The Web address of this
study guide is
April 16, 2014
Clicking underlined links below will open a
new window. Other links will open an informational popup,
so please turn off your
browser's popup blocker or allow popups from this nonprofit Web site.
Follow underlined links after
finishing this article to avoid getting distracted and lost.
This brief YouTube video will introduce you to Lesson 1:
This article will guide you through the first of seven self-improvement
They exist to help protect you and your family from
unawareness. This study guide assumes you have
meet other people
from many countries interested in freeing their true Selves to guide them in this free
FaceBook group .
Why Study This Lesson?
At least 90% of over 1,000 typical American adults I've met
as a therapist and educator have shown clear symptoms
early-childhood trauma. They also have appeared to be largely unaware of these vital
Since May of 2011. hundreds of comments on my Break the Cycle! YouTube
videos from over 40 countries around the world suggest that
inherited [wounds + unawareness] are
global stressors, not just American or Western.
Until recognized and reduced,
psychological wounds + unawareness...
relationships, healthy mourning, and effective communication
and parenting - i.e. they significantly lower the
nurturance level (functionality)
of most relationships, families, and organizations.
And inherited wounds + unawareness...
inner pain and addictions, obesity, homelessness, crime, depression, abortions,
divorce, "mental illness," dropouts, gangs, fanaticism, bankruptcies, suicide, and other
major personal and social problems.
Psychological wounds and ignorance seem to be pandemic.
pass down our generations
because of public unawareness and denial, spreading and weakening our
societies. The months of intense
media coverage of 2012 U.S. presidential contenders has never mentioned this
destructive cycle as a serious national problem.
nondenominational Web site calls adult survivors of childhood trauma
Grown Wounded Children or GWCs. Lay literature calls us
Adult Children (of toxic parents or
your reaction is
"Well I'M not a GWC!" note that denial (reality
distortion) is a common psychological wound.
Study this free lesson even if you're already in some form of
guidebook for Lesson 1 is "Who's
Really Running Your Life?Free Your true Self and
Guard Your Kids" (4th edition, Xlibris.com, 2011). It
provides most of the same information as these Web pages, and is available
in print and e-book formats. It provide portability for Lesson 1 ideas when
online access isn't feasible (i.e.
the guidebook is not required to do Lesson 1.).If you have an earlier edition of this
(4th edition) book,
NOTE - If you follow underlined links in any Lesson-1 page,
disregard the paragraph at the top of the new page that
says "This article assumes you have read..." That paragraph is for people
entering the Web site who are not following the lesson guides in order.
Also, some lesson-1 pages will refer you to pages in later lessons as a
preview. Don't follow any inks in such pages to stay focused on this
First Things First
A widespread symptom of
[wounds + unawareness] is addiction to...
some fats, carbohydrates, and sugars,
activities like workaholism and
compulsive gambling, cleaning, or shopping,
relationship (codependence), and/or...
a mood state like rage,
excitement, or religious or sexual ecstasy..
Each of these addictions is an
effective way of self-medicating (distracting from) major inner pain
- i.e. shame + guilts + anxiety + confusion + loneliness + despair.
"an addictive personality" means "bearing
inner pain from significant
early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse (trauma)." Implication:
addiction is NOT "a disease or 'character flaw'."
if you may be or are addicted,
you're at risk of misjudging and/or distorting the ideas in this
self-improvement lesson. You face a paradox: To reduce psychological
wounds, you need to be sober (free of addiction) - but you probably can't achieve stable
sobriety if you're psychologically wounded. Two fundament
questions you need to answer honestly are:
addicted to any of the four things noted above?
To answer these,
you have several options.
Option 1) Learn about
addictions before studying Lesson 1;
(3 pages) and this (2 pages). For
more perspective, get undistracted view
all the videos in this YouTube
playlist on addictions, in order. If you do,
disregard the links in
the videos. You'll encounter the linked resources as you study
Lesson 1 here.
Decide - perhaps with professional help to
guard against denial - am I addicted? ("Am I self-medicating against inherited
Note that common
traits of true addictions are minimizing (yeah, I'm a little overweight,
but no big deal") and/or denial ("I am NOT addicted to porn or anything
else!"). To offset these protective distortions, ask people who know
you - or (better) a professional - whether they think you have an
Option 2) Study
Lesson below and then use the knowledge you gain to assess
whether you have a toxic compulsion (addiction);
If you are
self-medicating against inner pain
(have an active addiction, and belong to a
family), you can work to...
3) Achieve stable
sobriety before working to reduce your psychological
4) Patiently work to
reduce your wounds and manage any addiction/s simultaneously.
