Many women who experience the trauma of abuse find themselves having difficulty processing the that trauma and pain. Meditation can help provide clarity and offer space for that processing to happen safely.
Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Victims of narcissistic abuse can suffer indescribable trauma: from physical symptoms like insomnia, weight loss, and chronic pain to emotional symptoms like mood swings, depression, and even suicidal ideation, narcissistic abuse leaves painful scars.
Coach Peggy from the Betrayal Trauma Recovery team joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to empower victims to try meditating as they process trauma and begin their journey to healing. Listen to the free BTR podcast and read the full transcript for more.
How Does Meditation Help Victims of Narcissistic Abuse?
Because of the notoriously insidious psychological, emotional, sexual, and physically abusive tactics that narcissistic abusers use against victims, pain and trauma can feel debilitating.
As victims learn to practice meditation, they may find that they are able to more clearly and easily process traumatic memories and then let them go.
We store our memories in our body. Journey meditation teaches this and refers to it as ‘cell memories’. We hold the record of our life in our bodies and in order to really release and let go and be free and truly heal, you have to release the body, that includes the emotions.
Coach Peggy, Betrayal Trauma Recovery“
Meditation Aids Victims of Narcissistic Abuse In Healing
Guided Meditation is really an incredible tool to be used for moving forward in life.
Coach Peggy, Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Tragically, many victims of narcissistic abuse feel trapped in trauma and struggle to believe that there will ever be a time when they will feel peace, self-worth, and safety again.
Meditation is a powerful tool in the arsenal of a victim of narcissistic abuse. It can help enable victims to set and maintain effective boundaries to protect themselves from abuse.
Feeling Triggered? Meditating Can Help
Victims of narcissistic abuse may experience significant triggers even years after the abusive relationship has ended.
Wherever you are in your healing journey, meditation can help you when you feel triggered.
The benefits have been great… It really creates calm relaxation.
Coach Peggy, Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Narcissistic Abuse
At BTR, we understand the devastation and agony of narcissistic abuse. Victims deserve a safe place to process their feelings, work through their trauma, and ask important questions.
The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group meets daily in every time zone. Join today and find the validation, support, and community that you need as you move forward with your life.
Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.
Last week we talked to Coach Peggy about her personal experience of betrayal trauma and healing from that. We didn’t really go into her healing a ton, but one of the things that have helped her to heal is meditation and Journey Work. If you have not heard that podcast please go back to last week and listen to that first so that you have some background about Coach Peggy, who she is, and what she does.
I’m really excited to talk to her today about her meditation sessions.
You decided to become a certified Journey Practitioner. You use the Journey Method to help guide women through meditation in order to heal. Why did you choose the Journey method?
Peggy: You know it’s helped hundreds of thousands of people across the world free themselves from issues like anxiety, stress, depression, low self-esteem, chronic anger and rage, physical illness, addictions, and unhealthy behaviors, sexual and physical abuse and emotional abuse, relationship problems, procrastination and career underperformance. I mean it’s just an incredible tool to be used for moving forward in life. I chose it because it was fast, and I also really had a foundation and understanding that the record of our life is stored in our bodies and the Journey really accesses that record and helps us to change it.
How Does Meditation Help Heal From Abuse?
Years before I found the Journey (I have a degree in musical theater performance) and I had to take dance classes and I was in a modern dance class and the professor was talking about the importance of relaxing your muscles, and he told us the story about a well-known dancer who was doing a relaxation process and she relaxed a muscle in her neck that had been tense her whole life. She’d never been able to completely relax it and when she relaxed that muscle she started to cry, and a memory came up from when she was 5-years-old, and she was able to process through that and then relax her muscle.
So, I knew that we stored our memories in our body, so when I found the Journey and that’s what they taught, they said cell memories. We hold the record of our life in our bodies and in order to really release and let go and be free and truly heal, you have to release the body, that includes the emotions. For example, we all have these crystallizing moments. Like say at 4 years old you get separated from your mom for 5 minutes at the store and it creates this emotional response, and maybe internally there are some beliefs like I’m not safe or I’m abandoned, or nobody loves me. Even though that 4-year-old doesn’t consciously think that, that kind of happens.
So, when mom comes back together and finds him, 5 minutes later she’s like: “I’m so sorry.” So, even though the child maybe gets back together with the mom 5 minutes later and as adults were like: “Ah, good, everything’s okay.” This child doesn’t necessarily have the words to speak what happened to them, but they have this now in their body this crystallizing moment of trauma, and they carry that forward.
How Does Meditation Work In Our Mind?
