CW: This interview contains content of physical and emotional abuse that may be triggering to some readers.
" I can't stress this enough; the healing starts with your feelings."
This article is a transcript from our Instagram Live Q&A with Jessica Goh that happened on December 28th, 2020.
SWY: We have a very special guest, her name is Jessica Goh. She also goes by @lifeandconfidence on Instagram. She is a trauma coach. She specializes in trauma recovery and social anxiety. I just wanted to mention a few trigger warnings. We will be discussing Jessica's experience with childhood abuse as well as relationship, and maybe touch on emotional abuse as well.
So, Jessica can you please introduce, introduce yourself to our audience and tell us a little bit more about your experience with childhood abuse and your role as a trauma coach?
JG: Thank you, everyone, for joining our Live. I guess just a little bit about myself, I'm a trauma coach in childhood relationship and emotional abuse. I also work with victims and sufferers of ritual abuse, which is like the heaviest and the lowest form of any childhood trauma that anyone can ever experience in their lifetime. I'm in Sydney, Australia, by the way, in case you haven't noticed that accent. For me to take on this journey, it was based on my personal experiences of healing myself from the inside out. I was suffering from a place of a lot of abuse, where there was a lot of domestic violence in my family home. Where I was sexually abused by my uncle, where my mom wasn't there to protect me when I stood up for her. Instead, she would laugh at me and criticize me when my dad hit me. So, you can imagine the impacts that can play in a child's life. At the age of 18, I was so close to collapsing into this craziness where I could have easily been hospitalized or institutionalized. There was a part of me that didn't want to feel the craziness and the pain. So that was my saving grace, block myself and to numb myself out from feeling the intensity of the pain. A lot of us go through this in life where we just numb ourselves from feeling into the pain because it doesn't feel safe. So, what happens is we project this into other real relationships and emotions such as love. When we feel love, we feel we push it away because it's just too much for the nervous system to handle. So, when I discovered trauma recovery, I was able to see that this defense mechanism, we don't need it anymore. It's there for a reason to protect ourselves. But as an adult, we don't need it anymore. Now it's the time to let go of this protective mechanism, and feel into the pain and purge it out, so we're not recycling trauma on a daily basis because trauma is more than psychological. It's emotional. It's in our bodies.
Our physical body holds on to trauma. So, for example, the neck is all about controllers. So, if you find it hard to sleep at night, I suggest that you use a roller and place it on your neck before you go to sleep, maybe five minutes before you go to bed. This actually helps to shift the heaviness in your head and anxiety that we carry and let that shift throughout your whole body. So, you can relax better at night. That's just one tip that I can share with you. How we hold the body and we also hold trauma in our energy. The reality is, if you're suffering from anxiety, you feel this contraction, this heaviness, this density, this is your energy. Why is it that we suffer from anxiety? Because we're still holding on to those past memories of trauma that keep us stuck. This is why we suffer from anxiety. So, as soon as we start clearing up the trauma, in the energy, in our physical bodies, psychologically and emotionally, your energy is going to be completely different. You're going to feel a lot more expansive, lighter, freer, and even happier. So, I guess that's just me to sum it up, what is it, that I do and my journey, and there's so much more that I have to share.
SWY: You touch on the types of abuse that you experienced, can you describe what your physical environment was as a child? At what age did you become aware that your environment was abusive?
JG: Those are good questions. I guess the early memories of my life, I guess, the first eight years, we didn't live in the most lavish home or anything like that. We were renting in a two-bedroom unit and it was my mom, my father, and me and my younger brother. All I could remember was good memories when we went on holidays and I really enjoyed the school that I was brought up in, in primary school. However, there were some things working in the background. My parents weren't physically around so much because they had to work. So, I was programmed at a very young age to see my parents work so hard for money. On the weekends, I would have to go to the markets and help them sell tools. So, I learned at a very young age that I had to grow up fast, that I had to work for money, that having fun wasn't a priority in my childhood.
