Continuing on from Writing Core Wounds I.
Knowing the stories informing a core wound is key
Adults with parts still stuck in the earlier stages of development due to childhood wounds are in those areas, very much still children lacking the resources necessary to progress in helping themselves. It’s important that they be given and receive what’s needed to undo the damage incurred from never having their core needs met.
The harm done during the initial stages of human development doesn’t just disappear of it’s own accord. It’s unable to resolve itself. Therefore the consequences of wounds not adequately addressed by primary caregivers, nurturing environment and mental health professionals can and will last a lifetime if left unaddressed.
In childhood, unhealed core wounds become integrated in ways that can negatively impact the developing self’s attachment style; confidence and capacity to tolerate and process the full spectrum of emotions in a healthy and constructive manner. Core wounds are also likely to afflict individuals with a false self-perception such as underestimating their capacity, worth and resources. They can struggle with boundaries, esteem, trust and carry shame that doesn’t belong to them.
This is not their fault. Nor is this article series focused on pointing the blame at the primary caregivers who for whatever reasons didn’t or couldn’t be attentive to the child’s needs. Rather the focus here is on the effects of unresolved core wounds and what adults living a compromised life due to the negative effects of this can do to alleviate suffering.
A Way Forward
Getting help isn’t about blaming, hating, shaming or attacking others for what they did, said or didn’t do or say. Rather the aim is to receive assistance and guidance on how to move forward without the negative effects of core wounds shadowing adult life.
The process of owning experiences of significant impact from the child-self’s point of view needs assistance to navigate the overwhelming emotional terrain. The aim being to arrive at a point in which it’s possible to acknowledge, accept and let go. How that made the child-self feel and how it is connected to the impending struggles in adult life needs acknowledging, accepting and release.
The experience of another present while putting the wounding experiences to words increases awareness and heals the neglect felt as a child. To understand and critically engage with what took place shrinks the emotional power and terror of the original event. With another present, it becomes possible to seperate the tendency to re-experience events through the child-self’s perspective and from an adult perspective, hold compassionate understanding for the child-self’s experience. For this reason, the help and guiding feedback of another through therapy, storytelling or intimate relationship is essential. The help represents a safe holding space to unpack the wound’s contents until this capacity is established within.
Wounds that keep bleeding
A wounded adult is no different from the former wounded child. Both remain in need of acknowledging what is meaningful and significant to them and why. They require a dependable holding space to contain emotionally chaotic and loaded experience; the opportunity to learn how to question the limiting beliefs and negative self-perceptions following the inciting incident; to put pain into words and order and so become conscious of how what’s unresolved and still raw continues to show up in and constrain present life.
The help in whatever form chosen functions to hold a space for the bleeding wound or injured child-self to be examined without judgement and allow for a dialogue of sorts to process overwhelming experience. Once a positive model of this has been had and integrated, the individual can proceed for the most part to stage this constructive dialogue independently.
For this positive model of thinking through nurtures the awareness required to readily identify and choose a better way when future conflicts arise. It reinforces that through practice the present is not the past. Rather the emotional realities of the past are superimposed upon the present. Being aware of this empowers individuals to stop losing time to a part of their life that is over by seeing the difference between things as they are and the feeling of things as they were. To think and perceive from an expanded perspective is the beginning of thinking, behaving and feeling differently.
The awareness and freedom to change
To need help in addressing our childhood hurts is not a failure, shortcoming or ‘woe is me’ to be hastily dismissed or ridiculed. No, help is something needed and deserved in order to allow ourselves to accept and in turn to move forward in awareness. It is what makes it possible to avoid repeating the cycle of continuing to mindlessly hurt ourselves and others.
Help that is wanted and received makes changing for the better a sustainable option. The act of authentically expressing pain and issues hard to resolve makes possible to recognise that despite how it still feels, things are not how they were anymore. Nor need they be again throughout adult life.
Follow this link for Writing Core Wounds III.