People who experience a morally injurious event, such as a sexual assault, toxic leadership, body objectification, and various forms of betrayal often loose their self-esteem. They begin to see themselves as a worthless human. What they spent a life time building, their self-worth, can be lost in an instant of tragedy.
Some people never had a strong sense of personal value. Because of early childhood experiences, they enter adulthood already feeling that they are less than other humans. Oftentimes, these people become good targets for predators. When abused by a vicious attacker, who could be a fellow Soldier, a spouse, or a trusted friend, the person with diminished self-worth sinks even lower. The incident only serves to confirm what the survivor already expected-that they are a piece of human garbage to be used, abused, and thrown away.
The good news is that self-esteem can be repaired. The healing process will not take place over night. It can take years for a person to start feeling good about themselves. As healers, we may not have years to give to a client to help them build their esteem. That’s okay. Our role is not to complete their healing process for them. We do not have to be with them from start to finish. What we can do is give them some tools, offer perspectives, and provide some reading materials. The hard work of mending self-esteem will have to be done by the person, but he or she often needs advice and counseling to get started. Hard times will come. A loving, encouraging chaplain, psychologists, social worker, or other caring professional can keep someone going in the midst of all of their challenges.
The first episode of Healers, a Moral Injury Community of Practice, that meets monthly on Zoom, will discuss the subject of repairing self-esteem after a moral injury event. To join us on November 2nd at 7:00 pm (ET), subscribe at: https://misns.org/product/monthly-network-subscription/. Your monthly subscription (save $25 by paying for the year up-front) gives you access to this community of practice. You can join the conversation, offer your own experiences, and increase your network of practitioners. This is not a webinar, but a meeting of peers and colleagues. In addition to the community of practice, you also get a ticket to the 2023 Comprehensive Moral Injury Conference, the premier conference of the year; two books published by Moral Injury Support Network for Servicewomen, Inc.; access to recordings for any meetings you missed; and automatic distribution of our annual report.
Dr. Daniel Roberts, President and CEO of MISNS, is a 20+ year long member of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps. In the span of time, he has helped many servicewomen who experienced moral injury due to sexual assaults, bullying, spousal infidelity, and other traumatic events. His work and research on moral injury and providing pastoral care has been published in the Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, the Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling, the Qualitative Report, SAGE Business Cases, and Amazon. He can be reached at email@example.com. LinkedIn Profile.