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Healing Childhood Sexual Abuse: A 7 Step Journey

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Healing Childhood Sexual Abuse: A 7 Step Journey


In a recent episode from my radio show, Uplift Your Life: Nourishment of the Spirit, my guest, Carolin Houser, and I take on the sensitive topic of sexual abuse, and provide tangible methods for healing from the trauma. In addition to sharing some of that information in this blog, Marian Stephens talks about how she is using the information in the episode to change her life. More of Marian’s story and all my previous blogs are on my website, paulajoyce.com. Be sure to check them out.

 Dr. Paula’s Tip of the Week

17,700,000 women have reported sexual violence since 1998. The #metoo movement has sparked a global conversation about the breadth of sexual violence against women, highlighting the need for tools to help survivors heal. Honoring the survivor’s healing process with patience and empathy is vital and will empower them to overcome the trauma they endured.

 Your tip for this week is from my e-book, 33 Tips for Self-empowerment: Allow Yourself to Feel. Robert Frost said: “The only way around it, is through it.” When faced with emotional pain, allow yourself to feel the pain. Then let it go. Crying releases stress hormones from your body. This makes room for the joy. If you have difficulty feeling your emotions, rent a sad movie to help you connect to your feelings. There have been times when I cried, and I wasn’t even sure what caused the tears. I just knew that a deep sadness was coming to the surface and I needed to cry. I don’t apologize for those tears nor do I try to stop them. In fact, a psychologist told me once that when someone is crying, you can comfort them by just being present with them. We often think that it’s helpful to touch their hand or hug them. Those gestures of kindness, however, can cause the person to move out of their emotions and stop crying when what they need is to feel and let the tears do their healing work. When the tears have stopped, we can offer words and hugs of compassion and comfort with the person’s permission. We often rush in thinking we know what’s best or because of our own discomfort with tears or emotions. Part of compassion is learning how to honor and respect the healing process—our own and that of others.

Tears come in their own time and in their own way when the person feels safe enough to accept, process and integrate their own pain. I had one client who was in her 40’s and had never cried over her experience of childhood incest, despite years of counseling and a stay in a residential facility after a nervous breakdown. In our work together, she drew a tear and cried her first tears. Her Higher Self showed her through the drawing that she was ready to express her deep pain and heal the wounded child within. Another client who came to me with debilitating pain, also had never cried over the traumas she experienced as a child and as an adult. Like most women, she didn’t understand that her husband had raped her several times over the years. She assumed that it was his right, as her husband, to have access to her body whenever he chose, even if she said “no.” The fact that she didn’t physically try to fight him off, doesn’t change the fact that he sexually assaulted her. We all have the right to choose when we are available for sex and no one should ever be disrespected sexually by anyone, including, or maybe especially, by their spouse. When the tears came, they were unexpected and overwhelming, and they opened the path for her to finally tell her husband that she had felt violated all of those times when he pushed himself on her after she had said “no.” Those tears also helped her let go of some of the emotional pain that had gotten stuck in her body as physical pain because of the assaults. As we let ourselves become aware of the truth, we can heal.

Dr. Paula’s Silver Lining Story

Treating others with kindness and compassion is more important than we can imagine. The positive impact our words have on a person is immeasurable. Being mindful of how you speak and choosing kindness is an opportunity to create happiness.

 This episode’s silver lining story is short to point out that everything matters when we pay attention and take the time for compassion and kindness. I was having trouble fitting in a client who wanted an extra appointment. I offered to contact her if I had a cancellation, and this was her response: “I’ll wait. I will always have as many questions for you as stars in the night sky. I know you and your team of angels will have the light to make them shine.” I was so touched by her kindness and the poetry of her words. If I hadn’t offered one more option, I would have missed getting this beautiful text. Even trying to set a simple appointment can be an opportunity for silver linings.

 Marian Stephens’ Story

 Each show on Uplift Your Life: Nourishment of the Spirit has an overarching theme which is if you get to the root of your emotional pain and heal it, then you will be able to heal your body and happily manage your life. Today’s show on healing sexual abuse gave me a few solid ways to achieve this. I know I have begun this healing journey with the show because I am tired of just feeling that I am simply surviving; it is time to flourish. As I said in an email earlier this week, “I am a survivor of abuse…”. I want to be able to say I am thriving having had the experience of abuse.

