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Suffering and Growth

If you face a problem, whether you are able to solve it or not, you will grow.

- Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Death - The Final Stage of Growth

The knowledge that others have recovered from emotional rape and from many more severe crises can strengthen your faith.

Dr. Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist and authority on death and dying, studied the personal stories of people confronting their own deaths and concluded that facing any tragedy means "facing the ultimate question of the meaning of life." She reminds us that:

"If we really want to live, we must have the courage to recognize that life is ultimately very short and that everything we do counts."

Although emotional rape may be the most underrated traumatic experience of our day, it is not the worst - other individuals have suffered greater trauma and survived.

Dr. Victor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor who was quoted earlier in this book, offers this thought:

"To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering."

What do death camps have to do with our inquiry? After all, the physical realities of concentration camps are not present in emotional rape. In fact, the comparison is illuminating.

Only someone who has lived through the aftermath of emotional rape can appreciate the degree of mental anguish endured by the victim. And non-physical suffering can be very intense, often just as severe, if not worse, than physical pain.

Dr. Frankl makes this point, describing how a camp guard clubbed him over the head for no reason. He recalls that he experienced less trauma from the physical pain than from the "injustice of it all." Even while enduring the terrible material hardships of a concentration camp, his emotional pain was, at times, harder to bear than his physical suffering.

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