For so long I felt like a tiger in a cage.
Locked in. Anxiously pacing back and forth. Hyper vigilant. Always watching.
But I didn't know what I was watching for. Something terrible. Something dark. Something like a hunter threatening to burn down my home and skin me alive.
That's raw survival instincts.
Fight-flight-freeze, a natural response to stress and threat.
And even though we're human, we respond to threat like animals. Only we don't always shake it off as easily.
Trauma happens when we can't shake of threat. When we get stuck in a loop of anxious excitement over things that remind us of a frightening experience.
We freeze ourselves in a state of shock. We hold ourselves back from fighting back and running away in terror. Many times we can't run so we unconsciously learn we are helpless.
When I was a little girl I froze in terror as by OG abuser trespassed on my body.
And for a while I was frozen in time as I repeatedly stepped into relationships and situations that affirmed what my initial trauma taught me to believe about myself, my worth, and my identity. Repeatedly stepping into relationships and situations that have the potential of re-traumatization is actually a trauma response called reenactment. Read more about it here
For nearly 30 years I didn't believe I was worthy or capable of real love, affection, protection, and trust. I chose partners and situations that affirmed that belief and numbed myself with drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy food so I didn't have to feel it. Also known as unconscious psychic protection.
But then I took back my power. Slowly. Healing from trauma takes time.
Some days I can feel my inner caged tiger... pacing.
But when she comes to my mind's eye in a moment of feeling powerless I imagine the gate being unlocked and I set my inner tiger free. I watch her run through fields of tall grass, lay in the warm sun near a stream, and pounce on unsuspecting zebras and gazelles. I see freedom and power in my mind and feel the sensations in my body.
When my inner tigress feels locked away, abandoned, and alone I find ways to set her free with energy clearing, somatic experiencing, body awareness, and different types of meditations. I reclaim my soul, the pieces that were taken and lost along the way. I take responsibility for the destiny I'm meant to live.
Have you ever used visualizations to reframe your trauma? Would you like some guided ones to help you?
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