Throughout this site I use the term “psychic wound,” a term you may not be familiar with.
I first heard it from Maryanne Williamson in her book “A Return to Love.” While I did not understand exactly what it meant at the time I never forgot it; I can only guess that is because it would one day describe something I had suffered but did not have a name for.
The psychic wound is a terribly important concept to one who has suffered child abuse.
It describes a deep-seated emotional hurt that we know exists but have difficulty defining. It is like a persistent ache in our leg that affects every step we take, and in so doing adversely affects many other parts of our physical being.
The article that follows finally defined the term “psychic wound” for me; reading it for the first time was a true “aha!” moment. It was as if a chronic illness that I’d passed off as psychosomatic was finally diagnosed and had a name. And I took solace in the fact that not only was I not crazy, but there were plenty more out there who suffered from the same affliction.
I contacted the author, Enid Vien, and asked permission to reprint her article:
“I would like to write about the “psychic wound” but frankly, the best I could do is paraphrase your moving article on the subject; that, I believe, would be a thinly veiled plagiarism and I would prefer to deliver the real thing to my audience.”
She was kind enough to grant me permission to share it with you. I hope it is as curative to you as it was to me.
(Scars on the Soul)
by Enid Vien
Certain incidents wound a person more deeply than others and these can not be handled by traumatic incident handling alone. These are those incidents which, while accompanied with tremendous emotional pain, hit us so directly as beings that they scar our souls. Personal betrayals by a friend or lover, unexpected attacks from a trusted source, cruelty and violence that shatters our confidence in our own capacity to direct the course of our own existences, are among the types of incidents that can damage us this directly.
Every being creates his universe and, via dynamis (life energy, life force, or chi), imposes it upon the physical universe where it is mirrored back at him. This is his reality. People and even objects respond to him in a manner consistent with his creation, this gives a sense of security, all is well with the world, or at least comfortably consistent with his creation. The physical universe and the people around him are influenced by his emanation of dynamis in a manner that is predictable and consistent with his core beliefs regarding himself and his creations. He feels whole and sovereign to the degree that this is occurring.
A psychic wounding can only occur when something happens which is inconsistent with his creations.
It is the result of something which shakes the being to his very core and rocks his foundation of belief in himself, as well as in that which he is creating. Usually only someone who has been granted the right to co-create a universe is capable of dealing such a blow to the being, however drastic events like war which cause a being to lose faith in humanity or God can also be likely to scar the soul. Acts he commits that shatter his ideas of self, or witnessing cruelty can also have a scarring effect.
When this happens the person feels his creations have gone wrong. He was, for example, creating his wife as a wonderful example of love and loyalty, mirroring his own love and loyalty. Then she runs off with his best friend and takes the kids. His first reaction is shock, then emotion and betrayal. Next he starts searching for where he went wrong. He assumes he did something wrong, for after all it is his world that just shattered. His confidence in his ability to create himself as the beloved husband is devastated. So his identity is also crushed. This leaves a scar on his soul which warps his creations thereafter. Since creation is native to a being, he cannot not create, but within all subsequent creations is the scar. The universe around him continues to be influenced by his dynamis but the dynamis is no longer pure, containing as it does the damage that the wound made. The universe begins to mirror the agony of the soul, things go wrong, he wonders exactly what he is creating. Sometimes he assumes he is not creating, since this is not something he would normally create so he thinks someone or something else is creating it. The wound has started a downward path of decay.
Often the being pulls himself up by the psychic bootstraps and goes on with life, shoving his anguish in a dark corner of his inner world, erecting a closet and slamming the door firmly, never to look at it again. Because it is tucked away in a mental mausoleum, dead and buried he feels it can do him no further damage. This is untrue. The scarring remains indelibly within his dynamis which continues to influence all that he contacts with its internal pain.
When the scarring is severe it may mirror the original wounding in the universe to such a degree that the original broken heart becomes a heart condition, or the agony manifests in the body becoming pains which eventually turn into an actual illness or physical condition. Thus an incident the person considered a slap in the face may become a chronic sinusitis or toothache.
While the origin of these sicknesses is psychosomatic, they rapidly become actual physical malfunctions and often as fast as one is medically treated, another appears. Handling the psychic wound allows medical treatment to be more effective.
As time goes on the being declines faster. In his efforts to solve the problem, whose genesis is by now thoroughly forgotten, he commits many acts of desperation. The more downhill he slides, the more effort he uses in an attempt at putting a halt to the creation he by now detests. As it is not what he intends to create, he feels this is not his creation and so he begins to look for the source of it. Usually he looks in the physical universe for solutions, sometimes he ransacks his memory trying to find the answer to the puzzle he is actually creating.
These wounds are probably the most severe pain a being can endure, resulting in long standing problems which do not resolve easily.
They are deeper and have more lasting consequences than losses or physical trauma because they hit the being so directly that he is weakened in his ability and willingness to create life.
Most beings have such scars, which are surrounded with wrong indications, false data, and rejection. Healing these scars must therefore be of major concern to the clearing practitioner.
This is in itself a tricky proposition because the being has piled so much else on top of these incidents they are buried, after he tucked them safely away where he cannot retrieve them easily.
The trail one follows is the downtrend, when did it begin? What happened before that which changed the persons idea’s and approach to life. In this event will be found the wound which never healed. When contacted it will be found to be just as raw and sensitive as the day it happened. The spirit of the individual was broken by it. Such statements as: “This was the one thing I couldn’t deal with – I was stunned – It was a bolt from the blue – I did not see it coming – I was devastated – I couldn’t believe it” are usual.
The unexpected aspect of the event is a big part of the wound. It is a shock. An unbelievable and sudden blow that invalidated the being’s most cherished beliefs so badly he thereafter changed his beliefs in an attempt to never experience a repetition of anything similar.
Because the person is under great stress at times like these, he isn’t thinking very clearly and he tends to change his beliefs to those at the opposite end of the spectrum. For example he used to think he was invincible; now he thinks he is vulnerable. It flips him, strong becomes weak. Right becomes wrong. What once was true now seems false. The core beliefs of his universe reverse. This is enormously destructive of his future existence, as well as of his personality. Later you may hear the being asserting his earlier beliefs but this sounds forced and he cannot get rid of the nagging doubt that they still work for him. It is all a “used to be”.
The change was meant to make life more predictable, to handle the future so he would not be caught unawares again. It is unworkable because it is made under duress and contains the anguish of having been wrong within it. When the being tries to return to his earlier beliefs they are overlaid by the new set which are cast in stone by the anguish and emotion he felt at the time.
6 July 1995, updated 10 January 1996
(You may learn more about Enid Vien and “dynamis” at her website, http://www.dynamism.org/)
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