Healing occurs in the space between two people. It's not a job for heroics or solo efforts. Yet it cannot happen when a space gets demolished by clingy to others with chronic insecurities. Healing spaces also get trashed by distancing control freaks, critics and cynics. The space must feel safe enough to let down one's guard and open up. It must not feel too spacious that gives the feeling of abandonment, isolation or getting put on display. The space needs to be just right.
There is usually no space for healing to occur between any two members of the wounded workforce. The woundedness in each shuts down that in-between space where minds could open, truth could be told and problems could get redefined. It does not feel safe to admit to being damaged or to confess one's guilty worries to someone acting out their pain or keeping up pretenses of being "fine". It seems foolish to act vulnerable or exposed when it's likely to result in abuse, mockery, deceptions, betrayals or manipulation. It seems realistic to expect more that same mistreatment that created the woundedness in the first place.
Those who are "wounded healers" can create spaces that members of the wounded workforce cannot do for themselves. The wounded healers' own damage establishes rapport and sympathy with others' pain. These healers' own journeys give room for others' healing processes to unfold. The healers' experiences provide numerous insights into underlying issues and next steps to take. The common ground provides a solid basis for making changes.
There's no guarantee that wounded healers can create these potentially healing spaces. Their own damage may take others hostage and demand displays of hero worship, approval seeking and personal sacrifice. The healers' wounds can also deplete their helpfulness into their clinging desperately or wallowing in self pity. In these quagmires, rapport gets replaced by collusion and commiseration. The space for journeys to unfold gets defiled into a stuck story where no progress can be made. The commonality becomes shaky ground where no one can either stand up for themselves, say "no" to others demands or take responsibility for their own conduct. The space gets filled with entanglements of wishy washy and overbearing dramatics.
There are lots of methods for creating healing spaces. In this post I've used one of them: exploring a visual metaphor. Notice how we've moved around, found different places and felt like there is room to maneuver in here. In my next post, I'll share several more methods that work for me.