#metoo moment has kindled a fire in us. The social media is ablaze with rage fanning emotions of frustration and hatred from both sides, including those who are blessed with no such scars. Imagine what happens to those who are reliving their horrors. Imagine all those suppressed subconscious memories being released and the abused are now facing new unprocessed narratives. Suddenly all the nightmares begin to re-materialize. The monsters and the battles come alive. They can no longer be chalked aside as mysterious metaphysical beings but realistic reminders of mortal trauma.
“It took me 20 years to share my #metoo narrative with my mother. I remember telling her as she was holding my then week-old daughter in her arms. Struck by the three generations of the divine feminine and still flooding with maternal hormones, I then made the firm decision to be bold by having a heart to heart with my mother. I so wanted to protect my baby girl from the cruel unsafe world. Still filled with shame and fear I made myself vulnerable to my mother as I disclosed one of my deep dark hidden secrets. As I shared my narrative I felt thirteen again. Away flew my composure and matured dignity. I felt raw and exposed sitting before my mother sharing a piece of my past. I heard my words echo. My heart throbbing like a distant drum beating a familiar rhythm. My uncontrollable sobs drowning my thoughts. Heavy and burdened by the past I sank into the chair. Through the renewed grief filled echoes I heard “there is nothing I can do about this. You should have told me then.” As her words sank in I felt betrayed. I was distraught.”
So very often we miss the signs of our loved ones in pain. In Jessica’s case (name changed with permission to maintain confidentiality), those around her seemed oblivious to most of the signs she exhibited. Her nonverbal signs that were vital red flags screaming “Help me, save me” were overlooked. Jessica was a victim of repeated child molestation and physical abuse in a joint family system. Growing up her silent cries for help were brushed aside by labels of “moody” and “problematic” child. How does one recognize a child’s silent cry you may ask. According to various medical professionals and law enforcement there are three types of child abuse; physical, sexual and emotional. Physical abuse is mostly visible in the form of bruises or cuts. There are also those where a child can be placed in harm’s way such as throwing objects at a child or holding a child under water. Sexual abuse not only includes physical contact but also exposures to sexual content like sexting, flashing genitals or telling dirty jokes. Emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior which directly includes ignoring, shaming, yelling, criticizing including witnessing such behaviors.
Focusing on the #metoo movement, let’s talk about subtle and obvious signs of sexual abuse that parents and caregivers should pay attention to. Most common symptoms are social avoidance, depressive mood or mood swings, sudden change in behavior or eating habits, increase in headaches and stomachaches, isolation, lack of general interest, drop in grades, poor hygiene, sudden change in body weight, excessive sleeping including suicide ideation.
Often an abuser is known to the victim. An abuser may use psychological weapons as verbal abuse such as criticism, direct or indirect death threats, shaming and/or religion. An abuser may also use physical abuse such as punishment rationing food. I understand this can be scary. Being vigilant and asking the right questions can empower your child. Be mindful of your own emotions prior to addressing your concerns with your child. Remember traumatic experiences equal active distress. Be gentle. Listen. Get professional help when needed. Keep children safe. Stop child sexual abuse. Help your child grow into a healthy successful adult.
Valentine’s Day is soon approaching, and some of us are secretly wishing for a surprise from a loved one or desiring that someone could love them. Love is a complex emotion. It can be full of fuzzy exciting feelings, and yet have a shadow of deep obsessive yearning. Nevertheless, Valentine’s Day stirs up complexity and can be confusing for young adults. Our culture bombards us with a narrative of what an “ideal” Valentine’s Day should look like. Hardly does anyone talk about what it is like for those experiencing heartbreak or those who are protective of their hearts in fear of rejection or broken trust.
Wouldn’t it be nice for us to celebrate Valentine’s day by loving ourselves first? How about giving ourselves roses, a box of delicious chocolate, booking a spa day, or gifting a bottle of sweet and delightful wine? Celebrating and loving ourselves for who we are, then expanding that love to celebrate those who mean much to us, would enhance love immensely. It will also help us to reach out to those who don’t have a Valentine to celebrate the day with.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to teach our children the value of selflove and how to expand their hearts to others? Being a mom of two teenagers, I often talk to them about the importance of self-worth and how loving themselves unconditionally allows them to open their hearts to receiving love. We need to start early with our children by creating positive emotions, as this lays a foundation for further relationships. Teaching our daughters to love themselves, and doing so through example, will help them grow into confident women that will always have a part reserved in their hearts for themselves. Teaching our sons to love themselves, also by example, will help them grow into passionate men: emotionally fulfilled and sharing of their love with their partners and children alike.
Caroline Fernandes is a certified hypnotherapist, holistic wellness life coach, Reiki master and an integrative psychotherapist. She specializes in energy psychology and conducts international workshops on integrating Eastern holistic healing methods in psychotherapy. She is a blogger and a published author contributor in ‘Spirituality and Human Psyche’. She is available for consultation on metaphysical, spiritual, dream analysis, & intuitive matters.