Because every Grown Wounded Child (GWC) is unique, I can't say
which of these options is best for you, so follow your own
wisdom and see what works best for you over time. The more you
learn about wounds, addictions, sobriety, and wound-reduction
("recovery"), the better your decision-making will be.
What follows is
the step-by-step "assignment guide" to this keystone self-improvement
lesson. It is the basis for all 6 other lessons in this Web site.
Expect this Lesson to take several
weeks or months of steady effort to complete. For full benefit, I
suggest you do NOT skip around among these assignments. They build on each
LESSON-1 SELF-STUDY GUIDE
This first lesson will help you answer these questions:
Have I inherited significant psychological
If so, what does that mean?
Who normally runs my life - my wise true
Self, or other well-meaning subselves?,
How can I reduce my wounds and live better
over time? And...
If I'm responsible for young
children, how can I protect them against inheriting psychological
wounds + unawareness?
There are 52 "assignments"
(quizzes, articles, reprints, and worksheets) comprising
Lesson 1. Take your time, and study them in order.
View this as a high-return
long-term investment of your time and energy, and
use this study guide as a checklist
to track your
Option - keep a log or journal of your experience as you do
these assignments. Also consider finding one or more study partners and
do this Lesson together.
If you're an
auditory or visual learner, get the essence of Lesson 1
by viewing the YouTube videos on
psychological wounds and working with your
personality subselves ("parts work"). They take about 10 hours
to view. Many articles in Lesson 1 begin with one of these
brief videos. You can also listen to this 1"20" YouTube
interview focused on wounds, recovery, and healthy
''parts work'' to free your true Self
to guide you,
harmonize your "inner family" of subselves, and
reduce psychological wounds; and...
Learn how to spot and
relate to wounded adults and kids.
all four modules first.
If you feel daunted by the 52 assignments,
consider this possible shortcut to Module
3 and learning how to free your true Self using "parts work,".
Each assignment below is best done when you're not distracted physically or
Module 1 - Learn
about Early Trauma,
Personalities, and Wounds
When you're undistracted, read
these articles in order with an open mind. Expect to take
several weeks or more to complete this study.
These foundation ideas will
facilitate long-term wound-healing (recovery).
This module will teach you about...
abandonment, neglect, and abuse;
Human personalite2s (like
yours), and anout...
psycholo0gical wounds that early-childhood trauma promote;
About Early-childhood Trauma
__ 1-1) Compare the premises underlying this nonprofit Web site with your beliefs.
__ 1-25) Verify your new knowledge about
wounds and personalities with this quiz
If you have questions or comments on these Module-1 ideas, please
This basic education will prepare you to (a) assess yourself and your
significant effects from the [wounds + unawareness] cycle, and to (b)
decide whether to reduce the impacts. That will promote
more satisfying communications, relationships, grieving, and wholistic
health for the rest of your life!
Pause and notice what
you're (subselve2s are) thinking and feeling now. Consider
journaling about them. When your refreshed and undistracted, put your
new foundation knowledge to work:
1, Module 2 - Assess Yourself
and Your Family
are widespread in most (all?) cultures.
The wounds range from mild to severe. Most Grown Wounded Children
(GWCs) are unaware of their wounds because of denial and
social ignorance (lack of knowledge). Implication -
you and people you care about may be living with
disabled true Selves and enduring preventable stress
without knowing it.
__ 1-27) If
you have questions about wounds or wound-assessment, check this
If you feel you do have significant psychological wounds,
continue with Module 3 below. If you're not sure, ask someone you trust
to be objective (like a counselor) to review this summary and give you an
opinion on who's running your life. If you feel your wounds aren't significant (by your standards),
skip to Module 4. Even if you're minimally
wounded, you can still benefit from Lessons
2 thru 6 or 7
in this self-improvement Web site.
Now you're ready to learn how to use "parts work" to reduce your
wounds and free your true Self to guide you. Do you need a break now?
Lesson 1, Module 3 -
Free Your true Self and
Reduce Your Wounds
One key to protecting your family and descendents from major stress is to admit and reduce significant
The other key is to convert
unawareness and ignorance into knowledge.
That's why this self-improvement course exists.
If you feel you're
significantly wounded (controlled by a false self), this module will guide you through an
effective personal wound-reduction ("recovery") process.
Based on the ideas in Lessons 1 thru 4,
in this course offers ideas on how to raise your family's nurturance
Option - if you want an overview of this
module, view all 15 videos in the
Lesson-1 YouTube playlist 1c in order (about 3
hours). If you commit to
personal wound-reduction, I recommend you do all the Module-3
"assignments" below in order. Many of the assignments include one
or more of the videos.
video on what to expect as you reduce your wounds;
__ 1-31) Study this perspective on hitting "true
bottom." If you haven't clearly hit yours, view these steps as a valuable
learning experience (a trial recovery), and go ahead.
