Loving a Survivor: How Prolonged Trauma Impacts Relationships

Women, generally speaking, are empathic creatures by nature. Some deem empathy a curse, others a powerful gift. Nevertheless, we feel every sentiment as deeply as we feel every chastising word…down to our very core. And with each blow endured, we slowly forged the piecemeal armor that now adorns our delicate skin. Yet a kind word and gentle touch from a kindred soul has the power throw all inhibition out the window. We are but living, breathing paradoxes, one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.

But sometimes, we guard ourselves so relentlessly that we block the greatest gift of all: LOVE. We build walls so high that even the most skilled climbers come crashing down before reaching the summit. Sometimes, we even become so bitter that we conclude an opinion about men in general, forming the very stereotypes that we, ourselves, oppose.

However, there are also those of us who are brave enough to give love another chance. The ones who never turn their backs on love because we know in our hearts that there are still good people in this world. Though we are not without flaws either. Because sometimes when we enter relationships while we are still trying to heal, we unconsciously project our pain and emotions onto our partners.

Many women can conceal emotions as if they have never known heartache at all.  But often things occur that trigger the pain we’ve buried within our bones. Those suppressed emotions then float up to the surface where we relive them all over again causing us to compare, to remember things we would rather forget, and to feel the very things we have avoided. We may then unconsciously hold the person we love accountable for someone else’s mistakes. This is extremely unjust and unfair, to us and those we hold dear to our hearts.  It is also why healing is vital to our growth!

I once made the mistake of committing myself to a relationship with a man at a time when I barely knew or even liked myself, much less loved myself. I was just beginning my healing process and having the veil ripped from eyes at the same time. I was miserable in almost every life situation and circumstance around me. My heart was full of anger, resentment, confusion and bitterness, but when he came in things seemed to get a little brighter in my world. Yet no matter how hard he tried, he still wasn’t able to stop the darkness from consuming me when it came to feast. No matter what he did to try to please me, it was never enough. I blamed him for my suffering and misery. I know that it wasn’t really his fault, nor was it his responsibility to save me from myself. But that wisdom didn’t come until now.

Here we are years later and I am finding myself full circle once again, spiraling back to the lessons I failed to learn then. The same pattern is emerging in my current relationship and I am finding myself conflicted by my own afflictions. Is this my own inner turmoil surfacing and I just fail to recognize it? Are these red flags I am seeing figments of my imagination designed by my own unhealed trauma and insecurities? Am I making things worse in my head than they actually are to subconsciously continue a pain cycle? Or am I really seeing and feeling these things as they are? These are the thoughts that plague my sanity. These are the parasites that feast on the soul of a warrior who has spent an entire lifetime mastering survival mode. These are my ugliest of truths, the demons I have come to know by name.

You see, no matter how happy I am when we are together, or how much joy he brings to my life, I must also be completely accepting of myself and content with my solitude. Otherwise, I am not whole on my own and healthy, which means I will seek wholeness from another. And if that is the case, then I am certainly not the proper vessel for the embodiment of my higher-self and I cannot truly live an authentic life aligned with my soul.  I know that now. I deeply want to be all of those things.

I am working hard at healing my scars to ensure that they no longer bleed on those I love. I want to be healthy, happy, full of life and vibrant energy, smiling, laughing, joking, light-hearted and free to genuinely be myself. But I have let my pain become my hindrance for so long that I forgot how to enjoy these things, and I feel myself longing desperately to remember.

I am learning. I am growing. I am healing. But this process is absolutely fucking brutal! It’s the destruction and reconstruction of my heart. It’s the dearmoring of false protection and delayering of programming from my body. It is painstaking and unnerving at times, leaving me wandering aimlessly through the catacombs of my mind on a search and rescue mission to find my inner child. And I have come to realize that the man who loves me likely feels this confusion and pain as well, especially when I cannot explain what I’m experiencing and I instead project my emotions onto him.

Women tend to forget sometimes that men too can be emotional and vulnerable. They carry pain and sorrow around like heavy baggage, much the same as we do, although they are often better at keeping their feelings hidden. We need to remind ourselves that they too have experienced heartbreak, betrayal and loss.

