The deep wound of abandonment carries the mask of dependence. One either clings to a person and drives them away, or abandons them first before they can be abandoned. The ultimate fear is of being alone in the world, and the death or loss of self and of loved ones. It is a wound that is usually created with the parent of the opposite sex and a wound that is particularly raw and sensitive where there has been abuse.
When a parent abandons or neglects a child, emotionally, spiritually or physically (sometimes all three), the child receives the message “I am not worthy of love and presence”. They cannot nurture and affirm themselves because they are too young and immature – they have not been taught what healthy nurture is. So almost all of us enter adult relationships with a built in sense of worthlessness and the belief that we are helpless to care for ourselves, which comes directly out of abandonment by the parent. Accompanying this is usually a fantasy illusion that a white knight, queen, prince, princess or Angelic being of some sort is going to rescue the internal immature dreamy child and fill the void created by the abandonment. We need only look at popular movies and songs to see this playing out in our culture.
Where there has been sexual abuse or physical abuse, the abandonment wound is arguably the strongest. Not only do we have the experience of abandonment that most of us have felt from one or both of our parents not being present to our emotional needs, but we also have the experience of our parents not protecting our bodies. Abandoning us in our deepest darkest hour of need. “Where are you????!!!….why are you not protecting me” the child is screaming and crying out from the inside, whilst being literally or metaphorically choked. We also have the experience of completely abandoning our bodies because the emotional and physical trauma is so great that we form two beliefs: It is not safe to be in my body. It is not safe to be in the world. Such beliefs create a huge level of stress and anxiety in the nervous system and until we are healed, we will spend most of our adolescent and adult lives leaving our bodies in a variety of different ways.
Healing from the abandonment wound and sexual abuse is something which I have experienced and something which I am very passionate about offering, so it is with great vulnerability and humility that I reach out to women and men and share with you some of the the wisdom I have gained on my own personal healing journey. The reason I can share with you, what you are about to read is because I have been there. One of the most important realisations I have had, with the benefit of hindsight and experience, is that before any real healing can take place with a practitioner or partner that involves a mutually enjoyable sexual interaction (i.e. both of you are aroused), it is essential that:
- YOU ARE IN YOUR BODY (as I said earlier, we abandon our bodies when we have been abandoned/sexually abused, especially when it has happened at a very early age. We form the telepathic agreement “it is not safe to be in my body”).
- YOU HAVE CLEAR, HEALTHY BOUNDARIES (when we have had our boundaries severely encroached, it easy to form the belief that “someone else’s ‘yes’ is more important than my ‘no’”)
My vision or my hope, is that after you read this article, before engaging sexually with a practitioner, or anyone for that matter, you will ask yourself the questions:
1. Am I in your body? (and understand how to gauge that);
2. What are my boundaries? (and understand how to tune into what those boundaries are)
My other hope is that all tantra practitioners will encourage these same questions before engaging with a client.
1. Am I in my Body?
If you are feeling (emotions and sensations), you are in your body. If you are thinking, or off and away somewhere, you are not. If you are listening to your heart, you are in your body. If you are disappearing into the bliss, you are not.
If you are not in your body…here are some ways to come home.
BREATHE. If you can slow everything down, take a moment to breathe and listen to your body, moment to moment, it can be an incredible teacher. By slowing down and listening to the body especially if it feels tense or in a state of un-ease, we can actually see that the tension and un-ease is an intelligent response as to weather or not we are really ok in the situation we are in, and it becomes obvious when we listen, that it’s simply telling us if we are in alignment with our authentic selves or not.
LISTEN TO YOUR FEMININE. It is wonder full to feel bliss and ecstacy in the heights…and that delicious sense of oneness and peace and pleasure when we are making love….but what is your heart and your belly telling you? To be fully present in the body, the gateway is the Feminine. She asks: What is the deep longing of your heart that courses in the depths when you return to me from the heights? What do you surge towards with your beautiful body, your sacred temple? What is it that you are truly wanting to dive deeper into….Follow that essence into your core, into the endless oceanic mysteries within. Hear the longing within you from all parts of your being, not just your desire or your emptiness but also your beating heart and that little child that lives in there.
I notice when I am fully in my body breathing and listening, I am only really open sexually to someone I love and who loves me. I’m getting to know Her, feel Her, be with Her….and I can feel myself transmitting her. She gives us simple but powerful l messages. She will tell us if we listen to her when a dynamic does not actually serve…when we are being distracted and bypassing our true longing. She will roar at us when we are betraying ourselves. She will whisper in our ear to become our own best lover..to stop settling and to choose US over someone who cannot truly Be with us. She implores our bodies to move and Dance…to stop processing and meditating and get out in nature…to stop modifying our behaviour so much to suit others….to laugh, love, cry, breath, scream and enjoy. She inspires us to ask questions we cant figure out with our mind and dare to hear the answer that our heart and intuition can give us.
