Healing from trauma is not a straightforward journey that can be fixed with a one-size-fits-all solution. It's a layered process demanding an honest look at ourselves, and in this enlightening conversation, I share my personal experiences and insights on the path to recovery. I examine the intricate nature of healing from trauma, emphasizing that it's more than just popping a pill or relying on a diagnosis. Listen as I shed light on the profound ways trauma can manifest in our bodies, from our emotions to our physical health, and even our spiritual connection with ourselves and the world.
Further along, this discussion takes a deep dive into the impact of trauma on our decision-making processes and how it shapes our growth. I highlight the power of choice in our healing journey, and how recognizing and making these conscious decisions can propel us towards recovery and transformation. But the conversation doesn't stop there. As a parent, I've discovered the incredible importance of self-care - not just for our own well-being, but for the environment we create for our children. Join me as I discuss how taking the reins of my healing journey led to writing a book, and in turn, finding a powerful purpose in the process.
Hello everyone, this episode is going to be somewhat of a continuation from last week's episode, where I shared lots of parts of my own story, my journey and my book, the Sex Trafficker's Wife, and what I want to talk about today is the whole concept and process of healing. Healing is something that is talked about in many facets Mental health professionals talk about healing, doctors talk about healing, energy healers talk about healing, coaches, consultants everybody has a lens of what healing means, and for myself, it's evolved over time as I've learned more, as I've gained understanding, and I think it's really important to look at healing in a more holistic fashion than just taking medication or a diagnosis. And the process of healing after trauma is even more nuanced because trauma shows up in the body in so many different ways. It shows up in our emotional state and how we get triggered by events people smells, noises, all kinds of things. It shows up in our mental state and how we're thinking about things and when we spin on certain topics or when we are having conversations and we can't focus, or where it then triggers our emotional state and back and forth. And it also impacts our physical. It impacts our physical bodies, it impacts our nervous systems and eventually, if left untreated, it can manifest into other disease and illness. And I think it's really important that we talk about healing not just in a one-dimensional perspective, but in all perspectives. And there's a fourth and fifth layer of this that I also consider when looking at healing, and that's the spiritual component, and this can be looked at in many different ways. But the parts of us that are more connected to everything else, however, we see that, and the language we use doesn't matter whether it's God, universe, spirit source that part is language. What matters is that we feel connected to self and to more than self, because we're here on planet Earth with a collective of other humans who are also connected to self and more than self. And so when I talk about healing, I don't talk about it in one perspective, I talk about it in all perspectives. And I think it's really important when looking at a traumatic story like my own or perhaps whatever your own personal experiences have been, and we look at healing with that lens and with those nuances, in a way that perhaps not everybody has always thought about. And so when I think about my journey to healing and my journey to overcome and to get to the point where I can sit here at this microphone and share this story and I can publish a book and I can be interviewed all all over the place, and I can do so without affecting my physical body in my emotional state, because of the amount of healing work that I have done on all of these different layers. And I won't say that I'm a hundred percent fixed and that there are things that don't affect me, because that's not true for anybody. We all will have continuous things that come up, but I don't sit in the trauma of it anymore and when I look back at what's happened to me, it doesn't even truly feel like me anymore. The version of me sitting here talking to you right now isn't the same version who made those choices. It isn't the same version who experienced those things. I see it almost like I'm observing my younger self and I don't feel nearly as inside those feelings like I used to. But it's not an overnight process and I think that a lot of people sit in their trauma, not on purpose. Nobody's saying, yeah, I want to keep feeling these things over and over. They don't actually know what the other options are. They don't even know this is things they can overcome and they don't know where to go for help and they don't know what to do. All they know is they feel horrible and they don't want to feel this way anymore and they don't want to experience these things, and so they bury it deep inside them and they try not to look at it, and that's probably truly the majority of humanity. The majority of humanity doesn't want to look at their stuff, they don't want to feel the things, and so we just proceed with masks and whatever other things that we think we need to do in the world, and I personally think that's pretty bas-acquards and that if humanity is going to grow and evolve and we're going to live in a world that empowers people, we got to change that. Ultimately, we got