Tag Archives: music

Body Memories

Your body remembers everything that you’ve experienced, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, & stores such memories on a cellular level.  Your brain may or may not remember things, but your body does.  This is why certain smells, sounds, tastes, feelings or sights bring specific feelings to mind.

Body memories are especially common with victims of sexual assault.  Even if the assault happened when the victim was too young to recall details, smelling the same cologne the attacker wore, or hearing music that was playing in the background during the assault can trigger incredible anxiety in the victim, even a panic attack.  The victim’s mind may not recall the assault, but the body remembers every detail.

Body memories aren’t only linked to sexual assault, however.  They also happen with victims of other types of abuse, including narcissistic abuse.

Often, narcissistic abuse is a series of constant traumatic events.  I think of it much like a machine gun of abuse- one trauma immediately follows another then another & yet another in rapid succession.  You don’t have time to heal from one trauma when another five are thrown your way.  It may be too much to cope with, so your mind forgets some of the abuse as you try to survive the constant trauma.  However, your body remembers it all.  That is why certain things trigger anxiety, fear, anger, etc. in you for no obvious reason.  It is your body’s way of trying to protect you from things like that happening again.

A couple of years ago, I went to my old high school with a friend.  They were having a craft show & we thought it’d be fun to check it out since we both love crafts & both attended that school.  From the moment we set foot on the campus, I became anxious & even panicky.  I had trouble holding back the tears until we left.  It turned into a miserable experience for me.  I had no idea exactly why I was in such a state then.  Since, I have remembered a few instances of abuse at the hands of my mother on the property of that school though, which apparently my body remembered even though my mind didn’t at the time.

When things like this happens, you need to remember you aren’t crazy!  Your body is remembering something pretty terrible.  There is pain that you need to acknowledge.  Some people suggest talking out loud to yourself.  Remind your body that what happened won’t happen again, & that you survived.  You’re OK now.

I think prayer is a better idea, however.  Asking God to help you to cope.  Or, maybe a combination of prayer & talking to your body.  Whatever works for you is what matters.  Body memories can be a very unpleasant thing to deal with, but at least they can help offer some insight into areas where you need healing.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Are You Being Abused?

John 3:20-21  “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (NKJV)
The question in the title of this article may sound like it should have an obvious answer, but it doesn’t.  Sometimes, people don’t realize they are being abused, especially if they aren’t being physically abused.  As I’ve mentioned before, covert narcissists in particular are extremely good at hiding their actions from everyone, even sometimes their victims who think this “good person” couldn’t possibly be abusive.
One of the best ways to tell if you are being abused by someone is how do they act in public verses in private.  Abusive people behave entirely differently in public verses private settings.  Granted, most people act a bit different in public & private, but it’s not a huge difference.  With abusers, the differences are night & day.
In my late teen years, I saw this especially clearly with my mother.  I remember one day in particular, she had been screaming at me for whatever awful thing she thought I did that day.  She finally stopped, & a few minutes later, the phone rang.  I answered.  It was her friend, the former principal of my elementary school.  She told me how lucky I was to have such a good, loving mother, & how I needed to stop misbehaving so much.  I really didn’t feel lucky at all!  But, a few minutes later when I handed my mother the phone, all evidence of the screaming maniac was completely gone.  She was friendly & chatted with this person as if nothing had happened just a few minutes before.
My ex husband was the same way.  Everyone, even his parents, thought he was a great guy who loved me deeply.  In private, however, he was incredibly critical & cruel.
With both of them, I knew if I said anything to anyone about what was done behind closed doors, I would’ve had to pay dearly.  It’s taken me many years to feel free enough to write about the things I have experienced at the hands of narcissists in my life because of how deeply in me they ingrained this sick need to hide their cruelty.
Normal people don’t behave this way!  Normal, safe people don’t feel the need to hide things or behave very differently in public & private.  They aren’t concerned about most things they do being known by other people.  They aren’t doing bad things, so why would they feel they have something to hide?
Also, if someone is hiding their actions, then this is a sign that they know these things are wrong.  I know, many people say they think abusers, mainly narcissists, must not know what they’re doing is wrong.  They were raised by abusive parents- abuse is all they know.  But, think about this: if they truly didn’t know these things were wrong, why would they work so hard to keep them hidden?  Wouldn’t they abuse you no matter who is around instead of only when you’re alone?

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Music’s Healing Benefits

I absolutely love music.  I’m seeing its healing powers more & more.

 

Today was just not a good day.  I woke from a nightmare extremely anxious, feeling as if I had physically experienced what happened in the nightmare.  I didn’t feel like praying immediately about it, so I tried to distract myself for a while (dumb idea- my mood didn’t improve.  I should’ve prayed immediately!).  Finally, I did pray & God helped me to understand the nightmare & also to feel so much better.  Then I turned on some music & it helped the good feelings to continue.

