame and guilt that bubbles up, and the emotional pain associated with all of it.
Sometimes I think to myself that I repressed the memories of being raped mainly because I was so young, but watching this series and hearing a woman who repressed abuse that happened to her starting at age 14 was another reminder that it truly doesn't matter the age. If the experiences are so horrific the mind cannot deal, repression happens. Just as common is the fact that most of us who have repressed memories of abuse tend to start to recover them around age 40. I can only guess that at 40, we are "whole" enough to be able to handle putting the pieces of our life together at that point.
In addition, in the series, one of the women who was abused by the Catholic priest talks about being threatened with her life, and the lives of her family, if she told anyone what was happening. It made me wonder what my relative said to me to keep me from telling anyone. I intutiively feel like it was a mixed bag—fear-inducing threats coupled with supportive, loving manipulation. I'm not entirely sure, though, and feel the need to go a little further into the dark abyss of my memory, if I can.
I truly believe everyone should see this documentary. It shines a light on a problem we all know plagues our world but many of us don't have the stomach to really see just how big of a problem we're facing for generations to come. It's beyond time to dive into the deep end on this one.
I am reposting a blog post I wrote for The Little Light Project a few years back. I got my butt out of bed this morning to train for a 5K. One of 27 runs is now in the books! While I was running, I was thinking about how I used to need an inhaler to even walk briskly and now I don't. I never understood the power of emotions on the body until this experience....
I want to share a personal story about how releasing the energy of child sexual abuse I endured has helped not only my emotional body, but also my physical body. Five years ago, I would have laughed if someone told me that we hold "energy" in our bodies. First of all, I wouldn't have gotten it. I would have thought they were talking about energy we get from food. But secondly, it just didn't compute with me that something emotional can be stored within and hurt us physically.
Skeptical Kiersten was blown away during my hypnotherapy session with Dr. Proiette where we brought subconscious memories to the conscious mind to deal with and release. Prior to hypnotherapy, I was using an asthma inhaler for what I thought was allergy related. I'd been having serious issues with exercise to the point I had fallen to the floor gasping for air after a very easy bike ride. While I saw improvement with the inhaler, it didn't improve like I had hoped. During our session, Dr. Proiette asked if I had lung issues. I hadn't said a word to her prior to her asking the question. After I confirmed that I did, she said, "After this, I believe you will see a big difference in your lung capacity." I was hopeful but still doubtful. How could that be?
While in a very meditative, relaxed state (hypnotherapy) where my subconscious could be accessed, I brought forward more detail about memories I was already having on a conscious level. This allowed me to bring them into the conscious mind as I was fully awake during the session. After facing the memories, Dr. Proiette led me through an exercise to help release the energy of what happened to me by envisioning myself as small growing taller and my abuser as tall growing smaller until he was so tiny I could throw him or step on him. At one point, I literally felt myself getting lighter as energy released and I fully embraced that none of what I endured was my fault.
Almost immediately after, my breathing felt easier. Skeptical Kiersten thought...but would it last? And would I find massive issues again while exercising?
I am so excited to share I have not used my inhaler at all since undergoing hypnotherapy months ago to release the energy of my abuse. Even while walking briskly uphill at 7,000 feet elevation, I do not gasp for air anymore!! It worked! And continues to work.
As it turns out, sadness and grief are stored in your lungs. If you have lung issues or constant issues with bronchitis and pneumonia, dig deep to find out what emotions of sadness and grief you could be storing. There are many ways release energy, not just hypnotherapy. I'm including a link below for Self-Acupressure for Sadness and Grief as one way to release these stored emotions that may be causing illness in your body.
Self-Acupressure for Grief, Depression and Anxiety
I hope so much it's helpful!! I truly can't believe how different I feel physically by finally addressing and releasing the emotions of the past.