I guess at the age of eight, that's when I started to notice something was not right. That's when I noticed my dad's behavior. I remember he was trying to teach me the timetables, and I couldn't really understand what 12 times 12 was, I'm just not a mathematical person. Hence, why I'm not an accountant. This is why I do this work because it means so much to me. I'm more of a heart-centered person. So, when I couldn't understand the timetables, my dad would immediately raise his voice and yell at me and say, “you're stupid, you're useless, how can you not understand?” That was the very first time I felt anxiety as an eight-year-old girl, where I felt like oh my God, it's not safe to be with my dad. I feel so disempowered. I felt like I was shutting down and I started to get so scared that he would hit me. As the years went by, he did hit me. So, from then onwards, I could see the marriage between my mom and dad was deteriorating, there was a lot of verbal abuse going on. Then eventually the physical abuse came.
When I was a teenager, 16 years to 22 years of my life, those were the hardest times that I've struggled with the dysfunctionality of the family dynamics, because that's when the domestic violence started to kick in. That's when my uncle started to live with us. He would look at me inappropriately, touch me inappropriately whistle at me, and I didn't know what to do with that behavior. I just ignored it. But I didn't know that was sexual abuse until my therapist told me that was sexual abuse, I thought, it's normal for men too, you know, treat women and girls like that. What really hurt me was to discover that my dad had a porn addiction. He had a sex addiction. When I looked through the magazines, I noticed that in one of the pages, in the porn magazine, there was a woman's body, but a little girl's face. I thought to myself, Oh, my God, this is so distorted and messed up, like this whole porn industry. It's just revolting. So when I saw that, I felt so much disgust, and guilt and shame as being a woman, and how we were presented in the porn industry, and how it was presented in my family dynamic by my uncle and my father, that women were just second class to work to serve men. I noticed that my dad started going out to brothels, and he took my uncle with him. That was really heart wrenching to see that because I felt so betrayed.
I started to build such immense resentment and anger and hatred towards my dad. This is something that I had to work through, to let go of, in order for me to make peace with myself. My dad is not alive, he died when I was 22. That's when things started to get better because the domestic violence wasn't happening anymore. My uncle went back to Malaysia, he died as well. Even though the domestic violence and the physical abuse and verbal abuse wasn't there, however, the emotional abuse continued with my mother. My mom and I had a really tough time together. We had the most difficult relationship. There were times where I swore at her, I resented her, I hated her. There was a moment where I cut all communications off with her because the anger and hatred that I had towards her were so strong. The impacts of her dysfunctionality that was presented towards me as a teenager, as a little girl, where she didn't protect me from being hit by my own dad.
My relationship with my mom now is completely different. I see her with absolute love and compassion and respect, I'm not triggered by her anymore. I noticed the more I was able to shift and heal more the wounds of the little girl inside of me, I could see that she was shifting as well. Where she was reflecting right back at me, the love and compassion. I could see that she's also raising her consciousness as well. She hasn't done the inner work. She hasn't done any healing at all. But I've realized that the more we heal ourselves on a deeper level, and the more we shift our vibration and energy and frequency, people around us will match to that level, or they will fall out of our reality because they can no longer handle that high vibration.
SWY: You call your Instagram page Life and Confidence - Where did the name come from? What does life in confidence mean to you?
JG: I've been doing self-development for eight years, and when I started this journey, I guess five years ago, it was one of the break-through moments of my life. So, what happened was, at 26, I was really financially successful, I had two positive cash flow investment properties. I did this all on my own, I was on a single low income, but I did it because I wanted to provide a financial future for me and my mom. I realized I did it from the wrong place, I did it from a place of rescuing her. This came with a lot of resentment and responsibilities because I didn't feel free. So what happened was, I sold my properties, I received six figures in my bank account and then I sabotaged it by spending all of that money on an online dress business that was not successful. I was so close to being homeless. At this point right there, I had just broken up a relationship with a married man. So, a lot of my life at that time was so toxic. I had a really toxic relationship with my immediate family as well, there was so much anger and hatred that I had towards my family. I felt like no one could support me. A lot of people could see this as a point where they just want to die, they just want to give up, or they're happy to be homeless, because what's the point of living anymore.
