As a CSA survivor, I’m sure you’ve had more than a few grueling days when your past trauma comes up and makes it hard to even get through the day.
You wonder how you are going to survive. It’s just too much… too much pain, too much confusion, too much emotion, too much everything! You feel like you can’t go on, like your chest is going to crack.
CSA hurts our minds, our jobs, our relationships, our bodies, even decades after it stops. It can feel inescapable. Until one day, when you think you can’t take it anymore, you break, and start frantically looking for help. At least, that’s what I did.
The day I finally accepted that I was sexually abused as a child, I remember totally breaking down at my kitchen table. I felt so alone and out of control. I didn’t know who to call or what to do. I frantically started searching the internet to see what I could find for resources. This was the moment of reckoning for me.
Prior to that night, I had already done a ton of alternative healing session work, and some talk therapy for other related issues (even though I hadn’t known they were related at the time). I had even done healing work around CSA the previous year after having a terrible flashback that shook me to my core. But somehow, it wasn’t until that night at the kitchen table that it all sank in, and I had to finally accept that it was real. I wasn’t making things up; something really did happen.
Was it exactly what I had seen in my mind the previous year? I don’t know. But it didn’t matter anymore. That night I finally began acting as if it were true, instead of acting as if it wasn’t, and everything changed. I started to heal.
Since then, I’ve done a lot of processing, and a lot of reclaiming work to get to where I am today. It was scary, emotionally painful, and exhausting. But I kept doing the work and excavating the rubble of my wounds.
Over the years, I constantly worked with my inner child, helping her to regulate, getting her to trust me to meet her needs and listen to her (which I hadn’t for years, maybe decades). I grieved the loss of my innocence.
I felt better, but still not complete. I feared remembering things I didn’t want to know, but I persisted. And as I did, I just kept reinforcing support for myself and my inner child, reminding her (and my adult self) that I didn’t need to force memories, but if they wanted to come up and be released, I needed to honor them–no matter how scared I was–because the path to healing is through the darkness, not around it.
Again and again, I chose to allow myself to feel the pain, the fear, to see more, and to trust the process as the months went by and my healing work continued.
More than once, I had body memory flashbacks. It was terrifying, and yet, I didn’t try to stop these events from unfolding. I felt the panic and heard my inner child’s thoughts in my head as I relived her trauma, “I can’t breathe. He doesn’t care.” Yet, at the same time, I was an observer as my body and psyche reprocessed what my inner child had gone through so many decades ago. But this time, I knew I was safe in my surroundings and with people who could help me if something dangerous unfolded during the flashbacks.
Yes, it was grueling. Yes, I could have tried to shut it down. That would have been a very natural response and would have felt much safer in the moment. But it also would have been counterproductive to what I was wanting to achieve: true healing. Yes, these experiences were intense. I felt out of control, and sometimes it seemed like these moments would never stop coming. But the important thing to understand about even my most difficult moments of processing, is that these were pinnacle healing moments for me.
They were frightening, and exhausting both physically and emotionally. I would sometimes alternately sob, wail and scream until I physically collapsed. Then I would sleep until the next day. But when I finally woke up again, although I would still be tired and my body might ache all over, I would feel better and more peaceful.
I felt freer.
Embracing the pain and the fear, and allowing it to expand in my body and my mind until it was fully “up”, was required if I wanted it out. I knew this. So no matter how scared I was during these episodes, I would mentally talk to and nurture my inner child as they unfolded, telling her that she was safe now and I would be with her as we faced whatever needed to come up and out.
I needed all of that pain and toxicity released, and she needed to know I was there with her in order for her to open that door and face it again. Thankfully, I’d been doing inner child work for a while, and she trusted me enough to allow that darkness to rise up, so that together, we could embrace it, and honor it, and it could leave us.
Yes, you read that right. We welcomed the fear and the pain, the anguish and despair that had been pushed down for so long. And once that door was cracked, we invited it to rise up so that we could embrace it, honor it, grieve it, and face our fears until we were too tired to be afraid and there was nothing left to express anymore. And after we had felt it all, and grieved our losses, and sobbed, and screamed out loud at the top of our lungs, and expressed all that we were feeling without holding it in or trying to control it, it left.
This happened many times. And each time we went through this process, more was released with our tears and our screams, and we felt less and less afraid of the blackness we had buried deep inside. Until one day, it was gone.
We (my inner child and my adult self) chose healing over control. We chose healing over what others might think about our screaming or wailing if they heard us. We fully embarked on a journey to feel and express, and it worked for us.
Your path might not look like mine. You may not use the shamanistic and alchemical tools that I used on my healing journey. But whatever your journey is, I encourage you to step into it fully.
Leave no stone unturned. Be willing to feel the rage, the hurt, the despair, all of it, and honor it. Witness it. Grieve it. Embrace it. It will hurt like hell, but it will serve you well to stand with your inner child and help them surrender all of this darkness to you [your adult self] for release. Then you both can finally be free of it.
So what is the one personal trait required for healing from child sexual abuse?
You have to feel to heal! And for most of us, feeling is terrifying.
Do it anyway! It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
You can do this! And we will be right there beside you along the way.
Want support on your healing journey?
Join the Survivors THRIVE private group on Facebook for daily support.
Or contact Asha to book a private session.
Asha Lightbearer, Psychic Healer & Master Alchemist
I help childhood trauma survivors find their power and become their own heroes. An authentic, empowered life after abuse is possible for those willing to embark on a journey of self-exploration and recovery. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!
Come explore the healing power of imagination!
PS. Like podcasts? Listen to the Totally Witchin’ podcast for alchemical tips for healing and personal development. Check out my award-winning (Welcome Home) Fiona music video for CSA survivors too!