This draft article, which outlines the importance of getting qualified and competent help in your healing and reconnection journey, is excerpted from Lightning Path Workbook Two: Healing.

It would be nice if we could say that healing and reconnection are easy processes. It would be nice if we could wave a magic wand, say a magic word “abracadabra,” and you would be healed and connected.” But, we can’t. Healing and connecting can be tough processes and they can take a long time, especially if your childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood experiences were difficult, and by that, we mean violent, abusive, and neglectful. If you grew up in constant emotional, psychological, verbal, or physical assault, if as a child you experienced chronic neglect of your essential needs, if your life was chaos growing up, healing and connection will be difficult. In fact, in cases of extreme childhood/adolescent toxicity, which are far more prevalent than most of us would like to admit, the damage will be so profound, and the healing and connection might be so difficult, that to accomplish it, you’ll need to get some help.

Understand, this is not a statement about your strength or weakness. It is just the way it is. Some of us have experienced so much damage that to heal and connect we are going to need some help. We may need that help now, or we may need it later. Experience enough trauma and even the toughest among us will eventually need professional assistance. Even the strongest weightlifter eventually reaches their limit. Do not be shamed into suffering in silence. If you need help, get it.

How do you know if you’re going to need help with the healing and connecting process? On this, we have some things for you to consider.

Number one, follow your gut instincts. If you’re finding things are a challenge, if you seem stuck in the same place, if you feel like you are spinning your wheels, if you are feeling anxious that you are not moving forward, or if you have this annoying subterranean itch that just won’t go away, then you may need to get yourself some help. Follow your gut intuition. If you think you need help, get help.

Number two, take an honest look at your emotional and psychological state. If you find you are permanently cycling in and out of depression, relationships, and addictions, if you find you are long-term avoidant, apathetic, and unmotivated, if you are angry, reactive, defensive, and agitated, if you are lashing out at loved ones and others all the time, if you are struggling with addiction, then you’re probably experiencing mental or emotional disruption, and you probably need to get some help. Life should be lived in calm, serene, peaceful, and (if not blissful, then at least) purposeful contentment. If this isn’t your life, then you probably need help.

How to Choose a Competent Professional Healer?

Of course, the question now is, how do you find appropriate and competent help? There are a few strategies you can use, and a few things to consider. We recommend that you start with the following:

First, ask someone, especially someone who you have witnessed overcoming an obstacle or healing a problem. If you see somebody heal and transform, ask them how it happened and what kinds of supports and help they received to get to where they are today. Don’t be afraid to ask them the names of practitioners, books, support groups, etc. Word of mouth, coupled with the observance of actual healing change, is a wonderful way to seek and find appropriate and competent help.

Just be careful about the observance part, that’s all. If somebody tells you about this awesome healer/therapist, but nothing changes in them, i.e., they haven’t resolved their issues or traumas, they are still disconnected from their family, they are still struggling with addiction, they still have visible self-esteem issues, then be wary. Don’t listen to their advice and don’t visit their therapist because a) their therapist probably isn’t effective, else there’d be some progress, and b) they aren’t in a position to accurately reflect or advise because they aren’t aware they are making no progress.

If you don’t know anybody personally who has been successfully assisted by a healing professional, the second thing, the next best thing, is to contact your local psychological/mental health referral agencies and ask them for their recommendations. Local agencies will keep a list of practitioners and their areas of expertise, and they will be able to guide you towards some initial assistance. If you take this route, keep in mind that their recommendations will be general recommendations, meaning they can only point you in the general direction; the therapist they point you to may be appropriate or not. It is up to you to determine if the therapist is appropriate or not.

Qualifications

How do you assess if a therapist or healer is appropriate? To do that you need to assess for yourself whether the healer is Qualified and Competent to help you with your issues

Qualified healers will be healers that have a specific expertise in the area of healing for which you seek assistance. If you’re dealing with addictions, this person should have knowledge and experience dealing with addiction. If you’re dealing with anger and hatred, then this person should have knowledge and experience dealing with psychological/emotional trauma. If you have been sexually assaulted, the person should have knowledge and experience with sexual violence. If you’re working with your partner on a relationship, find a good relationship partner and so on.

You get the idea.

Ensure that the help you are receiving is coming from someone who has studied and has knowledge, expertise, and experience in the issues you are seeking support with. It is ill-advised to discuss relationship issues with a therapist who has been divorced multiple times. You wouldn’t discuss your suicide ideations with your mechanic, unless he’s been on a successful healing path, and you shouldn’t discuss car repairs with a psychologist unless they know something about cars. Focus and look for help in specific areas and look for healers that can help with the same.

