Our Bodies Always Remember.
As an adult, I had no memory of anything that happened to me as a child. I had completely blocked out that chapter of my life.
I had always wondered, was I sexually abused? I recognized I had all of the signs, but continued to suffer in silence until my 30’s. The Courage to Heal Workbook, written by Laura Davis, fell into my lap and introduced me to the concept of body memory. As I began to read through this book, all of the answers that I was looking for began to unfold.
My body began to share its story, and as I listened without judgment or resistance, memories soon followed.
It is completely natural for children who have been abused to have no memory of the event. The memories of trauma are so intense that forgetting is the body’s way of protecting itself. According to a 2003 National Institute of Justice report, 3 out of 4 adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were by someone they knew well.
If the perpetrator was a family member, you may have needed to forget in order to function every day. Imagine facing this person at a family get-together. In order to keep your secret, hide your shame, and function at all, you would need to pretend that the abuse never happened. Continue to do this, and over time you begin to believe it really didn’t.
Another reason why you may not remember the abuse could be because it took place in a dark room so there was no visual. Or perhaps you were assaulted from behind so you didn’t see anything. Finally, the perpetrator often manipulates the child into thinking the abuse is somehow their fault. This creates feelings of shame and guilt that will also prevent you from sharing your story.
Regardless of why you don’t remember, there is one universal truth. Our mind will try to justify, deny, and suppress our memories, but you can never truly run away from any experience you may have faced in life. Our body always remembers, and does not lie.
Everything that happened to you is stored in your body’s cellular memory. This is why emotions may come up during a massage, reiki, or craniosacral treatment. The treatment taps into the muscle memory and brings up the emotions suppressed in that area of the body. If you allow yourself to observe and feel these emotions, healing can occur.
If you have ever wondered if you have been sexually abused, you owe it to yourself to begin listening to this voice. Pay attention to what this small voice within you is saying. It is there for a reason.
Begin to observe your body, what is it telling you? What emotions come up for you during intimacy with a partner? Do you feel shame or cry after orgasm? Is there a certain person who triggers you? An environment or particular social setting? Where in your body do you feel these emotions? In your stomach? Legs? You may already be feeling fear, anxiety, or nausea as you are reading this.
Begin to keep a journal, recording all of your responses. In time, you will understand your story. Awareness is the first step to healing.
Andrea Kehler is a registered Acupuncturist, Reiki Master, and certified Angel Card reader. She combines her knowledge of both Eastern and Western Medicine in her practice as well as her gift of intuition. Having walked through the effects of sexual abuse herself, Andrea now offers tools of healing and guidance to others. She has years of experience supporting clients through trauma, empowering them to find their voice. You could contact her via her website.