to look at our stuff first, because it does start with self first. No collective can shift without addressing self, and so the healing process for me is certainly been nonlinear, and you know, when I first started down this path, I was actually still in the midst of fighting. The healing process began for me when I chose to take my power pack and I chose to make decisions that were different than I previously would. That was a hugely healing moment, and you know, I've had versions of those kind of moments throughout my life in different scenarios, but this was probably the very biggest Shift that I have ever made in one, one snap of my fingers, and that shift Created an outcome that I never expected to be possible, and it gave me not just the outcome I needed, but it gave me this understanding that if I could do that, I could do anything, and that means I can. I can do anything, and I believed it in a different way, and that that is really healing to see that you have so much power over your own individual choices that can impact your outward experience. And Seeing that, recognize it and then taking the steps to experience it is is the healing work. Awareness is Probably 90% of it, actually seeing that we created this in our experience, even because it was things we didn't know yet, we still created. It is is the first piece, and so when people think about, well, how did you, how did you heal from it, or what did you do, or how can I heal from it, the first step is to take a really, really radical, honest look at yourself. And this is probably the hardest step, truthfully, because it's not comfortable. We don't want to see ourselves in that light. We don't want to see ourselves as Either a victim or as somebody who caused the trauma. We don't want to. We don't want to see that, and I don't say this to victim shame or to Give perpetrators a way out or any any of that, because they are responsible for their choices just as much. But I say this because if we don't take radical accountability for our part that we did play, whatever that is, however big or small, we can't recognize the power we have to change it. And so, taking a really really close look, honest, radical accountability For whatever your pieces, whatever your part is, you know, when I look back at my journey and we're gonna use that as an example because we just talked about it last week when I look back at my journey and you know I'm not responsible for my ex has been being arrested for human trafficking. I had no part to play in that. That is not something I took, can take accountability for. It's not something I had any say in the matter. But what I do, what I do need to take accountability for should say did need to take accountability for was the fact that I I chose not to see what was right in front of my face and I didn't know what I didn't know, that's true, but it was right there and I chose to believe him over what everybody else was saying, what the authorities were saying, what the evidence was saying. I chose to believe my husband and I had a lot of reasons for that. I had a lot of Beliefs, I had a lot of previous experiences. I had a lot of my own childhood trauma. I had a lot of a lot of things guiding me to believe him, because I believed my kids needed their father in their lives and I believed that he was safe. And I had all of this wrapped up in it. And yet, ultimately, I'd still made the choice that I made. And it's not to say and look back and go, that was a horrible choice, I shouldn't have done that. It's to look back and see that I in fact had a choice, and it's the thing about when we look back is our first Thought is to judge our choices. Because if we see the choice such as that as I bailed him out of jail and why would I do such a thing? He was arrested for human trafficking I mean, come on right. And this is one that I've gotten flack from all over social media and that's. That's fine, because I've I've really dissected this one a lot, because when we look back and we see yes, yes, no, in fact I had a choice and I chose perhaps the wrong thing. And so our human reaction to that is to judge ourselves, is to go I'm bad, I made the wrong choice, I can't be trusted. And if I can't be trusted, well then I clearly can't make choices now because I can't be trusted. And that's kind of our default is to go back and judge the choices that we do recognize that we make. So sometimes we do get that far and not only are we judging ourselves, but we're holding immense shame for the fact that we didn't see what we didn't see, or that we didn't make the choice that we now think we should have made, or that, even with all of the evidence, we still didn't make the quote right choice here. So we hold shame and judgment and guilt and all of those emotions right, and then most of the time I'm gonna say 90% of the time this is where people stop. They stop and they go. That's too much, that's too hard, I can't look at it anymore and they shove it down and they don't look at it and they just move on. But the problem, truthfully, with that is that we've now held on to all of this emotional angst and energy and all of these stories about how horrible we are and how much we can't be trusted, and all of these judgments we've made about our choices and our character and our ability to see the truth and our ability to make good choices for ourselves and for our children. And we hold on to all of this and we create a new story about who we are and what we're capable of. And this then plays out and again using my story here, this plays out in another way where I gave all of my power to the lawyers