And note, qualifications does not necessarily mean those fancy letters some of us have behind our names. While formal education is important, and nothing beats a good teacher when it comes to organizing and presenting important knowledge, people don’t always need a formal education to learn a skill or be an effective healer, just so long as they are educated. Self-education, i.e., reading books, taking classes here and there, can work too, so long as they put in the time and the practice.

Competence

In addition to being qualified in the area you’re seeking help in, the therapist should also be competent. This is an important consideration. Sad to say, but not all healers (doctors, psychologists, empaths, etc.) will, for whatever reason,[1] be competent in their practice, even though some of them have years of “book learning” behind them. Some will be struggling with their own emotional/psychological trauma and this will impact their ability to heal. Others may be deluding themselves about their own expertise and competence. It’s like an addictions counsellor who is addicted to shopping, or a relationship counsellor who doesn’t model healthy boundaries or who has been divorced several times, or a psychotherapist whose is obsessive/compulsive…

You get the idea.

In general, you want to avoid healers who have unresolved issues of their own to deal with, especially when those issues are close to the ones you are dealing with. We point this out because it is a healer’s nature to want to help others, but healers are no different than you. They come from the same families that you come from and grow up with toxic socialization as we all do. Consequently, they experience the same traumas as everybody else. Therefore, it is not safe to assume that just because a healer has gone to school, just because they are recognized by a professional organization, and just because they have their own practice, that they are sincere, effective, and competent in their chosen field. A healer can read all the books in the world and take all the best classes from all the best universities, but their effectiveness and competence as a healer will be compromised if they haven’t fully healed themselves.

This is the unfortunate reality. Many healers are as sick, or even sicker, than you. You can’t just throw yourself out into the healing space and hope for the best. You must take responsibility and be accountable for your own healing process. This means finding healers and making sure they are qualified and competent to help you with your healing process.

Questions and Red Flags

A question that must arise at this point is how do you tell if a healer is qualified and competent? There are a few things you can look for.

Number one, look at their qualifications. Start by examining their credentials. Do they have an educational background in the healing services they offer? We noted above that education is not the only thing you should look at, but it is something you should look at. Whether we are talking physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual, healing is a complicated thing and education helps a person understand these “things” at a deeper level.

Education is important, but it is not the only thing that qualifies a person to help with a healing issue. The second thing you should look at is experience in the area. This can be educational experience, but also real-life experience, both positive and negative. In this regard, do not be afraid to ask the tough questions. If you’re dealing with a relationship counsellor, ask them if they have a stable family. If they don’t, if they are either too young to have the necessary experience or if they’ve been divorced several times, think twice. Can you really expect a therapist who has never had a stable relationship, or cannot maintain a stable relationship, to offer you advice on your own relationship?

In addition to looking at qualifications and experience, you should also, if you can, ask your healer about their own mental/emotional health history. Have they ever been depressed? Have they ever suffered OCD? Do they have other symptoms of psychological trauma and damage? Don’t be shy about this. Ask them what their challenges have been. Of course, if you ask this question, be prepared for defensive responses. Some therapists will be uncomfortable with questions like this. Some will get defensive and hostile. They will say you are crossing personal boundaries and not want to share with you their histories. In those cases where healers react defensively or aggressively, you might want to find another therapist. Any therapist who tries to tell you that they haven’t experienced emotional or psychological trauma, or who aggressively tries to put you down for asking, is either lying, self-delusional, or both. We’ve all got trauma to deal with and if a therapist isn’t open enough and self-aware enough to acknowledge that, it is unlikely they’ll have done any of the work necessary to understand and heal their own trauma and damage, and very unlikely they will be able to help you.[2]

Of course, in your exploration of qualifications and competence, be reasonable. You cannot expect your healer/therapist to be one hundred percent healed nor can you expect them to reveal all the gory details of their traumas and experiences to you. This is a professional relationship after all. You can, however, expect them to be honest about the reality of their past trauma, and to share with you general details about how they have dealt with, or are dealing with, the issues. If they deny, it is a red flag that should set you on your guard.

