The tragedy of relational wounding presents itself as a cellular fragmenting, more primordial than a mere cognitive dissonance, neurally-encoded and rooted in the soma-soul temple.
Here, we simultaneously long for and are terrified of “the Other,” not knowing whether to move toward or turn away. This sort of disorientation runs through the entirety of our psychic and bodily circuitry.
For a young child, the attachment figure is God(dess), magician, and idealized best friend - without them, the end is near. But when this figure is also the very source of terror for the little one – or are traumatized themselves – we find ourselves in uncharted waters.
It takes everything to sit in this field with another who has been touched in this way, an “other” outside us as well as the “other” within. If we really allow that in, the vessel may shatter.
In addition to empathic failure and narcissistic injury which goes to the very core of our sense of self, even more devastating is a deep, cellular knowing that “I’m alone in this.” The absence of companionship, the lost friend, is at the heart of trauma and devastating to a human being wired to rest and play within a relational field.
To provide even a sliver of hope, a moment of safety, where the other can feel felt and understood; just one moment when there can be a relinking, re-association, and re-imagining; to bring into the shared neural network a new experience, can soothe, repair, and open a new way forward.
Never underestimate the power of love and what we can do to help, listening and trying to understand how another is making sense of their experience and the meaning it has for them.
Attuning not only to the verbal narrative, but the story of the body and of the soul, of the shattered spirit. It, too, has a story to tell, but by way of image, dream, feeling, and symbol.
And to provide a sanctuary in which it can all be illuminated and held.
In the inner room of that temple, we may notice that the veil that appears to separate self and other begins to fall away, revealing the beauty and the mystery of this place and the endless depths of the human heart.