By Margaret Paul, Ph.D
In the 37 years that I have been counseling individuals, I have worked with many people who have suffered from severe physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse in childhood. Many who have sought my help were suffering from fear and anxiety, depression, various addictions, relationship problems and sexual problems. Many of these people had no memory of their childhood and had no idea why there were so unhappy. Many had spent years in therapy yet had never remembered their abuse.
The reason they could not remember the traumatic events of their childhood is because the child or children within, who suffered the abuse, did not feel safe in revealing the abuse. These unconscious inner parts were protecting the person from reliving the horrible pain of the past. These inner children knew that the adult self did not have the strength to learn about and manage the information and the feelings.
In order to remember and heal traumatic events from the past that are affecting you today, you need to have a strong and loving Adult self who is capable of managing emotional pain. Without this loving inner Adult, you may get so flooded and overwhelmed with the feelings of traumatic memories that you cannot function.
The gentle, transformational Inner Bonding process that we teach is a process for developing this strong, loving Adult self. The loving Adult is the aspect of us that is connected with a powerful and loving Source of spiritual guidance – whatever this is for you. Learning and practicing the Inner Bonding process develops your ability to connect with your personal Source of spiritual guidance. It is your connection with your guidance that gives you the strength to manage the intensely painful feelings of childhood abuse.
Once the inner children who hold the memories feel safe that there is a loving Adult self who is capable of managing the feelings, you will start to remember your past. As these memories come up, you will begin to understand the conclusions you drew about yourself that are currently causing your pain. Almost all children who have been abused draw erroneous conclusions about themselves as a result of the abuse – false beliefs such as, “I’m not important.” “I have no worth.” “I am just an object for others’ use.” “I am not lovable.” “I should never have been born.” “I would be better off dead.” “I don’t deserve love.” “I am a bad person.” It is these beliefs that are causing your present pain.
Healing from childhood abuse is not just about remembering the past. It is about remembering the very good reasons you had for drawing the conclusions that are currently causing you such pain. It is about gently and lovingly acknowledging what happened that led to your present beliefs that are now limiting you. It is about learning how to access the truth from your spiritual source so that you can move out of lies that you are telling yourself that are causing your current pain.
Most of us learn to treat ourselves based on how we were treated and how our parents or caregivers treated themselves. When your parents abused you, they were also not taking loving care of themselves and were not role modeling loving self-care. As long as you treat yourself the way your parents or other caregivers treated you and themselves, you will suffer. Healing from childhood abuse is about developing your loving Adult self so that you can learn to treat your inner child or inner children the way you always wanted to be treated.
You CAN fully heal from childhood abuse, but only through learning to access and bring into your being the love, truth, wisdom and strength of your spiritual guidance. Through learning and practicing the Inner Bonding process, you will discover the incredibly beautiful and perfect essence within you – the part of you that was never damaged by the abuse. This is your true Self that will emerge as you heal the false beliefs of your wounded self. This is what will happen as you develop your loving Adult self through learning and practicing the Inner Bonding process.