 

I think music can give you an excuse to cry or smile or even be angry.  Who doesn’t cry at an especially sad song or feel better after listening to a song from a particularly happy time in their life?  Music can be a wonderful catalyst for helping to get your emotions out, & we all know that is so much better than stuffing them down deep inside!

 

Many Christians seem to think only Christian music can have such a positive effect, but I disagree.  I’m actually not a fan of most Christian music.  I do love Bob Carlisle’s “Shades of Grace” CD & TD Jakes’ “Sacred Love Songs” CD, but that is really  it.  I have nothing against Christian music- I just haven’t found a lot I really like for some reason.  So, I listen to what I do love, which is mostly 80’s & classic rock music that I grew up listening to.  While I don’t exactly transport back to a happy childhood like many who listen to the music of their youth, I still enjoy the sound of the music.  I also remember happy memories, such as getting my first car, when the B52’s “Love Shack” was popular.  That song always reminds me of the feeling of newfound independence of having my very own car.  Whitney Houston reminds me of a day in my first apartment when i had one of her tapes playing. I was pouring my then boyfriend & I something to drink & he pulled me away to dance.  Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” is my husband’s & my song, so it transports me back to our early dating days.

 

Sometimes though if you feel sad, a sad song is just what you need.  It helps you to cry it out.  Have you ever heard Glen Campbell’s “I’m Not Gonna Miss You“?  He wrote it after his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, & if that song doesn’t make you cry, nothing will!  It’s very sad yet beautiful at the same time.  Listening to a song from the soundtrack of a sad movie or that was popular during a particularly painful time in your life can help you too.

 

Feeling angry?  Get out some heavy metal!  I read recently how many metal fans are happy people, in spite of the stereotype.  The music helps them to get out their anger.  I can vouch for it- I love metal, & sometimes listening to Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden or Judas Priest does help me when I’m angry.

 

No matter your mood, nature sounds or nature sounds with soft music are always good for you.  I read once that nature sounds increase serotonin in the brain greatly, which improves your mood.  Native American pan flute music is also good for a calming, joyful effect.  Here is one of my favorites: “Unchained Melody

 

I even have a folder of romantic songs for listening to with the hubby full of soft, romantic songs we both like.

 

Need a laugh?  Listen to Weird Al Yankovich or Cledus T. Judd.  They are absolutely hilarious, at least in my opinion, with their parodies of popular songs.

 

I have several folders of various songs on my tablet that cater to my mood.  Some brighten a dark mood,  others inspire tears & others still take me back to happy places in the past.  I would encourage you to do the same.  Remember the “mix tapes” we made in the 80’s?  Make your own, more modern “mix tape” by creating folders of special songs on your cell phone or tablet, & listen to them often.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much the music helps you.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

May 19, 2013

The last week or so have been over the top negative & stressful to me.  As a result, I’ve had many panic attacks, haven’t slept much lately, had nightmares, etc etc.. 

Today, while my husband is out, I decided to relax & have some “me” time.  I sent prayer requests to a few Christian websites.  I then cranked up a folder of music on my mp3 player that I have titled “Songs That Make Me Happy.”  Yes, I listen to the same tunes over & over, but well, they make me happy!  I also took a nice, warm, relaxing shower followed by exfoliating my skin & applying a yummy lavender scented lotion.  The entire time, I prayed.  

No, it wasn’t an expensive or elaborate afternoon, but it made me feel better.  MUCH better.  

Partly why it made me feel better is the music.  I am not a fan of Christian or gospel music. I have nothing against it- just for some odd reason, it seldom “speaks” to me.  The cool part of that?  God still speaks to me through my taste in music.  Today, one of the songs I listened to was “That’s How They Do It In Dixie” by Hank Williams, Jr.  Listening to the song reminded me how I have lost myself & need to get back in touch with that Southern gal that lives inside me.  She is my true self- kinda rebellious, but a lady who while feminine will fight for what is right.  Another song was “455 Rocket”- about a gal with an Oldsmobile with a 455 cubic inch engine in it.  I happen to have one of those!  She raced hers, & I raced mine many times too (much to the dismay of the other guy!  lol).  It felt good remembering that.  I also am listening to several songs from the 80’s (when I was a teen) that remind me of when I was 19 in 1990 & had just moved out on my own for the first time.  It was the one time in my life I was actually able to be who I truly am- living my life on my own terms, not others’ terms.  

I’ve been “scolded” many times for not listening to more Christian music, but truth be told, I’m fine NOT listening to it.  God still speaks to me.  We’re still close.  Honestly.. if He was upset by this, I think He would have let me know it by now.  I just want those of you reading this now to know that God loves you & will relate to you however works.  He isn’t critical of that!  He invented all music (not just gospel & Christian songs), movies, books.. He will meet you where you are & loves you so much!

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