Speaking of red flags, a third thing you should watch out for when assessing the qualification and competence of a potential therapist or healer is the presence or absence of professional emotional boundaries. Professional healers should be just that, professional. They should not act like your friend, they should not replace your mother or father emotionally, they should not “have coffee” or drink wine with you, etc. Remember this always, it is not a healer’s job to fill your emotional and psychological holes, but rather to equip you with the skills and knowledge you need in order to heal your own damage and patch your own holes. Healers and therapists teach you how to meet your own needs, find your own friends, navigate your own personal relationships, and fix your own damage. Their job is to guide you through a healing process and nothing more.

If you feel like your counsellor/healer is your friend, if you feel a budding emotional attachment to them, and especially if they’ve made you worried about them, something is wrong with the therapeutic relationship. Either you are projecting unmet needs onto the relationship, hoping the therapist will meet them, or they are projecting their needs on you, hoping you will meet theirs. Either way, appropriate professional boundaries are absent. Either way, it is a red flag. If your healer isn’t at least self-aware and educated enough to know that therapeutic relationships are not “friend” relationships or “partner” relationships or “parent” relationships, or if your healer is not powerful enough to prevent inappropriate attachments from developing, their ability to help you will be limited, and they may even cause you more long term damage.

Additional Thoughts on Getting Help

Hopefully, this section on “getting help” has been enough to orient you to the importance of getting help sometimes. Hopefully, this section has also given you some information that can help you find the best type of help there is. The lesson of the unit is simple. If you need help, get it; but, be careful and attentive to the type of help you get. Not all help is competent or appropriately qualified to help you on your way. Moving forward, get help if you need it, but be discerning of the type of help you get. Ask the hard question and watch for red flags, just in case it is not. If you don’t get answers to your questions, and if you see some red flags, you may need to look for better help.

Before closing out this section on how to get help, there are a few more things additional thoughts we would like to state.

The first additional thought is this, get it through your head, there is no shame in getting help, even when it comes to seeking help for mental health issues. Remember, your body is a physical vehicle for Consciousness, like your car is a physical vehicle for your body. If your car is not working properly, you don’t hide it in a corner and blame it for breaking down, you try and fix it yourself or you take it to someone qualified and competent who can. That is all there is to it. It is the same with your physical unit, your mind and body. As you learned in LP Workbook One, your physical unit is a vehicle for your Consciousness. Now you will understand, your physical unit is a complicated piece of bio-machinery that when broken sometimes requires expertise and resources to fix so it can function properly. There’s as much shame in that as there is shame in taking your car to a mechanic to fix, which is to say, none. If anybody tries to shame you for your illness, addiction, or whatever, whether that person is your mom, your dad, your partner, your spouse, a friend, a priest, avoid physical contact with them, and block them out of your awareness. If you need help fixing your physical unit, simply get help.

The second additional thought is, you do not need to actually connect physically and in expensive therapeutic sessions with helping professionals to get help. Sometimes you can “help yourself” by immersing yourself in information found in self-help books, videos, workshops, support groups, etc. These days, there is no shortage of information in this regard, so we encourage you to seek out help in whatever form you can find it. Once again, we remind you, be discerning. Just because somebody has a book, a blog, or a website does not mean they are qualified to help you heal and connect. Pay attention to qualifications and look for red flags.

Our third additional thought, if you do choose to seek out a personal healing experience with another healer, make sure you feel comfortable and safe with whatever professional you choose to work with. If you don’t feel comfortable or safe, either say something to the therapist or find another therapist. Saying something to the therapist is always the best course of action because a competent healer will welcome feedback, will understand that they won’t be able to “connect” and support everybody, and will appreciate the opportunity to improve their practice. Put another way, not saying something to a professional is not doing them any favours. Not providing feedback to a healer prevents a competent and qualified healer from growing their own skill and expertise. Similarly, not providing feedback to incompetent or unqualified healers also prevents their growth. Your single feedback may not jolt and incompetent healer into self-reflection and action, but if they hear it enough times, from multiple diverse sources, it might. Don’t be silent about things. Being silent helps nobody. Always give constructive feedback to your therapist/healer.

Note, the admonition to provide feedback is not a license to be ignorant to people. Don’t be mean to your healer; do not let anger and resentment turn your feedback into emotional or psychological assault. Just be honest about your thoughts and your feelings. Find a way to present feedback in a positive fashion and with helpful intent. Feedback that hurts another person is not feedback, it is assault.

