Dear Aphrodite, In a week, my divorce from my abusive ex- will be final. I have being doing a lot of work on myself but after experiencing four years of emotional abuse, part of me is still afraid of men in a romantic context — afraid of being controlled, sexually rejected and powerless. How do I know if I’m ready for new love? How do I stay open and out of fear so that love can flow freely? How do I overcome the fear and defensiveness that come up when I even consider dating? –Sophia
Dear Sophia, First, congratulations for having the courage to leave an abusive relationship, and for the work you are doing on your self, which will pay off! You are starting to heal, but there’s a reason why they call it a “healing process” (it’s a process).
It sounds like the residual fear and powerlessness you feel when you consider dating, while an echo of your past relationship, still holds authority over you, and is acting as a sort of signpost telling you when/if you’re ready. While occasionally new relationships can be agents of healing and change, if we don’t give our healing process the time and space we need, more often we end up replicating the old one with a new person- which only perpetuates the cycle of trauma and heartache. So better questions for you at this point might be: What strategies can help me to heal this disempowerment? And if I’m going to give myself time to do this to my satisfaction, can I be okay with being in this liminal space?
For the former, try this experiment: On a scale from 1-10 rate your fear of men in a romantic context, of being controlled, sexually rejected and powerless. Now place your hands on your lap, palm sides up. Gently tap the inner area of your hand (between the base of your palm and pinky) with that of the other hand (this is an Emotional Freedom Technique and is called the “karate chop” point) and repeat the following: “I have so many fears about being with men romantically. I am afraid of being controlled. I am afraid of being sexually rejected and powerless. I experienced 4 years of abuse and it is so very hard for me to turn this corner. And I completely and unconditionally love and accept myself.” Keep going. “I am sooo afraid. I am afraid of getting hurt again, and I am afraid of being alone. I get defensive when I’m around potential romantic partners. I like men; I want to enjoy men. It’s so confusing! And I completely and totally love and accept myself.” Do another round of this with your own words. Now rate your fear again, from 1-10. Did it go down? If it went down even a little this might be a good technique to help you process out some of the emotions that are keeping you stuck. While this was just a taste, a good EFT practitioner will take you through the entire sequence, help you to release trauma and move the emotional intensity of your fear and powerlessness down to zero– the goal of this work.
We tend to want to get rid of fear so we can just get on with our life, but fear is a warning sign telling us to slow down, get quiet and pay attention. Treat your fear like the ally she is; she is saying that you need to restore your internal sense of power, trust and safety. When past hurt and pain controls your ability to move forward, you need to go back and give your past self -who is likely still in a “flight or fight” state- resources she needed then but didn’t have. EFT works for this but so can other therapeutic techniques specifically designed to release trauma.
Astrologically, you are in the right space for exploring, learning and mastering the kinds of experimental techniques that can help you see your healing progress. All summer, Saturn conjoins your Uranus-Mercury opposition. If you invest time and effort in this area, Saturn rewards with new skills, healing tools and authority.
You can do this! There are thousands if not millions who have been or are where you are now, and who have gone on to find fulfilling satisfying relationship (hold the space for that by affirming “My True Love comes to me in Divine Timing.”) And remember, patience: It’s okay to not be ready for love, yet. The better part of finding love is becoming the right person for the love you want to find you. –Jessica