PART 1: Emotional Wounds & How They Affect Relationships
We all experience emotional wounds from our childhood at some level. Whether a horrific trauma or a small event, occurrence, or feeling, we all have childhood wounds we bring into our adult lives.
What is an emotional wound?
A negative experience (or set of experiences) that causes pain on a deep psychological level. It is a lasting hurt that often involves someone close: a family member, lover, mentor, friend, or other trusted individual. Wounds may be tied to a specific event, arise upon learning a difficult truth about the world, or result from a physical limitation, condition, or challenge.
It is virtually impossible for any parent to provide the perfect environment, parent without flaws, know our every need, or provide exactly what we need when we need it. All parents make mistakes.
Take a moment and think back to your childhood…
Do you remember an event or something happening that you didn’t expect, something that surprised you—in a negative or harmful way? Can you recall your feelings of unworthiness, shame, guilt or not being good enough?
- Possibly, you came home from school one day proudly exhibiting all A’s and one B on your report card. Your dad in his not so humble opinion immediately called attention to the one B, declaring “You should have tried harder”?
- You despised football, were nowhere close to being athletic, yet you were pushed to play sports. Dad happened to be inducted in the National Football Hall of Fame.
- You tried out for cheerleader, devastated after you did not make the team. You are in hopes your mom will shed some empathy on the matter, yet she reminds you your sister has made the team every year.
- You sat at endless agonizing dinners with your family only to hear about how wonderfully smart and successful the next-door neighbors’ kids, your sibling, and cousins were…Comparing every single glorious detail of these kids’ characteristics and achievements to yours.
Wounds can be horrific experiences or small seemingly normal occurrences.
Many times, I see patients in my office feeling unworthy, “not good enough”, regretful, and fearful. They don’t equate these feelings to mom or dad’s withdrawal of love, criticism, lack of support, or abandonment. These are some of the same individuals who believe they are not capable of being loved, being successful, and don’t understand why they continue to have failed relationships.
Sadly, life has its share of pain, if you live long enough. Not all the lessons and behaviors we learn are healthy and productive. Emotional trauma or an emotional wound is rarely easily forgotten or dispelled. These same wounds many times are shoved under a deceiving rug and we want to believe they have disappeared.
They don’t disappear.
They have a domino effect – for many hurts that follow.
We are all products of our pasts.
As good, bad and ugly as they may be, our childhood wounds lie deep beneath. They serve as a foundation to our fears, beliefs, opinions of self, pain and suffering. They are the backstory in our relationships.
However a child wound is formed or created, these moments leave a mark, albeit a psychological one, just as a physical injury does. Wounds damage our characters’ self-worth, change how they view the world, cause trust issues, and dictate how they will interact with other people. All of this can make it harder for them to achieve certain goals, which is why we should dig deep into their backstories and unearth the traumas they may have been exposed to.
In this series, we will dive into How to Get the Love You Want.
Based on the theory and exercises described in the NY Times Bestselling book by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt Ph.D, Getting The Love You Want, we will dig deep into how you and your partner can transform your relationship into a fulfilling partnership. We’ll talk about practical tools and strategies to create satisfying and long-lasting relationships.
In his book, Getting the Love You Want, Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. teaches you how to improve your relationship first by asking you to think about why you were attracted to your partner in the first place.
We look for a mate who possesses the same basic qualities as our parents.
Why? Because people subconsciously seek relationships with those who will exercise their childhood pain. However, without guidance, most people reopen these wounds rather than healing them which leads to the ever so popular “power struggle”.
The final destination is making a true, lifelong commitment, treating each other in a loving manner, learning how to communicate constructively and eliminating negativity from your relationship.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we will take a closer look into “Imago Therapy” and the steps it takes in order to feel fully alive.
If you are feeling stuck and need to talk, I would love to meet you! Email or call anytime to schedule a session. (817) 701-5438 | firstname.lastname@example.org
CRT, CCDC, CACC | Counselor & Life Coach
Empowering individuals, families and communities to grow and heal through advanced approaches in Creative Arts Therapy, setting the standard for treatment, practice and training within the field.