How to identify the one that makes us suffer and the "mask" we wear to protect ourselves from it
Soul wounds were discovered by American psychiatrist John PIERRAKOS. Her research was then continued by Lise BOURBEAU, Canadian therapist, author of the book “The 5 wounds that prevent you from being yourself”, a link between inner wounds and the external appearance of the individual.
What is a Soul Wound?
It is a very deep and very intense wound which influences a person’s life and which will be at the origin of a mask, a protection in front of others. Soul wounds run deep and etched in a person’s subconscious and have for some been passed on by parents, themselves having been hurt in their own childhood. The same person can have several injuries that are expressed to different degrees. These wounds play an important role in life since they condition a person’s behaviours, thoughts, relationships and emotions. A person is said to suffer from at least 3 wounds, with one wound usually being more dominant than the others. Awareness of personal hurt begins the healing process. The goal is to free yourself from your wounds and all that it generates in order to become fully yourself and not be under the influence of certain behaviours, emotions or reactions.
For Lise BOURBEAU “everything that we experience unpleasant in our life on the mental, emotional and physical level is linked to our soul wounds”. Thus, anxiety, fear, guilt, emotions such as anger, aggressiveness, certain diseases, would be linked to our soul wounds.
We will see that each “soul wound” corresponds to a “mask”, i.e. the “mode of defense” that the person will adopt in a situation in response to the awakening of an inner wound. In definition, faced with a situation experienced as unpleasant, a person would not react to the situation in itself but would react to the soul wound that the situation arouses in him. It would be for this reason that some people feel as if they were in the grip of their emotions, as prisoners of their own reactions that they do not control.
Chronologically, we are talking about 5 soul wounds, which are:
The wounds of the soul have a more or less intense intensity in each person. Not all of the characteristics described are in place in a person suffering from the soul wound in question.
1- The wound of rejection
Fear: the panic of being rejected. Mask: the Withdrawer As a child, he felt rejected and did not believe in his right to exist. If he received compliments and attention, it was only by conforming to his parent's standards. As an adult, he wants to be perfect in order to feel loved and the slightest criticism of what he does calls into question his whole being. He excludes and rejects himself.
The person suffering from rejection wounds is discreet, withdrawn and elusive so as not to risk feeling it again. He has low self-esteem and is never satisfied with what he does ("it sucks"). He is convinced that his existence does not matter to others. In a group, he is feverish and worried, and feels different from the members of his family (may think he has the wrong family) and in general, misunderstood by the human race. Has developed means of escape ("in the moon", drugs, alcohol, virtual games, hasty departures...) and takes refuge in an imaginary world where he has a place that he does not allow himself to take in life. His ability to work anchors him in reality. Indifferent to material goods, he is attracted to the intellectual or spiritual world. We perceive him as solitary and we leave him alone. Extremely perfectionist, he does not ask for help so as not to disturb others, and because he would perceive it as proof of his nullity. He thinks he's wasted her life. Again, so as not to disturb or for fear of being uninteresting, he speaks little and withdraws.
2- The wound of abandonment
Fear: loneliness The mask: the Dependent As a child, he lacked nourishment and emotional warmth, he was not supported in his expectations. The wound of abandonment develops inside oneself, in a passive way. It engenders a deep, indefinable sadness and, as an adult, the need to be taken care of and at the centre of attention, risking weariness from the weight.
The person with the abandonment wound has great difficulty functioning on their own and needs to be cared for. He seeks advice and support from those around him to be at the centre. He tends to merge in relationships, to enter into other's emotions, to listen to their problems to bring them back to him. In a group, he seeks to be the star and to attract attention, so as not to leave a space that could be occupied by someone else. Often, he overdoes it to get compliments and reassurance of his worth. To gain support, he feels sorry for himself and can cause drama to cause pity (he speaks of bad luck) or to make himself indispensable. Loneliness terrifies him. He suffers from deep sadness without knowing why, and can cry a lot when he is alone. His mood changes from day to day. In front of a person who is angry, he crashes and is afraid. Aging anguishes him because he fears being alone and he may prefer to endure a painful situation rather than confronting this risk.
3- The wound of humiliation
The mask: the Masochist (emotional/mental) Child who felt humiliated by his parents for having pleasure with his senses. Freedom violated by a contemptuous and repressive attitude. Feeling of shame. By taking care of others, he reduces his guilt while ensuring that he lacks time for himself, and therefore freedom because he fears having no limits.
The person suffering from the humiliation wound makes every effort to be busy by helping their loved ones. Believing oneself indispensable encourages one's ego in its development. Beneath his humble and discreet appearance hides a pride and a feeling of superiority towards others, which is noticeable in his tendency to infantilize them by wanting to do everything for them. It lives under the idea of an authority (God, morality, etc.) which constantly observes and judges it, and endeavours to be worthy of it. Forbids himself to say things that could harm others, to whom he finds excuses. In denial of his sensuality, he refuses to let himself be mothered and is afraid of his sensual impulses and outbursts of which he would be ashamed. If he enjoys life, he fears being punished and being taken away from his spirituality. In childhood and adolescence, he experienced stories on a sexual level. He fears his freedom because he associates it with the absence of limits and the risk of having too much fun. His safeguard: put the needs of others before his own and put himself at their service. His belief: he must alleviate the suffering of humanity. The goal: to sacrifice himself and run out of time for him, in order to earn his "heaven" because he is afraid of being judged selfish and indifferent. He often feels dirty and can feel a strong disgust for himself. Tends to compensate with food (and to gain weight to arm himself against his senses) but he feels guilty and feels shame in order to spoil the pleasure. He practices self-mockery that makes others laugh. By humiliating himself, he protects himself from the risk of being humiliated by others.