in the system to decide for me because I couldn't be trusted. I had this belief that I couldn't be trusted because I didn't see the truth before, so I can't make the decision of how to keep my children safe. You do it. I vividly remember having those thoughts when we hired the parental rights evaluator that okay, good, somebody else smarter than me can figure this out and tell me what to do. I was relieved and I think a lot of people have that feeling when we hire somebody to help us, or a teacher or parents or some authority figure, somebody higher keel above us steps in and says I got this, we're relieved, it's not our problem anymore, right, and I'm not to say that doesn't sometimes work out to our favor, but at least in my case it wasn't. Because the way the legal system is set up, even if the evaluator wanted to give me more time or more rights, the statutes of the system that was in control of the situation wouldn't allow it to happen unless I had more evidence. And so I proceeded to even try to settle my divorce with 50-50, because it wouldn't allow for that difference, and I just okay, somebody, somebody came up with a plan. I guess I better try, I guess that's as good as it's gonna get, because I'm still running with this belief that I'm wrong, I'm bad, I can't make choices. I even remember the conversation with my lawyer saying you know, if you still want to fight this, there is, there is enough evidence here. We could. And I said no, I don't think we can, because this is the recommendation she made. And you know, obviously things eventually did play out to my advantage in that sense, because it also is important in the courts that you be willing to negotiate. And yet I really knew at that time, even, that that wasn't the best outcome for myself and my children. But I didn't know. There was even another, another option, and so I was playing out this story. I was wrong, I made wrong choices. I can't be trusted, and I was playing out this story and feeding this as it played out in my life because I hadn't been willing to take control, because I couldn't be trusted. I didn't see the truth, so I can't be trusted. Now, right, and and. So, when these stories stay so stuck in our bodies, they also were manifesting in our physical. They're manifesting in our fight-or-flight response. They manifested as PTSD for me, with every single conversation that I had with my ex-husband triggering a panic attack. It triggered a heart rate to come up, it triggered sweat and and mind spins and perspiration and just all of these things in my system, because I didn't feel safe, I didn't feel grounded and I didn't feel comfortable in my body because I was holding on to all of this that. Not only was I not safe, I saw my children not safe, I could feel them not safe, and yet my mind was saying you have to do what you're supposed to do. You have to give your power to the authorities. You have to do all these things, and so my whole system was ultimately in conflict with itself. And, truthfully, I think this is this is what happens as people go through these traumatic experiences is they start to try to overcome and heal from them is there in massive conflict. One part of them says one thing, while another part of them says another and there's no way to resolve it, and their body is saying I'm not safe and this doesn't feel right, and the mind, which believes the authority, says nope, this is what we have to do, and we're just in. Our emotions are on overdrive. And so the healing process for me began the moment I saw that for what it is. I not only saw the choice that I made to bail him out of jail, but I also saw the choice that I made to give up my power, and I saw the choice that I made to believe the system, believe the structures, to play that game, in a sense, and I recognized that there was another choice I could actually make now, not what I should have made before, but now, in this moment, there is a new choice presenting itself, and there's a new choice presenting itself because I was open to seeing a new choice, because I couldn't. It didn't exist before. There wasn't anything else I could have done as far as I could see. When I walked into that psychics office I said I've been doing all the things, I hired all the people, there's nothing else for me to do. But that just wasn't true. But I couldn't see the other option on the table until I was willing to recognize that I had been contributing to the fact that there had not been another option on the table. And we do this in every single situation, every single step we take. We have a belief system, a belief structure of what we think the world is and what we think our place in it is. And if something doesn't fit within that, the majority of time, majority of people, they can't see outside of that vision. It's almost like they're literally blocked off. They have blinders on to these other choices and all they know to be true about the world is what is right in front of them. You know the same reasons that people believe they have to work a certain way, they have to live a certain way. These are the beliefs they hold and everything in their vision is reaffirming those beliefs. That's how humans are wired. But the moment we're willing to set the blinders down and we're willing to go wait a minute I put them up there because I decided this was the only choice I had all of a sudden, new options appear. New options appear where we have new choices and we have the option to make a new decision about what we want. To be true, and for me, the decision that I was done, done 100%. This lifetime, last lifetime, all lifetimes, I