Healing From A Traumatic Relationship

If you identify as a survivor of trauma, it can take a lot to manage and navigate those past experiences and understand how they impact you today. 

In this stream, sex educator Mia Little addresses survivors of trauma to talk about how safe and supportive spaces can be created to foster healing. Little speaks from her own experience as a domestic and sexual violence survivor and the steps she took to feel more in control of her life, and to feel reconnected to her body and sexuality. Of course, these are just gentle suggestions as everyone’s healing journey is different. 

To begin rebuilding a relationship with yourself, Little suggests curating your environment and the people you allow into your space. It’s important to recognize your systems of support and to take stock of your allies, whether they be friends, family, or a professional support person like a therapist, psychiatrist, or life coach. 

“ [...] having that foundation, that network of people  who care, with whom you have healthy relationships, is pretty paramount — at least in my experience — to seeing myself and feeling myself again,” says Little. 

It’s important to know you’re allowed to take time to care for yourself. Practicing daily self-love rituals can help chip way at a negative self-view. Concentrating on yourself can also help you set up action plans — like calling a support person — if something triggers you. 

If you have triggers —  “something that has a connection or association strong enough to a traumatic event that it brings about a similar stress response” — Little suggests first identifying the triggers so you can try to avoid them, and then reflecting on what happens when you experience those triggers. This can help prepare you emotionally and physically if you do encounter them.

Little then discusses sex after trauma and being comfortable in your body. After trauma, we can feel a loss of control and ownership of our bodies, so Little suggests starting to reconnect by finding activities that let you control your space and identify with your body — for her, that’s hiking. 

Being sexual after trauma can take some time, but Little recommends letting your mind wander to the things that may stimulate your body and bring you pleasure. It can help to feel in control of that stimuli and to know you are choosing it — whether it be erotica, your hand, a toy, etc. You can very slowly experiment with these things and perhaps eventually feel comfortable to invite another person into that space

Everyone’s healing journey happens in their own ways and at their own pace. Having a support system, and rebuilding your self-worth, bodily agency, and sexual energy all takes time and a lot of self-love. There is no right or wrong way to move past trauma, but knowing there are others on similar journeys can, at the bare minimum, help you know you’re not alone. 

If you or a loved one have experienced trauma and need additional resources, or someone to talk to, you can find help at RAINN.

