The Healing Equation

The Abuse to Healing Equation

The body has cycles; they are seven-year cycles. The first cycle, from birth to age 7 is a time of physical programming, when the body is learning how to be in the world — it’s a world that is very specific to each person, because none of us live in the same kind of world. Even though we may live in the same house as someone, we don’t live in the same body; every body is different from every other body. The second cycle, from 7 to 14, is an emotional cycle, which takes the body into puberty as the development and expansion of all the chemistry in the body that deals with emotions of various sorts and with hormones extrapolates itself. The third cycle, 14 to 21, is a mental cycle, during which time the brain is developing its abilities to think and to nuance the information that it has; to use what it has learned about the world, in the world.

Because we are different one from another, these cycles are not set in stone, quite the contrary, they are part of a very fluid set of systems and the times laid out above are a more–or–less kind of thing but notice that the age of 21 is the age of majority in many countries, and, in most countries, the age of majority usually falls at some point during that third range, during the maturation of the mental faculties of the individual. The cycles may not be set in stone but they are well-known and have been for centuries. There is a much-repeated and ancient saying that is attributed to the Jesuits, “Give me a child for the first seven years of his life and he is mine forever.” The Jesuits knew, centuries ago, that once that physical body has been immersed in a certain set of circumstances, those circumstances will form the foundation for whatever follows. The first cycle of seven years — the physical cycle — has potent tenacity.

The cycles are said to be seven years long because it takes the body approximately seven years to go through a complete turnover of its cells. The cells are individual, living things; they take in information of all sorts, passing that information along to newly forming cells in a whisper-down-the-lane way, informing the body and the mind what will be needed to survive in the world that is particular to that person. (The mind is a function generated by, and therefore beholding to, a physical part of us: the brain; the mind, too, is therefore influenced by cellular programming.) Every person’s world is different so the information that each person receives from their world — even in utero, where programming begins — is going to be experienced differently from the way that anyone else would experience it. Even siblings receive different information owing to changes in their parents, changes in circumstances, the existence of other siblings, the interaction of different bodily chemistries, and various other conditions. The information that is taken in is logged in every cell of the body and is referred to as programming because we are all so strongly influenced by the people who raise us and the people who are around us as we are being raised that it shapes us — programs us — one way or another, compliant or reactive.

Programming — the very physical programming of your body at all its levels — is what lies behind the so-called Law of Attraction. I mentioned before that the mind is generated by the activity of the brain; the cells that make up the brain have been programmed by their environment, by the input they receive from the people and the activities around them. The brain has, essentially, grown up out of those things and so the information that it generates will be, one way or another, influenced by them, programmed, and it will draw to it that which it has been programmed to identify and respond to.

When a person has been abused in any way — physically, sexually, emotionally, mentally — that abuse, as it is going on, is programming the body in ways that seem, to that particular body, to be appropriate. This can differ from person to person since all people are different and will respond differently to the exact same stimulus. For example, as a child who was used for sexual trafficking, my response to being used in that way was to separate from my body, to ‘send’ my conscious awareness out of my body. My recollections of the abuse are based on watching it from above as it occurred. My closest sister, who was used in the same way and at the same time and locations that I was, did not leave her body. To the degree that she was capable of it, being somewhat drugged, she resisted what went on; she fought it. She was fully present to the experience.

There was also another kind of abuse in our lives, one that occurred at home, one that I cannot say for sure was identical for both of us but certainly involved the same person and, I would imagine, have entailed similar scenarios. Since this abuse was presented differently, offered as a gift of love, for whatever reason I chose to accept it in that manner while my sister fought the proffered “gift” of incest.

My sister and I grew up very differently because we are very different people and responded in very different ways to the things that happened to us, despite the fact that essentially the same things were happening to each of us. My sister, unlike myself, forgot nothing, while I, possibly because I was leaving my body, remembered nothing until one day when a seemingly innocuous sentence uttered by one of my other sisters, opened a door into my past and memories flooded into consciousness, overwhelming me. I was in my 40s. I was also fresh out of a life-and-death situation with my body, having endured three years of a remarkably painful, crippling disease for which there was supposedly no cure. Because of that I had investigated a good many alternative approaches to healing, consequently, once I recovered from overwhelm, I set about on healing path that I am still on almost 30 years later.

I spent 16 of those years working as a shamanic healer, utilizing — essentially translating — some of the skills I had acquired from my childhood experience of surrendering to other people’s energies and needs. Ultimately I ended up writing books for others in need of healing since I knew from my own experience that often, those damaged by abuse, also struggle with finances. I wanted people to be able to afford a way to help themselves, altering their ‘hidden’ programming on their own, to the degree that they could, as I had discovered how to do.

I have come to the conclusion, after working closely with many other victims of abuse and after going through many years of profound healing myself, healing that seems to keep going deeper, that there is an equation between the amount of time one was forced to experience abuse and the time it will take to heal from it. It is an elusive equation, an equation that is per force slightly different for everyone, but is probably always a factor specifically because of the above mentioned programming factor.