was done, ever being with him, helping him, trying to heal him in any fashion. Everything changed. That one decision changed everything. And that was the very beginning of me seeing that my own personal choices, my own empowerment was allowing me to begin to heal. And this whole concept of healing isn't just making things better, but it's changing the outcome and seeing the outcome. And so, when we talk about healing after trauma, not everybody has a story like mine where they made a different decision in the midst of it and got out of it. Some people do. Some people were beaten down so hard that they don't know even how to come out of it. They don't know there is another choice. I get that one and then, once we do come out of it, even if it's just because somebody else drags us out of it. We're still left stuck in. I don't know how to operate myself. I don't know how to live this way, and we start to seek out how do I heal from this? And I want to shift the perspective on healing to how do I grow from this. How do I resolve this within myself so that I can live in a state of peace and love and acceptance for who I am and what I'm here to do, whatever that looks like, even if that's surviving and then thriving, even if that's just. How do I take care of my children on a day-to-day basis? All of those pieces require us to allow the healing to take place. But in order to do that, you also have to recognize the growth opportunity that comes with healing, because Healing isn't about the wound to closing. It's about seeing that wound and making it a pride, a statement of I overcame this. I grew from this, I learned from it, I am more than I was because of this, and it can take some time to get there. But Everybody I know and everybody I've talked to who has been through big things and who has really gone down this healing journey, where they gain perspective and they gain understanding and they realize this hard stuff. It was actually a gift. It sucked in the moment and I would never wish it on my worst enemy. But had I not had that experience, I wouldn't have the understanding and the awarenesses that I have today. If I had not bailed my husband out of jail and I left him in jail and I left him right there, I would never, ever, have understood why people stay in abusive relationships. You crazy people, why are you doing such things? I wouldn't have gotten it Today. I get it. I get it deeply. I get it on a very Deep, compassionate level because I've been there. I right there with you. I get when people make the choices they make to Do what they think is the right thing to do and then look back and question everything, because I've been there and I get how broken the system is and how Everybody is not set up to actually enable the, the functioning parent Usually the victim to be successful in their role as parent. Nothing is set up that way. Everything is set up as punitive only if you can prove it, if it's bad enough, then maybe we might step in, but probably not. That's how the family court system is set up, abusers more often than not are sharing custody with the person they've abused or they even have custody of the child they abused. That's, that's the most likely outcome and that pisses me the hell off, because this is the system we live in and I wouldn't get that, I wouldn't have that drive to do something about it had I not experienced it. I wouldn't get how broken it is for people who don't have any Money out there to even start to hire the lawyers. I had resources, but most people don't have the resources I had access to and those people don't even stand a chance, they just don't. And that it breaks my heart. And when I look at that, had I not gone through hell, I wouldn't have that passion, I wouldn't have that understanding, I wouldn't be able to speak about these things because I had no direct experience. And we can read about them, we can go on journeys with people, but until we've been there, truly we don't get it in the same way and I would not have the ability to see and Help other people feel seen in their deep experiences Without going through my own. And so when I look at that and I look at that perspective and I look at the gifts that I was given throughout that time, I Look at it with a whole different perspective and lens and I go, wow, I Really set myself up here to be in a very different place than I was before. And no, it wasn't fun. No, I certainly wouldn't, have never chosen it, not consciously. But if I'm gonna go do big things and make big change in the world, well, that makes sense. That's what I set myself up to do. And I get to take another, even deeper level of accountability here Because, no, I'm not responsible for, you know, my husband being arrested not at all. But even further back than that, I was responsible for choosing him, I was responsible for being in a relationship with him and, yep, I was young, 18, 19, and I didn't see the red flags, because I didn't see them. But I still made that choice and on some level, I was still responsible for choosing that person and choosing to have children with that person and choosing to stay continuously in the marriage with that person. And I can see how this all played out and I set myself up from the very frickin beginning so that I could see it for what it is. And with that perspective I get to go home, wow, okay now. Now I not only have acceptance, I have another level of of understanding and appreciation, but I've also Allowed myself to release all of this, all of this shame and judgment, because I set myself up to actually Succeed at something. I set myself up to understand