5 Emotional Wounds from Childhood

· December 6, 2015

It’s often quite common, unfortunately, that our emotional health is damaged from childhood. We’re often not aware of what is blocking us, what causes dizziness or what we fear.

In the majority of cases, the origin is what we experienced as children – wounds caused by some of our first experiences with the world that never healed.

Emotional wounds are painful experiences from childhood that shape our adult personalities, who we are and how we face adversity.

We need to become conscious of them and avoid covering them up. The longer we wait to heal, the deeper they become. The fear of reliving the suffering causes us to invent a hundred different masks that only hinder our progress in life. This is precisely what we need to avoid.

Betrayal, humiliation, mistrust, abandonment, injustice… These are some of the wounds that Lisa Bourbeau warns us about in her book The 5 Wounds That Keep You from Being Yourself. Let’s take a look:

1. The fear of abandonment

Abandonment is the worst enemy of those who experienced abandonment in childhood. Imagine how painful it must be for a child to fear being alone, isolated and unprotected in an unfamiliar world.


Consequently, when the child becomes an adult, they will do anything to prevent experiencing abandonment again. Therefore, anyone who has experienced it will tend to abandon both their partners and projects early. This exclusively reflects what causes them to relive the suffering.

It’s common for these people to think and speak in the following way: “I’ll leave you before you can leave me”, “no one supports me, so I won’t support this”, “if you leave, you won’t come back”…

These people will have to work through their fear of being alone, their fear of abandonment and the rejection of physical contact (hugging, kisses, sexual contact…). This wound is not easy to heal, but a good start is to face the fear of being alone until a positive and encouraging interior dialogue can flow.

2. The fear of rejection

This wound prevents us from accepting our feelings, thoughts and experiences.

Its appearance in childhood is caused by the rejection of the parents, family or peers. The pain caused by this injury prevents the child from developing a healthy sense of self-esteem and self-love.

It causes thoughts of rejection, of not being wanted and degradation towards oneself.

The rejected child feels unworthy of affection and understanding and the fear of re-experiencing this suffering leads to further feelings of isolation.

It’s likely that a person who was rejected as a child is a timid and elusive adult. For this reason, we must work through the internal fears that lead to panic.

If this is the case with you, worry about your own behavior and make decisions for yourself. Each time it will bother you less when people go away and try not to take it personally when people forget to include you at times. You’re the only person you need to live your life.

3. Humiliation

This wound is caused when we feel the disapproval and criticism of others. We can create these problems in children by telling them they are stupid, bad or overweight, or by discussing their problems in front of others (something that is, sadly, very common). This undoubtedly destroys a child’s self-esteem and makes it difficult to cultivate a healthy sense of self-worth.


This often results in a dependent personality. In addition, we learn to be “tyrants” and selfish as a defense mechanism and even go to the lengths of humiliating others to create a protective shield.

Having suffered these types of experiences requires working on our own independence and freedom, as well as understanding our own needs and fears, along with priorities.

4. Betrayal or fear of trusting others

This wound is opened when people close to the child break their promises, leading to feelings of betrayal and having been cheated. As a consequence, it causes a distrust that can lead to envy and other negative feelings, not feeling worthy of the promises and what others have.

Having these problems in childhood leads to controlling personalities and perfectionism in adulthood. They’re people who want everything set in stone with no loose ends, leaving nothing to chance.


If you experienced these types of problems in childhood, you likely feel the need to exercise a certain control on others. This is frequently reinforced by the presence of a strong character; however, it’s a defense mechanism, a shield of protection against disappointment.

This is often reflfected in how they act, making their prejudices known. These types of people need to work on patience and tolerance, as well as learning to be alone and delegate responsibilities.

5. Injustice

Feelings of injustice are experienced in environments where the principal caregivers are cold and authoritarian. These demanding personalities generate feelings of powerlessness and futility, both in childhood and as an adult.

Albert Einstein summed up this idea with the well-known quote:

We are all geniuses. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.

Consequently, those who experience this type of pain can become rigid and see things in only black and white. These people usually try to be important and achieve great power or success.

They may become fanatics for order and perfectionism. They often have radical ideas, making it difficult for them to make confident decisions.

To address these types of problems, we need to work on suspiciousness and mental rigidity in order to allow for more flexibility and trust in others.

Now that you know the 5 wounds of the soul that can affect your well-being, health and the ability to develop as an individual, you can begin to heal.

The first step, as with everything in life, is to accept the wounds inside us, give ourselves permission to be angry, and above all, take the time to heal.

Source: Bourbeau, L. (2003) The 5 Wounds That Keep You from Being Yourself.