What dualistic denial will not admit is that there is brokenness in human life which is never healed so much as lived through. And this pain or brokenness is not a neurotic attachment to a victim role; nor a holding on to suffering for secondary gain; nor an ignorant attachment to desire. Rather, this is a suffering which is intrinsic to human existence, and a suffering which remains ultimately a mystery, in spite of thousands of years of thought and theories.
Such wounds are carried by us all, though they are perhaps carried in more virulent forms by those severely traumatized as children. Psychological wounds like these are analogous to physical deformity—while the condition itself is incurable, one can still live a meaningful and productive life in and through this debility.
For example, certain abandonment anxieties, compulsions and addictions, and childlike emotional reactions to particular situations may not immediately disappear from one’s life via psychotherapy, like dew in the morning sun. One may find instead the need to change one’s life in order to manage such issues, rather than attempting to force oneself violently into an idealized self-actualized life.
But more than this, missed opportunities for growth in our lives are lost forever. While we may indeed perhaps gain back some of the potential we lost to earlier wounds, we shall never be that actual person again, inhabiting that actual time and place. We will have lost forever the potential we had for healthy development at that actual time in our lives. There are deep wells of grief here, and engagement with these depths can be a crucial part of the healing process.
[“I” and Self: Re-visioning Psychosynthesis (2020), p. 38]