the nuances. I set myself up to have the biggest life lesson I could possibly ask myself. You know, I don't have a college degree. I never. I went to a semester of school and I pretty quickly decided that that was not my place and I had no desire to be in debt to get a degree that I didn't think I needed. And you know, at 17, I was working full-time. But I did choose to go to life school. I did choose to learn my life experiences through direct experience instead of in a textbook and, at least for me, it's probably my deepest and greatest learning and understanding, because there's no forgetting, there's no, we didn't have to study for any tests to experience this one. We just had to step up for ourselves when we needed to do that. And so we can start to release and transmute and transform all of those stories and all of that emotion and all of that angst and and all of the stuff that's been sitting in our systems because we look at it and go, whoa, wow, okay, I see it. Nope, I'm not happy about it. Maybe, maybe not yet, but I see it. When I first, when I first started speaking publicly about my story and I put a bunch of videos on Facebook and TikTok and I shared the story as I was experiencing it, as I, the same way, I wrote my book, but I did it in very short clips, and so people would get this one little piece of it and they would be outraged. Who the hell did? I think I am Child Protective Services should take my kids away from me. On and on and on. There was all kinds of backlash and there was a few comments at the very beginning that still hit me and they still hit me and I went, oh ow, that one hurts, that one triggers something. I feel something when that person said that, even though I had released so much of my own judgment, having an outsider present new judgment was another layer. And when I sat there with it and I went well, do I think that's true? No, no, I don't think that's true. I know I fought like hell for my children, okay. So if I don't think that's true. Why does this person's, this random person on the internet? Why does their opinion affect me? Well, because I'm allowing it to, because maybe there's a part of me that still thinks I'm not good enough for my kids or that I didn't do the right thing at the right time. And so I looked at that and I said, you know, I'm actually grateful for that message and for that trigger, because now I can see that and I can look at that version of myself and I can say, okay, that feeling is there, let's pull this one out, let's release it, let's transmute it, let's recognize that a part of me is never going to feel like I can do enough, because I don't know any mom out there that feels like we're all we're doing exactly enough all the time, 100% of time for our children. Because, well, that's just impossible. We are human, after all, and especially with three children and especially being a full time mom solo. During the pandemic with three children, there was a lot, a lot of times that I didn't feel adequate or enough. And yet I also know that's a load of crap, because we're all doing the very best we can with the time and energy we have. And another big lesson that I learned through the whole experience was how important it is to take care of me first. It's one of the hardest damn things as a mom to do is put yourself above your children. In fact, the court statutes in most places actually say that your ability to put your children above yourself is considered a positive when it comes to establishing parenting time. That's literally listed as a statute, but the truth is that's best-acquired. We have to put our own oxygen mask on first. We have to take care of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs first, in that seeing that, knowing that is one piece and then actually seeing the ripple change throughout my children when I do that is another. And really that's been the last three years of deepening my own healing journey, of learning about how all of these things are interconnected, and then seeing how my kids react and how my kids respond when I'm in alignment with my own energy and when I'm not, because I'm not perfect, I fall off the wheel and I don't always put self-care above everything else as much as I perhaps should, but I do that and I recognize it and I see the impact to my children as a reminder, as a reminder to go right. Okay, they're not going to learn how to take care of them if I don't show them how important it is that I take care of me and if I don't put my passions first and I don't put the things I'm here to do first not, of course, above their safety or their basic needs. No, but if I'm not really giving to me, I can't, I don't have the capacity to give to them, not in the way they need. The more my children are whiny or needy or any of those things that children will do usually is when I'm not taking care of me. They pull on me and they need me more when I'm not giving to myself. It's fascinating because you feel like you have no more capacity to give to them and that's what they're asking for. But what they're really asking for is for you to give to you and model that for them, because then you're going to have more of a full tank to have a positive conversation and relationship with them. You know, going through that time and time again is a process, is a journey. I think all mothers mothers especially, but I'm sure parents out there can relate to that, and Our kids are, in a lot of ways, our biggest teachers. I wrote that in my book and I will say that again. My children are my, my greatest teachers and I am so grateful for them and all of their triggers