Learning who I am carries a great responsibility to take ownership of my life, my choices, my feelings, my faults, my needs, etc. It dawned on me today that I likely make the man I love feel the same way I have felt most of my life – like nothing he does is ever good enough for me – but that simply isn’t true. I have pointed out his “flaws” and the things he does wrong, and even things he doesn’t do to meet my often-impossible standards, yet I seldom take into account all that he does right. When I am on an emotional warpath, he becomes my target simply because he is the closest person to me. That is completely unfair and is actually borderline gaslighting. It is a narcissistic means of shifting blame to another instead of taking responsibility for myself. That learned behavior ends here. I know better, therefore I must do better.

Self-reflection has shown me some profound revelations. I know I am often an overly sensitive mess of emotions, but my heart is in the right place. I know I sometimes expect too much and give too little in return. I also know I am not always the person I should be, but I am trying to be the best ME that I can be. Although our lives have been extremely traumatic and tumultuous since childhood, we are both healing, learning and growing and I pray every day that we have the strength to survive these trying times together.

As a society, we must remember to show compassion to one another when words fail, and to have patience with each other when insecurities prevail. You see, we have all been devastated at some point. So it is imperative to heal and to love ourselves so that we may lead and teach others how to love us by example. Unchain your heart from the shackles of past trauma. Elevate one another and give your love a chance to bloom into something beautiful.

Love always,

D. Luna

👑🌛🌝🌜👑

Trauma – A Doorway to Divinity

Trauma has been like a close friend of mine since I entered this incarnation. I am no stranger to suffering at the grips of her merciless hands, or to feeling claustrophobic within the self-imposed mental prisons I lock myself behind to seek solace from her infliction. My mind often becomes the dark labyrinth that I must somehow learn to escape without a compass to lead me back to the light. I rely heavily on internal astral navigation to guide me. However, at times I find myself shipwrecked, lost on the shore of the tiny peninsula floating somewhere between the right and left hemispheres of my brain, struggling to make logical sense of my emotions. Mission impossible, if you will. I find myself there today.

Today makes 6 days since I was both physically and mentally battered, and held hostage in my own home by a man who claimed to care about me. You would think under these circumstances that my mental filmstrip would resemble scenes from a Lifetime movie, but all I can think about in this moment is how our entire universe supposedly was created in only 6 days. SIX DAYS! I think perhaps creation and destruction live out the same life span because for me the entire world stopped spinning 6 days ago.

My sun has grown dark and ominous, the sky cries every tear my eyes have yet to shed and it wails in agony, howling like the whipping winds that attempted to uproot me. My majestic moon has lost her glow and even the tides now cease to ebb and flow. I find myself trapped in a state of suspended animation where everything moves around me but my body feels like its hibernating through a frigid winter. And though all my sensory receptors are at their peak, I feel completely dead inside, numb, as if the weight of my own limbs is almost too heavy a load to bear. I have become completely cumbersome.

I find myself weighing my trauma on an unbalanced scale, as if one event is more or less impactful than another. I think of all the possible ways I could have handled this situation differently. I have listened to all the “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve” rants from those who would never even try on my shoes, much less walk in them. I have analyzed the scenario repeatedly from every perspective possible only to conclude that I need to just accept the fact that I handled things the best way I could have. I must also realize that hindsight is 20/20 and while people talk a good game, survival wears a different guise before innocent eyes. Through this experience I am learning that my reaction to external events is not typical, but that is okay. My atypical response to trauma is the very reason I am still here to speak of such an atrocity, and I did not become another statistic.

While my life certainly feels like it is in shambles right now, at least I am still here. I am still fighting to make a positive impact on this wretched world. I am still breathing, and I am still standing on my own two feet trying to pick up my broken pieces and put them back together. My descent is not my demise. I am merely resting, gathering my strength and spiritual arsenal to defeat the demons who dare to test my will. I am truly a Goddess (as I was reminded by my best friend); I don’t just call myself that. I have a divine purpose here. I was given this life to live because I am strong enough to withstand the storms that shower over my soul. So to you most high, beloved Pachamama, I say, let it rain! Come and cleanse me of this pain. Blessed be.
-Dena M. Daigle

The Path of the Wounded Healer

The path of the Healer isn’t for the faint of heart, especially when you’re still learning to heal yourself. I find myself often wondering who heals the healer? Sure, faith makes a fine pillow, but there isn’t much rest here for a weary soul. I understand why many healers never embrace their calling; because they’re so bogged down by their own mental health.