Dr. Paula’s tip for the week is to allow yourself to feel. Abuse is insidious in that it alters your perception and ability to trust, which creates a pattern of negative emotions. The negative emotions are difficult to feel and bring back a sense of trauma, so you squash those down to forget; often squashing down all emotion. Carolin Hauser suggests allowing yourself to feel the sensations that are created in your body, and to sit with the negative emotions. The only way to root out negative emotion is to fully feel it. One of the most difficult emotions for me to feel is anger. So, that has been the emotion that I keep struggling with. I do not trust myself to know when it is appropriate to be angry, so I tell myself to ignore the feeling. That just leads to it building up, and then I get disproportionately angry. This cycle is not getting better, just increasing in frequency. I am going to allow myself to fully experience anger this week, and I started today. I got overly angry and while I forced myself to sit alone and not speak my angry words, I did not force myself to quit feeling angry until it subsided. After I calmed down, I realized that I have a lot of anger towards my abuser that I have no good way to express, which is uncomfortable. So, I suppress all anger, and that is toxic. Maybe if I allow myself to feel anger, I will release the old anger I have pent up inside of me, ultimately not getting so angry so often.

Dr. Paula and Carolin Hauser both expressed that not taking responsibility is one of the main blocks to emotional healing. With abuse, there is a fine line between taking responsibility and blame. Blaming myself or my abuser simply distracts me from healing the emotional pain of what happened. If I view my relationship with my abuser as one that I chose before this life started, a soul contract meant to help me learn and grow, I think I can begin to reconcile the emotional pain that is contributing to the progression of my multiple sclerosis. Raising a child with special needs, divorce, an abusive relationship, and chronic illness are big lessons to learn in a lifetime. I do believe if I heal the pain from each of these experiences I will be able to reach my potential, including a physically healthy and able body.

 Dr. Paula’s Coaching Response

 Marian, I continue to be impressed with the way you take the content of each show and use it to grow. When you’re being abused, a lot of anger does build up and you have no safe way to release it. Now you can. So, yes, allow yourself to feel it and then use these techniques to release the anger.

1.     Breathe out the anger with a big sigh and imagine that the breath is releasing toxins in the color of grey. Then take in a deep breath of pink air and see it filling your body with emotionally healing energy and light. Do this until the anger passes.

2.     Turn your anger into righteous indignation that helps to solve the problem. For instance, make even a small donation to a women’s shelter; speak out against abuse, as you are doing in this blog; and/or volunteer at a women’s shelter; and realize that healing yourself is helping to heal your family line.

3.     Write and/or draw your angry thoughts and feelings until the anger is spent.

 For more shows on healing from the trauma of abuse, please listen to:

 ·       Healing Trauma Through Spirituality with Dr. Christine Courtois

·       Limitless Possibility with Tracie Stafford with Tracie Stafford

·       Emotional Abuse How to Recognize It and Heal with Dr. Marti Loring


To learn more about my unique process that removes hidden blockages, helps you solve your most challenging problems, and achieve success with ease and speed, sign up for my newsletter and receive the chapter as my gift: http://paulajoyce.com/wpsite/newsletter-sign-up/


From Pain to Gain: Changing your perspective on the negatives of life, and using pain to your advantage By Dr. Lisa Cooney

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From Pain to Gain: Changing your perspective on the negatives of life, and using pain to your advantage By Dr. Lisa Cooney

Is there still pain lingering in the background of your being, even though you’ve freed yourself from the infliction? Have you been told who you should be, or how you should behave?  Do you feel like you’re walking on eggshells, but can’t seem to push yourself onto a new path? I have experienced many of these moments of pain in the past. I simply chose to believe lies for far too long, that disempowered me…That had me agreeing with others opinions of me that were UNTRUE.

I’ve emphatically demanded that me, my body, and the universe, create and empower me, as I choose to be. I speak up for those that can’t yet. I live for the eradication of abuse off of this planet. So, let us explore and uncover, what YOU can gain, from the pain of the lies that were embedded in you, that blurred the definition of the TRUE YOU. What could life be, if you chose to change the perspective on the negatives of life, and used the experiences for your advantage?

Let’s shift from pain to GAIN.

How You Can Become a Peak-Performing Person and Leader: Tackling Taboo Realities Like Sexual Violence and Tobacco Use Head-On by Hemda Mizrahi

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How You Can Become a Peak-Performing Person and Leader: Tackling Taboo Realities Like Sexual Violence and Tobacco Use Head-On by Hemda Mizrahi

Peter Prichard Photo Cropped Sarah Beaulieu Photo Cropped

Leadership and social change experts Peter Prichard and Sarah Beaulieu joined me on “Turn the Page” to discuss two taboo topics—tobacco use and sexual violence. In sharing compelling personal stories that galvanized their social change missions, Peter and Sarah demonstrate how truth-telling can empower you to become a peak-performing person and leader who chooses to make a difference

Sarah and Peter extended their information sharing after the show to provide you with additional support and encouragement.