Also, keep in mind, while competent therapists will welcome feedback, incompetent and unqualified therapists may be threatened by your feedback, even when it is presented in a positive fashion and with helpful intent. If a healer reacts defensively to feedback you provide, this is a red flag. As already noted, if you say something to the therapist and they divert, blame you, react defensively, or aggressively push you back down, find another therapist.[3]

Fourth, while it is important to seek help when you need help, it is also important that the people you seek help from are at least healthier than you. This goes for professionals, friends, and family. If you are relying on help from individuals who are not grounded, informed, or healthy themselves, your healing will be compromised. People who are sick themselves will not be able to help you heal. People who have “done a little” might be able to “help a little,” but they will only be able to take you so far, which is fine. A person doesn’t have to be a fully ascended master healer to you heal. At the same time, they can only lift you as high “up the ladder” of healing and connection as they are. Be honest with yourself about the help you are receiving.

And note, there is no point “hoping” for the best here. There is no point pretending to feel supported if you aren’t properly supported, and there is no point desperately clinging on to therapists, family members, or friends who are sick and stuck. In fact, doing that can cause more damage;[4] so, don’t do it.

Fifth, in addition to getting over shame, learning to help yourself, seeking out competent and qualified help which you are comfortable with, and learning to recognize and avoid the toxicity and assaults of family and friends, you also need to distinguish between authentic assistance and enabling. An enabler is an individual who enables your bad behaviour, even when that behaviour is violent and super toxic. An enabler is someone who says “let’s go for a drink” even though they know you are struggling with addiction. An enabler is someone who says, “that’s ok,” even when you have done something horribly wrong. Remember, enablers enable. They enable sickness. They enable violence. They enable toxicity and disconnection even while ostensibly trying to help. Truth is, being supportive doesn’t mean accepting every shitty thing you think, and every horrible thing you do. Support means love and acceptance while at the same time challenging your wrong thoughts, wrong actions, and so on. Trust us: you do not want an enabler in your life. You want people who will support your healing journey and encourage you towards connection.

Moment of reflection. Pause for a moment and ask yourself the question, “who are the enablers in my life.” Reflect on those enabling relationships, asking yourself “how and why do I let them enable me?” Write down your responses in your HC Journal and post on the LP HC Journal forums if you wish to share.

Enabling, we have to say, is a pretty big problem, and one we can’t go into detail here. Here we’ll just briefly explore two questions, and let you figure the rest out for yourself. Question one is “why do people enable us?” and question two is “why do we allow people to enable us?”

As for why people enable, they do this for the simple reason that enablers benefit from the behaviour they enable. It might be shocking, but it is not hard to realize. Pharmaceutical companies do not benefit when they heal you, they benefit by ensuring you stay sick, so you can pay them to help alleviate your symptoms. Marketers do not benefit by teaching us that consumerism is destroying the planet; they benefit by fueling our addiction. Politicians do not benefit by leading healthy and connected citizens; they benefit by having sick and disconnected masses which they can easily manipulate and control. Similarly, friends and family members enable your toxic behaviours because they benefit from the “status quo” in some way.

It is like when you are trying to quit smoking while your “friend” or sibling cajoles you with cigarettes. They do this because they benefit from your addiction. They want company with their addiction. They want a smoking buddy. They don’t want you to quit smoking because if you do, they will feel bad for still smoking, and their willpower will be tested.

Anyway, you get the idea. People enable your toxic and unhealthy behaviour because they benefit from it in some way. When you pause to reflect, identify all the enablers in your life and ask yourself, why they are doing it.

As for why we allow people to enable us, it is not because there is something wrong with us in any way, it is because we are rewarded emotionally, psychologically, and even financially by the people who enable (and benefit from our) toxic behaviour. For example, we gain acceptance and inclusion[5] when we “have a drink with the boys.” We gain esteem, power,[6] acceptance, and inclusion in the “cool,” mean girl/boy groups, when we engage in spiteful gossip. We get to play with new toys, or gulp down tasty substances, when we let the advertisers fuel our addictions. We are shunned and often attacked when we refuse to participate any longer in the “mutually beneficial” enabling schemes. It takes a lot of work, and a hard shift, to get us to the point where we are willing to push the enablers out; however, we must do it. If you are trying to quit smoking and you hang out with smokers, you’ll never quit. If we want to heal, we need to pause and reflect. We need to find good healers and we need to step out of enabling relationships.

Finally, our sixth thought is this: always remember, friends and family are not help. Many people see friends, families, religions, and other groups of non-mental-health-professionals as sources of help. Our society in fact encourages you to find support in friends and family. On the LP, however, we do not recommend relying on friends, families, and other non-mental-health professionals for healing and connection guidance, unless they are themselves healed and connected, or at least on an authentic path forward. We discourage this for several reasons.

