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Self Care After Trauma and Emotional Abuse

Intuition can be difficult for abuse survivors, because we have learned to doubt our inner voice. How can we regain this invaluable tool?

  1. Peace
    One of the hardest things to do after a traumatic situation is to slow down and take care of ourselves. Often times, our minds are racing and our lives are a mess, but we can use these challenging times to learn how to build a better relationship with ourselves.

    I just finished reading the book Inside by Sarah Brassard, which taught me so many skills for self-care. I loved the book so much that I asked Sarah to do a quick interview for PF, which she kindly agreed to!

    At 99 cents on Amazon.com for the book's Release Day, it's less than a cup of coffee for some invaluable lifelong wisdom.

    Jackson: On page 173 of Inside, you wrote: “I felt like I needed to protect myself from love, or more specifically, the threat that it could be taken away at any time.” Many of our readers resonate with that fear, after an abrupt and unexpected end to an otherwise cherished relationship. How can we learn to let go of this fear, when our bodies seem to be working on overdrive to protect us from the same pain happening again? How can we balance protection with love?

    Sarah: We will always have an imprint of our history, it is what makes each of us so individual and special, but without holistic healing of body, mind, heart and spirit, we hold on to trauma, and it effects everything we do. This intensity of suffering took my life to the next step. I had to learn how to revisit pain without it threatening my wellbeing. My portal was self care. Self care turns your focus from the fragile outer circumstances of life to inner wisdom.

    Life felt so fragile to me for so long and because loss and abandonment were my triggers, I had to find a place that was dependable and constant….forever. I identified that place as my spirit and within that spirit, my soul. This is what I focus on everyday, I do my best to never compromise the care I give myself because each time I listen deeply to all the elements of my life (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) there is a message there for me, messages I don’t ignore. It is through this self consideration and respect that I have moved through the threatening experiences of my childhood and grown towards faith and trust. It is through this self care practice that I now rely more on faith than fear.

    Jackson: One of your chapters begins with a powerful statement: “You are sacred”. For many abuse survivors, this notion seems so far out of reach. When someone is battling feelings of brokenness or unworthiness, how can they learn to embrace this truth?

    Sarah: I believe we are sacred with all my heart. I also know how energetically far away from feeling sacred we can get at times, especially when we are managing sadness, depression, anxiety and distrust.

    There is no magic wand that brushes over us and takes away the desperation. In fact, it is those hurtful experiences that become the fertile ground for our healing, once we get strong enough, by devoting ourselves to self care, we heal through them.

    One of my beloved teachers says," it is not despite the hurt that you have grown strong, it is because of the hurt that you have grown strong.” The cornerstone for this healing is a daily practice, I write about this a lot in my book. Everyday you go to your practice, you discover something new about who you are. You become a student of your life, opening your perspective to everything that makes you, YOU. That is where the sacred aspects of each us of resides.

    Jackson: Your book talks a lot about changing ourselves in order to change the unsatisfactory patterns in our lives. When it comes to attracting healthy partners after a toxic experience (or several), what are the most important things a person can explore internally?

    Sarah: Meditation, a self-care practice, interacting with nature, and any other practice that fills you up. Each time you fill yourself up, you raise your energetic vibration. This gives you strength to reprogram old ways of being, and explore new supportive, life sustaining behaviors. It may sound like an oversimplification but this really works. In my life, I noticed that once I devoted myself to a dedicated healing path, the people and experiences I drew to me were of a much higher vibration and not only supportive of great new experiences but felt so much more aligned with how I wanted to live and feel .

    Jackson: I love how you described intuition as “whispers of the spirit”. For many abuse survivors, intuition becomes a tricky subject because we have learned to doubt our inner voice. How can we regain this invaluable tool, without the side-effects of hyper vigilance?

    Sarah: Self-care brings us home. Our inner voice, intuition, and spirit are always with us, but it’s hard to hear when there are unresolved issues because there is so much noise. Our imbalanced ego takes over, echoing our sadness and desperation and worst of all, in a depleted state, we believe it.

    Daily practice allows us to take the reigns, our committed act, indicates to the imbalanced ego that we will not permit this abuse any longer. Before long, we start to hear the whisper of the spirit again and after months and years of a self care practice and meditation, the voice of the spirit gains strength and confidence.

    I think its hard not to be hyper vigilant in the beginning, life’s sadnesses and heart break leave their mark on us. I look at hyper vigilance as determination to get it right this time and after a certain amount of time with a dedicated daily practice the hyper vigilance organically fades in to the background.

    Jackson: Your book mentions that repressing emotional pain and trauma can cause long-lasting maladies. If our bodies have numbed out this pain, how can we get back in touch with it? And once we're back in touch with it, how do we release or heal it, instead of repressing it?

    My book addresses healing the body holistically and that there is no part of you that heals independent to the other. Each element (body, mind, heart and spirit) depends on the strength of the other elements and without that strength and balance whole healing isn’t possible.

    In my workshops, retreats, and private work, daily practice (meditation), self care, and identifying what brings you joy (a deeply personal expression) are the initial focus. Once this has been established, the only thing that you have to do is dedicate yourself to the practice. We often want to make it more complicated than that but truthfully, that is what it takes.

    I often work closely with therapist and my clients. You have to revisit the pain to heal through it, to do that work you’ll need a skilled therapist on the healing team. My 90 day program encourages this partnership, because hurt, sadness, and deep trauma are revealed through a consecutive day practice.

    My hope and prayer is that I have demystified the practice of meditation and self care and delivered a dependable guide to my readers that allows them to interact with an ancient practice that will bring them Inside, the only place where true healing and happiness can happen.


    Jackson: Thank you so much for taking this time to share with our readers, Sarah! Self-care and meditation are gateways to peace after a chaotic situation, and I think it's amazing that you have dedicated your life to helping others find that peace.

    Inside is now available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle ($0.99)

    You can learn more about Sarah Brassard:
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Article Author: Peace