Video transcript

But, I'm gonna get started everyone in here with some just intros and overview and safer space guidelines and all the good stuff before we launch into the stream, content and discussion, so. Hello everyone, I am Mia, I am a sex educator at O.school. I'm a sex worker and I'm a sex worker LGBTQIA Advocate. I started teaching and guest speaking on primarily ethical sluthood was a huge passion for destigmatizing sex work and combating sex negativity. I had originally spoken at Gender Studies Classes and Med School classes and eventually I branched out to speak on the intersection of trauma and sexuality polyamory, consent, BDSM, and so much more. And sex education is my passion because I see how the gaps that we have in sex education. Those gaps are pretty exclusive. It's pretty heteronormative and abstinence-only based and every much shame driven and I want to change that. I believe that pleasure should be accessible for all bodies and peoples and that we have a society have a lot to overcome to reach that goal. So I want to be part of the work to overcome that challenge. That's my spiel and welcome to My Feeling After a Traumatic Relationship live stream. Just some content warnings, trigger warnings, so folks know what to expect. I will definitely be speaking just broadly about my experience with domestic violence and sexual violence and trauma from that. So just be aware in regard to safer space guidelines. Since this is a space where I'm trying to facilitate a conversation about rather sensitive topics, let's honor everyone's privacy and confidentiality about sharing specific details that they share in the chat. Anything that I speak on, you are more than welcome to share more than welcome to post on social media and what have you. Let's just honor everyone in the chat because this, it really isn't the best space to get consent to share what have you. Don't yuck someone's yum, I'm not really interested in shaming folks for their desires or preferences, their lived experience on anything of the sort. So like be really mindful of that. Speak from your experience, so next safer space guideline use I statements. Avoid generalizations for speaking about, or speaking for primarily a population. Speak from your experience and your framework. And really importantly, I want you to insert your boundary. If anything at all that I speak on or that's brought up or surfaces in this discussion, if that is uncomfortable, or triggering, or just doesn't sit with you well, I really urge you to take space for yourself, to take time for yourself. It's okay to step away from the computer and not engage. I want you to insert that boundary, because this is a pretty heavy topic for a lot of folks. I know it's a heavy topic for me and it can be difficult to speak on. And I want everyone to do what it takes to feel comfortable in this space. So when I started planning Healing After Traumatic Relationship as a live stream, I wanted to think about who this stream would serve. I believe that this will serve people who identify as a survivor, people who as identify as I have trauma to manage and work through and navigate through, and that is impacting my sexuality. That's impacting identity, it's impacting how I feel about myself and self love. And also, I want this stream to benefit partners of trauma survivors for partners who want to be a good ally, to be aware, to have language to arm themselves, to have conversations to be supportive. And I'm really hoping that is the outcome of this stream. And as folks come in, please feel free to introduce yourselves at any time at all you have a question, comment, or concern. Please do feel free to chime in at any time. Everyone, Jessica is going to be our lovely moderator for today. Yeah, everyone be kind to Jessica. She will be sharing sources I've given her and the safer space guidelines. Thank you for sharing that. It's mostly for folks as they are just coming in so they can catch up on how this room is run. Okay, so this is where I am going to share my framework and how I approach this. I am not a mental health professional. I have not officially been trained or accredited in any way to necessarily like teach about the science aspect of trauma or the research aspect of trauma. I'm purely speaking from my experience as a domestic violence and sexual violence survivor. And how I've, well I'm still managing that. I'm still healing from that. And I want to speak to how healing is not linear. And that's where I'm coming from. That's what I'm caring, that's where I teach from, because I'm still going through it. But I've done enough self work to be able to look back and recognize what were the steps the action steps I took to feel more in control of my life, to get reconnected with my body and sexuality after that trauma. And moving forward, like what are principles that I carry with my self plan. I interact with new people and really curate my environment and the people that I allow to share space with me. So speaking on like building healthy relationships, relationships with yourselves, and self love, and new relationships and then perhaps talking about having having a conversation about trauma with current partners and future partners as that can definitely impact sexual interactions between folks. I know it has for me and I know it may for other folks and all that so I'm gonna touch on that. So that's my framework and if anybody has any specific questions, please ask me. I'm gonna share my story very briefly, very broadly, and not really delve into detail. And this was perhaps a couple, couple of years ago. So it's still quite fresh and still definitely processing. But I had found myself in a domestic violence relationship that lasted several years. And it wasn't so that when it first began I recognized that it was like oh this emotional abuse this is manipulation, this is coercion. It took a long time before it, it took time for it to emerge as that enough for me to recognize it. And even then it took a lot of personal growth outside of that relationship to be able to even acknowledge that relationship is healthy the one that I have been living with for years compared to these other healthy relationships I am now creating with different folks and friendship contacts and