I speak of my personal struggles openly because so many of us struggle in similar ways, but do so in silence with no one to turn to because we try so hard to blend in and appear “normal.” I want anyone walking this path who feels the way I do to know they are not alone. As a Wounded Healer, it is important to take time for your own mental health as well. You can give of yourself and share your heart but setting boundaries is vital to the sanctity of your gifts.

I’ve always been quiet about my gifts, and with good reason. Society is straight up savage! Come out talking about being a Healer and watch the adversity you’re faced with. You will be mocked, ridiculed, tested and even laughed at most of the time. Stand in your authenticity anyway!

Suppressing your gifts only creates more anxiety and additional stress. Healing gifts are a constant FLOW, and when not used properly, the energy of these gifts can backfire and create all kinds of trouble. And remember, the ones who need your guidance will gravitate toward you anyway while the others will simply fall back because they cannot tune in to your higher frequency.

Transmutation of suffering into healing is the Wounded Healer’s most precious gift of all and that healing helps the entire world evolve in consciousness. It starts with you!

-Dena M. Daigle  ❤ 🙏

Bittersweet Endings

It’s been over 3 weeks since my world was shaken and flipped upside-down. Speaking specifically about the ending of my relationship, I am finally able to open up about it without breaking down into tears which, oddly enough, brings me comfort knowing that a deep healing is taking place. Pain is merely the catalyst.

Make no mistake, there will be no mud-slinging in this post, no bitter blame game, no destruction of character by words, etc. No, this post is about growth. This is about gaining wisdom through personal experience. This is about approaching a deeper level of understanding when it comes to love, loss and the pain that comes along with it. This post is about me reclaiming my inner peace, surrendering to the divine flow and graciously letting go of what no longer nourishes my soul. This is my declaration that the war is over.

“When you’re willing to feel it, you can heal it,” is a quote that has never resonated with me quite as deeply as it does today. You see we are taught early on to run away from pain.  We mask it with makeup, dark shades and fake smiles; we drink until we can’t remember our own names, much less why we are suffering; or we find temporary comfort in the arms of another while closing our eyes and envisioning someone else. We will literally do anything in our power to avoid it and just hope that one day it will subside. What we fail to realize, is that by doing so we are merely burying a bomb beneath the soil of our hearts and waiting for someone new to step on the pressure plate.

Personally, I have found comfort in surrounding myself with the people that I love and in doing things to keep myself busy and my mind distracted. Seems innocent enough, but it is still an effort to avoid feeling pain; a coping mechanism if you will, much like those that I mentioned above. Yet, at the end of the day when all is quiet and still, chaos of thought consumes me and I am once again faced with the very agony I tried to ignore.

So it seems the only way through this is to allow myself to feel every single emotion and to stop running from them. I thought I learned that lesson already in other aspects of my healing journey, but as the spiral of life uncoils, here I am once again back to that particular curve to learn a deeper understanding of what I thought I knew. This is the beauty of inner reflection and keeping an open dialogue with your higher self. So here I am, open and raw, fresh wounds still bleeding, welcoming every ounce of pain, recalling every beautiful memory and every transgression that led me here, just trying to stitch my heart back together.

I often hear people say, “Love hurts.” But you know something? I have to disagree with that. Attachment hurts. Unrealistic expectations hurt. Rejection hurts. Conformity for the sake of “love” hurts and resistance to reality hurts, but true love in its purest form does everything except hurt.  Love heals. Love restores. Love replenishes. The real issue is that most of us are ignorant to what love really is, so we confuse it with attachment while having zero knowledge of the difference between the two.  This relationship taught me to distinguish those differences clearly.

You see, attachment is simply a strong bond, the string that connects us to something or someone we admire. When we are merely attached to someone, we are focused upon the ways in which that person can make us happy. In this type of relationship, we become heavily dependent upon our partner to meet our emotional needs. Instead of confronting our own demons, we expect our partners to battle them for us and fix our self-esteem issues.  We expect them to fill a void within. We hold them accountable for our happiness, which places impossible expectations upon them and sets the stage for failure when they cannot meet those expectations. Attachment is self-serving and cumbersome, the complete opposite of love.

