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Reiki Symbols: Meanings, Purpose, and Practice

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Reiki Symbols Image

Reiki symbols are both a visual and auditory focus, although in the Western tradition the main importance is given to the visual aspect. Thus, the Symbols not only increase the power of Reiki but also serve as the focus for our intentions.

In this article, I will share with you the basic Reiki symbols, their meaning, purpose, and the sacred energy that each of them expresses.

Symbols in Reiki

Reiki symbols have always been surrounded by mystery and have been recognized as Sacred Symbols of great power.

In the Reiki system, the symbols are taught starting with the Second level. These symbols have always been the subject of controversy among the various Reiki schools.

A turning point in the history of the Western Reiki school was the publication of Diane Stein’s book “Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art“. Teachers of the traditional Reiki school DO NOT recommend to read this book as it violated the Reiki traditions. Diane Stein published all the Reiki symbols in that book, and this is how they became public.

The fact is that the teachers of the Traditional Reiki school teach to keep the Reiki symbols in secret in view of their sacredness.

In addition, only a person who has never experienced the Power of Reiki Symbols is able to share these symbols with the uninitiated. Those people who really understand and feel the Reiki Symbols understand the huge responsibility of keeping the Reiki traditions that prevent them from sharing the Reiki Symbols and mantras to the uninitiated.

I am a representative of the Traditional Reiki school, so in this article, I will talk about Reiki symbols without naming them or showing them. I think that this article will be useful primarily to those who have already been initiated into the Second level of Reiki, but for the rest, it will be only introductory information.

The traditional Reiki school teaches the Symbols according to the Hawayo Takata method:

Stage 1: the students memorize the symbols;
Stage 2: the students practice drawing the symbols on paper;
Stage 3: the students destroy the paper with the symbols.

Now Reiki practitioners use many additional Symbols, but most practitioners use the four basic Reiki symbols.

Reiki students get introduced to the Three Reiki Symbols when they get attuned into the Second level of Reiki. And the fourth Reiki symbol they learn when they become Reiki Masters.

Originally, the symbols were not part of the Reiki system. Mikao Usui started using them when he began introducing Reiki to people unfamiliar with spiritual practices. In other words, he was using symbols to help people in spiritual development. Reiki symbols were supposed to be a focus for the mind, as well as mantras.

Mikao Usui With His Students Picture

The Use Of Reiki Symbols

The Reiki symbols that Dr. Usui used in the initiation process have tremendous energy that can awaken certain areas of consciousness and teach us how to create the material out of the immaterial, whether it’s healing the body, building relationships, or coping with life situations.

Reiki practitioners should be well prepared before beginning to learn the art of Reiki symbols. Because the symbols are sacred, they are revealed to a practitioner only at the right time. To comprehend their true meaning is possible only after preparation. The practitioner should have a strong spiritual background and at least a couple of years of regular Reiki healing practice based on Reiki Level 1 before he/she gets introduced to the Reiki symbols.

The Reiki symbols are carriers of very powerful sacred energy and in various combinations are able to awaken creative intelligence. They help us to make a qualitative leap to another level of consciousness. The Symbols reveal the universal truth, and we gain deep knowledge when we start interacting with their energy.

Moreover, Reiki symbols contribute to the strengthening of the human energy body, which makes the process of awakening irreversible. They also help to accelerate karma, increase endurance, and eternal vigilance.

Traditional Reiki Symbols

Distance Reiki image

When our thoughts are concentrated, we can put them into action. That’s what the Sacred symbols are for.

As already mentioned, the second level of Reiki opens access to the three Reiki Symbols. And the third Reiki level opens access to the fourth – Master symbol.

Each Symbol corresponds to a mantra, which is the sound vibration of the Symbol and some Masters also say that the mantras are basically the names of the symbols. By chanting the mantra, you focus on the intention, and the form turns into the essence.

So, the traditional Reiki symbols are:

1st symbol – CKR

This symbol activates the process, leads the energy in the right direction for achieving the desired result. The energy of this symbol moves in a spiraling direction from limitless potential through thought and essence. CKR symbol focuses on physical body healing.

2nd symbol – SHK

This symbol takes the practitioner to the mental and emotional energy levels. It focuses on the emotional body healing and works through our subconsciousness.

3rd symbol – HSZSN

This symbol creates a so-called “bridge” between us and the person and/or the situation in which we want to heal or harmonize. It focuses on the mental body healing and works through our consciousness.