  1. As we’ll see later when we discuss intergenerational toxicity, many of our unhealthy attitudes, behaviors, and problems are rooted in our primary relationships. Bad ideas we have about religion, spirituality, ourselves, etc., (what we call Wrong Thought), are rooted in what we learned in family and, to a lesser extent, our friend groups. If you are struggling, stuck, and having a tough time, it is probably because of ideas learned, reinforced, and rooted in our relationships with our families and friends. If that’s the case, going to them for help will not help, it will only reinforce patterns of thinking and behaviour that are toxic, and make your healing process harder as a result.
  2. Most of the toxicity and trauma in your life occurs at the hands of family and, to a lesser extent, friend groups. If you think about it, it will be your family, your parents, your brothers and sisters, your aunts and uncles, and others who are “close to you” who will have done the most harm. It is our parents who hit us the most. It is our parents who scream at us the most. It is our parents who shame us the most. It is family members and “friends” (acquaintances) who are the primary perpetrators of sexual assault.[7] It’s in families where we tolerate and are subject to the most violence. If you find this hard to believe, consider that the home is the only place where it is legal to assault a human being that is smaller in stature and weaker in strength. That is, it is normal and legal for adults to “hit” their own children within “reasonable” limits of physical harm defined by a callous legal system. It is also still perfectly legal for parents to engage in mental and emotional torture[8] of their children. And this doesn’t even include an assessment of the psychological and emotional assault directed at us by our siblings. Families, and to a lesser extent friends, are the primary location of assault and trauma. It’s not a judgment; it is just the way it is.[9]
  3. This tendency for families to be the primary source of assault and damage leads us to the third reason why we don’t recommend you go to your family and support which is, your family knows better than anybody on the planet how to hurt you. They know your sensitivities; they know your weaknesses; they know your soft spots; they know your buttons. They know, in short, exactly what to do to badly hurt you. Do not be a fool about this. When they are sick and disconnected themselves, when they are struggling with their own emotional/psychological damage, when they are defensive and repressed, they will do it, often in subtle and hard to identify ways, but often with violent and direct emotional, verbal, psychological, or even physical assault. They often won’t do it on purpose. They won’t do it to be consciously mean to you. They will do it a) in self-defence, b) because they are unconsciously (and sometimes consciously) projecting their anger and resentment, and c) because they are sick and in desperate and in need of healing themselves. However, whether they “mean it” or not doesn’t matter. It is important to understand, no matter if someone “means it” or not, an assault is an assault and it will damage you and undermine your healing progress. Remember, an assault by an individual who knows your sensitivities, weakness, and buttons is more likely to be more damaging than an assault by a total stranger.

And that’s all we have to say. To summarize the message of this unit, if you need help, don’t let shame or guilt stop you. If you need help, get help, just make sure it is qualified, competent, helpful, and not enabling. We do not recommend you get help from family and friends, unless they are healthy and authentically supportive. If your family is not healthy, seek help exclusively from professionals; but, make sure the professionals are at least as healthy as you. Pay attention to credentials and competence, and watch for any red flags. If you cannot afford professional assistance, find it in books or online.

Speaking of finding help from books, the rest of this book, and the rest of the Lightning Path for that matter, is devoted to help you heal and connect. The rest of this book does this by running through the rest of the LP HEALING Framework. As noted, the framework is not a healing methodology. It’s a guide to help you focus on those things most important in the healing process, like environment, addiction, dissembling, etc. Focus on dealing with these things builds an excellent foundation for healing moving forward.

As a final note, whether you on a healing journey yourself (and who isn’t really) or whether you are focused on healing others, this is a useful guide.

If you are using it yourself, use it to help you decide what to work on, what sorts of therapist to work with, etc. can share the framework with your therapist/healer if want, and if they open, but not necessary. Your therapist does not need to be aware of this framework, so long as you guide the therapy. For example, do you have a good therapist helping you, but are they not focused enough on your toxic environment. After reading this book and realizing how important the environment is, you can ask your therapist to help you reduce toxicity in the environment.