While, attachment’s root is based on the fear of being alone, love is the freedom to explore, the freedom to grow. It is limitless and selfless, knowing no boundaries. Love is flexible and ever evolving in nature. It is a partnership that stimulates growth within one another so that each of you may become the best versions of yourself that you can be. It requires transparency and vulnerability. A mutual loving relationship allows us to be our authentic selves without the fear of exposing our weaknesses and having them used against us.

Love is the fertile soil upon which seeds may blossom into something beautiful when given the proper care. However, it requires the understanding that some blooms will flourish in the warmth of Spring only to wither in the chill of Winter, while others are evergreen; yet both require the same amount of sustenance. Love simply provides without expectation.

While I am certainly no relationship expert (my track record can attest to that), I have loved and lost enough to know now that it was never love that hurt me.  And while this relationship had a bittersweet ending, I am thankful for the experience and the lessons that it taught me.

We are creatures of habit and we crave consistency while fearing change. But sometimes that change is exactly what is needed for us to be happy.  So when things change and bring us pain, just remember that there can be no rainbow without a little rain.

Dena M. Daigle (C) 2018

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I Remember

Wide-eyes in amber hues brimming with salty tears
Four years old in red ruffles and day of the week panties
Mama’s precious baby girl
Trembling, frozen with fear, cold and confused
Silenced, but I remember

Truth or dare on the trampoline
Triple dog five second French kiss or eat worms
Mama’s little daredevil
and innocent boys following the footsteps of their forefathers
Busted, I remember

Open window and moonlit shadows dancing on the wall
Thirteen and rebellious; Mama’s little wild child
“Everyone else is doing it. Don’t you love me?”
Pressured, I remember

Head down, tears flowing, pushing past the picket line
Fifteen and pregnant, Mama’s dirty whore
Cold steel forced inside me, life ripped from my womb
“MURDERER!” I remember

Strobe lights and rap music, twerking teenage dreams
Sixteen with nothing to lose, Mama’s party girl
Beer run – two guys in a Chevy truck looking for some fun
“Drink up baby girl.”
Room spinning, losing consciousness. I remember

Bright lights, bloodshot eyes and grunting,
hip bones pounding into supple flesh
Incoherent but coming to, Mama’s naive fool.
Struggling to scream and unable to move
Tossed curbside next to the trashcan, battered and used.
Damaged, I remember

Butterflies taking flight, head floating in the clouds
Young and reckless, making plans for the future
They said we’d never make it so we set out to prove them wrong
Independent and headstrong, Mama’s girl on the run.
Head over heels, I remember

Dimly lit room, cold gel smeared across my belly
fluttering of a tiny heartbeat, fear and joy intertwined
Mama’s gift from the heavens, I shall protect you with my life
I often dreamed of the day I would cradle you in my arms
My existence had a purpose, I remember

Blood dripping down trembling legs,
Blurry lights passing by in a frenzied pace
pain unimaginable as the room fades to black.
Floating between dimensions, struggling to find my way back.
Wings gifted, Mama’s little angel
Inconsolable, I remember

Silence shattered like broken glass
“Ms. Daigle, I’m afraid you may never bear children…”
A woman’s worth destroyed in thirteen syllables
Fertile soil now barren – hopeful heart destroyed and abandoned
Mama said it was for the best, I remember

Consumed by heartache, weighted by grief and despair
I sought love in the form of flying fists and rage
Black eyes and body bruises, Mama taught me well
I deserved it, I remember

Surgical steel piercing my vein
Injecting poison to numb my pain
Mama’s little junkie
There was no escape, I remember.

Body gone limp, heartbeat slowing
Discarded by a coward, left there overdosing
Silent screams as tears rolled down my cheeks
Vomit staining sweat soaked sheets
I am fading and Mama can’t save me now
but I was born a warrior, I remembered

I begged God for mercy and fought my way back to the light
Never again will I be swallowed by the darkness of the night
I am immortal, and I remember everything.

-Dena M. Daigle, 2018

 

This piece was inspired by a beautiful piece written by Rachel Finch that moved me. Her words helped me find the strength to release those that have been locked inside of me. It is a testament to her strength and resilience which we can all appreciate. Rachel’s piece is featured below. 44710536_2209525525995879_526698698571251712_n.jpg

Constellations

If I drew a map for you across my body, one made entirely of stars marking all of the places ever violated by human hands, my bones would be wrapped in a galaxy made of flesh.