Understanding the Reiki Symbols

Every Reiki practitioner should establish a connection with each Symbol and the aspect of Reiki energy that is embodied in them. Having an inner understanding of the vibrations accompanying the Reiki symbol’s mantras, we can completely abandon them and concentrate immediately on the manifestation of the energy associated with the particular symbol.

You should understand that it’s not easy. It may take years of meditation before you can achieve this. But with regular practice, you will achieve the desired results!

In most Reiki schools, the Masters teach the four basic symbols. However, there are many other symbols obtained through channeling by the creators of the new Reiki schools. In this article, I will share with you only those symbols that are traditionally used in Reiki, their characteristics, as well as the energy that is expressed through them.

Now let’s go deeper into the understanding of each of the four Reiki symbols.

Symbol 1: CKR

CKR symbol image

The shape of the First symbol (also known as CKR symbol) is at least partly found outside Japan. This symbol is also found in Indian and Celtic culture. Partially it’s expressed in the SO and CHA symbols of the SOLANCHA system.

In Japanese teachings, on which relied Mikao Usui, Symbol 1 is connected with Earth energy. And as we know, Earth energy is necessary for grounding. It is also associated with the Hara.

Connecting with this symbol while meditating on it will help you increase your energy level and straighten your Hara.

CKR symbol focuses energy on what you direct it to and amplify it.

Symbol 1, like all the others, can be used alone or in combination with others.

In order to activate the Symbol, it is necessary to say its mantra three times.

Mantra CKR

The mantra of this symbol translates as “power increase” or “placing all the powers of the universe here”.

Symbol 1 (CKR) Characteristics

Meaning: power, energy.

Purpose: directs energy towards desired results.

Tasks:

  • serves as a catalyst;
  • activates and enhances energy.

Possible Benefits:

  • the physical body healing;
  • gives other symbols extra energy;
  • concentrates energy on a particular goal;
  • energy protection;
  • purifies and energizes water and food;
  • cleanses and charges crystals and any other healing stones;
  • purifies and energizes any material objects.

So, Symbol 1 is used to increase power. When you visualize Symbol 1, your access to Reiki energy increases several times. CKR focuses energy on one point, calling for the Divine help in healing.

Symbol 2: SHK

Reiki Healing System Image

In Western teachings, Symbol 2 is associated with physical and mental well-being. In the Japanese tradition, it is associated with harmony. I support both of these associations since SHK energy grants calmness of mind and emotional balance.

Unlike Symbol 1, Symbol 2 uses the energy of Heaven, which is also called “Light”. Working with this energy helps to develop intuition and psychic abilities because it is related to the mind. Moreover, Symbol 2 helps us to make contact with the energy of the Higher Self, or Spirit.

You can draw or visualize this Symbol when you need to better understand the situation. In traditional teaching, practitioners draw this symbol on their Third eye chakras during the Reiki healing sessions. In distance Reiki healing, it is recommended to focus on this symbol when the patient is experiencing psychological or emotional distress.

Symbol 2 has very subtle energy. Therefore, usually, it takes more time for a Reiki practitioner to feel it. However, regular meditations on this symbol will eventually help you to start feeling it and then you will discover its great power. Symbol 2 can be used in a combination with Symbol 1 to enhance emotional cleansing.

Mantra SHK

This mantra translates as “Earth and Heaven become one”. Or some Masters may translate it as “God and man become one”.

Symbol 2 Characteristics

Meaning: healing, harmony, happiness.

Symbol: embryonic state, the beginning of the external form.

Purpose: to bring harmony and healing.

Tasks:

  • calm and relax the mind;
  • open direct access to the subconscious levels.

Different Ways to Use the SHK Symbol:

Reiki energy penetrates where healing is needed at any level: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. When we use Symbol 2, we direct energy to the emotional level, and this is the key to effective healing. Painful emotions or trauma that are deeply hidden in our subconsciousness, come to the surface. Only after emotional relief, can we expect that healing from physical illness will occur. Anger, despair, rage, grief are the most common root factors that create disease.

Reiki Animal Healing with SHK Symbol

animal reiki healing image

Pets cleanse houses and people from negative emotions. If the family is in crisis, the pet takes the hit and is not always able to cope with it. One way or another, your pet’s health is a reflection of your energy or the energy of the environment you live in.