4- The wound of betrayal
Fear: separation and denial The mask: the Controller As a child, he suffered from not having his expectations fulfilled by his parents. Felt betrayed or manipulated. Lost confidence in him whom he considers irresponsible after witnessing lies or weakness. As an adult, he tends to believe himself indispensable and to think that others cannot succeed without him. And maintains his wound by his lack of trust in others.
The person who suffers the wound of betrayal has felt let down and this has created a fear of separation. On his guard, he has high expectations of others to whom he wants to show his reliability and the fact that he can be trusted. He seeks to be important, thus taking up a lot of space in a group, doing everything to convince of his strong personality. He uses his leadership qualities to impose his will and maintain control. He maintains this image of a responsible, strong, physical, fast individual and likes to plan everything to control everything. Suspicious and authoritarian, he wants to prove that he is responsible and feels easily betrayed. In reality, he is irresponsible as he blames others for his own suffering and failures.. He seeks honours and is shown to be in awe of fame and wealth. His reputation is very important and if he feels it is threatened, he will not hesitate to smear someone else. Sure to be right, this person wants to impose his point of view on others and have the last word. Listening to others or leaving them to their own pace makes him impatient, even angry, and he jumps to conclusions too quickly. When he delegates, he constantly checks and demands that others do things his way and at his own pace and can become aggressive if things are not his way. He fears being taken advantage of and therefore does not talk about his flaws and weaknesses. He adopts sneaky or aggressive manipulation to achieve his ends. Without knowing it, he thus develops his fear of being abandoned or betrayed.
The wound of betrayal is linked to the wound of abandonment
5- The wound of injustice
Fear: coldness The mask: the Rigid As a child, he suffered from the coldness of his parents and could not express himself according to his sensitivity from which he ended up cutting himself off. He forced himself to be perfect, blocking the expression of his individuality. Adult, he seeks to conform to the ideal he has set for himself or that he believes is expected of him, always showing himself to be positive but, through rigidity, not very capable of establishing a satisfactory intimate relationship. The person who suffers from the wound of injustice seeks to "show good weather" and to be perfect in all circumstances, always showing himself neat and attractive. Even when he's tired, he continues to look lively and vibrant. He appears optimistic and positive and rarely admits to experiencing problems, or is quick to say that it is not serious and that he is able to get out of it. He even controls his anger and can pass for someone cold and insensitive (which is not the case, deep down). Despite his obsession with pretending to be perfect and fair, he can exaggerate a fact or an accusation without realising that he is unfair to others, as well as to himself, but wants to pretend that nothing affects him. He believes he is appreciated above all for what he does and, as a result, asks a lot to perform. He does not support laziness because she is always in action, and does not accept to flinch or to need, even sick, medicine or a doctor. Everything for him must be justifiable and he reproaches others when what they say does not seem fair enough to him. He glorifies knowledge at the expense of feelings and has a big memory that he boasts about. When he is caught at fault, he justifies himself even if it means lying. He prepares his justifications in advance. But if everything goes too far, he practices self-sabotage by losing his footing, and can become snappy and stubborn. He loves superlatives: "Brilliant! Super! Fantastic! No problem! Too beautiful, etc." He refuses help so as not to be indebted and would rather exhaust himself than have to reciprocate.
The wound of rejection is always present behind the wound of injustice.
How to identify our "mask"?
According to the author Lise BOURBEAU, our masks are the product of our “ego” (which does not know how to live in the present and adapt to reality, but always refers to a past experience or the idea that it is things) and its defense mechanisms. While they served their purpose at some point in our lives, they hindered the development of our resources to deal with the problem. In this, they impoverish our personality.
Identifying the fear and anxiety that arise when a relational situation reactivates, or risks reactivating, the fundamental wound, makes it possible to identify our defence strategies, that is to say our mask. Little by little, we will become aware of it and we will act differently, in harmony with our real needs which are waiting to be recognised in order to flourish and free us.
Become aware of your wounds
Recognising our wounds is the first step to accepting it and finding our answers updated according to the reality of our life, our suffering, our failures, our “bad luck”, etc. to succeed in no longer locking oneself within the same limits. Accepting means looking at it, observing it, knowing that having things to solve is part of the human experience. We aren’t bad people because something can still hurt us.
Start by writing down the 5 memory wounds, without re-reading them first. If you forget one, do not neglect it: it is perhaps the one that concerns you the most (according to the unconscious law of misdeeds!) If you hesitate or do not recognize yourself in any of them, while you nevertheless feel blocked in your life, this exercise can help you.
Write down, even in detail, several trials you have experienced.
Identify the feeling that dominates and oppresses you.
Underline the words that come up most often.
If none of them can be summed up precisely in the 5 wounds (rejection, abandonment, humiliation, betrayal and injustice), pick out those that come closest to them or describe them differently.
The same ordeal can be associated with a different injury depending on the history and structure of each. For example, a breakup will evoke abandonment for you and betrayal for someone else. One wound often leads to another, with which it is associated. The profiles can help you better understand the hurt that motivates your actions.
Once your (or your) wounds are updated, accept it as your own, regardless of who inflicted it on you (even if you are absolutely allowed to resent them!). It is essential to take responsibility for one's own feelings in order to decondition oneself from the hold of others on oneself and on one's moods.
Fully acknowledge your suffering without denying or minimising it.
In this short video below, a trance healing session where I am setting my intention on helping you cleansing your soul wounds. Of course this is just a way to help you start this specific cleansing journey.
You can join Cindy's monthly Women Sacred healing circle for deep healing experiences at the Light centre London Belgravia.