Journey Work really goes back and helps release those memories and re-write them. It’s a reprogramming really because they programming that happens from age 0 to 7 lays the foundation for our whole life. The only way that I know of is through the deeper nonconscious work, like the Journey does, to unravel that and reframe it and give you new resources and new beliefs, and then you start living from a place of freedom.
Anne: I have done hypnotherapy, and we’re going to talk about the difference between that and this in a minute, but I did hypnotherapy before I got married and done a lot of work there and found it to be extremely useful. I wanted to bring Peggy to BTR because of her vast experience (as you heard from the episode we did last week). She has had a lifetime of understanding this issue and abuse and sex addiction. Even though she didn’t know that that’s what it was, her experience has taught her really, really well.
So, me moving into these meditation sessions have helped me more and helps me more then therapy ever has helped me or ever could, so I wanted other women to be able to have this experience.
Talk about that. Is this hypnotherapy and what’s the difference between the two? I’m not a certified Journey practitioner and I’ve been to both, so from my perspective they’re very similar and I really love both of them. So, if they’re much different I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, so I’d love to know what your perspective is.
Can Meditation Heal The Pain Of Abuse?
Peggy: So this is an interesting question because I’ve had hypnotherapy, but it was a long time ago and it was by someone who was just learning how to do it, so it was like a free session kind of thing. Years later when I was doing Journey Work one of the retreats that I staffed, there was another woman there and she was a hypnotherapist, and I asked her: “What’s the difference between Journey Work and hypnotherapy?” and she said: “Really not very much except that Journey Work is so beautiful the way it’s guided and the way that it goes.” She said: “it’s just a really beautiful, very inspiring type of hypnotherapy.”
She said: “The main difference is that in hypnotherapy the therapist has an agenda for the session.” In Journey Work, its very client led. So, I don’t have an agenda, I just open wide into love and this consciousness and just not knowing and just being open to what shows up for the client. Everything comes from that client’s body and what they are ready to let go of and to heal from.
Anne: I have felt that with you during our individual sessions. It’s been amazing.
Peggy: Yeah, it’s pretty cool actually. It’s really cool and it’s really fun when you get surprises.
Anne: Yeah, for me too. I’m like: “Oh, this is what’s happening. This is weird.” In one of our sessions there was this giant cotton ball and we couldn’t get around it and I couldn’t do anything and so you just let it sit there and then at the end I suddenly have a machine and I can get the cotton ball out of there” and you’re like: “Great!”
Peggy: And that’s the power of the imagination, which is what we tap in to, and it’s your imagination so it’s awesome.
Anne: Yeah, it is so helpful. Let’s talk about the difference between guided meditation and just meditation. Why is it different to do a meditation session with you versus if I chose just to do a meditation session by myself?
Why Does Meditation Help The Pain From Abuse?
Peggy: Well, let’s talk first a little bit about the benefits of meditation. I know you talked a little bit about this with Katy a while back. Meditation they found that it lengthens attention span, reduces stress, controls anxiety, promotes emotional health, and enhances self-awareness, which is one of the things I really love. It’s very self-affirming like I said. It can help reduce memory loss. It can help fight addictions. Improves sleep. Helps control pain. So, there’s a lot of benefits to mediation just by itself and the breathing is a big part of it. When you just start noticing your breath, take some deep breaths, it actually connects to different parts of the brain that are hard to access without breath when you’re just in normal waking life.
It connects to different parts of the brain and it helps them coordinate when you’re in a slower deeper breathing state. So, there are biological things that happen in meditation that are powerful. Now, when you add visualization to it, which is part of what Journey Work is, but if someone doesn’t feel like they’re really visual there are ways that we can connect differently besides just visualization. All the 5 senses. We all have a primary sense and probably a secondary sense, and so as a Journey Practitioner, I have been trained how to handle that if that comes up with a client. It’s rare because most people have visualization abilities, and by the way, you can increase your ability to visualize.
So, visualizing when you get into that deep meditative state is where really rocking things can happen. So, let me just talk a little bit about that. We have the beta state, that’s the brain waves of the brain and these are the different states of relaxation. So, beta is actually the alert state. It’s where the electrical activity of the brain pulses faster and it’s the waking consciousness, the reading, the speaking, and all of that; like what we’re doing now.
The next one is alpha, and this is the commonplace for meditator’s, is that they get into an alpha state where the brain cycle goes down about 12 cycles per second. Then the theta state is where profound imaging, visions, dreams, accelerated learning, and self-healing are linked to this brain wave pattern and that goes down to 8 cycles per second. Then the delta which is the sleeping state. So, when we’re doing Journey Work we’re doing lower alpha, upper theta. That is an optimal place for healing.
What Is Guided Mediation?