Reiki practitioners use Symbol 2 to help relieve emotional pain in pets as well as in humans. When I use SHK in my healing sessions for pets, along with the healing, the emotional blocks of the owner of the pet get released. I often receive information about the root problem of the pet’s disease during the Reiki session. Usually, this information comes through the SHK symbol. And its always connected to the emotional problems of the owner of the pet.

Example of Reiki Animal Healing With the Help of SHK

I’ll share with you one example from my practice. I was healing a cat who accidentally damaged his back. This severe damage affected his paws so he couldn’t walk. When I was giving a healing session to the cat, the information about his owner came through the SHK symbol. The information was about his owner.

The owner’s daughter just a month ago moved out of the house and went to college. So the mother (the owner) was suffering a lot because she didn’t know how to live without her beloved daughter always being around. She was afraid of thinking about the future and moving forward. So, her cat took this emotional block on himself and he couldn’t move because of the fears of his “mom”.

After explaining this to my client she took the responsibility and started working on healing her emotional trauma along with Reiki healing sessions for her cat. In a couple of months of our “teamwork”, the cat was able to walk again!

How Does SHK Work?

Symbol 2 focuses energy on the emotional body and thus enhances its effect. This helps the patient to focus on the specific emotional blocks and quickly get rid of them.

Use the SHK symbol at the beginning of the healing session or when it’s necessary.

I noticed that sometimes Reiki practitioners (including myself) forget to use the SHK symbol. And this is totally ok! The thing about this symbol is that you should always trust your intuition whether you need to use it or not. If you remembered to use this symbol during your Reiki session – it’s great! But if you forgot about it, then there was no need to use it. When you’re performing intuitive healing, the intuition should lead the process.

SHK and Kundalini

kundalini mantra image

Many Reiki practitioners use Symbol 2 as a tool for helping the Kundalini awakening. You may notice that this symbol makes Kundalini practices and meditations go much easier and smoother.

Symbol 3: HSZSN

Symbol 3 is composed of 5 Japanese hieroglyphs (Kanji) that can be read as a phrase.

In western Reiki schools, HSZSN is used for distant Reiki sessions. Japanese Reiki system uses this symbol as “a connection tool”. And it makes sense. For performing distant Reiki healing, we have to establish a real connection with the Universe and with the patient. From a certain point of view, when we send healing, we do not act as if we are separated from the patient. We become one with him/her so that he/ she can heal himself/herself.

Meaning: connection, unity, purpose.

SHK Mantra translates as “No past, no present, no future”. Some Masters use another translation – “The Buddha in me contacts the Buddha in you”. Or you may also hear another translation of this mantra – “God in me recognizes God in you’.

When we are using the SHK symbol we go beyond time and space. This is how we are able to send energy distantly and even to the past (for example, when we’re performing past trauma healing) or the future (for example, when we performing manifesting of the goals or harmonizing the situation).

Tasks:

  • establishing the connection with a person/event/situation beyond time and space;
  • creating unity between the beginning and the end;
  • building “a bridge” between “the Divine in me” and the Divine in another person or situation;
  • cleansing the space.

Different Ways to Use the HSZSN symbol:

The HSZSN Symbol Is a Portal to the Akashic Records

Akashic records image

The symbol 3 is often used as a portal to the Akashic Records. By meditating on the 3rd symbol you can get access to the information about your karmic goals, lessons, agreements, and debts which can help you to establish your karmic healing.

Past-Present-Future Healing

When working with Symbol 3, the lines between the past, present, and future are blurred. This symbol shows you that your past, present, and future exist in the same time-lapse. So, the first step in working with this symbol is learning how to feel this.

When you keep working with the HSZSN symbol you will discover that now it’s much easier for you to receive information about the future through this symbol. Let me share with you one helpful trick on how to see the future timelines easier. You simply need to tap into the feeling of unity of the present and the future moment. And then draw the HSZSN symbol two times. The double HSZSN symbol will create a “gate” into future timelines.

Though you’ll be able to see future events, keep in mind that there is an unlimited quantity of possible timelines in the future. So, you never know which one you’ll be able to see. You may see the one that is the closest to the one you’re on right now. But keep in mind that if you change your behavior or make different choices then you may switch the timeline to another one. And it’s possible to see that timeline through the HSZSN symbol too.