professional contacts and what have you. And I wasn't able to really look back at that relationship that I was in and know that it was toxic and abusive until I built new bridges with different people. And that's pretty essential for me in my healing. It's like creating healthy relationships period. It doesn't matter what the context is, if it's sexual, if it's professional, if it's platonic, if it is any blend of those and what have you. As long as it is healthy and identifying that and I think a big part of my process of being a survivor is like identifying that the things I had gone through because my framework was sexual coercion. It was sort of like an exchange of I'm going to do this with my body and at that time, I'm definitely consenting. But from a place of coercion. In that I was doing these things in exchange for safety, which is not a, that's not, that's not like a truly deeply consensual interaction. With looking back, I did not enthusiastically consent to that. It was like this exchange, but it didn't work I was still abused. And so I got out of that and broke out of that relationship and found myself alone essentially without very many support systems that were very deep. So when it came to healing out of that relationship, that relationship is done, I am now by myself. I had to assess for myself what support systems already existed for me and where I could grow support to have people to lean on, to share this, I would say trauma again, but this is emotional stress. To have someone to vent to, to feel validated, to feel seen, and also to grow. So I didn't immediately start looking for romantic relationships because I just ended a romantic relationship, which was very rocky. I turned to friendships and I think because I had planted seeds for good friendships leading up to this break, I found that I had a support system. So I think there may be folks in here and this is just an assumption. If there are folks in here who suspect they may be in a not so healthy relationship assess for yourself what healthy relationships exist in your life. Take stock of who your allies are and where you can get support in whatever way be it having a place to live, having people to turn to, people to intervene, anything. Take stock of that, reflect on that and see where you can build on that because having that foundation that network of people who care with whom you have healthy relationships is pretty paramount at least in my experience to like seeing myself and feeling myself again. A big part of my trauma resulted in having such a deteriorated self view, like self worth. And even like belief in myself and being able to do anything because of how emotionally abused I was. And so by having friends in my life that are enriching me, they also help reflect back me. They reflect back qualities that I carry, why they're friends with me, how they enrich their life. And I do my best to acknowledge what my friends bring to my life and what people in general bring to my life. So they know these are your strengths, these are the things that you are actively contributing, to your community. And being seen in that way, uplifts my peers, and people I have relationships with. Because sometimes we're too close to see these aspects of ourselves. And then in turn, I have friends who reciprocated that. You're my friend because of X-Y and Z. And I take that truth because it's not just me trying to convince myself that I'm these things. It's someone else making this judgment of myself and understanding that is me, that is part of me, and that's the truth. Rather than the constant put downs I was being exposed to. Because I think, with a lot of self-reflection, I have a certain view of myself. But sometimes it's hard to own that, because of the negative things I've been told, that have chipped away at that. So to hear things I want to believe about myself from other folks and how that confirmed by many other people. That helps build me back up. By having friendships and focusing on just creating relationships that are healthy. It helped me kind of like not overemphasize the expectation of always being in a romantic or sexual relationship. Yeah, let me read this, Miss K-G, KJ Marie. Yeah, okay, so I've definitely been in abusive relationships so Yes, self love, let's talk about self love. Why is self love so hard. Feel free to chime in anyone as to where your challenges with self love arise. 'Cause I still til this day am pretty, I'm pretty tough on myself, I don't exactly let myself rest or heal or celebrate myself, or really slow down. Because I'm always trying to like charging ahead and do work. Because I line up my value, my self value, with my ability to be productive. When really I can just be chill with myself and relax and celebrate this. I think self love is very much connected with investing time and energy into ourselves. And I think how I was socialized didn't really encourage that. I was socialized, I'm a first generation Philippine X. I have an older brother. The way I was raised, my take away, is where that since I was a woman, I would be always like in a supportive role. And a labor-intensive role, serving other folks, and sacrificing a lot of myself, for the sake of my family and for the sake of my community and my job. Rather than knowing like in order to do those things, to serve anyone else, you need to serve yourself first. You need to take energy for yourself. If it's like recuperating from like a physically exhausting workout, you gotta recuperate. I view for punishing my store is my energy like filling up my cup. And I can't necessarily rely on other folks to fill up my cup, because we are all trying to do that with ourselves. So I need to know that I'm in charge of taking care of myself of limiting myself and regulating myself. So there's enough of myself to share with other people. Because that's how it goes. Like I can't, I can't run on fumes forever. So I have to stop and be like, okay, you're allowed to take a nap. Yes, exactly. And I think another layer 'cause everything's very complex. Another layer is FOMO, right? Fear of missing out, like having to say, or feeling like you have to say yes to every social invitation you get. FOMO and like I should have a partner, I should be having more sex, I should be doing this and that. Really the only thing that you need to be doing, is just like doing you and taking care of you. Like that's, that's the only thing really. Because to do anything that requires any energy, you need to have energy right? And no one is gonna give that to you necessarily. You have to self regulate, know what your limits are, and be okay with saying no to people. It's really difficult for me to stay. But you're allowed to say no to people. And I think a lot of self love has to do with like forgiving yourself and telling yourself you are enough. You don't have to be like fireworks at Disney all the time. You can just be enough and be okay. And then recuperate and take care of yourself. I know my forms of self love. Let's share, can you all share me, with me what your self love practice looks like. And I will share mine. 