Managing your feelings will help you gain some self-control over emotions that can be overwhelming (for example, overwhelming hate, anger, rage, sadness or shame). Whatever those feelings are, being able to cope with them as they come up is incredibly useful. What is also important is being able to make yourself feel safe whilst dealing with waves of strong feelings (especially fear). These meditations and techniques can help you positively support yourself in the face of an emotional storm.

Powerful feelings such as rage and anger can sometimes turn inwards on the self and it is important to learn how to nurture yourself as feelings come up and to counteract any self-blame with self-love. Empowerment in this context means positively supporting yourself however you feel, and especially if feelings of self-loathing come up. In the case of strong difficult emotions, empowerment means letting those feeling come up and pass through to be let go of without self-harming in any way. Learning to love yourself and be your own best friend is especially important on the road to recovery and some of these meditations will help you uncover what that means for you and encourage you to actively love yourself.

Stuck Patterns

A stuck pattern is a type of behavior that repeats in an unhelpful way. For example perhaps you persistently criticize yourself in certain situation, or maybe you find yourself in compromising or difficult situations over and over again. For example do you constantly criticize a part of your body i.e. I hate my legs. Perhaps you criticize your own ability to cope in stressful situations and so give up on helping yourself. This might be accompanied by a voice in your head that says “I can’t do it” Another example of a stuck pattern in feeling helpless to change anything. Or feeling hopeless about anything good happening.

As with other methods of recovery it is up to you to make the effort to change and grow emotionally. The emphasis behind the meditations is the concept of empowerment. You are allowing yourself to increase your well-being by using techniques to enable deep and lasting change. The changes you need will depend on you, your personal experiences, your personality and ways you have coped in the past with your personal experiences. Everybody's personal healing journey is different. Changing the voice in your head from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’ may need the step that empowers. This empowering voice says ‘I will try’. To try implies action and once the understanding of changing your thoughts is in place then the action needs to take place. This first step can be contacting a therapist to make an appointment. Or finding a survivors support group in your area. Or setting up a survivors support group. It is so much easier to make changes one step at a time and with the support from women who understand and empathise with your healing journey and are able to support you.

Sarah wanted to be with other abuse survivors in her area. However, she could not find a local support group so she asked her therapist to network with her clients on her behalf. The group she started was small but helped her to talk about her specific needs and emotional issues with women who could offer her wisdom and care. 

Ann found a survivors support group in her area and with the love and  encouragement of other women found the courage to explore the depths of her suicidal thoughts without feeling ashamed or fearing reproach. She knew all the other women there understood her pain. She credits the double pronged support from her therapist and support group for helping her through that bleak time.


An addiction is similar to a stuck pattern but if you think you are addicted to drugs, cigarettes, food, sex, alcohol or gambling then you need specialist treatment and/or local support group. Seek them out now so you can see your patterns clearly and learn to challenge and change them.

Why Empowerment?

The idea behind empowerment is the power to take charge of our own lives as women. I strongly believe that as women we cannot wait for men to become healed or spiritually evolved enough to not act in violent ways. Many men have also suffered violence and in the USA 10% of all rape reports are from men (Rainn, 2014 Male Sexual Assault) . We need to take action now to heal ourselves from all forms of sexual abuse and violence. Once women have healed their own shame, anger, rage, hurt and release the fear by speaking out against paedophiles and rapist then these actions will teach our daughters to do the same by example. The more we hide from sexual abuse through intimidation, fear and shame the more we allow it to stay hidden in society. With time I believe attitudes can fully change so that increasingly children can find the words and the courage to speak out against their sexual predators. This will encourage prosecution of offenders and thus stop other children from being harmed.

This healing journey is not for the faint hearted and requires a lot of courage, strength and determination. If you feel you have to gather a lot of bravery to face your fears then you are right (remember the adage ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. Healing from gender based violence takes courage, but you do not have to recover alone. There are many organizations listed in the website that offer a free phone line counselling service and information online.  See the section headed 'Links and  Resources'.

 Snowdrop flowers

Photograph by Jennifer Weston ©

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