On Being Four: What Active Counseling Taught me About Childhood Wounding

The truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself.
–Augustine of Hippo


Around the beginning of December 2014—somewhat consciously and somewhat not—Brendan and I began the process of healing my father wound. To say that experience has changed my life is an understatement of almost cosmic proportions; primarily, because I now believe myself to be a manifestation of Sovereign Feminine. Which is a radical and wholly new experience for me as a woman raised under patriarchy, because it means I have begun to reclaim my intuition. Something that was stolen from me as a child.

You see, a woman’s ability to trust her intuitive voice and be fully in her adult power is a dangerous threat to male dominance, so patriarchy keeps women locked in childhood by raping and beating their intuition out of them. Of course, patriarchy also traps men in childhood, beginning with the act of forcibly cutting off their foreskin and then progressively and methodically removing nearly all forms of loving, affirmative affection or validation. Because violent oppression is democratic like that.

For the last six weeks I have felt more powerful, grounded, and clear than ever before in my life. I make decisions, give voice to my grievances, and declare what I want with a confidence that I attribute solely to intuition and my novel ability to hear/trust what she says. Things that, had anyone asked me six months ago, I might have cited as benefits I could conceivably expect to arise as a result of such a healing. But certainly nothing I would have felt I deserved or was worthy to receive.

What I didn’t expect was the actual felt and embodied presence of my literal 4-year-old self.

Of course, the further I get on this journey, the more it makes perfect sense she would come to the forefront of my psyche: because I was 4 years old when my sexual abuse began. So, once I was able to touch that experience in a way that felt relevant to my adult self, once I could fully grieve the loss of what was taken from me, OF COURSE Little Chrissy would be more “here” to my mind and body. It made sense she would be at the surface as opposed to deep within my mind palace, hidden away where she had been safe and virtually unseen for the last 40 years.

Little Chrissy was present in my daily life and most of those ways were positive. I could feel her in how my playing with Avery changed because I could drop into it so much more easily, fluidly, and authentically. I made more funny character voices, readily joined and added to his stories, encouraged interchange in ways that hadn’t occurred to me before. There were times when I really felt like a little kid reborn and it was wonderful. I felt joyous and free to be silly, to dance, to be in my body.

Little Chrissy even got to have a wonderful cosmic experience on psychedelic mushrooms. As with the ecstasy, we set a strong, safe container appropriate for a Little and then proceeded to receive the mushrooms’ download. Little Chrissy was *totally* in her element because—as a divine and magical child presence—she intimately understood the mushrooms as well as what they had to say about where we come from, who we are. Being able to channel her fully while also communing with the mushrooms gave me powerful insight on what I’ve come to understand as the Universal Perspective.

A perspective that recognizes all life as equal and divine, filled with golden light and emanating from stardust. A perspective that allowed me to recognize Brendan and his soul as something I’d seen before, perhaps many times over the millenia, like commuters passing every day in a train station. Which explains why he has always felt like Home to me. That night, the divine in me recognized and resonated with the divine in him, and because of that I feel a little less alone on this planet. A little less identified with and clinging to the body I currently inhabit. A little less homesick.

There’s a lot more I’ll eventually share with you about what the mushrooms told and continue to tell me, about who I am and what’s happening to me as I continue the process of waking and reclaiming. And for now, this is enough. Suffice to say, I experienced Little Chrissy as a beautiful child, full of love, pure and divine; not yet injured, civilized, or abused. She is my lapis lazuli, my psyche’s most precious jewel.

Over the following week or so, I continued to feel her open loveliness, but then it began to change; I felt small, sad, scared, and vulnerable. Defensive; angry even. There was still something at work I couldn’t quite put a finger on, couldn’t locate fully in my body. Something was blocked and wasn’t budging no matter how much solo loving attention I tried to give it.

In addition, Brendan and I had to deal with the reality she didn’t want to have sex. Like *really* didn’t want to. He would kiss my neck and my body shriveled; I could feel my yoni clamp down/close up like a scared little oyster hiding in the corner. This was not the response I was accustomed to feeling when my sexy-hot husband kissed my neck, and I didn’t like it; I felt embarrassed and wholly unlike myself. I could feel my programmed inclination to bypass intuition and “just do it” sneaking up from behind.

But I couldn’t, not anymore. Intuition and Little Chrissy weren’t going to let that happen and, as a now-sovereign female, I had sworn to keep them safe, to believe what they told me and act upon it. Ten days into feeling like my body was working directly against us, we decided to set another ecstatic container with the express intent to Counsel on Parts, a powerful Holistic Peer Counseling technique.

Inner parts are those we feel inside. Similarly to many meditation practices, we can bring our awareness inside ourselves, witnessing what parts are there and what they want. We can even relate to each individual part as its own person, an approach that teaches us how to understand our internal world and which system(s) work best for us.

When we give our parts loving attention, we search for the Balance of Attention in order to bring about release. Remember that this process is neither linear nor especially predictable; our patterns tend to feel more like mazes, all twists and turns. As we learn to feel the Balance of Attention more acutely, we are better able to follow the pattern’s path and support its eventual release.