'Cause that is something that's definitely on my to-do list, like today. Because even though that traumatic relationship was a couple years ago, it still like surfaces randomly depending on triggers or where I'm at and what's going on romantically in my life. But let's start with the good stuff the self love stuff. So what we know what rituals and practices we can execute to take care of ourselves. So when things come up, we're like okay, I have an action plan. This is what calms me. This is what soothes me. Part of my self love is self analysis. I love writing lists, I love writing lists. If I feel like I'm directionless in pursuing a goal or pursuing something I want in my life I make a list. And that way it's out of my head, it's on the page. Even when it comes to like things that are triggering because I sometimes I'm like why am I panicking, why am I panicking. If I take a moment and sit down and like take what's in my head, the internal and externalize it, it helps me take stock, and now it's kind of, it's free that way, it's out of my body inside my mind. Practicing truthfulness, that's a big one. And like listening to that truthfulness that's coming out of you. Because I have a hard time listening to that inner voice sometime. Oh, yes, oh, okay. If I'm honest with all the people around me and they still like me I find it easier to be honest with myself. Yes, and always speaking on that, doubling like going back to developing healthy relationships. The problem with that relationship that was really problematic was I got into that relationship when we were like in high school. We're both like high school sweethearts or whatever the situation. And so the people that we eventually became growing up and maturing as adults were not the same as when we had first met. But it was difficult to be honest with these changes that we found in ourselves that were clearly bringing us on divergent paths. And it was difficult because we had this relationship that started so young. And so when I found myself like creating new friendships, I had to recognize certain things. I change every day. Every day or like even event to event. I am a new person, I am a different person. I have to carry that and share that with folks so they know that about me and that I'm honest about where I'm at. Because yesterday I was a different person and back and back and back. Yes, oh, high school relationships. Yeah, I find that my relationship was really challenged in that when I had gotten into that relationship I was in a very different place in how I viewed relationships and the expectations there. Like I was not by any means a perfect partner then, because that was I was also operating under assumptions. And you can't really, you can't operate under assumptions. Like that's a huge pitfall to fall into. So honesty, being honest with folks too helps me vocalize my boundaries. And that will trickle in to being able to vocalize my boundaries when I am becoming intimate with someone, like when I am starting a relationship with them. Because I've practiced this, practiced this really hard with my friends. When it comes to friendships, I find that I am able to be more emotionally vulnerable because there is less sexual or societal expectations. It's a less loaded relationship in that way. And there is, in my eyes, just more room for forgiveness, more room for cooling off. I am able to have conflicts with my friends and resolve them without, you know, having it loaded with like sexual tension and gender role like assumptions that society has and all these internalized things we're trying to work with. So have good friends, have good friends. And also be friends with you. Like be good to future you, be good to present you. It's really hard to like yourself. This, I don't think this is a new thing that I'm sharing with everyone, but sometimes, it's really hard at least for me to like dig myself and like myself. And part of that was definitely exacerbated by my traumatic relationship. So I need to be able to like look at myself spend time with myself and say like, you know what, you are worth spending time with. And in fact I'm gonna spend time with you. Saying that to myself, spending some alone time, going on a date with me. Yes, like you first. You are rad, you know? Like this, you at the end of the day, you are all you've got. So have your own back, be your own hype person. And listen to yourselves. Like if a part of you is saying hey you gotta slow down, but another voice in you is like no, no, no push through it, push through it. It's okay to listen to the voice to slow down. It's okay to cancel on like hanging out if you are not in a place where you're well. Like I'm letting you know, it's okay, in fact encouraged. Because there is only one you, right? And you know most intimately what's going on with you. So taking stock and reflecting. Yes, exactly. Coming to terms with, like, being your own company is tough. I think it's essential. I definitely struggle with that when I find myself in another relationship. And this is like something I had to share with my therapist. When I level up in my current relationship, that in itself is a trigger, because it's like the last time I was this vulnerable with someone, they wasn't great. It was really unhealthy, so that is a trigger in itself. And that makes it even more important for me to step back outside of my relationship, so not like relating to