Over the years I have seen that, while the situations in which people are wounded may vary, the heart wounds have certain similarities.
In the early days of my counselling ministry I facilitated groups for women who had been sexually abused as children. These victims exhibited the same core wounds: they carried a deep sense of personal shame, they felt abandoned by those who were supposed to protect them, and they often struggled with a confusion about their sexuality and identity. The account of a childhood of sexual abuse is always different, but the wounds these victims experienced and the path to healing they walked was always similar.
When I began meeting to counsel with people from seemingly “normal” households, I was surprised to find that they had experienced similar areas of wounding. Time after time I have seen that, no matter what the instrument of wounding was, the resulting wound is the same.
For example, many have experienced shame through bullying at school or through living in a shame-based family. We may experience abandonment when a parent leaves or is unable to emotionally bond with a child. Rejection comes in a variety of forms, whether it’s being picked last for the school baseball team, or being told that a B+ is just not good enough. In our childhood and adolescence, we begin to realize that we are powerlessness over many aspects of life. What do we do with that revelation? People break our trust in small and big ways on a daily basis. And, as if those wounds weren’t enough already, we live in a world that is constantly giving us distorted or exploitive messages about our identity.