__ 1-32) Read this
8-page guide to "parts work" (inner family
therapy). This is one effective way to reduce your wounds over time. Other
clinicians propose different ways to help you recover from toxic parents and
My experience as a veteran (recovering) therapist is that
other recovery methods are apt to be superficial and take longer. Exceptions
are Voice Dialog,
Eye-Movement Desensitization and Retraining (EMDR).
Christians may find Theophostic
__ 1-33) Consider
shopping for a qualified parts-work therapist in your area. See
leads and helpful resources. I'm a 1992 graduate of their training program.
__ 1-34) Meditate on
this update of the well-known 12 Steps and
consider creating and living by your version of it.
__ 1-35) Decide if
you want to tell key people what you're doing, and why. Expect others to not
know about subselves and/or to be skeptical of
parts work. If they are, refer them to
http://sfhelp.org/fam/cycle.htm without preaching.
If you can find someone else interested in or already doing parts-work,
consider teaming up with them. Know that some personality subselves pretend to
want to recover, but aren't really committed. They're not "bad," they're
scared, and need patient reassurance and encouragement.
__ 1-36)Evolve a
list of your subselves, and group them as Managers, Inner
Kids, and Guardians. Follow the guidelines in this
__ 1-38) Start
with most active subselves who you feel don't know or trust your true Self
them one at a time, and (a) confirm their distrust, and (b) start
negotiating to build trust. Use the parts-work steps and techniques outlined
here.- ideally with the help of a trained
inner-family systems (IFS) therapist.
1-39) Patiently repeat this process
with each Inner Child and protective Guardian subself who causes your wounds
and troublesome thoughts and behaviors. Keep in mind there are no "bad"
subselves. They all mean to help, but often retain outdated or distorted
information from your early life and unaware caregivers.
asking yourself "Who's in charge
now: my Self (capital 'S') or someone
else? You're "done" with this wound-reduction process when you usually
answer "My Self."
__ 1-41) As you
progress at these steps,
periodically reread this overview of
wound-reduction and/or the
Running Your Life?" (4th edition).
__ 1-42) Review your options for improving your _
self-respect, self love, and _ self confidence.
These increase as you free your true Self and reduce the wounds of excessive shame
and reality distortion
Review and reflect on this brief YouTube
video on understanding and
protecting your integrity. It's the root of your priceless self
respect and healthy pride.
__ 1-44) Raise your awareness of
the importance of physical human contact, and
discover whether you're getting enough nourishing touching..
__ 1-45) If you have
problems with self control, consider these
__ 1-46) If you
have problems with excessive procrastination, see this brief YouTube
video. If you struggle with
"laziness," see this brief video.
__ 1-47) Review these
titles about "Adult Children" (Grown Wounded Children)
Option - scan this link-index of
Lesson-1 resources, and (re)read any that now seem relevant to you and your
Lesson 1, Module 4 -
Learn how to spot and
relate to wounded people
As you experience wound-reduction benefits, you'll become more aware
of others who are wounded and don't realize they're ruled by a false self. Common
responses are to pity, judge, and/or rescue them. This
is specially true for wounded mates,
friends, and respected (and vexing) relatives.
1-48) Use this behavioral comparison
to recognize people ruled by false selves. For a more detailed tool,
1-52)Tell receptive others about the [wounds +
unawareness] cycle, what you're learning here, and about any benefits
you're experiencing from this Lesson.
+ + +
As you progress
with these assignments, notice any shifts in your attitudes, reactions,
and behaviors that feel "significant." Be alert for others'
comments on such changes. I
suggest you also progress at
- improve your communication effectiveness. These two Lessons use and
amplify each other.
Stay aware that
you may "complete" these assignments, but learning from them really has no end. As you gain knowledge and awareness and
free your true Self to guide you, your version of these ideas will become a
way of life.
This is the first of seven self-improvement study guides in the nonprofit Break the
Cycle! Web site. This guide outlines 52 practical steps to help free your wise
true Self and reduce significant psychological wounds. The steps are in four
Learn about personality
subselves and Grown Wounded Children (GWCs);
Assess yourself for
Evolve and act on an effective plan
to free your true Self and reduce your wounds; and...
Learn how to spot and
react to significantly-wounded people
Benefits from the other
six Lessons in this
self-improvement Web site all depend on progress with this one.
learn something about yourself with this 1-question anonymous