Excerpt About Abuse

It is Important to Recognize How Abuse Imprints the Soul

Strong and/or repeated impressions tend to become fixed in the soul, becoming part of her overall ego structuring. These impressions can be positive or negative, pleasurable or painful. Some of the most well-known and problematic ones are those due to painful or intensely conflictual experiences in early life. These include abandonment and loss, hatred and judgment, severe intrusion and lack of empathy, and so on. A specific subset of these is abuse. When the child is subjected to abuse of any kind, the pain and conflict around events and situations are so powerful that the impressions are quite lasting. We can see this in the many individuals who were victims of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, the effects of which can not only last a lifetime, but tend to structure their experience in painful and difficult ways. It is important to recognize how abuse imprints the soul, because many people tend to think that it is mostly a question of repression that needs to be undone and dealt with. This neglects the structuring effects of such powerful impressions, structuring that becomes part of the victim’s identity and character. This means that to learn to fully be free from such history one needs to work on the structures that have developed through this abusive history and learn to disidentify from them, or bring them to a degree of flexibility and openness.

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