There is no doubt in my mind that the idea of child abuse survivors and especially child sex abuse survivors "are too broken to heal" comes from moments when emotions and feelings with their correlated thoughts are such that this seems to be the only logical conclusion.
This is because
a) emotions, sensations and body feelings are so extreme and so overwhelming, it is hard to put words to those kinds of experiences, real dark nights of the soul; and
b) because time doesn't seem to heal it and in many cases, things just seem to get worse and worse, the longer a person lives with these sort of injuries.
What we need to do is to look at things in a different way altogether; forget about psychoanalysis and therapy in its old forms for a moment and take a different tack to the very real problems of firstly, there being these totally insane emotions and feelings with their correspondingly insane thoughts and behaviours, and secondly, things not getting any better for all the suffering and talking or not talking in the world.
I've been working and living with these challenges for over 45 years now and have both personal as well as professional experience with a huge amount of people along the way; here's what I have learned.
1. There really is a problem, it's not all in your mind.
Nobody likes to think of themselves as "broken" and people aren't cars, they are much more elegant and complex than that, being living systems that strive to repair themselves all the time.
However, there really is something seriously wrong with child abuse survivors and child sex abuse survivors.
They have sustained significant damage that persists not in the body, not in the mind, but in the energy system which is quite real, and every person has one.
2. There are REAL injuries in the energy system as a result of having been abused as a child.
This damage, these injuries in the energy system directly cause the extreme emotional disturbances from which there follow the extreme disturbances in thought and behaviour; these injuries are real and they need treatment and as soon as possible.
There is another side to this, namely that people - including children - who have significant damage in their energy bodies learn to re-route the flows of energy through other systems so they stay alive.
This leads directly to:
3. Child abuse survivors have EXTREMELY unique and complicated energy systems.
Think of it as a form of wiring that couldn't go straight from a to b any longer because there was a problem, and now has to route energy through f, g, r and s instead to get any energy at all to do anything at all.
Child abuse survivors use systems in order to be able to get out of bed, cross a street, have a conversation, or do anything at all that "normal" people find so easy that are both convoluted and energy draining because these are not the obvious and natural pathways any longer.
This leads to all sorts of secondary problems and a lack of available energy to do many "normal" things, making life hard even in mundane and everyday circumstances.
Put all three of those together, and what you get is a person who is constantly struggling with reality in every sense of the word, and for whom the ongoing experience of trying to live like that causes further significant problems with their self esteem, with their own ideas of how sane or insane they are, and a lack of faith in their mind, body and spirit all the same time.
Put all three together and you have a person that your average healer is afraid of, and who appears so "broken and weird" that your average healer thinks they can't fix any of that - and of course, whatever they think, they're right.
Such is the nature of belief and reality creation.
However, here are the saving graces.
1. The energy system has never been worked with properly in the vast majority of child abuse survivors. Nobody has ever directly enquired into the actual source of pain, where that is located, and then applied pure energy healing to the system that has been begging for such a thing to be done sometimes for decades - by sending powerful, painful emotions which are in fact the feedback systems to tell us not just how the energy body is doing, but also where the injuries are located.
* This is not theoretical - next time you feel a powerful emotion, stop and ask yourself, "Where do I feel this in my body?" and then put your own hands on that exact location. That's where the major injury is located. Has anyone ever worked on that area with a will and an intention to heal in your entire life?
2. The injuries in the energy body are energetic in nature, which means they can and will be influenced by the application of a whole range of energy forms. These energy forms can be the healing hands of people; but they can also come from other sources such as a pet, nature, crystals and other energy rich sources.
3. We need to re-define what we mean by "healing."
This is the most important message I have for all child abuse survivors and those who try to treat and help them.
Don't think in terms of "healing" whatever that may mean to you - and what does that mean to you?
* By all means, take a moment and make that concept of healing and being healed real as you think about it. Do you really want to be "normal"? Are normal people - like you see in the street and on TV - "healed"? Or in other words, who do you want to be when you grow up?
I propose we go for something else. Instead of "healing" by any other name, I say we look for evolution, try to bring about an evolution in the problems that we have.
What that means is to unstick something that's been stuck and the same for a long, long time, and to bring back movement into our systems of feeling, thinking and doing.
We call this principle, "You don't have to solve it, only evolve it."
Even a small evolution is movement, movement in the right direction, if you will.
Forget about some lighting strike and boom! you're completely normal like all the people who live in your road.
Instead, what we want to do is to embark on a quest to firstly find out what there really is in the way of injuries; to learn more about ourselves and how our systems work so we can understand ourselves better; and to move anything that's been stuck on as best we can.
Working with the energy system gives us every scope and every power to do something about even the oldest, darkest, most painful feelings - that's the real problem with child abuse survivors, those old feelings that are painful still, more painful even the longer they remain untreated.
All the crazy thoughts and crazy behaviours come about BECAUSE OF THE FEELINGS.
Work with the feelings, and thoughts and behaviours follow suit when the feelings start to calm and get better.
It's a direct cause and effect.
Here is the final part to using the path through the energy system to not "fix the broken child abuse survivors" but to EVOLVE THEM so they can become the best they can ever be, given all the ins and outs of their experiences in this incarnation.
This is much overlooked - if not entirely overlooked! - in current psychology, therapy and healing practice and is in many ways the master key for evolution.
