I solved an intimacy puzzle I have been stuck in for years in a single biodynamic breathwork and trauma release session.
In certain romantic dynamics with men, I have experienced intense aversion verging on disgust after initially feeling a lot of attraction. It happens when I feel a man self-abandon and collapse or get into a highly anxious/disempowered place.
I have made myself SO wrong for this. I’ve felt like an asshole. I know everyone has moments where they aren’t in their power, and I have compassion for that, but my body response with men has been an overwhelming desire to run or total freeze.
I assumed it must be my attachment wounding, a me-problem that I needed to fix.
I went to great lengths to open through my own closure when this would happen. I would wait it out for weeks on end. Smiling, apologizing, and trying to explain that it wasn’t personal.
I tried to breathe through it, I tried to take space and see if it dissolved, I tried asking for what I thought I might need. I spent plenty of therapy minutes on it and yet it wasn’t budging. It was really unpleasant because what I WANT is to feel attraction, not disgust. But it was a deep-in-my-body response that would arise and I could not override it.
In a breathwork session last month, I went in with the question of what this disgust/aversion thing was about. As I dropped deeper into my feeling body, I felt tightness around my throat and across my ribs. I felt fear.
I had flashes of memories come through from early childhood through my college years where boys and men were too rough with me physically— boys holding me underwater at the pool so long that I thought I was going to drown. When I was 5, my babysitter’s boyfriend stuffing me into a pillowcase and carting me upstairs while I screamed. Again, scared I would suffocate. Men pinning me down in high school and college to prove they could overpower me (and not in a fun consensual way).
While my body writhed for air in the session, it clicked that in all those instances these were men who felt disempowered, insecure, and vulnerable in their lives. Disempowered to the degree that they were using their power to dominate and control in a harmful way. True power has nothing to prove.
My body had learned that disempowered men are not trustable, are not safe. This certainly isn’t true in every instance, emotionally mature men can feel disempowered and not seek to regain a sense of power through domination or controlling another, or through collapse/victimhood and looking to be mothered. But it is common for emotionally immature men.
The session continued and I started getting visions of the atrocities in the Middle East, of all the wars, and how these wars are waged by men who are not in right relationship with their power.
I felt rage and then I felt heartbreak. Deep sobs echoed from my belly as I felt the pain of these wounded men, these uninitiated men, who did not understand their sacred role in protecting the feminine.
Sobs for all the times that men were not my protectors.
Gently, after some time, with my hands pressing into my own heart, compassion washed through me. I felt acceptance for the aversion that I felt in my body.
I could see how it was an intelligent protective response, a fear response to keep me safe from the type of men who used their power against women.
Now, when this feeling comes up with a man whom I trust (which it rarely does) in his moment of collapse or weakness, I can name what is happening: I feel scared.
And I know how to take care of myself when I feel scared. Which begins with not trying to talk myself out of it, pathologize it, or shame it.
This was such a powerful lesson in not disregarding my nervous system no matter how seemingly irrational. I kept telling myself I was safe in these instances rather than accepting that what I felt was fear, hence the desire to get far away. I was gaslighting myself, which was only keeping me stuck.
I would have continued to see this as being evidence of my broken-ness or wounding, continued to try to solve it in therapy, or worse continued to stay in relationships where I felt dis-regulated frequently in an attempt to “work through it”, had I not decided to approach it through body intelligence rather than the mind.
And, in each of the instances where the fear was intense and not improving, it became clear over time that I was in a relationship with someone who was not emotionally mature enough or sovereign enough to do healthy intimacy with. My body was registering misalignment long before my mind could put the pieces together.
If you’re a powerful woman, you will need partners who are equally confident, powerful, and self-assured to create healthy intimate dynamics where magnetism and attraction survive. You will trigger disempowered people. People are either inspired by power and want to be around it, or they try to assert power over or cut others down (I experienced horrible bullying and verbal abuse many times in my teens and 20s), so they can avoid their feelings of inferiority. If you’re in your power, I know you can relate.
Biodynamic breathwork and trauma release sessions are incredible. Your body will share all the information you need to know, if you show up and listen.
I offer these sessions because they have been so deeply transformative for me personally, and I see similar life-changing insights with my clients every month (and almost every session).
May it be of service,