For so many of us, our wounding can be found at the deep of our core. The stories we tell ourselves about how who we are, how we should be in the world, and how people should treat us, so often come from early childhood experiences.
If we had positive experiences, where our caregivers were able to support our emotional development and help us navigate our big feelings, we will be secure in the world, being able to build secure relationships with ourselves and others.
If we had negative experiences, the opposite is true.
And then life happens. We grow up and have more life experiences from this viewpoint. We seek to build a sense of self, to know ourselves and build an identity. We look for confirmation of our story of who we are. Sadly, if we’re doing so from a place of wounding, we end up re-confirming over and over again the ways we’re not good enough – the reasons why we can’t create authentic and nourishing connections with people.
Our patterns repeat over and over through our lives, building a sense of self through wounding. One which causes us more pain, however, for many reasons, we continue to re-wound ourselves. This is not our fault, we are learning about life through a lens which was given to us, perhaps from our family story, perhaps from the wider community.
But we are not these stories.
The defences we create to protect us from our early wounding come in the form of stories. When we’re young, it’s unimaginable to believe that our caregivers and people around us could possibly be the ones in the wrong. We have safety needs, and the hope is that they will meet them, that they will look after us. So when we’re being wounded, through empathic failures, through abuse and neglect, through mis-attunement, it’s a natural instinct to believe we are the problem; to believe we are wrong.
Because then, in some weird way, we believe if we could do it another way it would maybe be different. In some weird way, we believe we just need to ‘be better’, and then our caregivers and the people around us will love us how we need to be loved: unconditionally. Sadly, we continue on this trajectory and take this sense of self with us through life.
This is not our fault. These are the ways we learned to protect ourselves. However, it is our responsibility.
We may feel like victims to our life circumstances. We may feel victimised, and we may very well have been victimised, but we have the responsibility to learn to love ourselves again. Only we can provide this healing of our core wounding to ourselves – by grieving our early unmet needs, by re-parenting ourselves, by accepting both our darkness and lightness and learning to love ourselves as whole human beings.
Therapy can provide the guidance to do this by understanding who we are today.
It can do this by offering compassionate enquiry as to how it was for us then, teaching how to allow empathy into those wounds, and offering loving feedback as to who we can be now. Underneath our defences is wounding. The stories we share tell us who we believe we are, how we have survived, how we have been resourceful and strong through our lives.
Our stories can also show us where we continue to victimise ourselves, and perpetuate the pain we suffer. By offering compassion and understanding to ourselves, in the present and to our younger parts, we can heal, increase our capacity for emotional regulation, soothe the damaging charge of our greatest triggers, and live a life that is authentic to who we are now, beyond and alongside our wounding.
The techniques and tools in therapy are one way of facilitating that journey, and the therapist allows for the human contact to gently allow shifts in self-perception – to be seen as a whole, in not only our own eyes but the eyes of another.
Our core wounding comes from our relationships with others, and our deepest healing also comes from our relationships with another.
This article was originally written for the counselling directory and can be found of their website here