The good feelings.
The fact is that people who have the capacity to experience these incredibly powerful negative emotions gain at the same time the capacity to experience powerful positive emotions too.
It's like the range of human experience expands when you put extreme suffering and extend the scale of what is known on one end, there is an expansion on the other end too.
Child abuse survivors are capable of experiencing the most extraordinary joyous and wonderful emotions too; often if not always much, much more powerfully than their "normal" compatriots.
By constantly only hunting and questing for trauma and more trauma, we're missing the point in so many different ways.
Firstly, the real structure of emotion, how that works, how our feelings work to produce thought and behaviour, doesn't become revealed until and unless we take ALL emotions into consideration and include good and extremely good emotions in the investigation.
Secondly, without understanding how good emotions and especially, extremely good emotions, we call these Guiding Stars, shape our beliefs just as powerfully as trauma does, people's lives don't make any sense.
And thirdly, by ignoring the positive emotions we are ignoring the obvious pathway out of endless negativity and the potential for actual structural evolution.
To actively seek to have more positive emotional experiences is a big part of evolution for a child abuse survivor.
This is simply structural; it has nothing to do with whether or not you think you "deserve" to be happy or feel good; it has to be done in order to foster your own evolution and healing.
I'm not suggesting that by constantly focusing on trauma only we are blowing up trauma out of all proportions; what I'm saying is that to stabilise the energy system there should be a fifty/fifty share between positive and negative emotions, both must be present, both are energy flows and until that sort of even keel has been established, we might have to engage in positive discrimination towards the positive emotions.
I would say that the most important evolutionary step for any child abuse or child sex abuse survivor to take is to start taking note of their own emotions and to study them in a new light, like a scientist would.
To not try and ignore them (you've tried that for a few decades, and it didn't work, so now try something else!) and instead, start a process of documentation.
What kind of bad do you feel and when? How many different kinds of bad are there, and where do you feel those in your body?
What kind of good you feel and when? How many different kinds of good are there, and where do you feel those in your body?
When you start to observe yourself in that way, you start to build up a conscious awareness of what makes you feel how, when, and where. This is essential knowledge about ourselves, and in and of itself a form of evolution.
Making the effort to get to know how we work, each one of us, as a system, alleviates so much confusion and weirdness, it's amazing. Try it for yourself. Simply take note of your good AND your bad emotions, don't judge them, just notice when they happen, how they feel and most importantly, where you feel them in your body.
Most child abuse survivors use a variety of substances and rituals to control the way they feel. Include those too in your assessments; don't be ashamed of what you do to try and control your moods, whether it is sex, heroin, coffee, tranquilizers, alcohol, people, rituals, sleep deprivation or whatever it is you use. Don't be ashamed of any of it, just note what happens to your feelings, and how the things you use to try and control your feelings affect you.
Think in terms of energy - flows of energy through your body, and some feel good, and others feel bad and that's because there's a real injury that's trying to gain your attention.
Establish the cause and effect between your feelings and your thoughts and behaviours. That's the most important step towards evolution; the fact is that people are very logical, even if it seems to an outsider that what they're doing is crazy or abnormal, when you factor in the feelings and the energy body, it starts making sense and you start to understand yourself a little bit better.
When that happens, you start to like yourself a little bit better, and that's perfectly normal and nothing to be worried about.
Now here's what I've been wanting to tell you about one more time in brief.
1. We are only "too broken to heal" from the old paradigm of mechanical and physical bodies and minds only.
2. We have never had our real injuries in the energy system treated at all, not directly, not properly, not ever. That gives us a whole new pathway into finding out more how energy and emotions work, and there's lots to learn, and lots of evolution to be had that was never available before now.
3. People have been trying to understand thought and behaviour without the emotions which cause them in the first place which was doomed to failure. Most importantly, the causes and effects of good emotions were never explored or discussed, and they are just as important as bad emotions in every way.
4. We don't need to seek instant healing, instead we should consider personal evolution - taking us from wherever we are and moving us on and out of stuck emotional states, which cause stuck thoughts and stuck behaviours.
5. It's high time to stop being ashamed of all and any method we have used to try and gain control over our emotions in the absence of any useful help from anyone.
6. By starting to pay attention to the reality of our emotions and where we feel them in our bodies, good and bad emotions alike, we get to understand ourselves better, and this leads to liking ourselves more.
7. By actively encouraging positive emotions of all kinds we are heading in the right direction if we want to evolve beyond whatever we currently struggle with.
I think the idea of evolution rather than a mysterious idea of "healing" is a step in the right direction; and I encourage everyone who deals with child abuse issues, be they a survivor themselves or someone who wants to help child abuse survivors and child sex abuse survivors to really look into the emotion -> energy connection, because that's a straight path towards evolution.
In the meantime, remember this:
"You don't have to solve it, only evolve it."
ANY movement in an old system is good news, and should be celebrated and encouraged. That's the right way forward, that's the right way to go, and eventually, such small movements become bigger, really noticeable, and a sense of flow forward and life's purpose begins to reveal itself.
Be kind to yourself, always,
Dr Silvia Hartmann
EmoTrance: Emotions, Energy, Information & Love - DragonRising 2011
Events Psychology: How To Understand Yourself & Other People - DragonRising 2009