another person and our connection and how we share space. I'm just relating with myself, looking at myself, and checking out, am in an actual state of fear, because something is happening? Or is this fear that is surfacing, because it's associated with something. Like the brain works in associations, right? So perhaps something that was linked to a traumatic event or traumatic person or memory or relationship. If you like encounter that again, that can like stimulate the reaction, and bring about the reaction of like fear and stress and what have you or anger. Or whatever emotional response is linked to it. I definitely have that, triggers let's clarify what a trigger is. Okay, a trigger for me is something that has like a connection or association strong enough to a traumatic event that brings about a similar stress response. For instance, one time I was like grocery shopping and it was a beautiful bright sunny day. I had parked a little far from the grocery store. And on my way back, I was like juggling my bags. I saw someone that I knew was not my ex, but had the same gait as them, like same way that they carry themselves and walk. And I like immediately had a panic attack. Like without any warning, it like surfaced. It was if that person was walking down the street at me. Even though I know that there was no way that person could be on this street on this day in sharing my space. There was absolutely no way. But the response came out. I was very scared, I was very uncomfortable, I was very anxious. Like a lot of the self work I was building up to view myself positively like crumbled. Because it brought up a lot of stuff. And that was like a really big trigger, you know? Sometimes triggers can be smaller and can bring about smaller stress responses and you can recognize that. And part of it is reflecting on what's going on exactly. Where is this emotional or somatic response coming from. 'Cause sometimes like trauma can manifest in how you feel in your body. You can feel something, some stress in your tummy. I like hunch, I make myself, small, like really really small when I'm triggered specifically associated with my traumatic relationship. Yeah, and like you don't have to share your triggers here. But again you're welcome to share. At anytime you're welcome to share, your self love practices, your self healing practices, how you ground yourself and all that, yeah. Oh, yeah, I'm gonna drink some water 'cause talking is like uh. As much as I emphasize like self love and self support, it is also okay to decide for yourself that you want professional support. This is my, sort of, like spiel for searching for professional help. I identify as a queer woman of color. I'm also a sex worker. So these are different identities that I carry when I am looking for any sort of services particularly in mental health. So if you have certain identities that are important for your therapist or professional to know about you and be well versed in have that as part of your search process. What I did ultimately for my current therapist was reach out to my local pride center or just like my LGBTIA center and resource and ask them for a listing of like their in-house therapists or like therapy options. And also any one that they would refer in the community. And what they did was all of their therapists, psychologists, coaches, counselors, in their listing had self identified demographics. Be it like oh I'm a woman of color or I am a queer man what have you. They allowed their self, therapists to self identify. That demographic, 'cause I know that is important for what I look for in a therapist. But also what are their specific areas of expertise. Like I was able to find a therapist who focused on sexual health, relationships, life transitions, and sexuality. And that indicated to me that this was probably, I could probably wager that this person had an understanding about queerness, had an understanding about sex work perhaps, or I hate using this word, but like sexual minority, But you know just having these different lenses and so that I was able to find a fit. Before that, I'm lucky enough that I had health insurance. I tried to look in network and in network under health insurance, that system is so inundated that they had to outsource and refer out patients to other practices in the area. And I found that support that I found here was pretty unsatisfactory and pretty sex negative. So if you're looking for a therapist, make a list of what identities you want them to be well versed in or like or spheres of experience or expertise in and do your research from there. Because sometimes just looking like, oh they are certified. That doesn't necessarily mean you'll mix well. And sometimes it is a process. It can be definitely costly, but there are options like telemedicine, where you can do like video chats and stuff. So yeah do some research and that's my piece on like looking for professional support. And also that if there are specific traumas or specific experiences that you want to work through, they would be able to better guide you through different options as to like how to approach this and different ways to approach this and process it. And that's something I'm even investigating myself. Okay, is everyone doing well, I hope everyone's doing well. And thank you Jessica for reminding folks to tip if they'd like. In a bit, once I drink this water, this meeting is running amazing. I'm gonna speak on building a relationship with yourself, your body, and pleasure I identify as a very sexual person. I've always been that. And so this trauma that I'm like working through definitely was definitely challenged that and made it pretty difficult to feel at home in my body and my sexuality. So, mmm, I hope everyone's hydrating. Okay, my relationship with my self, aside from like building up myself and seeing my self worth. I feel like I have a lot of tension I would carry in my body. So I would, to take care of that, I would find activities, that really supported feeling in my body and present in it and taking charge of it. And that's different for everyone. Like not everyone is like an outdoorsy person and want to do that activity. But I identify, I want to feel really in my body. I want to feel it move. I want to feel from the