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April 07, 2013
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This is one of a
of articles in Lesson 1in
this Web site - free your
to guide you in calm and conflictual times, and reduce significant
psychological wounds. This article assumes you're
have worked as a family-systems therapist with over 1,000 typical men, women,
couples, and some of their kids since 1981. Many of them have been in
biofamilies, single-parents, and
now believe there are
up to five interrelated
millions of U.S. couples divorce
psychologically or legally. Perhaps the most powerful and least known of the
five is the psychological effect of
childhoods on typical mates.
My research suggests that
young kids get too
few of their psychological and spiritual needs met,
they automatically survive by forming a multi-part personality. This causes several related psychological "wounds":
shame, guilts, and
trust problems; and for some...
Unseen, these psychological wounds seem "normal."
stress relationships, careers, parenting, and physical and mental health.
Our media uses the vague term "mental illness" to refer to what this site
calls "psychological wounding." See this brief
research summary and this reprint on
U.S. parents' lack of "baby
many hundreds of troubled women and men I've consulted with since 1981 have
symptoms of significant psychological wounds - and most didn't
(want to) know
it. Once such wounds are understood and admitted, they
can be greatly
reduced (vs. cured) over time.
here shows you how.
what a "Grown Wounded Child" (GWC)
perspective on normal
personality subselves, or "parts"
perspective on your true
Self and "false-self dominance;" and...
psychological wounds many parents bear and pass on to their
vulnerable kids without knowing it.
What Is a "Grown Wounded Child"
Premise: families exist to fill key
physical, psychological, and spiritual needsof adults and kids - i.e. to
nurture. Depending on many factors,
families (like yours) range from "very low nurturance"
to "very high nurturance."
High-nurturance families and organizations display a set of observable
traits. A GWC is an adult who survived
unintended deprivation of too many of these
~30 nurturing factors by their early-childhood
caregivers. Usually their ancestors were significantly
and unaware too, and didn't know it
or what to do about it. Family trees show clear symptoms of inherited wounds and adult unawareness.
Adults who got enough of the factors
often enough (a subjective judgment) can be called
Nurtured Children, or GNCs. "Significant childhood
occurred when a child or adult has "too many" of the six
psychological wounds below, in someone's opinion. Ultimately, each adult (i.e.
you) must decide what "too many" is.
understand "psychological wounds," you need to know how human
personalities develop. Here...
personalitymeans "the evolving
beliefs, traits, reflexes, talents, and limitations that make every
researchers propose that while our personality or character
changes across our life, our core beliefs, values, perceptions, and
priorities are largely "set" by the time we're about six years old. So
our developmental needs are met in our early years has a profound
effect on how our neuro-hormonal system develops, who we partner with,
the work we choose, and our health, productivity, and longevity.
Positron Emission Tomography
at work. PET images show that many different brain areas may act
concurrently to produce the simple experience "I see my hand." Different
interrelated parts of our brains and neurological systems automatically
process and cause sensory stimuli,
emotions, thoughts, short term and long-term "memories," and so on.
Our amazing brains compose "meaning" from interpreting information from our six senses
and accumulated knowledge. One brain area decodes meaning from abstract concepts
("Is Frank telling the truth?"), and other
"logical" analyses ("Martha's frowning, so she must be mad at
Different brain regions decode colors, visual patterns, shapes,
movements, temperatures, touches, sounds, and
smells. Decoding meaning from a specific person's facial expression
or voice dynamics activates networks of many different brain areas (modules)
without our awareness. Different brain centers control hormone and antibody
productions, others direct our muscle-cell activity, and sleep, eating, digestion, and
So "you" are an astounding interconnected network of
organic "mini-computers" programmed by Nature and your early and ongoing experiences.
Though we have one body and one brain and feel like "one person,"our
personality is naturally
determinedbya dynamic group of semi-independent parts or
The primal ability of our brain to adapt to the
environment by developing specialized regions (subselves) has been described as multiplicity,
fragmenting, and splitting. Does this modular-personality concept make sense to you?
If so, note an implication: having a "split personality" is normal!
Many philosophers and average people agree that we each have a
self. There has been rich and raucous debate about what that is,
across centuries and cultures. For our purposes, I and
other thoughtful researchers propose
there are conceptually two types of
human self which regulate our
personality, and behaviors
Ifour early-nurturance needs are filled well enough, we seem to automatically
develop a part of our personality which acts like a talented
orchestra conductor, athletic coach, or chairperson our
(capital "S"). This subself has
clear, realistic, wide-angle, long-range vision. S/He consistently makes effective (healthy,
balanced) minor and major decisions based on history and the dynamic input of our five
or six senses and other subselves.
subselves (brain regions) are steadily directed and coordinated by
that happens, kids and adults commonly report feeling
some mix of calm or serene,
grounded, light, "up," clear, firm, alive,
alert, aware, compassionate, strong, resilient, focused,
open, sure, confident, decisive, positive, and purposeful
- even in a crisis.
