1. Your body and soul come in a perfect match. No soul in a body that ever was before, or ever will be, has the particular mission of your soul in your body in the healing of the world. Regardless of the negative messages you may have received about yourself in the past from significant others, you matter. You are meant to be here. You are immensely valuable.
  2. Perhaps one or both of your parents hurt you very badly, or had very severe problems. You might be afraid that you are destined to be just like them. You should not worry. Your parents (with G‑d’s help) contributed to the creation of your body, but your soul is unique, bestowed from Above.
  3. There is a part of each of us which is not touched by anything that happens to us
  4. There is a part of each of us which is not touched by anything that happens to us. The deepest part of your soul is your essence. No matter whether you were sexually violated, ridiculed, beaten, neglected, abandoned or emotionally abused, the deepest part of you remains pure, holy and healthy. You just need to remember it is there.
  5. Remember the Chanukah story. The whole force of a powerful civilization with huge armies at its disposal did everything possible to defile and desecrate the holiness of our Holy Temple. But even with their full force, there was one flask of pure oil, used for the lighting of the menorah, that still had the seal of the high priest. This was not found or desecrated, and it was from this untouched flask of oil that the miracle and the light and the healing came. So, too, that flask of pure oil exists in each and every one of us.
  6. The potential inside of you which was there before you were abused, even if the abuse occurred when you were a very young child, is not lost. It is still there, waiting for the time when you will be able to access it and bring it into expression.

    There is an inner drive to heal, to make sense of things and find meaning in what has happened to us. Just as when we cut ourselves we do not have to consciously think of how the blood cells need to come together to activate the clotting, or how connective tissue cells proliferate to heal the wound, so it is in healing from trauma. However, just as with a wound, sometimes suturing is necessary to bring the ends together so the natural healing can occur. Sometimes we need intervention of various sorts, and possibly medication, to hold us so the natural healing can take place.

  7. Every person has the right to be emotionally, physically and spiritually safe at all times, in all places. No one can heal from anything if he or she is not safe. If you are not safe, you must first do what you need to do to be safe. You may need to get others to help you. Safety also means to feel safe with yourself. Don’t dump on yourself. Speak to yourself kindly. It is possible that the way you talk to yourself, you would not tolerate from any other person.
  8. To heal, you do not necessarily have to go back and relive every detail of what happened to you. Just processing the meaning can be enough. Sometimes an issue may arise in the present which can re-traumatize. This too is part of the healing process. Through dealing appropriately in the present, and setting healthy boundaries, we can rework the past without having to go back and deal with every single bit of the trauma.
  9. Every person has the right to be emotionally, physically and spiritually safe at all times in all places
  10. Don’t panic if you have been labeled as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The symptoms are happening because your inner world is attempting to heal, but needs a bit of help to take the next step.

    In the usual course of events, when we process information, we match up events that happen with schemas in our brain about how the world is, how people treat each other, etc. When they match up, they are filed away into short-term memory, and then long-term memory, and don’t come back to bother us again unless we want to recall them.

    But when something happens which is way outside anything we would expect, these traumatic events don’t match up, and then can’t be filed away. So they keep coming back as nightmares and flashbacks, because there is an innate drive to heal, and the brain is trying to process them and make sense of them.

    Another problem is that because the initial trauma caused such emotional arousal, such as the effects of massive outpourings of adrenaline and other stress hormones, it makes information processing much more difficult. Each time they come up again, with the same emotional arousal, this further impairs the processing.

  11. Therapy can help a person make sense of things, so that filing away can take place. Not everyone needs therapy, though. Some find other ways, such as through their gifts and talents, or through action and advocacy, to process and transform their distress.
  12. Light is always more powerful than darkness
  13. Medication may be necessary for a time to hold this emotional arousal so that the processing and healing can occur. Just as an aside, brain changes that had been noted in trauma survivors are not the cause of PTSD, and can be modified and transformed in many ways.
  14. It is not all hard work. We have to remember that there are two approaches to healing; one is to deal with the area causing problems and to attempt to fix it, and the other is to strengthen what is healthy and functioning well. Since it is one organism, the whole will be affected. We must treat ourselves kindly, and give ourselves lots of good nourishment for our souls and bodies.
  15. Light is always more powerful than darkness. In a dark room, we do not have to chase away each bit of the darkness; we need only to light one small candle, and the darkness disappears on its own.
  16. You will need to think about boundaries, trust in relationships, and about the importance of sanctuary in your life. Issues about forgiveness may come up and need to be thought through at a very deep level. You may also find yourself searching spiritually in many ways.

    For one who was abused as a child, the processing you are doing about your own past will make you think very deeply about what children need to thrive, and that means that you have the potential to be a very tuned-in and responsive parent. If utilized properly, your past pain will teach you how to be empathetic to others.

  17. We are not diminished by the things we go through. On the contrary, we shine. Our soul comes down to this world, and has to muddle through and wrestle with many difficult issues and challenges. But our sages tell us that as a result, new paths are forged, and darkness is turned to light. Not just light, but an even more powerful light than there was previously.

My blessing to each one of you is that you (and all of us, and all of our children) should be spiritually, emotionally and physically safe at all times and in all places. May you be blessed to fully heal, and become fully who you are meant to be. And you should shine so brightly and joyfully that the concept of darkness no longer exists.