If you are a professional healer working with others, you can use this booklet to “guide your guidance.” Use this book as a therapeutic template that guides you to focus on critical healing issues, like the environment, addiction, and so on. After reading this booklet you will know that if a client comes to you, you have to help them to detoxify their environment, deal with their addictions, reduce their lying and self-deception, correct their thinking (help them remove ideology), help them learn to meet their needs, and put them into open growth mode.  Use whatever therapeutic techniques you like, just make sure you help them with the critical HEALING issues identified in this book.

Endnotes

[1] If you’re a therapist/healer you have to be aware, sometimes you need healing to. We’ve all been through trauma and we all need healing, even the healers. I (Gina) have learned as a domestic abuse and violence counsellor, that my effectiveness to help others was directly related to my own level of well-being. In my early days, my educated ego needs, and my own childhood and adolescent trauma sometimes got in the way of me being an authentic and effective healer. Counselling growth works both ways i.e., a healer will grow and heal just as their client grows and heals. That is why being a healer requires you to adhere to and model the highest standards of ethical boundaries and practices.

[2] Note to therapists and healers, especially those working with emotions and psychology, if you ever want to be fully effective and live up to your potential as healer, you need to admit to yourself any trauma you’ve experienced and damage that has been done and do something about it. And note, it doesn’t take much. Our daughter had her self-esteem destroyed by a single session with an incompetent and unqualified speech pathologist who made her feel stupid with a single word. It took over a decade to build up her self confidence in the face of school authority, and she still struggles from time to time. The damage from that single incident was profound. And that’s just a single incident. Most of us have experienced far worse than her. If we don’t acknowledge the damage we’ve experienced, we can’t heal. If we can’t heal, we can’t be an effective healer because our own issues will always block our understanding and corrupt the guidance we give to others. We often wonder what happened to that speech pathologist to make her think what she was doing was okay.

[3] Also note, if you are dealing with a healer who can’t deal with even constructive feedback, if you find someone that diverts, blames, reacts defensively, and aggressively pushes you back down, consider filing a formal complaint to the appropriate professional bodies that oversee your healer’s profession. These sorts of attacks might not sound serious, but they are. You can help shift professional awareness and ethical standards by making complaints. Complaints don’t have to be mean. They just have to be feedback. If the therapist isn’t taking your feedback, talk to their professional association. Doing so will not only make it more likely for your therapist to actually listen, but it will also help shift professional awareness and ethical standards in a more positive direction.

[4] Clinging to sick people in the hope that they’ll give you the support and assistance you need is dangerous, because they can do damage. They can do damage by a) offering you bad advice, b) lashing out when you trigger them, and c) undermining you in unconscious ways to prevent you from getting ahead of them. Obviously, if you are putting yourself in situations where more damage is being done, you won’t be making progress on the healing front.

A good thing to watch for here in any of your relationships is safety. If you’re not safe, you’re not healing. If you are not safe, you could be taking on more damage. If you cannot be completely emotionally, psychologically, and physically safe, you won’t be able to heal and reconnect. Therefore, it is imperative that you seek help from authentic and connected sources who are healed and connected (or on the path to healing and connection) themselves and avoid help from those who are disconnected and sick themselves.

[5] Inclusion and acceptance are one of our seven essential needs.

[6] Esteem and power are also one of our seven essential needs.

[7] On the primary source of sexual assault, see this awesome web page at https://www.rainn.org/statistics/perpetrators-sexual-violence.

[8] We cannot speak for you, but we (Gina and I) were tortured a lot as children growing up. The use of the word torture is an accurate description of our emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual traumas. For example, my mother used to whip me with leather belts, make me stand in the corner for hours, and withdraw affection (emotional isolation) for long periods of time, whenever my brother and I did something she judged to be wrong.

[9] Why are families the primary source of assault and trauma? There are several reasons for that. Number one, they are private spaces, and it is easy to hurt others in private, especially when these spaces are protected by codes of silence (“what happens in the family, stays in the family.), as many family spaces are. Number two, assault is encouraged in families. “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” as the bible says. Number three, assault is modelled in families. Our parents did it to us and through this modeling, we learn to do it to our children. Number four, emotional trauma travels downhill. When a parent comes home after experiencing violence and trauma at work (a so-called “hard day”), they take it out on safe targets, i.e., targets that cannot defend themselves and fight back, i.e., their children. There is no safer target than a small and defenseless child, in a private family space, or a spouse silenced by mafia like codes that say “keep it in the family.” We learn from our parents that it is ok to assault weak and defenseless targets and when we need the emotional outlet, we do what was done to us, often with impunity because it is in private and nobody will talk about.

 

 

 

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