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What’s the Relationship Between Childhood Abuse and Spiritual Practice?

Photo: Calvin Webster on flickr

Photo: Calvin Webster on flickr

Dear Meli,

In spiritual circles, they’re always saying that our happiness is up to us. But what if you’ve had really bad stuff happen to you? As a child, I was sexually abused. It’s not something I talk about a lot, but it has definitely had a big impact on my life. When people say, Just think happy thoughts, I get a little pissed off. What if it’s not that easy?

Spiritual Survivor

Dear Survivor,

You’re so right! It is NOT that easy! Saying “Think happy thoughts” is one thing. It sounds so simple. Actually, it is simple. But simple is (often) not easy. And this is certainly one of those cases!

In my experience, childhood sexual abuse can be tremendously wounding. There is no simple solution to the pain it creates, or easy way out of the psychological damage.

There is a way out though! As a child, we have the unfortunate viewpoint that everything we experience is caused by us. So when we experience a trauma like this when we’re young, our brain isn’t developed enough to understand that we didn’t cause it.

In our attempt to make sense of such a thing, we assume it was our fault. We decide we are guilty. And we make up stories (beliefs about ourselves). These beliefs are part of our survival strategy. But they don’t serve us in the long run.

Now it’s time to update that belief system! It is possible to update your inner experience, your beliefs about yourself. It is a wonderful thing to become free of the idea that this was your fault, or that you are guilty somehow.

There are infinite ways of doing this, and any spiritual or self-awareness type of healing work that you are drawn to will support the process. It’s all worth it!

Because there’s other great news. Studies have shown that those of us with such traumas in our childhood who do the work to set ourselves free from the lies we came to believe from the experience, are available to greater happiness than others! This is true!

I’m not sure why this is. But I can tell you that I have become grateful for my own early traumas for this reason. If I had not had those traumas in my life, I might not have been drawn to spiritual and self-healing work. My suffering as a result of those experiences led me straight to the work that has created so many great joys in my life! I have a relationship with my own inner self founded on unconditional love (to the best of my ability), a relationship with Spirit that is the rich center of all my life, and immense compassion for the suffering of others. All of this came from my own healing. And I wouldn’t have experienced the healing if it weren’t for the wounding.

So please be gentle with yourself. And know that thinking happy thoughts will help everything, but not if it’s in order to avoid the pain and suffering hiding underneath. It only works if you can get yourself to a place in consciousness where the happy thoughts can become real for you. Any baby steps you take in that direction are steps toward your happiness.

And I wish you great happiness!

Blessings and Love to you in all you do,


What is your experience with spiritual types of healing work? Share your comments below!

Have a question for Meli? Interested in a private session (in person or Skype)? Contact her at meli@ohmygodlife.com





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2 Responses to What’s the Relationship Between Childhood Abuse and Spiritual Practice?

  1. River Benson November 16, 2016 at 7:36 am #

    Hi Meli,
    For me, my big break through from childhood trauma came when I forgave. Again, as you said, it sounds so simple but for those of us who have experienced trauma early in life, it is not easy. I had to forgive the person who did it; I had to forgive my body; I had to forgive myself. The biggest one was forgiving God (which is kind of covered in forgiving myself). But after all that forgiveness work, a little light started growing in my heart. Today I am a joyous person to whom happy thoughts just flow like – well like my chosen name – River. It can happen for readers here like it happened for me.
    Much Love,

    • Melissa Phillippe November 18, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

      Hi River.

      YES! Forgiveness! Absolutely…and well-said, too. Thank you so much for adding this!

      In my own process of healing, I couldn’t get to forgiveness until I stopped blaming my little self. And in the process of grocking (full-embodiment of) the Truth that it wasn’t my fault, it was somewhat automatic. From there, I could see that the persons who “abused me” were also not to blame. Which created automatic forgiveness there as well.

      I am very grateful you added this to the conversation! It is, indeed, only through the forgiving that we are really set free. And ain’t freedom grand!? SO happy you have it! Congratulations! And thank you, again.

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