My suggestion to you, before engaging sexually with a tantra practitioner as a path to healing, is to ask that practitioner to help you come home to your own body first. To help you to listen to yourself, listen to THE Feminine, to guide you into a self pleasuring practice that will be the most fulfilling sex you have ever had. To me, this is what clients need who carry a deep wound of abandonment and who have been sexually abused, not Sex. When we have sex with a tantra practitioner who can really hold us in a safe loving space, the experience is wonderfully expansive while it is happening, but at times, only keeps feeding the abandonment wound when that practitioner returns to their life. So what I see is two things. One, clients project their safety, divinity and bliss onto a tantra practitioner and become somewhat addicted, waiting for the next encounter to the point of following “teachers” around the world just to get another taste of this safety, divinity and bliss. Two, clients find it very difficult to be sated by sex with anyone else, because they have felt what it is like to be with someone very experienced and masterful and who also often carries the “father” projection. Daddy’s finally here….hmmmmmm….what if the father within showed up? What if we empowered clients to experience safety divinity and bliss with themselves through powerful ancient temple rites that do not involve mutually arousing penetrative sex? What if the focus of a clients healing journey into wholeness was guiding them to know and love themselves, to know and love God? To practice healthy boundaries and feel what is and what isn’t in alignment with their authentic being? More empowering perhaps? And then eventually, clients would attract someone that could meet them on their own individual journey who is at a similar phase in their development and in their life. Hmmmm, an interesting contemplation.
2. Am I practicing clear healthy boundaries?
We often find it difficult to even know what our boundaries are because we are not in our bodies and listening. That is why the first point, coming home to your body is so important. Once you feel like you can stay in your body and listen to it, it is time to invoke the archetypal Warrior and put your sword down. The warrior archetype teaches us to to be honest with ourselves and others and to be unafraid to see and speak the truth.
Boundaries are one of the highest forms of self love and yet many of us carry shame around expressing our boundaries because we are often taught that pleasing others is more important than honouring ourselves. Or we are afraid to express our boundaries because when we did as children, we were shamed for it or had a threat of punishment/harm. There is no shame in having healthy boundaries. You have a right to claim your space in the world. More than a right, you are meant to claim your space. If you do not make this claim, then you will always be occupied by something or someone else. Boundaries represent your integrity and are a reflection of your self-worth. Challenges with boundaries can be traced to times in your life when they were possibly violated so it is essential that you heal these times in your life. There are many ways of doing this. Sacred spot and EFT and the most powerful in my opinion.
To practice healthy boundaries one must also have a strong sense of self-worth which can take time. Often it is because of our lack of valuing ourselves that we allow another’s yes to become more important than our no. So on a deep level it is essential to know the Truth of who you are – that you are so fucking worth being completely loved and cherrished and treated as precious, every one of you, and to know what it is that is in alignment with your true self and what is not. This is your boundary. This is what you are responsible for maintaining and holding first in yourself, and then in communicating it with another.
It takes a lot of practice to say No with love, grace and self respect instead of saying yes to please others. It also takes courage to speak up and tell the truth, your truth without being afraid of disappointing someone or being rejected by them. Your truth is not always going to resonate with what someone else wants, but we need to trust that this is perfect for their souls journey. If we are in our truth, then we can trust the gifts that will come from that truth. One of my core limiting beliefs has been to neglect my own needs and give people exactly what they need or want so they will think I am some super woman and love me.
But this doesn’t work. It just creates resentment. We must express ourselves instead of tolerating. I know this sounds really simple, but I assure you that it is not, it can actually be very uncomfortable to be true to ourselves and it really brings up the fear of loss. What if we lose someone we love when we express our truth? Scarey. And yet the irony is, anyone who rejects you when you express your truth, does not really love you for YOU in any case. They simply love you for how well you do at pleasing them and at not rocking the boat.
To be in alignment with your true self and to have the capacity to express healthy boundaries you need to take the time to know yourself, know your values, know what YOU want and what you don’t want. You then need to honour yourself instead of playing the role of ideal woman/ideal man which actually gets you nowhere in the long run. BE YOU. Say no without any guilt or shame. This means no long-winded explanations or excuses. As you learn to set healthy boundaries, you’ll gain Self-confidence and most importantly Self-love—essential traits to being empowered and living in alignment with your truest hearts desires. Once you have clearly defined your physical and emotional boundaries, you no longer hold yourself responsible for other people’s emotions and you no longer settle for anything other than what you absolutely deserve. This ultimately leads to much healthier and more deeply satisfying relationships.
PLEASE if you feel as though you need guidance and support around coming home to your body and/or expressing healthy boundaries come and see me or a practitioner you resonate with. I am available for Skype sessions for those who do not live in Perth.