The 11 ways in which I believe healing can be difficult for some people.
1) You have too many triggers in your current life. For real true healing to happen, one must feel supported and be in a safe environment free from more abuse. This means you have to cut abusive people out of your life, no matter who they are. And not everyone is able to do this.
2) You are at war with other parts of yourself: There may be a part of you that wants to heal, but then there are parts of you that are deeply bound by survival-based denial and amnesia; that part of you is only trying to keep the inner child held in exile so you can get out of bed everyday. Parts of you may not be ready to handle the childhood material because it’s too much especially if you have weak boundaries and allow others to be mean to you. For healing to happen, ALL parts of yourself need to be on board with it. For some, the part of them that wants to heal could be in conflict with the parts that are not ready to heal.
Why would some parts of self not be ready to heal other than living with daily triggers?
3) Self-sabotage provides more comfort: A part of you might not feel you deserve to be free and at peace. Maybe your mother, for example, was jealous of you and didn’t want you to be happy and you took on that role as a means to survive that. In order to heal, you have to get in contact with the parts of you that have internalized the mother’s voice. If you can heal that old wound, at some point you might realize that you deserve to heal and be free and at peace. But not all of us are ready for that mountain to climb.
4) It is difficult for you to self-soothe. If you have never been soothed in your entire life and only know relational discord, it might be impossible to self-soothe and thus be unable to heal right now. Healing can only happen in an environment that is a direct contrast to the one we grew up in. There is such thing as being attached, even biologically, to trauma so we would have to heal that part of ourselves before we can take the healing process seriously.
5) So long as you have parts who think the abuse you went through as a child is your fault, you may not be ready for recovery. Thinking the abuse was our fault is a very common survival instinct that absolves our perpetrators of all responsibility leaving only ourselves left in the equation for accountability. Since our inner children cannot handle that our parents (for example) could either abuse us or allow the abuse to happen to us, we are forced to blame ourselves in order to survive. To make healing more possible, it might be helpful to address the parts of us who don’t feel ready yet to face the truth of what our parents might have done.
6) Some people are too traumatized to heal. You have to be inside the window of tolerance to be able to heal. If you live in a state of hyper or hypo arousal, healing can be a bit difficult unless efforts are made to self-sooth or find support from someone who can be understanding, validating and accepting to get inside the window of tolerance.
7) Pride, which is really a survival instinct to mask shame, is yet another way in which we sabotage healing. In order to heal, we need to allow the shame in — instead of the defense of pride. Feeling shame doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. Feeling and accepting the parts of us who feel shame is one way in which it can dissolve and turn into self-acceptance and self-love. Then we may realize we didn’t do anything wrong.
8) If you have ever directly or indirectly harmed anyone as a result of being abused in childhood, this can be another road-block to healing. When we begin to heal, gradually, we are forced to accept not only what others did to us, but also the harm we have (directly or passively) done to others. In order to humbly take responsibility for harming others (even if another part of us did it and even if it wasn’t our fault), we have to heal the part of us that was once victim of all the judgment we went through as a child. Until that sensitivity for judgment (for being wrong or bad) part is healed, it can be a challenge to accept and take responsibility for harming others. The truth is that we are all human and we have all been guilty of hurting other people and the sooner we own that, the sooner we heal.
9) You fear what happened to you as a child: Amnesia, as a survival instinct is real. If there is any abuse material you think you wouldn’t be able to handle, that will pose as a tough road-block to recovery. If you fear your worst memories, if you are afraid of your own emotions (especially your rage), then you are not ready for this journey yet.
10) You question your bodily sensations and impulses to such a degree that you block them. You also distrust the emotions of your inner-children. You have abandoned all the truth-telling parts of you. One must heal the protective parts of us that question the body and our own inner-children. So, communication with these parts might open up the doors to healing. If you aren’t ready for this, healing is going to be a challenge.
11) Change is unbearable for you: We can get so stuck in our routines that anything that requires change can be retraumatizing. Some of us are not ready to make any changes and must keep our lives as they are as this is all we might have to feel safe. However, if we slowly and gently make changes in our life, we may be able to do things that help us heal.
For those not ready right now for the work of healing, might be good candidates for biological interventions or therapies that suppress the pain instead of addressing it. While pain suppression is not directly healing, it may lower the level of pain just enough to be able to feel just how bad things are. And that could be of help to those on the serious path to healing.