A pink protostar would mark the spot where my innocence was once sacred and pure; and those tiny flecks of stardust due north would represent the seeds of my womb that never got to bloom. The black hole covering my mouth would portray the silent screams and pleas for help that were written all over my face, yet no one heard. And the supernova adorning my chest would depict the moment that my heart exploded into millions of pieces because no one would save me.

I’d draw the blue supergiant, Rigel, and its star cluster family to represent the bruises left across my throat by those who hoped to silence me. And if the stars didn’t paint the picture vividly enough, I would sketch a grid around my head to show you the way the fabric of time seems to fold in on itself and repeat in infinite loops of pain.

You see, this is the map leading to the little girl who lost her sense of direction once upon a time in the Milky Way. So if I showed you the way to my soul, would you love me enough to trace my constellations, or would you simply look the other way?

🖤 – Dena M. Daigle  2018

Echoes from the Belfry

Echoes from the Belfry 

For too long those temple walls
were covered in shades of crimson blood;
a palette formed by gaping wounds 
gushing open like a cathartic flood.

Echoes of pain pervaded the halls
with the sounds of screams and violence
like a library of horrors returned from the dead
in moments of preferred silence.

An empty throne sat abandoned
as the kingdom crumbled into ruin
Hope, the only offer of atonement
that remained in this state of undoing.

Then the sky cracked open with a thunderous roar
reverberating through the bell tower;
lightning shattered the stained glass windows
in a magnificent display of power.

And as the fortified ballium began to dissipate,
each brick crashing to the ground,
a slumbering goddess emerged from the rubble
and awakened to reclaim her crown.

-Dena M. Daigle,  2018

 

Bohemian Bodhisattva

I long to take my wanderlust heart on the journey of a lifetime, visiting all the sacred spaces of the ascended masters and feeling their essence within these vagabond bones. I want to surf turquoise seas and lay awake counting shooting stars, getting lost in the acid-like waves of Aurora Borealis. I want to explore foreign lands and fill the empty cups of suffering souls with love, compassion and kindness along the way. I want to share in their laughter as I stumble upon syllables in my attempt to learn their native tongue. I want to dream big and live out loud while jumping from cloud to technicolor cloud. I just want to live a life destined by divine purpose with the freedom to taste the rainbow of every culture around the world. I want to converse freely in the language of no words with the spirits of my ancestors as I let their footprints be my guide along the off-beaten path. I want to stretch my arms out towards the sapphire sky and twirl about the raindrops void of any reason as to why. And I want to savor the stimulation of every sense so intently that I never again question my soul’s purpose. I just want to be completely free, a sovereign spirit wandering the galaxy; the fearless version of the authentic me.

 

– Dena M. Daigle  2018

Silly Girl

Silly girl, look at you! How weak can you possibly be? Screaming in silence while the world dances on around you. You let them kill your light; just rolled on over and watched the darkness swallow you up without even putting up a fight. You had the entire world right there at your fingertips and were too afraid to grasp it. Far too concerned with labels – the ones sewn on your clothes and shoes, and the ones branded upon your skin; too blind to see that none of it even mattered.

Stupid girl, look at you! Parading around town, displaying your flesh upon the alters of ungodly men; worshiping them while down on your knees bathing in lustful sin. You became everything they said you were, as if you had a point to prove.

Scared girl, look at you! Still stuck on Chapter 16 of a book that your tormented soul may never get to complete; too afraid to turn the page; too fearful of your fate sealed within the epilogue.  When are you going to realize that you are the one who holds the pen? Only you get to decide how your story will end.

Sulky girl, look at you! So much to be grateful for yet you dwell on the pain; afraid to smile; unsure how to hide your misty eyes without the safety of the rain. It is time to feel the warmth of the sun. Bask in its rays; let those tears nourish your roots and bloom beautiful soul! Have mercy on your heart for once sweet girl.

I know I never told you this, but I think it is time for you to know that I forgive you; and you are worth so much more than that which you failed to realize before. Baby girl it is time for you to spread those wings and soar!

Love always,

Your Future Self

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