top of my head to the tips of my fingers and toes that this action that I'm doing is for me. So I found myself taking a lot of time alone going on walks, even though I live in a somewhat city area. It was still nice to just go on a walk by myself. To put in like earphones, like maybe listen to music, maybe just like wanting to be left alone socially. And just spending that alone time walking through the world. Part of my domestic violence experience was being deliberately isolated from making connections with other folks. But because of the nature of my work, I was developing often relationships with other folks, and that was when he pulled me out of that. But I also now needed to develop a relationship with myself. And a lot of that was like making sure I had time with myself. It helped because I had a dog. I have new dog now. But I had an older dog back then and she gave me a reason to like be out of the house regularly. So I am not like isolating myself in a house with or without my partner. Like during or after that relationship. But I had a reason to get out, take in the scenery, feel the openness of my space and really pursue what was soothing to me, which was outdoorsy-ness and sunshine and green space and comfortable passive, not passive, but like background noise. And that was helpful. And eventually I felt comfortable again in my body. Like reclaimed it, because a lot of, I felt a lot of my time in that traumatic period I didn't own my space. I didn't own my body perhaps. That's definitely an accurate description for how I felt. I felt like this person was like entitled to a lot of that and I behaved that way. So taking time for myself was pretty imperative. And going back to body stuff and pleasure stuff, taking time to let my brain relax and just wander to sexy stuff. That was like enticing to me and arousing to me. And like giving in to the pursuit of that stimuli. I read a lot of erotic novels, or I read a lot of erotic novels and that's what really impact my sexuality and things I like and how I am excited. So getting to know old books and old scenes and stuff, help me get back to that space. I'm like, oh this is arousing to me, stimulating to me, and I'm choosing it. I'm specifically choosing it, it's not like something that's like pressed upon me. I'm able to pick and choose my stimuli, right? And that allowed me, and I felt like I gave myself permission to pursue just self pleasure through that. And eventually part of my practice became just accepting what titillates me, what excites me, and just self pleasuring through that. Or not necessarily always pleasuring to orgasm, but just like touching myself, and like feeling my entire body. That this is mine, my meat sack. My wonderful awesome meat sack that helps me get through the world and feel these things. And just allowing myself to own that because I wasn't attracting with another person. That was like imposing and projecting their needs, wants and desires, with or without like my consent. So that was like a big, big thing. I hope you all like following, yeah. And again reminder for folks to leave any questions, comments, or concerns in the chat. And if you have any specific questions I would love to field them because again this is like a very broad topic. And I hope you all can benefit from it. Yeah, it's really essential for me to know that I was able to give myself pleasure. So I don't have to rely on outside sources for it because you just, you know, that's not something you can necessarily control. But, like, a hand, a toy, a vibrator those are things you can control and manipulate and just use as you wish. So like solo time, doing like self love, like out in the world or whatever stimulation or engagement you need, but also self love can definitely be just giving yourself pleasure. Yeah, I feel you there Jessica, very much. Sometimes I wish that I could just scrub clean these experiences from my brain. So like even associations, like don't bring up these memories but unfortunately our brain works in associations and these thoughts come up. And um when it comes to looking back and in my experience like blaming myself. Or like saying why didn't I do something sooner. Why didn't I do this? I have to understand and be gentle with myself and be gentle with myself in that like I was not able to. I was in a freeze response. This is what was going on, you know? It's, when you're in it, it's so hard to step away and look at it and then action plan all these things. So a lot of it requires being gentle with yourself. You know, for me that part of my life had happened. That is a lot of time I will never get back. That was a lot of energy I will never get back. But I know that, lingering on that, takes a lot of energy, that I could be putting toward taking care of myself. Yeah, so my situation is really tough. I wish I could empathize with that. I'm a, how do I say this, this is really complicated. My abuser ultimately ended up passing away. So that is really weird stuff I think. I might do a future old school stream on, but yeah, I can definitely hear you in that dealing with something that someone who is also in that situation is just like moved on from that I can't imagine what going through that is. It sounds like it's frustrating, okay. Oh, no, that, yes, there are definitely specific things. Definitely that will chip away when it comes to interacting with new people, right? Like these things have lasting impressions on how we then interact with other folks. And I definitely feel you on that, Alice. Yes, oh yes, absolutely, absolutely, I feel you. Because you don't, you don't know what's gonna surface right? And emotions are tricky that way, trauma is tricky that way. The baggage that we have is tough in that you never know what's gonna surface. But at least you're able to step back and see and know that, that is what is going on. I think for me, like trigger wise, I'm really, I mentioned this before. My first relationship, that was like the highest climb of love in my youth. So experiencing leveling up emotionally, emotional vulnerability with another person in itself is triggering. And I have to know even though you've climbed this climb before it's different. This is a new individual and every individual is going to be different. And