Feeling The Love After Trauma

28 Feb, 2022

Ok, let’s talk about something that we haven’t talked about on this blog and that is intimacy. I have a very skewed relationship with sex and intamacy. When I think about the lessons I learned or didn’t learn about this important topic I wonder where I got my messaging and where I learned about these topics. I will start with the fact that I was raised Roman Catholic. Went to catholic school and catholic church with catholic parents. I am a cis gendered white female growing up in the 90’s and reaching highschool by the early 2000’s. I have a history of early childhood trauma and human trafficking. So fair to say my relationship with sex and intamicy was pretty skewed from the beginning. I was hypersexualized as a young child and that mixed with the shame of the trauma and the shame from the messages I received really has left me with little skills or knowledge around intimacy.

I am slowly learning now in my early-mid 30’s that there is an entire spectrum of intimacy that exists. I have been married to my partner for 15 years and as I continue to heal from my trauma I continue to learn about just how unsafe I often feel. When my friend Julie Christiansen asked a group of folks to try out their “feel the love” Cards I was super curious and also wanted to support her with this launch. Let me tell you- as a person healing from trauma these cards were really great at helping me identify intimacy on a spectrum. The cards come as a challenge where you can do them once a day, twice a week, once a week really whatever works for you. You take turns with your partner and complete them. Here is what Jaycee and Julie had to say about the cards and an intro to them both:

Feel the Love! Why We Wrote It

Feel the Love came about as part of the story development for my debut women’s fiction series: Laws of Attraction. The series explores all sorts of relationship issues like infidelity, divorce, childhood abuse, domestic violence, infertility, and criminal harassment. One of the main characters of the series writes a book by the same title and then develops the cards as an add-on for couples. I got thinking… “this is actually a cool idea!” So, I approached my publisher who is also a Registered Psychotherapist and she agreed to work on making the cards a real thing. What’s cool about this is that the psychological theories woven through the books are real, and discovering through the vehicle of fiction makes them easy to learn. Using the cards may not get you a fairytale ending, but they will certainly help people achieve deeper levels of intimacy, passion and commitment in their relationships. There are 30 cards in the package: ten for intimacy, ten for passion, and ten for commitment. You can choose to do one challenge a day, or spread it out so that you build on each challenge by drawing out the anticipation for each one. I write steamy romances about real life, real pain, and real choices, with a guaranteed happy ever after for my characters. You can find my books on Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, and Ingram Spark.

When Jaycee approached me with an idea for Feel the Love Cards, I immediately jumped on it. William Glasser of Choice Theory says that every problem is, at its heart, a relationship problem. A set of cards to prompt action or conversation to enhance deeper relationships seemed fitting. We’re not the first ones to do this. I have several boxes of card decks in my practice office. These cards were created with the intention to spark intimacy, ignite passion, and fuel commitment in couples, but many challenges can be transferred to your particular relationship problem. For example – do you have trouble trusting your choices? That’s an intimacy problem. Do you often say yes when you should have said no? That’s a commitment problem. You’ve got to resolve the relationship you have with yourself if you want to have truly healthy relationships with others. We wrote a short E-book that explains the triarchic theory of love that Jaycee describes in book one of the series, Wanting. The E-book shared some tips on how to be successful in relationships and gives instructions on ways to use the cards. Our hope is that couples (or people still looking for love) will find their way to healthier, happier relationships with themselves and others. That’s why we wrote it.

This is my experience with these cards:

What I absolutely love the most about this set is I got to reflect on how I do feel reading these cards. I have an opportunity to consider if this act or challenge is for me? For me, there has been great strides in regaining some of my sexual power by reading the cards and intuitivly checking in to see my comfort or understanding around each item on the card. What I absolutely love most about these cards is the way that they centre connection. There is very little to do with “having sex” and far more opportunities to reflect and get comfortable connecting. What I find especially interesting is, after 15 years married, there remains so much that I don’t know about my partner. One example is this card that says “Talk about the qualities that make you want to trust your partner.” When I read this card, it was such a great reminder to me that my partner is safe and helped me to understand WHY he is safe. As someone with complex trauma, feeling safe is often a challenge. I am so grateful to be able to try out these cards. Even though I am not able to act on all of them, reading them and connecting with how each makes me feel has been a really great exercise for me as I continue to heal.

I would encourage anyone who’s interested in adding to their relationship to grab a deck and try them out. Below is a link to purchase them and to get to know more about Julie and all of the incredible things she does.

Feel the Love Challenge Cards – Payhip