Sarah notes, “One challenge with sexual violence is that many people view it as a “women’s issue.” Sexual violence directly impacts about one out of four women AND one out of six men in the United States. You can learn more about the facts surrounding men and sexual violence at: http://theenlivenproject.com/convo-graphic-the-truth-about-men-and-sexual-violence/

Sarah is working on a book to help men support survivors of sexual violence in their lives and become stronger champions for sexual violence. If you’d like to contribute your perspective to this book, please complete her men’s survey and invite your colleagues and friends to do the same

She shares a few of the many practical ways that you can support stigmatized issues like sexual violence without re-vamping your company’s community relations efforts: follow an anti-sexual violence organization on social media; sponsor a table at a fundraising event; or provide skilled volunteer support to group that works directly with survivors.

She also suggests exploring how sexual violence might intersect with issues that you or your employer already support, citing the following examples: “while childhood exposure to sexual violence can impact your physical and mental health (http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy), few organizations that focus on heart disease, diabetes, or obesity view sexual violence prevention and response as a part of their own work to eliminate these chronic conditions.

Similarly, sexual abuse or assault at home drives many adolescents into the foster care system, or homelessness, which in turn places them at higher risk. Groups committed to ending homelessness for teens ought to consider sexual violence prevention as a part of their strategy. Finally, sexual violence prevention can help to increase rates of high school graduation. According to America’s Promise Alliance (http://www.americaspromise.org), students need safe spaces and social supports to learn and thrive. That includes a home and school life free of sexual violence.”


“In my experience as a leadership development consultant and career coach, individuals who create a specific statement about who they are and what they represent are better positioned to tackle taboo realities or other difficult situations that confront them.” He references Stephen Covey’s best-selling book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” as a valuable resource for creating a personal mission statement (refer to Covey’s chapter on Habit 2, “Begin with the end in mind.”). In Covey’s words, here’s what this declaration can do for you: “Once you have that sense of mission, you have the essence of your own proactivity. You have the vision and the values, which direct your life.  You have the basic direction from which you set your long-and short-term goals.”

Peter recommends Dr. Al Siebert’s book, “The Resiliency Advantage: Master Change, Thrive Under Pressure, and Bounce Back From Setbacks,” and the confidential, free-of-charge, Resiliency Quiz available through Dr. Siebert’s site, www.resiliencycenter.com. The quiz will help you to identify and enhance the behaviors through which you respond to challenges.

Referring to a June 2006 Harvard Business Review article entitled “Leadership Run Amok: The Destructive Potential of Overachievers,” Peter cautions: “Many overachievers act in a way that lessens positive feelings in others.” He points to the research of Jim Collins in his monograph “Good to Great and the Social Sectors,” which describes the most effective Level 5 Leaders as “ambitious first and foremost for the cause, the movement, the mission, the work—not themselves.”

Understanding what you have to offer is foundational to leading yourself and others through difficult change initiatives. Peter’s websites offer tools through which you can inventory the range of competencies that will enable you to contribute to a positive result:
www.makebigtobaccounprofitable.com  AND  www.workforthecommongood.com.

Peter identifies Dr. Paul Bendheim’s, book “The Brain Training Revolution: A Proven Workout for Healthy Brain Functioning,” as a comprehensive, well-researched, and practical guide for accessing your mental capacity to confront challenges. Regardless of the resources you choose to engage, designing a lifestyle that enhances your physical and mental functioning will equip you to contribute to the common good more effectively and over a longer period of time.”

“Facing a traumatic experience like sexual violence has taught me about resilience and strength, and enhanced my ability to support others in their leadership pathways.”

Peter’s own mission statement is reflected in two books that he’s written to bring into focus realities surrounding sexual violence and tobacco use amongst teens, and solutions: “Dawn of Hope” AND “Dawn of the Tobacco Wars: The Sequel to Dawn of Hope”.

We all have at least one torch to light! Sarah and Peter have inspired me to light mine! How about you? Listen to our conversation and learn more

FROM TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH: National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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FROM TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH: National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

AprilJFord PurpleProfile

April Joy Ford, from Tragedy to Triumph, audiences love her positive and practical advice for living happier lives each day. This Best-Selling Author of ‘You Are Not Alone’ is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and widowed mother of two who turned her pain into a systematic method for reversing sadness. She is so inspiring and upbeat despite all the terrible things that have happened to her in her life that others are not only becoming inspired but empowered.

April wants you to think outside of the box and expand your awareness, thought process and perception on ‘Domestic’ Violence. This just doesn’t start and end with the involved spouse. Speaking from April’s experience, her mother was a victim of domestic violence however it caused a ripple/domino effect to the rest of the household, hence the little girl at 9 years old (April) who faced emotional, mental, physical and even sexual abuse.

If this is your local city, tune in to listen as they interview April on how you can get empowered to take a stance and BREAK THE SILENCE & CYCLE!