Symbol 4: DKM

When a Reiki practitioner becomes a Reiki master, he/she gains access to the 4th Reiki symbol which is also called the Master symbol. This symbol also consists of hieroglyphs.

Symbol 4 is rooted in Buddhist traditions. It is found in the sacred text of Mikkyō – a part of Tendai Buddhism teaching followed by Mikao Usui. This symbol is also used in an esoteric Buddhist ritual in which the follower becomes one with the Buddha’s true nature and reveals his inner light. That is why Usui chose this symbol as the highest symbol of development in Reiki practice.

In the Western Reiki system, this symbol is associated with the mastery of spiritual practice. In Japanese tradition, it is associated with the acquisition of power.

The Purpose

Reiki Master Cosmos Image

The main purpose of the Master symbol is to establish a direct connection with one’s inner Master.

Your Inner Master is the part of you that has already reached enlightenment. This part is hidden from us, but we gain it through consistent spiritual practices.

The master symbol attracts the energy of the higher vibration, which enhances the healing result.

The DKM symbol can be used in combination with other Reiki symbols to strengthen them and purify the intent behind the Reiki practice. This Symbol sheds light on any situation; physical, mental or spiritual condition. In addition, it clears all obstacles in the way of solving problems, even the most profound ones.

Meditation on the DKM Symbol

When we are meditating on this Symbol it helps us develop self-awareness and promotes spiritual development.

One way to meditate on this symbol is to draw it in front of you and enter it as if it was a hologram. During meditation, it often takes some color, most often it becomes violet. You can intuitively visualize it in a specific color to enhance the energy.

The DKM Mantra

This mantra translates as “Great Enlightenment” or “Bright Shining Light”. There are many other translations of this mantra. However, all translations refer to “the Light”. Therefore, when pronouncing this mantra, we should visualize the Light.

Alignment With Reiki Symbols

reiki attunement image

Before you start using Reiki symbols in your healing practice, you should make sure you’re aligned with each of them. To achieve it you need to perform the alignment practice with each symbol. This practice will make you capable of using Reiki symbols effectively. Also, it will increase your visualization abilities, improve your healing power, harmonize your life, and balance your spiritual path.

Usually, the alignment practice is performed daily for at least 30 minutes for 21 days after initiation. However, I noticed that not all Reiki masters teach this practice. And many Reiki practitioners use Reiki symbols without being aligned with them. Some masters explained to me that it’s due to the fact that along with the attunment you get automatically aligned with the symbols. However, I cannot agree with this.

You see, Reiki attunement is the initiation into the Reiki system. And the alignment with the symbols is the result of your consistent spiritual practice. A Reiki Master doesn’t have the ability to align you with the symbols. This is your own responsibility and your path.

After I tell people about the alignment practice and they start consistently performing it, they see how much easier it is for them to feel the Symbols’ energy and how much more effective their Reiki healing sessions are. Therefore, if for some reason your Reiki Master didn’t introduce you to the alignment practice, you can do it now. I’m sure very soon you will see amazing difference in your Reiki practice.

The Alignment Practice (Meditation)

Here are quick instructions on how to perform the alignment practice. But keep in mind, that this practice is designed only for those Reiki practitioners that have already received the Level 2 (and up) Reiki attunement.

  1. Take a sitting posture for meditation. Make sure that your arms and legs are not crossed. Take a couple of deep breaths until you feel that your body completely relaxed.
  2. Invite the Reiki Energy with the intention of aligning with the Sacred Reiki Symbols.
  3. Raise your hand in front of you with the palm open and directed away from you. Draw in the air in front of you Symbol 1 (CKR) and say its mantra 3 times. Alternatively, you can draw the symbol in the air in front of you with your index finger or with your index and middle fingers folded together. Visualize the Symbol where you drew it. Now enclose it between your palms.
  4. Close your eyes and continue holding the CKR symbol between your palms. Keep saying the CKR mantra for at least 10 minutes (preferably aloud, but if not possible, then whisper or say it mentally).
  5. Raise your hands with the CKR symbol between them above your head and place the symbol in your Crown chakra. Visualize the CKR symbol entering your Crown chakra, spreading throughout your body and merging with it.

Perform the same actions for aligning with other symbols.