then again stepping back and assessing is my relationship healthy right now? What other relationships do I have that are healthy and what you have you and taking stock of this environment that you are curating around you to ideally set yourself up for success. And I think I do my best to talk through those triggers with my partner, even though it's really difficult. It requires a lot of self work and vulnerability and even just the fight to get it out of me. Because sometimes I'll be like planning and planning and planning for days and days and days as to like this one thing is bothering me and then finally I'm able to get it out. Practicing that in lower stake environments or interactions helps so much. If I'm able to have this conversation to my friends about this thing that I'm going through X amount of times before I go to like a higher stakes verbal exchange with my partner then that definitely helps. Because I've gotten the words out already. Or like journaling about something that is bothering me or triggering me that I'm going through helps because now I have the words literally on the page. Now I just have to translate that into a verbal interaction with someone that I care about and mutually cares about me. Yeah, it healing is not linear. It isn't and it sucks, I have to say that. Because I definitely wish it was linear, but it's not. Sometimes we can, or I can make lots of progress in a specific area and be like wow I'm really happy I tackled my anxiety on this one thing. And then something will happen in regard to that one thing and it will all come crashing down again. I'll feel vulnerable and unsafe and uncomfortable and scared despite all that work and thinking I got a handle on it. You know, but speaking to self forgiveness knowing that can happen, that might happen, that will happen is a big part of it and also forgiving yourself. Like you are you. Every day brings different challenges and supports and just every day is different. Every day you are different. So some things are heavier at other times than in some times than others. Yeah, man, I try, I try to remind myself that healing isn't linear all the time. It doesn't mean I don't have panic attacks or like moments when I'm like really struggling emotionally but it's important to know that and remember that. Even if I fall to like a really uncomfortable dark unsafe feeling space, hey I can get out of this. I do that inventory of who can I talk to right now. Where are my supports, who will show up and what have you. And that helps me because I'm like in a planning stage planning mindset, rather than just like in it. And it's really helpful to know when you're sliding in it when you are being triggered. Sometimes things that trigger me throw me into a really intense flashback. This, it was a pretty new experience. It was I think a couple of months ago. I was showering or something, having some thoughts and thinking back about my ex that was really uncomfortable. And I was setting the stage of looking at my trauma. And then my partner had joined me in the shower. Which is like a very normal thing, it's very normal. It's not usually negatively loaded. For some reason that like triggered a memory and a context. It triggered this context of that remember when you used to hide in showers because that was your only safe space? And now like there's another person suddenly in here. And it was like widely flashbacky and surreal. And I had to recognize what was going on with me and then verbalize that to my partner. Hey, hey not dealing with normal me right now, I'm like in a trauma state. So, ooh, let's see, okay. Yes, yes, yes, yes. I am all about list writing Alice absolutely. Yes, yes, journaling helps me because I have this something that passed me has physically written. Like taken out of my noggin and written on a piece of paper that I can turn to. I even one of my love languages is writing letters. But really I'm like arming people hey just so you know these are things about me in case I fall apart. And such but it's really only effective for me because I know where all my pieces of paper are and I read back a lot of my old stuff. So sometimes I will definitely write a list. I write a list of actions. It's just hey when you're freaking out go for a walk, go to the park, make a snack, take a long bath, X-Y and Z and stuff. So I know what I need to do to snap out of a rough patch. Aww, because it's from me? Yeah, that's right! Because it's coming from me, you can't outrun that. Yeah, it's you. Just like remember you gotta have a healthy relationship with yourself. And I think a good part of this, good relationship with yourself, the self love, is being able to recognize your patterns. Yes, as someone who actively self sabotages, I need to recognize when I'm doing that, to stop that, so I can be good to myself. Which is not easy. I backslide all the time. But being able to see, hey, hey, you're doing this thing, you're doing this thing. This is what we can do to get out of that track, you know? I spiral a lot in that I get caught up in certain thoughts and certain memories and anything really that's like stressing me out and it's unproductive. It's not really doing anything to solve the problem. I'm like mulling over or in a situation I'm trying to change. If I'm just like spiraling and spinning my wheels. And so I have to like break out of that and do something to stop that spiral. And sometimes it's like that tactical, not tactile, that body thing of just feeling in my body. So like I don't, because I'm being so active I don't have the mental energy to feed into that spiral. And that helps center me, because it distances me from that stressor. Yeah, oh, so as a note, we have about 10 minutes left. If anyone wants any specific, if anyone has any specific questions, comments, feel free to chime in at any time. Yes, yes, yes, yes. So part of my self love is definitely being ready with options of actions to do when I'm freaking out when my trauma is being really triggered. And like even though I know with every new romantic relationship that may emerge I'm not gonna like go through my entire baggage collection of trauma at the onset, but as I level up in relationships and friendships or anything, I feel like I'm able to be vulnerable