Healing From Terrorism Sickness
By Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.
In terrorism, the numbers of persons affected are huge; terrorism is *meant* to
affect thousands and millions of people --all at the same time. Most think terrorists'
main aim is to kill people and destroy installations. This is only secondary.
(Yes, I know that sounds unbelievable, but it is so.) The main goal of terrorism
is "intentional trauma" to the living. The murder and mayhem are SECONDARY
The concept of doing ongoing psychic injury to thousands and millions "all
at the same time" is an important tactic of terrorists. Terrorists understand,
if only in their diseased unconscious's, that accomplishing such will unleash
a greater communicable and spreading "psychic infection" than any biological
or germ warfare could ever hope to achieve.
This "infection" that terrorists hope to circulate is that of innocent
persons becoming afraid of life, afraid of the future; of causing people to put
off the living of life, to move in ways that are far less than their previous
free selves. The effect of living in such a crouch hurts the human spirit and
heart. The main goal of terrorism is "intentional psychological trauma."
Murder and mayhem are only secondary and sometimes even tertiary goals.
Terrorism is willful psychological assault; a conscious and planned assault against
the minds and hearts and spirits of a large group of persons.
I repeat this only if it be necessary to press past the reader's ego's resistance
to this hideous truth: In terrorism, murder and mayhem are secondary to this primary
goal of ruining the hearts and hopes of others. This is partly why terrorism is
difficult to comprehend by reasoned minds as anything but the most grotesque form
of manifest evil. We can barely conceive of thinking to psychically injure others
There are other secondary goals to terrorism. Any and all of them are the sickest
imaginable. But the above is how terrorists seek to cast their net of "sickness"
over all survivors and victims, over the living--- by trying to deprive you of
esperanza, fullest and freely felt Hope. By trying to limit your libre, your Freedom,
your living life as a completely free person, shoulders proud, head up, mind on
goodness and love for all and pleasures that bring peace and happiness.
The "post-trauma recovery list" contains the central ways to proceed.
Here are some additional which are very specific: It is peculiar to find how strongly
that poisonous net holds when one is unaware of what it is made of, and how easily
it falls apart when one consciously begins to contradict its malicious urgings:
1) Refuse to dwell on what psychically depletes you of hope, contentment and ease.
During post-trauma times, sometimes an extremely difficult or disheartening set
of thoughts attach themselves to us; almost like a gang cruising around looking
to harass someone. Terrorists are counting on this to happen to many. Refuse this
set of thoughts. Use the discipline of your mind. Say to them, "f-off! and
I mean it!" If you are an old believer like me, it is as effective to assert,
"Get thee behind me!" My grandmother used to say, "Just because
someone presents you with a dog poop on a pretty plate doesn't mean you have to
2) Dwell in what strengthens you. For some it is reading, others physical activity,
others, crafts. There are so many things and combinations of things. Remember,
what brings you peace tends to be the same as what strengthens you.
3) Clean up your kitchen - especially around food. It's time to give your body
what it needs for its equilibrium and best strength right now! Do not assault
your own body by making it work extra hard to throw off toxins in its time of
4) Rest. Get real rest, even if only a few hours at night; even if, like many
people are, you find yourself awakening many times in the night. Do not entertain
"bad thoughts," do not allow yourself to fall into a pit of them. Think
instead of the greatest beauty and love you know, discipline your mind to stay
with those images; they are medicine for what has hurt you. The key words are
'practice discipline.' If you do not know how to discipline your mind, think of
how you train a beloved dog to stay and heel. Proceed.
5) Insofar as you are able, pick your endeavors carefully. Now is an opportunity
to drop various endeavors that deplete you or to join up with people/matters/groups
6) Refuse to think you are less able than you were last week. You are not less.
regardless of flaws, quirks or wobbles-- you are in soul, actually more shining
than you were a week ago.
7) With regard to goodness and things that are good for you and others, do what
you always do. Do not cease goodness or pleasures that bring good.
8) Continue to implement life dreams. If you don't have one, you're overdue. Get
out your thinking cap.
9) Use your intuition to guide you through these days. It will not fail you. Some
call this great gift - which every person possesses - insight; some call it 'sense.'
Some like us old believers, call it our guardian Angel--which incidentally for
me is no small little feathery thing flapping around, but more like a fierce-gentle
Guido with wings. (grin.)
--- © Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D