The Bottom Line

There are lots of misleading information about Reiki symbols all over the Internet. You can also see lots of books about the symbols and their interpretation. Obviously, this article is just a summarized guide to Reiki symbols but doesn’t include the full information about them. How can you recognize the true information about Reiki symbols? I always follow one simple rule – if the book or Internet article includes the pictures or names of the symbols, then I can’t fully trust the information in it. The main rule about Reiki symbols is that their images and mantras should be kept secret and if the author doesn’t follow this rule, then he/she probably doesn’t really understand the sacredness of the information he/she shares.

Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Healing

Chakra Frequencies: 7 Powerful Tones For Sound Healing

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chakra frequencies hz image

Our chakras play an essential role in how we feel and function mentally, physically, and emotionally. When we align the seven main chakras, we feel whole and fulfilled. You must also be aware that there are over 100 chakras in the human body. However, we need to align the seven main chakras arranged along the spine for a peaceful and harmonious feel in the body.

There are ways you can restore unaligned and blocked chakras in your body. One sure way to do it is to use chakra frequencies. In this article, we look at how you can use Chakra frequencies to regain perfect Chakra alignment.

What are Chakra Frequencies? 

Chakra frequencies are a type of sound therapy that comprises vibrational tones, sound, and music to enhance your emotional and physical well-being.

This kind of sound healing typically entails calm and soothing music and sounds such as:

  • Tuning forks;
  • Indian classical music;
  • Tibetan singing bowls.

To activate Chakras the sound therapists use specific sound frequencies to activate different chakras.

Activating the Chakras and Solfeggio Frequencies 

Solfeggio Healing Frequencies Image

Solfeggio frequencies are the sound frequencies associated with chakras. These sound frequencies vibrate at a specific Hz frequency while interacting with your brain to create desired results throughout the body.

Since ancient times, the Gregorian monks of Western Christianity and Eastern Indian religions use Solfeggio frequencies to promote stress relief, body calmness, and relaxation.

Despite being used in ancient times, these frequencies became popular in the 70s. Dr. Joseph Puleo discovered that six vibrational tones could create harmony in the body. He also found that these harmonies could heal the body and mind and eliminate subconscious negative beliefs.

Here are the six frequencies that Dr. Joseph Puleo discovered:

  • 396 Hz – This sound resonates with the root chakra. It can help eliminate trauma, fear, and guilt.  
  • 417 Hz – We associate this frequency with the sacral Chakra. It is great for taking your creativity to the next level. It is also instrumental in bringing positive change. 
  • 528 Hz – This Solfeggio frequency is vital in transforming cellular functions. You can use it to create a better neural path to the brain, which is connected to the solar plexus chakra
  • 639 Hz – This Solfeggio frequency is linked to the heart chakra. It is excellent for transforming your love and intimacy in life
  • 741 Hz – This tone is associated with the throat chakra. It is the ideal tone to choose to improve self-confidence, esteem, and communication skills. 
  • 852 Hz – We link this frequency to the third eye Chakra. It is vital for people who would love to improve their mental clarity and brain function.

Using the Solfeggio Frequencies to Heal the Chakras

The resonation of the Solfeggio frequencies has a significant positive impact on the chakras. For instance, the Schuman low-frequency resonance effectively promotes the synchronization of the higher brain. This is effective for your brain health as it matches the different brainwave states.

Here are ways different Solfeggio frequencies heal different chakras:

The Root Chakra

We associate the Muladhara, also called the Root chakra, with stability and security. Having this Chakra aligned guarantees you better success at having all basic needs. The root chakra vibrates at 396 Hz. This smooth vibrational tone is composed of long wavelengths that produce soothing sounds.

You can also listen to 396 Hz music to eliminate fear and guilt. It may also free you from negative emotions and feelings. If you want to eliminate fear and guilt while restoring courage and strength, we recommend sound that vibrates at 396 Hz.

Sacral Chakra

The Sacral Chakra is also called the Svadhistahana. This chakra governs our intimacy, sensuality, and sexuality. If you have these qualities right, you can easily connect with your passion in life. You can also achieve high levels of creativity.

The sacral Chakra vibrates at 417 Hz. If you want to drop the creativity block, listen to 417 Hz Chakra music. This frequency is also great for seeking to heal sexual and personal trauma.

When it comes to the physical, this sound can help relieve tension from body parts such as joints and muscles, especially around the hips. With this, you can quickly improve your mobility and flexibility.

Solar Plexus Chakra

The Manipura chakra, or the solar plexus, is associated with how we view ourselves. If the solar plexus chakra is balanced, you will have willpower, high self-confidence, and belief in yourself. You will be more determined to pursue your goals.