So, you can get guided meditation on YouTube, you know someone guiding you through it, and those are great. When we do group meditations for BTR those are really great too and those will access the steeper part of you, and when we get to working one-on-one then it becomes very customized to what’s happening in your life, in your body, and what’s ready to come up. We can do some really incredible work through me asking you questions or guiding you to certain visualizations, but then things pop up like you said the cotton ball. So, there are specific frameworks we work in, but then also we can throw those all out the window depending on what happens in the process and what happening for you. So, it’s pretty amazing.
Meditation Can Help Promote Healing
You might be listening and thinking: “Well, Anne, you’re crazy and I don’t want to be like you so I’m not going to do meditation,” (laughing) and that’s valid if that’s how you feel. Then don’t go. For me, I have seen so much progress.
So, let’s talk about my specific sessions that we’ve done. I’ve been struggling with self-care. The first session that I wanted to do with Peggy was about self-care. Why is this something that I want to do but I can’t quite do it? Like, I start it and I don’t quite get it done?
We did two sessions back-to-back. If you do individual sessions I really encourage you to schedule 2 back-to-back 50min sessions, so that you have an hour and 40 minutes together. So, I did that for my first session and then a week later I did my second one.
Now, the first one I didn’t feel a ton of change in between. I kind of felt a little bit of a shift, but after the second one, it was like holy cow. Didn’t I like lose 10 pounds in like 2 weeks or something? This is not about weight loss by the way, but this was about self-care. Like, I started eating better. I started waking up when I wanted to. It was amazing, and I continued to make those changes. It was a big push at first, where I thought: “Wow, am I going to be able to keep this up at this level of self-care?” and to be honest, it has waned a little bit since I started so I’m not sure if I need to do another meditation session or if I just need to asses my schedule and be like: “Huh, what’s not working in my schedule?”
Meditation Can Increase Productivity
I feel like the blocks that I was having, where I wanted to do something and I couldn’t quite get it done, were removed and now what I’m dealing with is just scheduling issues or my son gets sick or I don’t get some sleep because all 3 kids wake me up in the middle of the night or whatever. It’s more like logistical things then it is some type of inner block happening, and I was so grateful to see that gone and I’m excited to continue the sessions to see my progress because the progress that I’ve seen so far has been significant.
So, I’ve done 8 sessions with Peggy. They have been double sessions. So basically, I’ve done 4 back-to-back. That’s how I did it and I’ve found that to be the most helpful. For our listeners, from your perspective, what have you seen or what did you see as a difference between the sessions I’ve done?
Peggy: As a practitioner, I don’t notice as much as you do. Except that when I talk to you; this is what usually happens, is that I’ll talk to people a week or two down the road and they’ll go I really don’t notice anything and then I start asking them questions based on the concerns they had in the last session and they tell me something and I go: “Well, is that different? Has that ever happened before?” and often times they’ll go: “No”
How Does Pain From Abuse Decrease With Meditation?
So, it’s such deep work and it puts us in a place that’s so calm and so true to who we really are that we can miss the shifts and changes that happen, which is why I encourage people to keep a journal. Now, with you Anne, you had some really significant obvious changes and that often happens as well. I was working with a teenager and this mother scheduled 4 double sessions with me, double back-to-back, and we did three and for sure I could tell in the session that things were shifting for him, but he seemed really bored.
So, I asked his mom and she actually took the last session and I said: “So, how’s he doing” and she said: “He doesn’t think anything is happening, but his grades have gone up, his attitude has changed.” She said: “There’s been a complete shift.” It’s super interesting to see that sometimes the person who’s receiving the process isn’t always conscious of what’s happening because it puts them in a place where they feel great and they forget because it’s out of their body. They forget how things were.
Now, that’s not always the case because sometimes we have trauma that’s happening and it’s ongoing, so we have to keep working. Anne, I’ve seen things in you mostly in terms of the process works. You shift in the process. The things you’ve told me and how you’re feeling, I know it’s working. It’s doing things in a very fast and beautiful way.
How Is Meditation Different Than Hypnotherapy?
There’s also something that we call the Rolling Wave, and if you think of like a spiral or rolling wave. You’re moving forward and then you kind of spiral back around and then you move forward further and then you come back around and then you move forward even further. So, you’re spiraling in the right direction, but you come around. So, when you say: “Well, I’ve lost a little bit of it”
Anne: Yeah, I would say that I’ve lost a little momentum. I was going really well and then I think I just need to get the momentum back. I like that idea of a wave because, at least the way I’ve changed in my life, it’s almost like I don’t realize that I’m changing and then something happens (an event) and I react differently then I have before and that’s when I notice that I’ve changed.