and all of the challenges, because without them, I wouldn't have the same drive to fight like I do now, and I don't know that I would ever have come to the place where I fought for myself like I would for my children. And they give me a drive and a purpose in a different way, and they've given me the drive and the purpose to heal myself, knowing that if I focus on my healing journey, that's only going to ripple out to them and help them heal and help them not repeat these, these patterns in their lives and have them have the awareness and the perspective that they need to be fully functioning, thriving humans. And if I look at it like that, if I look at it is, I have to do these things because I need my children to be these beautiful, thriving humans that I know they can be, because that's my purpose, that's my drive. Well then, it makes it a lot easier because I'm doing it for them, and I'm doing it for me, for them and for all of this that we're creating in the world and it sets the stage differently. And so healing healing in its entirety is is multi layered, it's complex, it's all different pieces here, and yet it's also day by day, step by step, piece by piece, trigger by trigger, emotion outburst by emotional outburst, and we all will continue to have all of them. And yet it's what we do with them. And once those feelings and those emotions process through, how do we want to shift and change and adjust? How do we want to look at ourselves in a new light, in a new perspective? What new choice might actually show up if we allow it to, and what are we going to do about that new choice that showed up? Because sometimes we see choices and we don't like them. Are we going to take that choice? Are we going to make that step and take go that direction, or are we going to say no, no, that's too hard. You know, some of my favorite, some of my favorite kinds of people in the world are ones who are the action takers and the change makers and the ones who are ready to move and shift and change. Once they see it, they go. Those are probably biggest reflections. I think of myself and my children, because I don't personally desire to sit in my stuff for longer than I have to. Sometimes I do feel my feelings and it's uncomfortable and I'm cranky and I don't want to talk to people, but I'm usually ruminating on why I'm feeling that way instead of feeling victim to the feeling that I'm feeling. Usually I'm going. This is brought up a lot. Where is it coming from? What's the story? What's the pattern? I'm asking myself all these questions to dissect it and it doesn't make it go away. But it's looking at it as a positive thing that I'm feeling this, because it's giving me new insight to the next layer of whatever this thing is. I've spent the last three years going through this healing journey, going through and trying to decide how I want to show up in the world after such horrific things happened. Writing a book was the loudest thing in the very beginning, and once I did that and once I published it and got it out there, I was well, what's next? I don't know what's next. I had done some healing and coaching sessions with people. I had done some courses, but nothing that felt like this was the thing, nothing that I actually wanted to repeat every course I put on. I only did once because I didn't want to do it again. It wasn't the thing yet. It didn't have the passion and the drive that a lot of these other projects have. And, funny enough, this podcast is the thing that I've been avoiding putting out, because who wants to listen to my voice, who wants to hear my perspective? I had all of that stories running in my head and a big part of the healing journey. This last, at least latest piece for myself has been that final layer where I can see that I've learned so much and I will continue to learn so much. But that doesn't mean I can't help now. And I wanted a platform that people could reach me, no matter their income level, no matter where they were on their journey, and they could feel like I was talking to them directly, to them what they needed to hear in this moment, and they could know that they were not alone, that somebody else has been through hell and back, and that there are choices and you can make it through. And I wanted people to have a place to come to really, maybe even hopefully, believe it for maybe the first time in their lives when, listening to me, you know somebody who's overcome horrific things can tell them that it does get better and that they can be the one to affect that change, and so that's my hope for this podcast and this show is to be. That inspiration is to be that voice in your ear as we talk through all of the steps of healing, as we talk through the journeys of parenting after trauma, as we talk through all of these levels and layers and the nuances and the things that come up, the things that are happening in the world that trigger us even more. That's the piece that I think is so, so important is that people feel like they're not the only one, no matter what they're doing, whether they're building and creating, or whether they're going through the deepest, darkest time in their life. Every single human out there needs to know that they are not alone. And if they can know that, they know that there's somebody out there who's listening, who hears them, who sees them, who cares, and I hope, on some level, that I can help be that person for you. Thank you everyone for listening. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Make sure you hit that subscribe button for regular updates and I will see you all next week. Lots of love.