This Chakra vibrates at a frequency of 528 Hz. Listening to music at this frequency can make you more resilient while pursuing your goals. With this, you can ease anxiety and physical tension and improve your digestive health.

Heart Chakra

The Anahata chakra, or the heart chakra, is essential in decision-making. It can help you resolve things such as family or relationship disagreements. The correct heart chakra frequencies set you for more gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, joy, and empathy. You also open your heart more to receive and give love.

The heart chakra vibrates at a deep tone of 639 Hz. This frequency will connect your mind to your most vulnerable spots. This makes it practical for you to create and maintain peaceful and healthy platonic and romantic relationships.

Throat Chakra

The Vishuddha chakra, or the throat chakra, is the center of expressing ourselves. It helps us build qualities such as clear communication skills, which include expressing ourselves well while still being able to listen and welcome other people’s opinions.

If you are afraid of expressing or standing up for yourself, you may need to activate your throat chakra, which vibrates at 741 Hz. This vibration will boost your confidence and empower you to speak and stand your truth.

On the physical side, this frequency is effectively eliminating toxins and bacterial and viral infections.

Third Eye Chakra

We associate the third eye chakra, or the Ajna, with spiritual and physical vision. This chakra gives better and stronger eyesight on the worldly and physical levels. On a spiritual level, the third eye chakra opens up our vision to allow us to connect with guidance from our higher beings.

The third eye chakra vibrates at a frequency of 852 Hz. Listening to meditation music on this frequency can help make you more open-minded to view your mind and the world from a different perspective.

Crown Chakra

The crown chakra is the one to focus on if you want to deepen your spiritual roots.

This chakra, otherwise called the Sahasrara, is excellent for:

  • Taking the ego under control;
  • Understanding ourselves better;
  • Re-connecting with our Higher-self;
  • Attuning to a Higher consciousness;
  • Strengthening our connection with God;
  • Creation of deeper connections with nature.

The crown chakra has the highest frequency on the Solfeggio scale; it has a frequency of 963 Hz. These high vibrational tones have short wavelengths that will make you more conscious of the things around you. 

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Healing

What Is Betrayal Trauma? The Signs and Tips to Start Healing

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What Is Betrayal Trauma Image

When someone you love and trust betrays you, it can make you doubt your sanity. Betrayal can be so traumatic you may even show early signs of PTSD. Think of the times a spouse discovers that their partner is cheating on them or into porn addiction. Or when a parent realizes a child is an alcoholic or drug addict. Such discoveries make you go through shock, denial, and other long-term emotional scars that strain the relationship. So, what is betrayal trauma? And, how can you manage and heal from it? Let’s have a detailed look.

Understanding Betrayal Trauma

Betrayal trauma occurs when people or systems we trust or rely on for survival violate that trust and emotional wellbeing. Ideally, we feel the urge to end a relationship with anyone who betrays us. Still, if you are in an attachment relationship where you rely on the betrayer to meet specific needs, walking away is not feasible.

It is this attachment to someone or an institution that you know is betraying you, that triggers deep emotional wounds. Typical examples of betrayal trauma include child neglect and abuse, sexual abuse, and infidelity between spouses.

6 Signs You Are Undergoing Betrayal Trauma

Betrayal trauma makes us question ourselves and our partners’ motives. It also triggers mood swings, irritability, memory loss, dissociation, isolation, lack of intimacy, and engaging in activities that distract us. Below are some additional tell-tale physiological, emotional, and mental signs of betrayal trauma: –

#1: Feeling Unsafe

When you identify the relationship with your spouse, friend, or workmates as a lie, the deception violates your trust. Moreover, you begin to question your judgment about other relationships you may have at the moment.

Emotional insecurity makes us: –

  • Struggle to open up on hard topics
  • Get defensive when criticized
  • Snoop around for clues or anything suspicious
  • Agreeing to everything
  • Blaming a partner for everything
  • Faking happy moments

#2: Gaslighting Partners

Narcissistic Abuse Image

Now, partners living a double life will do all they can to keep their other relationships a secret. At times, they may gaslight their spouses to make them question their perception of reality. For example, they claim you are overreacting when you ask about the numerous withdrawals from the family bank account. Likewise, they may blame you for triggering their short tempers, saying you changed after having kids.

