5 Common Emotional Wounds from Childhood

Emotional wounds are painful experiences, usually from your childhood. They often shape your adult personality, who you are and how you face adversity.
5 Common Emotional Wounds from Childhood
Raquel Aldana

Written and verified by the psychologist Raquel Aldana.

Last update: 30 May, 2022

Unfortunately, it’s often quite common for a person’s emotional health to become damaged during childhood. Many times, we do not know what is blocking us or what is causing us fear.

But in most cases, these feelings originate from situations you experienced as a child. In other words, emotional wounds caused by some of your first experiences with the world that haven’t healed.

Five Common Emotional Wounds from Childhood

You need to become conscious of them and avoid covering them up. The longer you wait to heal, the deeper they become. The fear of reliving your suffering causes you to hinder your progress in life. This is precisely what you need to avoid.

Betrayal, humiliation, mistrust, abandonment, and injustice are just a few of the emotional 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. Fear of Abandonment

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

Drawing of a child sitting on a sunflower branch

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…).

It’s not an easy wound to heal, but a good start is facing the fear of being alone until a positive and encouraging inner-dialogue can flow within the affected person.

2. Fear of Rejection

This wound prevents you from accepting your feelings, thoughts, and experiences.

Its appearance in childhood is caused by rejection from 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 being unwanted and of degradation towards oneself.

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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 will become a timid and elusive adult. This is why these people must work through the internal fears that lead to panic.

If this is the case for you, worry about your own behavior and make decisions for yourself. Every time you do, it will bother you less when people go away. Also, try not to take it personally when people forget to include you at times.

You are the only person you need to be happy and live your life.

3. Humiliation

Humiliation often occurs when you receive disapproval and harsh criticism from others.

These problems arise in children when they are told they’re stupid, bad or overweight, or by discussing their problems in front of others (something that is, sadly, quite common.)

This inevitably destroys the child’s self-esteem and makes it difficult for them to cultivate a healthy sense of self-worth.

Emotional Wounds from Childhood

This often results in a dependent personality. In addition, these people learn to be “tyrants” and selfish as a defense mechanism. They even get to the point where they humiliate others to form a protective shield around themselves.

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

4. Betrayal or Fear of Trusting Others

This is one of the most common emotional wounds. It occurs when people close to the child break their promises, leading to feelings of betrayal and having been cheated.

As a consequence, it causes distrust that can lead to envy and other negative feelings, such as not feeling worthy of promises and what others have to give.

Experiencing this issues during 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.

Drawing of a father scolding his son

If you experienced these types of problems during your childhood, you likely feel the need to exercise a certain amount of control over others. This is frequently reinforced by having a strong personality.

However, these are defense mechanisms, and shields of protection against disappointment. This is often reflected in how these people act, as they tend to make their prejudices known.

They need to work on patience and tolerance, and learn to be alone and delegate responsibilities.

5. Injustice

Environments in which the child’s main caregivers are cold and authoritarian produce feelings of injustice. These demanding personalities generate feelings of powerlessness and futility, both in childhood and adulthood.

Albert Einstein summed up this idea in a well-known quote:

In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.

Consequently, those who experience this type of pain can become rigid and limit themselves to seeing everything as either black or white. These people usually try to become important figures and achieve great power or success.

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

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To address these types of problems, it’s important to work on suspiciousness and mental rigidity. This will allow for more flexibility and trust towards others.

Now that you know the five emotional wounds that can affect your wellbeing, your health and your ability to develop as an individual, you can begin to heal.

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

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.