and share. Hey, I'm carrying this with me. This is something that I deal with an surfaces sometimes. And this is what support can look like. Or just like letting them know that that's what you're going through, being honest. I think Ricky Rack, you had mentioned honesty with your friends makes it easier to be honest with yourself. What's this, okay, not just my, oh okay. Can you give a bit more context? Yeah, if you're willing. Yeah, I'm trying to, your attitude with other people in general in regard to things that stress you out? I'm very thirsty you all, yes, yes, yes. And also since we, we're starting to wind down on time Jessica if you would kindly share the two resources that I had, that I had linked you. And I'll share my experience with those resources. So the first resource or one of the resources is Come As You Are. I believe it's by Come As You Are by Emily, yeah, Emily Nagoski. And it's really awesome. It's very research based and oriented and definitely is, it definitely acknowledges queerness. But in reading it as a queer person, it does have a bit of a heteronomous slant or exclusionary slant. But the section on trauma was really great. And it talks about different options in navigating and approaching trauma and how trauma interacts with affecting sexuality. And another resource, which I just love so much because it's really, really inclusive and pleasure-based and just beautiful, the illustrations are great. Are Annie Sprinkle's The Explorer's Guide to Planet Orgasm. It's amazing, I it's the only books that I keep in the bathroom so people can peruse it. But if you can read it in whole, it's pretty great, and it's about journeying through pleasure and different pleasure states. And also how to balance and manage or just address triggers and stress and trauma and all that when it comes to the pursuit of exploring planet orgasm. So that's a pretty, fun, lighthearted read. And I like it. I will in the future definitely have more trauma specific resources. This is definitely my first stream, really sharing my approach to healing after a traumatic relationship. And I hope it was helpful for y'all. So yeah, yeah, yeah. So lots of self love, lots of self assessment, and also assessing like you're relationships, and your support systems and your network so you know where you can lean and what have you. And like self love is hard, healing isn't linear, and forgive yourself. It's really easy to say that. It's really really difficult to practice it. And it's something that perhaps even though you forgive yourself once, sometimes you're gonna need to revisit that and work through that process again to be like yeah you're doing enough. You are okay, you did not deserve this, and all the things you need to hear from yourself and like believe when you're hearing it from yourself and own it because sometimes it's, I know for me it's easy to dismiss my own voice when it comes to like soothing myself and owning that. Yeah, and y'all can find me on, I think right now, Instagram at LoveMsMia_ so I'll write this down. And my Twitter is currently shadow banned because I'm an adult film performer and that's super fun. LoveMissMia_ is my IG and then if you wanna follow my Twitter, it is LoveMiaLee. And my Tumblr would be MiaLeeTheEntertainer@Tumblr.com. And that's like a lot of stuffs that I post and I have a few medium, medium articles, but I will ideally be writing more down the line. Yeah, thank you everyone so much for tuning in and all that, yeah, thank you. There is Jessica with my links. Thank you I appreciate that so much. Thanks for being here and all that and be gentle with yourself. In fact, I'm gonna find right now because y'all should probably hear this when it comes to all to all this good stuff and taking care of yourself. It's important to forgive yourself and practice that. And hopefully the internet won't freak out as I open this stuff, yeah. 'Cause it's a, it's a matter of forgiving yourself and giving yourself some space, so I have a dating yourself handout. I will get out in the future. But a lot of is allowing yourself to be okay enough. Oh, yes, so if you want a clitosaurus sticker, click on the link Jessica has provided. They are really, really cute. Okay, I found it, being your best friend. Last, few last pieces, okay? It's easier for us to give advice, compassion, and empathy to others but difficult to do so for ourselves. Shift the framework. When you find yourself falling into a negative soft talk have space to practice giving advice, compassion, and empathy to yourself. I think that's really, really hard. Yes, and also this is a big piece. That FOMO piece is like you always have to be doing something with folks and people. It's like society can reinforce the idea that if we're out and about in the world alone and having fun alone is that there is something wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with being able to keep yourself company. Try it, go on a self date to like a museum, out to dinner, or on a hike or just be outside by yourself. That's okay. And be your best advocate. If you can be your best advocate. It's okay to say no if you are tapped out on your emotional bandwidth or like your ability to do labor or anything of the sort. You can tell your friends or your peers professionals no if you need that to survive and to thrive. So yeah I'm happy I found that. I need to share this Dating Yourself Handout. I forgot that I had this, yeah. And it talks about masturbation too. Yeah, that will, I'll post that on the internet, perhaps as a Tumblr at some point. So keep an eye for that. Thank you everyone so much for being here. I appreciate that. Tune in to more amazing streams on O.School. We have a fantastic line up of pleasure professionals and educators and just amazingly, amazingly talented people so check out the calendar. I will be back in February since I have nothing scheduled yet. But keep an eye out, yeah, thank you everyone. Jessica, let me know when this goodbye is done. Thank you so much.

Healing From A Traumatic Relationship

Jan 28, 2018
1:00 pm
Sunday, January 28, 2018
1:00 pm

Speaking from her experience with domestic violence, Mia shares her journey and practices toward healing, reclaiming her body and sexuality, and opening up to new relationships.