But at that point in time, five years ago, when I was 29, I decided to choose. I said to myself, look, I can choose this path of being homeless, to buy into the craziness of my past. Or I can choose a different reality, where I'm going to start my life all over again, from a place of my highest self, and not from the wounded little girl. So, from then onwards, I was seeing a life coach, and I started to share positive changes in my life on Facebook. I had people on Facebook saying, can I work with you. So, I started to receive clients without being a certified or trained coach. I attracted all sorts of women and men who were suffering from anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and eventually, I became certified as a life coach. I started to engage in a whole heap of different healing modalities, where it took my business and I guess the sort of service that I offer now to the next level.
So, what life and confidence means, is simply the word itself. What does it feel like for you to live a life of confidence? What does it feel like for you to truly own your own magnificence and live from your heart to truly be confident from the inside out? What sort of life would you be living, if you were able to find alignment with your highest self? And so, for me, it's all about how I can honor and respect and trust myself, not the wounded little child, not buying into the fear and scarcity and poverty that I was programmed with. But instead, make a different choice, because your choices dictate your future. So, if you are choosing, not to go out of your comfort zone, guess what, you're going to live the life that you chose to live. But if you're willing to go out of your comfort zone, and I know this can seem scary. But I know deep down, this is the choice, this is the path that I need to go on in order for myself to get better. In order for myself to live in a completely different reality, in order for myself to attract a completely different relationship. I am willing to commit to myself, even though it's scary, even though it's out of my comfort zone, even though it's the unknown and I don't feel safe in the unknown. But I know deep down, this is going to serve me.
So that's what life in confidence is about. It's about trusting your highest self and finding alignment with yourself and I haven't looked back since then. My growth with my soul journey is proof. It's the next level, I'm a completely different person to where I was last month, a year ago, five years ago, 10 years ago, I'm a completely different woman. I've made choices, that were aligned with the best version of me, and it has paid off. Even though it was so scary. Even though I didn't know what's going to happen. Even though I invested, a ton of money to get to the point where I want to be, it was all worth it. Even though I lost money along the way, it was all worth it because I gave myself permission to not beat myself up. But to actually learn from those lessons and mistakes in life.
SWY: Can you describe how you transition from this perspective of a victim to victoriously living in confidence? What do you suggest for others who may be experiencing victim blaming?
JG: Those are such great questions, I guess, to share my personal experience, and then I'll answer questions about how people can help themselves to get out of it. For me, I didn't realize that I was a victim. I was so attached to blaming and judging others, I thought this was normal. So, I had no awareness around it until I started my healing journey, where I tried self-development, therapy, and so many different things. Some things don't work, and some things do, everybody's different. What works for me, has allowed me to expand my perception and my awareness about who is this real and genuine Jess, and to start seeing different aspects of myself, so I'm not just a victim. The victim comes from the wounded inner child that we all have. We must have an awareness that we have different aspects of ourselves. We have the wounded inner child, we have the observer, and we have the highest self. These are the three different aspects that we can have at any time in our life. However, most of society survives in the wounded inner child because they don't have the awareness that this is their wounded inner child rather than this is who I am. So, it's about having the awareness that this is not who you are, this is just an aspect of who you are. This part of you, needs love, needs to be nurtured needs to be healed.
So, what I share with my clients is that if you want great success and results in your healing journey, first of all, there are three things that you need to know. You need to be accountable for your thoughts. You can't buy into your thoughts all the time. This is where you feel trapped into victimization. You need to be having awareness of, is this thought contracting me? Or is it expanding me? Is this thought serving me? Or is it keeping me stuck in my victimization? The second thing is, you need to understand and learn how to heal your childhood traumas. If you don't heal your childhood trauma, that wounded inner child inside of you, is going to keep thriving. It is going to be the driver of your life. This is why people feel so trapped. Then the third thing is, how can you manage your childhood traumas? What I mean by this is, how can you truly love and nurture and hold space and compassion for the inner child that's inside of you? Because a lot of us do not have the tools and techniques to do that. So, we go back into regressing into that inner child that's wounded. Instead of judging the pain and numbing it out, or shutting it out, which most people do, feel into it, because that's where the healing starts, the healing starts with your feelings. I can't stress this enough; the healing starts with your feelings. So, if you give yourself permission to feel into pain and once you were able to purge it out, we rewrite yourself, reset yourself with a new program. You can say to the little inner child inside of you, “I absolutely love you, thank you so much for being so brave to present this pain to me. I want to let you know that you are safe, you are safe with me. I'm an adult. So, I'm here to look after you. You don't need to worry about this anymore. You can let go of the responsibilities, leave that up to me now. We've got this together.” So that's how you can start retraining and reprogramming yourself and the inner child. You need to tap into your adult self, your highest self, to be the driver and not sit in the backseat of your life.