#3: Self-Blame

Now, betrayal trauma makes us look inwards for answers. In hindsight, we end up blaming ourselves for being too busy and overlooking the red flags. You know, your partner’s sudden controlling behavior, deceit, gaslighting, verbal or physical abuse, and concerns by your friends or family members.

But since you love and trust your partner, wishful thinking and infatuation make you overlook all these tell-tale signs that something is amiss. Consequently, we blame ourselves, saying if only we were more attractive, loving, or had more money, the betrayal wouldn’t have happened.

#4: Overwhelming Secondary Guilt or Shame

If you hold a reputable leadership position in your community, church, school, or place of work, betrayal comes with overwhelming shame. Letting those around you know that you’re going through a divorce, or your child is a drug addict, or your parent is facing theft charges ruins the picture-perfect reputation you have. In addition, your feel ashamed for crying or not being strong enough for your kids during this challenging phase.

#5: Physical Distress

Typical physical signs of betrayal trauma include: –

  • Sudden panic attacks
  • Stomach distress
  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety & depression
  • Easily prone to panic attacks by external triggers
  • Nightmares
  • Poor hygiene
  • Tiredness

Some physiological effects of betrayal trauma like tiredness and stomach upsets may resolve after a few weeks. Others like anxiety and depression can escalate into mental health complications unless addressed early.  

#6: Self-Destructive Impulses

narcissistic abuse survivor image

When undergoing betrayal trauma, you become vulnerable to negative impulses like: –

  • Having suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Alcohol and drug misuse
  • Excessive smoking
  • Chronic self-injury like hair pulling, self-cutting, & nail-biting
  • Compulsive gambling, gaming, or shopping
  • Binge eating

Most victims know they are self-destructive. However, the urge to harm themselves is beyond their control.

Managing Betrayal Trauma

#1: Speak Up

Join community groups or online support forums and share your painful experiences with others. Doing so helps you know that you are not alone. Plus, you access valuable resources to help you cope with the trauma.

#2: Acknowledge Your Emotions

Start by forgiving yourself for being vulnerable to the abuser. Next, practice mindful meditation to help you release your negative emotions and begin your healing process. Journalizing how you feel each day will help you pinpoint the triggers in your self-harm behaviors or what you need to focus on in your healing journey.

#3: Practice Self-Love

Daily Self-Love Practices Image

Is your lifestyle self-destructive? Here are some self-love practices you can start right away: –

  • Practice clean eating
  • Quit smoking
  • Join your local gym
  • Go for a massage or forest bath
  • Take up a new hobby

Self-love helps us rediscover ourselves, boosting our self-esteem.

#4: Set Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries after your spouse, friend, or colleague hurts you helps to achieve a sense of safety when around them. It is a necessary coping mechanism when you have no way of ending the relationship. Hence, you can: –

  • Review your expectations from the relationship
  • State what you can and cannot tolerate in the relationship
  • Discuss what you consider acceptable financial boundaries
  • Redefine how much friends and extended family can interfere with the relationship
  • Define what you consider as private

#5: Seek Professional Help

Betrayal trauma presents itself in a multilayer form that is best dealt with by an experienced professional. Indeed, an inexperienced family member may re-traumatize you by saying such things as “Did you stop getting intimate after having kids? Also, talk to an experienced family therapist or counselor about how the trauma affects your quality of life.

Conclusion

What is betrayal trauma to you? Well, if you experience an attachment injury when a friend, spouse, or colleague breaks the mutual trust you have, you may develop deep wounds that take time to heal. If your gut feelings tell your partner or parent is gaslighting you, they could be doing so to distract you from their deception. Likewise, if you feel unsafe, struggle with guilt, self-blame, or self-harm behaviors, seek professional help to heal from the trauma. Also, share your experience, rediscover yourself, and set firm boundaries to give you some peace of mind in this challenging time.

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Healing

Signs of Complicated Grief and How to Overcome It

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complicated grief image

Grief is how we respond to losing our loved ones. It is a feeling accompanied by a lot of sorrow, pain, and numbness. Grieving can be devastating and draining both mentally and physically. Unfortunately, many people still face it every other day.

Now, with normal grief, people accept the new gap in their life and learn to live with it. For some people, the wound gradually fades off, and soon after, they pick a new routine. Many will embrace the recent change and learn to live with the scar.

However, this is not usually the case for all. Not everyone experiences normal grief. Some people experience complicated grief, which takes an even more significant toll on them.