Let us say that you were raped by a person that you were dating, a person whom you thought you could trust. It will take time, surely, to heal from that experience even if your life previous to it had been fairly comfortable and relatively free of traumatic experiences. Your body will want to heal on the very physical level of having been abused; your mind will have a great deal more complicated things to deal with like trust and fear and relationships. For some people, such a healing might take a matter of a year or so, while for others, who are “wired” differently it might take many years. We are who we are and that’s a thing that has to be accepted. There are no specified healing time-frames for anything. Our past histories feed into both the way in which we experience and the way in which we heal; our biochemistry feeds into those things; our general outlook on the world feeds into those things.

I, for instance, repressed memories that had their roots in my baby-hood and continued through about my 18th year; I blocked them out almost totally. (I had dreams during that time that I did not understand that eventually became, after the return of the full-blown memories, quite obvious.) Beginning a conscious healing process with eighteen years of abuse securely locked into my cellular programming for another almost 30 years was bound to require a fierce commitment because all that information had been neatly locked in place for six full cycles of my body’s cellular consciousness… so it might take at least another six cycles to un-do… I don’t know yet. I don’t know if I’ll ever know. I’m 71 and still dealing with the occasional flare-up though my life in general is quite marvelous.

Even a person who may think that they have overcome the ramifications of abuse can be surprised by something triggering them and all of a sudden it’s as if the abuse had just happened last week. That’s emotional cellular programming at work. We can only heal to the degree that our body is ready, willing, and able to do so; for all we know, something that we thought didn’t bother us at all at a conscious level, might have bothered the consciousness of the body itself, causing it to be unable to fully heal from the trauma from which we, at a cognitive level, had felt healed.

In my case, after I had completed almost 18 years of healing work, work that I had tended to on a regular basis, I felt clear. In addition, I had attracted to me a man who was gentle, loving, and filled with integrity, a man who had been loved by his parents and treated with care throughout his life. I figured that my energy must be pretty good and I must be pretty well healed to have attracted a man like that… and I was… pretty well healed. Fast-forward eight years to a situation in which I found myself in a country in which I was regularly exposed via the media to a man and his cronies who were very much the same as the men by whom I had been repeatedly abused as a child, essentially, exceedingly rich, old, white men.

I didn’t know what hit me; I didn’t expect it. It was as if I were suddenly being required to revisit childhood experiences so vile that I’d had to escape from them by leaving my body, leaving a reality in which I had no chance to physically get away. Now, grown up, healed of so much of the trauma at so many levels, I again couldn’t get away if I wanted to. This man — these men — were running the country in which I live. Having fully confronted my past, having healed from what I could, I was enough of sound mind to be able to confront what was happening inside the cells of my body, cells which apparently were still carrying information from my childhood and which had gone into a panic.

In retrospect, I’m grateful for the experience. I’m certainly not happy with what is going on in this country at the moment but at least I can be rational and reasonable and justifiably angry and able to do what I can do about that. And I’ve also taken advantage of the bad dreams and the odd memory here and there that pops up, to do still more healing. I’m grateful because I can heal; my sister can’t. I’m grateful that I forgot for as long as I forgot because forgetting, for me, enabled me to get through life to a point where I could handle the memories. My sister still remembers, only the information has taken many strange turns in her mind. Doctors have referred to her as ‘delusional,’ (but I recognize those delusions and they seem a lot more like memories she simply cannot divest herself from). She is severely paranoid and she lives her lifelives her life hiding from everyone in general and no one in particular, her door covered with scrawled warnings to delivery persons and passers-by. She is essentially alone in an awful world that exists only in her mind.

I have come to the conclusion that while one may heal from extreme trauma, and become more fully able to enjoy life, that trauma, because of the way the programming of the cells in the body works, will always be there at some deep level, informing life and life decisions. I’ve come to the conclusion that healing, when that is a possibility, is completely different for each individual, that everyone has their own healing timeline and healing equation: truth + trauma x number of incidents + inherent degree of sensitivity + elapsed time between end of abuse and inception of healing + acceptance + addressing the issue + a willingness to heal = healing over time. It’s a complex equation but one that seems to figure itself out as long as you apply yourself in the various ways required. I’ve come to the conclusion that healing is finding a way to deal with the inevitability of something that has happened, because it can’t un-happen.

PS: I don’t mean this to sound depressing at all. It’s only depressing if you allow it to be. Despite what I carry as an aspect of who I am, I have a marvelous life; it’s absolutely delightful. In addition, my ‘bad’ experiences have allowed me to make life better for I don’t even know how many people. Life, even for one blissfully untouched by evil, can only be as good as they want to make it.



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Victoria Pendragon

Victoria Pendragon


Artist; Author of self-help books on healing with Ozark Mt. Publishers; survivor of two 'fatal, incurable' diseases and a healthy dose of CSA