The Darker Side of Healing

It interests me to see people who heal others refuse to deal with the issues facing them as healers, especially the not pretty ones. These include co dependence from lack of self esteem, over healing, coddling, overestimation of our skills, and one of the most important, permission and interference. This holds true for ALL types of healing, from herbalism and laying on of stones, to medicine and reiki. Often times a healer forgets to work internally as well as externally, and a healer who is not in touch with themselves is a poor channel for healing of any kind.

First, let’s address co dependence in healing. This comes about when a healer grows to need the attention and helplessness of others and encourages patients to depend on their healing and take longer to recover…if they are allowed to at all. Some psychics and healers will get clients addicted to their readings and healing, making them feel they need their services through subtle psychological manipulation or outright force of personality. The most basic reason for this is usually to keep the cash flowing. Some unscrupulous healers will do a basic diagnostic, then find more and more things “wrong” with a patient that require more and more treatments. Through the vulnerability of the patient, the healer will feel more and more strong themselves, and wish to keep this feeling. Thus, their subconscious, or even conscious mind will make up or keep finding issues to address. This is not healthy for either party, and can cause more than just financial damage to the patient. The patient may develop neuroses, seeing every cough as a symptom of pneumonia, and even creating a spiritual hypochondria, where a headache becomes an attempt at stealing their soul or possessing them. Obviously this is rare, as many people simply have more sense than this. But especially in spiritual or energy healing, it is important you get a second opinion if treatments seem to keep going on and on, especially if new problems just keep popping up. For healers, it is important to realize that patients can deal with many issues on their own, and should in fact come to you only when absolutely necessary. Do not let your own desire for power in a relationship with a client, or your need for people around you, overcome your own senses and knowledge. Part of healing is knowing when it is finished.

Coddling is another issue that is often seen. Some healers are extremely empathic, to the point where they cannot bring themselves to create a nasty tasting remedy if herbalists, or be strict about asking for the client to address issues that may be painful to them. Obviously we should not be sadists, but sometimes unpleasantness and pain are a part of getting better. If a patient refuses a part of a treatment simply because they do not like it, such as an herbal tincture that they dislike, or part of an acupressure session that is painful, remind them that it is necessary. If they do not listen after one warning, then send them elsewhere for treatment. There is no point or useful reason to badger, push, bribe or whine to a patient who will not cooperate. Let them go their own way and learn for themselves that healing is a serious issue and an interactive art.

Overestimating our skills is one we all fall prey to. Sometimes, issues are just beyond our skill level, and it is important to know ourselves enough to realize this. If someone comes to you with a tumor, send them to a doctor! Don’t tell them you can make it go away and then fail miserably, as so many televangelists do, and forbid them to use another form of medicine. Spirit healing, Ki, acupressure, stones, massage, herbs and other methods are aids to medicine, NOT substitutes. Yes, our training allows us to do amazing things, but we are not deities or even direct channels for them. We as healers are helpers for people in need, and as such should admit our limitations, however little we may like them. Over time we may grow stronger and more skilled, but in so doing we should also still recognize the limits of our abilities and accept them so that we may work within them.

Permission and interference is in my opinion one of, if not the hardest aspect of healing. Sometimes, a person is happy being miserable, or wishes to show themselves as a martyr, or has religious or personal reasons not to want to be healed. Many healers, especially the white light variety, may choose or wish to send healing to a person anyway. This is WRONG, absolutely and utterly. By doing so, you are saying that your knowledge of them is better than that of the person them self or the Divine. Obviously this is not the case. We heal by the grace of the Divine, the Gods, Universal Source, etc. not our own power. Using our own energy depletes us and can even cause us to develop another’s illness through energy contagion.

Free will is one of the most important aspects of magic, healing and life in general. A magician believes that their will can change reality. Perhaps so, but so can anyone else’s with training. Thus we are no better than any other person, and with time and effort anyone can learn to do what we do. To take their free will away is to deny them their place as conscious beings and their right to choose their own path in life. In my faith, this is a terrible sin, and I would imagine it would be comparable to slavery in most others. Thus, even if someone close to you is obviously in pain or ill, do NOT attempt any kind of healing unless they choose to ask you on their own. You may say you are willing to aid them if you feel it will help, but do not use friendship or any other bond to guilt trip them into allowing you to heal them. That is not friendship but abuse of it.

It is a terrible and hard thing to watch another suffer if you can help them or if you feel it is not necessary. However, often the most important lessons in life are the most painful. Sometimes there is no other way to learn something important except by learning it the hard and painful way, and even overcoming illness on one’s own can lead to greater strength of character and happiness. Thus, the hardest lesson I have learned is that we may offer aid, and be there for our friends in need, but we cannot and should not force them to accept it.

I relearned this lesson recently with a coworker and friend who had had a terribly painful end to a relationship. He cut his torso and upper arms up with a blade, leaving no centimeter of skin in the area untouched. His skin looked like hamburger, and he projected emotional and physical pain so loudly I had to shield against it. I offered to listen if he wanted to speak, to put him in touch with a counselor, to clean and dress the cuts and to make him a remedy to help them heal faster. He refused all of them. I could easily have forcibly talked him into letting me aid him, but I didn’t as I had on other occasions. All those had ended in disaster and lost friendships. All I could do was give him my phone number and tell him to call me anytime if he needed help or just someone to talk to. Will he recover and overcome his pain? I honestly don’t know, though I hope so. All I can do is be there if he asks, and respect him enough not to interfere unless he asks me to.

It is hard for any of us to swallow our pride and admit we are not perfect, myself included. I have personally seen and dealt with each of these issues within myself, and I still struggle with them daily. I wish you the best in dealing with these issues, and hope your learning to overcome them was and is less painful than it was for me.

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