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I am a Grown Up Wounded Child under Recovery – Could you be too?
I lived my life, fought my battles, experienced my joys and pains without really wondering who I was or why I was doing things.
The first warning came in 2006, I was married and my first child was 4, I had an exciting job and made good money but I fell apart nevertheless. Anxiety and depression swamped me and I did a burnout. I took my medication, my shrink helped me a lot and I got back quite fast on my feet and started again my endless run for success and love. Then the second warning came, faster this time, when in 2013 I started again feeling the overwhelming anxiety and the first signs of depression coming back.
This time I decided to stop running and start looking a bit deeper at who I am and what I want. Late last year I stopped my job and put my company on hold and started reconnecting with something I really loved doing when I was 20 years old: Insight Meditation. I also started looking around a bit broader into both the spiritual and the psychological body of knowledge. I found Peter Gerlach’s website about Break the Circle that opened my eyes about a largely unexplored part of myself: I’m a Grown Up Wounded Child. Like many of us I had loving parents who were themselves grown up wounded children and despite giving me all the love and attention they could they left me with some traumas that I never worked out of my system and that drive a lot of my behaviour.
A child has fundamental needs that, if not met, will prevent a coherent and consistent self to develop. If, like me, you experience or experienced excessive shame, excessive guilt, excessive fear, reality distortion or trust issues culminating maybe in intimacy issues then you didn’t potentially have as much of a normal childhood as you think.
These symptoms can often be the expression of three main types of childhood traumas: abuse, neglect or abandonment. I will dedicate a blog post to those individually but let me summarise them here:
Abuse is when an adult or responsible figure makes use of a child in order to fulfil his own needs to the expense of the needs of the child. There are many potential examples of this from the obvious sexual abuse to much more subtle ones like driving the behaviour of the child to have recognition from the community or shaming the child to please one own’s parent’s views.
Neglect is when the adult doesn’t provide for the fundamental needs for love, tenderness, food or other fundamental physical or emotional needs of the child.
Abandonment is when the adult doesn’t provide the needed time and presence for the child to feel safe, protected and cared for either trough physical or psychological absence.
I’m building this website and connecting with people around this topic and the associated one of loving-kindness and compassion based spirituality because I share Peter Gerlach’s view that it’s time to Break the Circle and help Grown Up Wounded Children to heal so their children have a better start in life than we had. Even more importantly I start realising that my quest for making the world a better place needs to start with myself and this website is part of the catharsis I need to achieve that.
I will be publishing and referencing material both from BCT, Peter Gerlach’s work and from Buddhist psychology because those are the three I know something about and applied to myself. Remember though that the essential way or healing your wounds is to spend quite and honest time with yourself so pick your method and stick to it until it does the work for you but please, for the sake of yourself and the world, join me in trying to heal yourself.