SWY: You've talked about this high anxiety, what does that look like? If you’ve seen a child or adult with high anxiety suffering from their trauma, what does that look like for them?
JG: The common behaviors of anxiety for a child and for an adult, is that they feel on edge, they don't feel safe, they feel the need to try and control the environment because they've experienced a lot of chaos at an early age. So, with a child, it's quite different from an adult, because, with a child, they absorb every experience. They don't know what boundaries are. They don't know how to walk away from a traumatic experience, such as sexual abuse, or domestic violence, and ritual abuse, or verbal abuse. They know something's not right as children are so intuitive. They know something is not right, but they are tolerating it because they don't know how to say no. And if they do say no, they still have to persist through that and through their experience. So, this is why they don't feel safe. This is why they feel fearful because their power has been taken away from them that have no control. So, they start to act out those behaviors of the perpetrator or the adult, where they feel inflicted of that harm, and they start behaving that way. This is a program they've been conditioned with. So, as they grow older, they might start bullying people, they might start abusing people, they might have sex at a young age, whatever it may be, and so this toxicity starts to show up.
Another common pattern is abandonment and abandonment issues. Not feeling like they were loved. So, what they do is they try to surround themselves with people and feed off their energy to feed this emptiness from within. As an adult, what happens, in terms of anxiety, we don't feel safe for no reason at all. For example, you're in the office environment, and let's say there's a person who said something to you, and immediately you feel anxious around them because there's something that they said to you or their energy that reminds you of your old programming, your childhood. So that's how we experience anxiety as an adult - Boom, it just comes out of nowhere. It might be because you were triggered by certain behaviors, words, experiences of a person that reminds you of this person who has hurt you. So, when we don't feel our childhood traumas, we project those childhood experiences into our adult life. We feel on edge, we feel uneasy, we feel really guarded. So, we push people away because we're anxious. As an adult, we try to find ways to control the conversation, to control the environment, because that's how we create safety. But that is a distorted pattern in creating safety.
SWY: What coping strategies do you suggest for those experiencing anxiety from trauma?
JG: Some coping mechanisms that you can do is grounding. So, when people are anxious, they're in their head, they feel scattered. They feel their energy's all over the place. You need to ground your energy, keep it aligned. So, what does grounding mean? Grounding is to be present in your body. So, what can you do to ground yourself? Spend time with nature, our research has shown, you know, if you spend a minimum of 20 minutes in Mother Nature, it increases your serotonin levels, it's also a really great way to shift your energy, especially if you're absorbing radiation by looking at your mobile phones or your computer or your devices, because that can actually make us feel anxious and scattered, absorbing that radiation. So, what I recommend the easiest and fastest way to shift your anxiety is grounding in Mother Earth. You and you can start to feel that immediate shift, you can start feeling that you become a lot more connected with your body, and you're a lot more connected with your heart. Your energy starts to soften and you become more vulnerable to your feelings. That's the quickest and easiest way that I can share in terms of grounding yourself. However, this is something that you need to do on a daily basis. I suggest ground yourself twice a day. I just want to be clear, that's not treating the childhood trauma. So, this is something that anybody can do in the time being. If someone wants to heal and overcome their childhood trauma, they need to see a professional that can help them lower the intensity of anxiety with specialized healing techniques that can release trauma.