Healing Occurs Through Relationship With Others
Trauma causes psychic wounding. The wounding takes the form of a two part complex. This complex is comprised of a two person template: the abuser and the abused. Both roles are stamped on the psyche of the survivor. This is the legacy of trauma.
This relational template of abuser and abused gets endlessly replayed throughout the life of the trauma survivor. He alternately plays the role of the abuser or the abused. The complementary role is projected onto his partner. For example, a patient of mine was habitually put out in the backyard, whenever he cried as an infant. In his adult life, he was perennially absent to his wife and children, due to workaholism and alcoholism. He unconsciously abandoned them, much as he himself had been abandoned.
Become conscious of the role that you play
In order to heal wounds, it is necessary for the survivor to become conscious of her potential for playing both roles: the abuser and the abused. This process of discovery unfolds within the psychotherapy relationship. The patient’s early life trauma is unconsciously reenacted and reexperienced in her mode of relating to the therapist. The therapist, over time, becomes conscious of the congruence of the dynamics of the therapy relationship with the structure of the patient’s original traumatic life experience. This awareness can gradually, tactfully be shared with the patient. The past comes to life through a vivid, emotionally charged experience in the present.
Healing can occur only when one becomes conscious of one’s own shadow side (the dark side of one’s personality). As Carl Jung wrote, “Enlightenment [or healing] occurs not through envisioning figures of light, but through making the darkness conscious.”
This process can occur only through relationship. Examine your current relationships from the vantage point of your early life experience. As George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” Try to discern the ways in which you are recreating and reliving the past in the present. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32).