What Are the Differences Between Normal Grief and Complicated Grief?

Complicated grief is also called complicated bereavement disorder. With normal grief, the pain, numbness, and sorrow fade with time. No, we do not get over the death of our loved ones. We learn to live with it.

The situation is different with complicated grief. The pain, sorrow, and numbness do not fade away with time. They stick longer and prevent you from resuming your day-to-day activities.

How Long Does It Take for It to Be Considered Complicated Grief?

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mood swings

It is essential to know that grief is different for everyone. People have different coping mechanisms to go through the loss of their loved ones. However, many psychologists agree that if the grief remains intense beyond 12 months after the bereavement, it can be considered complicated grief.

Some state that if the feelings are still unbearable six months to 1 year after the death, it is not normal grief. However, no rule is written in stone, and no scientific research states when grief graduates from ordinary to complicated.

Signs and Symptoms of Complicated Grief

If you cannot seem to gather enough will and power to pick up your routine after the loss of your loved one months after it happened, you are most likely experiencing complicated grief.

 Here are some other symptoms to watch out for:

#1: Poor mental health

Complicated grief is graced with depression, stress, and anxiety issues. These could manifest themselves in many ways, such as deteriorating hygiene or not being interested in activities you liked.

#2: You focus on nothing more than the death of your loved one

If you cannot seem to concentrate on anything else apart from the memories or what would have happened if they didn’t die, you may be experiencing complicated grief. This may also come out as an intense longing for the deceased.

#3: Feeling that life no longer has meaning

This is a familiar feeling shortly after you lose your loved one. However, if you feel like you have no more purpose living months after your loved one’s passing, you are experiencing it. You may also notice that you lack interest in any form of self-care.

#4: Bitterness about the loss

This may come out as intense feelings of anger. Sometimes, the blame game and the what-ifs may cloud your judgment.

#5: Suicidal thoughts

Many victims start experiencing suicidal thoughts since they feel like life has no more purpose.

#6: Overindulgence or escapism

This may come out as doing everything you can to avoid items or people that will remind you of your loved one. The opposite is also a sign of complicated grief, which happens when all you want to do is be around things that remind you of them.

You may also experience the following signs:

  • Lack of sleep or inability to stay awake;
  • Physical body pain;
  • Lack of appetite or poor eating habits;
  • Weakened immune system.

Causes

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You are probably wondering why some people manage their grief more gracefully while others have a difficult time. As we have stated earlier, grief intensity is different for everyone. Besides, there are no definite causes of complicated grief. However, the following situations put people at more risk:

  • The sudden or unexpected death of a loved one;
  • Witnessing the death;
  • Not getting a chance to spend the last moments with the loved one or not being present when it happened;
  • Experiencing more than one death over a short period;
  • People with a history of mental illnesses;
  • Not being able to iron out differences with our loved ones before they die; 
  • People with a history of substance abuse.

Treatment

Treating complicated grief involves accepting the death and taking steps to start healing the wounds. It may take time and patience, but it is a sure way to bounce back on your feet. Here are some steps to help.

#1: Bereavement therapy

The first reason you need bereavement therapy is that mental health issues typically accompany complicated grief.

 Secondly, a bereavement therapist will guide you on the steps to:

  • Accept the death;
  • Gain a better understating of your grief and mental state;
  • Cope with the loss of your loved one.

You can also join bereavement groups to get support from people who have been where you are.

#2: Talk it out

It would help if you got all the feelings and emotions out. Do not bottle them in. Lean on friends and relatives that can give you a listening ear and hold your hand.

Of course, you want to stick to friends who can let you be you. Be careful; words like “I understand your pain; I have been there” can take you back on your healing journey. Just surround yourself with friends that will let you grieve it out.

In short, don’t confide in friends that invalidate your grief. It makes your grief even more difficult. 

#3: Practice mindfulness

We do not get over complicated grief by avoiding the feelings. Facing it is the best way out. Mindfulness will help you face grief a day at a time. It is an excellent way to feel what you feel without disrupting or avoiding it. Practice mindful breathing and walking meditations to keep your mental and physical health in check while going through a difficult time.

Mindfulness can also involve journaling your life and your loved one’s life. You can even celebrate their life through a scrapbook. Mindfulness is one great way to deal with your grieving emotions head-on and learn to come to terms with life events. 

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