We were operating under the belief that if we held loving space for her and listened to what she had to say, she could feel sufficiently heard to stop interrupting us with the intensity that only an urgent 4-year-old can muster. We had already introduced Little Chrissy to both our adult bodies during the mushroom trip as a way to help her feel safe with us, to know we weren’t going to be “like the others”—that we had no intent to harm or scare her. Which was a critical step in our journey because at this point we knew the next ecstatic container would be specifically about sex.

Little Chrissy, as an internal Part of me, needed to experience us (that is, she and I) jointly having loving sex with Brendan as a contradiction to her lived experience 39 years ago. She needed to trust us in the present.

30 minutes after ingesting the ecstasy, I could feel Little Chrissy right up front in my psyche, where she stayed for about 45 minutes until she receded slightly, allowing me to experience a more integrated state. That is, I could still feel her, but I wasn’t “acting like a child” or trying to channel her directly. Brendan and I spent about three hours lovingly affirming who we were to one another, to our families, to our communities, and to the world. We were essentially lining our container with safety, love, intention, and acknowledgement—all things critical for the deep work we were about to undertake.

We then slowly started to have sex. I had been feeling something like mild abdominal gas for the past hour, which I’d attributed to either the drug or the snacks I’d eaten earlier. It was irritating, but nothing new to me as a lifelong sufferer of intestinal upset and certainly not something I considered stopping or slowing down for. But as he entered me, it got worse; it was a tight little knot right up inside the very core of my belly. It was deep and not moving like I’d expect gas to.

So, he got off and laid next to me. I put both my hands on my belly and began speaking directly to the knot. I told her I knew she was scared and that I was here to love her, to give her some attention. Brendan reiterated “This attention is for you, little one.” I told her that we needed to keep going and that yes, it was going to hurt, but I promised I would stop if she told me to. I asked her if she could trust me and, after a little bit, she said Yes, okay.

This time I got on top of Brendan and as he entered me, almost immediately I felt the knot seize up with pain. It was at the end of my vagina, right where it had always been. Where it had been for so long I had never questioned its presence. As I rubbed back and forth across the tip of his cock, I began to cry and then get angry. Angry. Angrier. The more I rubbed against that spot the more I cried and the more scared I got. I was able to stay there for about 90 seconds before pulling off and rolling over onto the bed.

I was shaking uncontrollably, my teeth chattering together like I was lying in snow. My whole abdomen was hot and tense. Brendan put his arms around me and held me, eventually putting his finger in between my teeth to stop the chattering. And then it happened: I was hit with a massive intuitive download and in an instant I knew the truth. I hadn’t just been molested as a child; I’d been raped. Repeatedly. With either penis, fingers, or object. Raped hard enough to wound, to leave that hard little knot.

As I lay there, sobbing, accepting what I had known-but-not-known my whole life, the wound began revealing itself to me, lighting up and getting hot so I could trace its outline. Its edges are jagged and sharp, like shards of glass. It looks like what I imagine a shotgun wound to the gut would: it spreads across my entire abdomen, all the way up my left side and into my armpit, and—most importantly—straight into my solar plexus, the seat of my intuition. And in that moment I was rocked by the cell-level understanding that The Affliction was a result of my having been raped.

For 31 years—since I first suffered The Affliction at age 12—she’d been trying to get my attention and I couldn’t understand her, couldn’t hear what she was saying. Because my intuition was broken, scarred; turned into a hard knot. And so she got disowned, left behind; alone and in the dark. No wonder I couldn’t stop shaking once I found her.

It didn’t stop there. Over the next two hours, my intuition showed me things about my family that directly contradicted my lived experience of them and what they had told me. I saw things they would *never* talk about. Things that would likely get me disowned if I spoke of them publicly. And I knew they were true; in my bones I fucking KNEW. During those two hours I remembered conversations I’d had with my mother over the years that never made sense, random things I’d overheard aunts and uncles saying, memories left in dark corners for decades that finally had the context they required to make sense.

It was like that scene in V for Vendetta when Inspector Finch asks Dominic whether knowing the truth would be worth the consequences. Because I clearly saw a chain of events, things that would otherwise have been deemed coincidence or laughably impossible, things that suddenly aligned with both my body’s intelligence and lived memories. I could see it…all of it, going back to my great-grandparents. My mother always said I remembered things nobody else could, and now I knew why. Someone had to remember, to be The Witness. That someone is me.

I’ve since received additional downloads that I’ll definitely be blogging about because WHOA AWESOME. I’ve also counseled extensively on what happened with both peers and my therapist. As I integrate all the aspects of being four—including the angry, wounded maiden and the divine star child—my understanding of who I am grows and becomes more defined. I see many things about what I’m here to do and how I might go about that.

What I specifically want to make a point of is this: there are parts inside each of us that need loving attention. Parts that may have been silenced decades ago. We may believe they have nothing to teach us, no wisdom to impart. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not true because they do and they want to. If we can only be courageous enough to face them and hear their truth.

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4 thoughts on “On Being Four: What Active Counseling Taught me About Childhood Wounding

  1. Pingback: Listening to My Body’s Songs | Christina Louise Dietrich

  2. Pingback: Surrendering My Silence | Christina Louise Dietrich

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