Peggy: Right, and that’s why we need to understand that healing is like a rolling wave. It’s a process, which is why we call it the Journey. It’s a journey, it’s not a destination. It’s us coming to wholeness and to peace and to joy and freedom, and it’s fast and it’s deeper than anything I’ve ever done or heard of.
When I first started doing Journey Work, I started to become a really good cook, and I was like: “I don’t know why this has happened,” but something came out of me that I believe was born from this work. I went back and looked through some of my notes and I realized there was a manifestation that I had put down about this and here it was a year and a half later showing up. So, this can show up in hours or days or months and years. It’s just this really powerful, beautiful, whole body/mind healing that’s just awesome.
Anne: It is awesome. I actually would like Peggy, on air to do a mediation session for you, just so you can get a taste of it. So, we’re going to do that next week. Everybody make sure that you stay tuned and you come back. We will be doing a mediation session on air for you to experience so that you can know what it’s sort of like. To prepare you for that, Peggy what is a session like? What can women expect if they schedule an individual session? Let’s start there, and then once you answer that question I also want you to talk about what they can expect if they come to a Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group session that you’re doing where you’re doing a meditation?
Meditation Can Help Heal From Abuse
Peggy: When you schedule 2 back-to-back individual sessions with me, we will start with you kind of telling me what’s going on and what it is that you’re struggling with. Then I will help guide you into a meditative state and take you on a journey, a visualization, or it might be more kinetic depending on you and what you need, but usually it has some visualization in it. There will be some processing that happens; we call it a Journey Process, it’s emotional processing. Some of it is talking processing and then there will be shifts that will happen, and then I will gently bring you back into the present moment, and there are all kinds of things we can do during that time and then get you present right here.
Then we may look at some action steps you can take, but that absolutely is not necessary. At that point, you’ve done the work. It’s in your body and the healing process has begun.
Anne: That is exciting. I love that the healing process has begun and then you can just relax. It reminds me of a procedure that I had done, and the guy said: “Are you ready for your after-care instructions?” and I was like: “Yeah” and he’s like: “Are you sure you’re ready?” and then he said: “You can do whatever you want!” (laughing) It kind of reminds me of Journey Work. It’s like: “Are you ready for your after-care instructions?” There’s nothing. Do whatever you want. I love that about it. I think that’s great.
Peggy: You do need to take care of yourself in the first 24 hours or so. Just be gentle and relax. If you can, try not to do too much. Drink lots of water and get to bed early. Your body has just released a ton of toxins. That would be the only real thing is to take care of yourself.
Anne: Yeah, totally. Every time I do my double individual sessions with Peggy, I take an Epsom Salt bath afterward.
Can Guided Meditation Help With Boundaries?
So, now talk about your Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group mediation session. What can women expect from that?
(If you’re a member of Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group, you can go to any of our Coach’s group sessions. You can check out our group schedule and Peggy has one of these sessions). So, talk to us about what they can expect in your Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group session.
Peggy: Okay, so it’s really the similar format to the double individual sessions. They do a check-in and they kind of talk about what they want for the session, what their intention is, and what they’re feeling, and then we do the guided meditation. Sometimes I will double check with every individual, make sure they are still with me, and sometimes we just run the meditation and then talk about it afterward.
The benefits have been great. Everybody shifts, even though it’s not an individual process and I don’t know everything that’s going on. It really creates calm relaxation. They have been a lot of ah ha’s even in the group session with other women. They realize something about themselves or they get a new belief and they’re like: “Wow” and they always check-out feeling very different than when they checked in, which is super awesome.
How Does Meditation Increase Clarity?
Another reason to come to the session is if you just need to relax and calm down and connect to yourself in a way that you’re not. It’s very different than a regular session. It’s not in your head. It’s not talking, although we do talk at the beginning and at the end. We share experiences if anybody wants to share what happened or if anybody has any questions, we certainly do that, and there are things that come up during the group session. Sometimes I say to individual women: “It would be great if you could schedule a double session with me,” and I really think everyone could use it. I’m just going to be straight up about it because it’s super powerful. So, that’s the way it goes in the group.
Sometimes I do more than one meditation. I’ll do some grounding meditations or some resourcing mediations.
Anne: Awesome. Okay, so everybody stay tuned. Next week Coach Peggy is going to back on the podcast with us, actually doing a session for you. Next week when you listen to the podcast, make sure you’re in a comfortable spot. Perhaps don’t be driving. Sit down and enjoy one of these meditation sessions with us. So, I look forward to that next week Coach Peggy, and in the meantime go to her BTR Group session in Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group or schedule a session or two with her, in order to start your process now so that you can have an actual individualized meditation session and process, rather than just this generalized one, although the generalized one will be awesome as well.
So, stay tuned and we’ll be doing that next week.
How Can I Start Meditating?
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