Benson, Minnesota (KMBO)
Kansas City, MO (KMXV/KFKF)
Falls City, Nebraska (KTNC)   10/19
Billings, Montana (KBLG)   10/19
Spirit Lake, Iowa (KUQQ)   10/20
Nebraska City, NB (KBIE)
Tuscumbia, AL (WZZA)
Aberdeen, WA (KBKW) 11/13
more cities…
*check your local listings for times


The Orgasmic Body

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The Orgasmic Body


Pleasure? Orgasm? Joy? If you experienced childhood sexual abuse, these words may seem foreign. And they may even seem an impossibility. This is because during childhood sexual abuse, your body, energy and space are invaded. The experience can become too painful to tolerate. There is fear, confusion, shock, and in many cases dissociation. This is when you check out and split off your awareness from what is going on in your body. As a result you may now find yourself closed off to feeling anything: pain and pleasure.

Your body, your sexualness and your relationships are all impacted by the insidious ghost of abuse. Your abuse is still controlling you, even though it was years ago. Dissociation locks in your body all the pain and shame. You then struggle with opening up to receiving any kind of support, pleasure and intimacy. This causes great challenges in your relationships, your health, your finances and specifically your body. So what do you do to take the control back? How do you unlock your body from this pain so you can begin to enjoy being you and being in your body?

Join us for this revolutionary conversation in which we answer these
questions and more in my upcoming radio show, “Beyond Abuse, Beyond Therapy, Beyond Anything,” on June 17th @ 10am PST/1pm EST. I’ll be joined by Dr. Dain Heer, Co-Founder of Access Consciousness and author of, “Being You Changing the World.” Dain will share his own unique perspective on how he overcame his abuse and went on to experience greater pleasure, joy and the “orgasmic body.” For more information please visit my website Dr. Lisa Cooney.

Cynthia Brian Interviews USA Best Selling Author of Breathing Series Trilogy

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Cynthia Brian Interviews USA Best Selling Author of Breathing Series Trilogy

         The Breathing Series, Brain Boosting Beverages, Price of Privacy

     Welcome to Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!® with your hosts Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany on the Voice America Empowerment Channel.  Our goal is to seed, stimulate, and support space for positive, meaningful conversations that will get you talking around the dinner table.

Rebecca Donovan is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the highly-acclaimed New Adult trilogy, The Breathing Series. Her novels include: Reason to Breathe, Barely Breathing, and the Out of Breath. Rebecca talks to Cynthia Brian about her first book, Reason to Breath, one girl’s story of life-changing love, unspeakable cruelty, and her precarious grasp of hope.

What are the two beverages that boost our brain power? A clue, one wakes you up and the other relaxes you. In Health Matters, Heather Brittany and Cynthia Brian talk about the two drinks that when consumed in moderation, keep you young and may prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Is our privacy an illusion? With the race to the internet fueled by social networking posts and the data collected about us by the National Security Agency, our secrets may not be confidential anymore. Cynthia Brian investigates the price we pay protecting personal privacy.

Listen to the program at the Voice America Network: 

Listen at StarStyle® Radio: http://starstyleradio.com/Starstyle_Radio/Entries/2013/10/2_The_Breathing_Series%2C_Beverage_Brain_Boosters%2C_The_Illusion_of_Privacy.html

Buy books by Cynthia Brian at  http://starstyleradio.com/RADIO_SHOWS/Store.html

The award winning positive talk radio program, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasts on the Voice America Empowerment Channel LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5pm Pt/7-8pm ET.  http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are.  Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany are the Mother/Daughter dynamic duo who have been co-hosting this program live weekly since 1998 bringing upbeat, life enhancing conversation to the world. With Cynthia’s expertise in interviewing the trailblazers, authors, and experts and Heather’s healthy living segments, these Goddess Gals are your personal growth coaches helping you to jumpstart your life while igniting your flame of greatness. 

Brought to the airwaves under the auspices of the literacy and positive media charity, Be the Star You Are!®, (http://www.BetheStarYouAre.org) each program will pump your energy to help you live, love, laugh, learn, and lead.

Previous guests and fans of the program on World Talk Radio will always be able to access the archives at http://www.voiceamerica.com/worldtalkradio/vshow.aspx?sid=764.

Tune in the Power Hour every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT/70-8pmET at http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are.  and join our empowerment party.

For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more, visit http://www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Get inspired, motivated, and informed with StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®

Lend us Your Ears!!!

 Make a donation today to Be the Star You Are!® charity http://www.bethestaryouare.org/donate.htm


Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.  
Cynthia will answer one or more questions every other issue as space allows. Email your comments or questions to Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com 
Cynthia Brian is the producer and host of StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® heard LIVE every Wednesday on the Voice America Empowerment Channel from 4-5pm PT at . More information is available at http://www.StarStyleRadio.com



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