If young kids
enough, their brains and personalities seem to automatically develop a different kind of
self (small "s"). Their trueSelf seems
or blocked from growing able to direct their actions
by a group of well-meaning but limited, impulsive subselves
who want to control the person - i.e. to survive.
This is like a
violinist, tuba player, and lead tenor pushing their conductor off the podium and
fighting over who will lead the orchestra.
If not nurtured well enough, our
personality evolves with different parts of it in
competition, rather than in consistent harmony.
When did you last experience "confusion," "seeing both sides," "changing
your mind," and/or an
"False" (Pseudo) Self
Kids and adults (like you) can range between grounded, centered, and "together"
to "crazy and hysterical" depending on (a) the
environment (situation), (b) how many
subselves are vying for
control, and (c) how much their dominant subselves' values and perceptions conflict. This set of squabbling
personality parts becomes our false or pseudo self.
someone has been governed by a false self most of their life,
they define that as normal. The idea that there is
within them that - if allowed to - can consistently make better life
decisions, sounds like low-grade science fiction.
first reaction to
this personality-subself idea is anxiety about "being crazy" or having a
"multiple personality." Since about 1980, psychiatrists and social
psychologists have guesstimated that about 5% of Americans seems to have extreme
Once called Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD),
this condition is now
dubbed "Dissociative Identity Disorder"
(DID) by the American Psychiatric Association.
The common clinical word for being controlled by a false self is dissociation.
repeatedly finds that highly-dissociated ("fragmented") people were
subjected to extreme neglect, abuse, abandonment, or other
trauma as young children. Their nurturance deprivations were profound. The great majority of us don't have anywhere close to this degree of
personality splitting -
and do have some.
So in this site,
Wounded Child (GWC) is an adult who
survived a low-nurturance childhood by developing a protective,
short-sighted, reactive false
We GWCs live some or all the time
dominated by a
Guardian subselves. We're usually unaware of this,
though we're pretty quick to spot false selves controlling other people -
specially "toxic" parents, ex mates, and coworkers.
false-self dominance has powerful
personal, marital, parental, and social
suspect that many (most?) people who are addicted, obese, abusers,
depressed, homeless, "mentally ill," divorcing, self-neglectful, bigoted,
terrorists, anti-social, paranoid, delusional, criminal, homicidal, and
unaware trauma-survivors ruled by well-meaning false selves.
What's your opinion?
When you're undistracted and your
guiding your personality, clarify your reaction to these
ideas with the
statements below. A = "I agree; D = "I disagree," and
= "I'm not sure" or "It depends on (what?)":
Families exist to nurture (fill
the needs of) their kids and adults. (A D ?)
Some familiesare more effective at nurturing than others. (A D ?)
How much psychological and
spiritual nurturance a child experiences in their first four to six
years greatly affects how their personality develops.(A
(vs. pathological) human personalities seem to be composed of
semi-independent "subselves" or "parts." They
are probably specialized brain regions. (A D ?) If you're curious or skeptical about
subselves, read this perspective and
letter, and then try this safe, interesting
experience after you finish this.
Normal personalities range from
fragmented and disorganized to steadily harmonious, locally or over time, depending on which
them. (A D ?)
The concept of a true Self and a
false self sense to me.
(A D ?)
I want to learn more about (a)
family nurturance and GWC wounds, and (b) whether psychological wounds
may be affecting me and my family. (A D ?)
This Lesson-1 article describes "Grown Wounded Children"
(GWCs) - women and men who survived significant early-childhood abandonment,
abuse, and neglect and inherited up to six psychological
It proposes that normal personalities are composed of three types
semi-independent "subselves," including a wise "true Self." Until typical
GWCs take proactive steps to reduce their wounds ("recover"), they're often
ruled by a well-intentioned "false self," causing many personal problems -
including unintentionally wounding young people in their care.
The article closes with a status check on what you believe about these
concepts, and an array of useful next steps.
You have many options...
Learn how psychological wounds and unawareness
Commit to studying
Lesson 1in this free educational Web
site. It shows you how to assess for and reduce significant
Read several unsolicited
reactions to these Lesson-1 concepts
Learn three powerful options for
preventing psychological wounding
Share and discuss these concepts with family
adults and supporters
Read this example
of a real stepfamily stressed by the [wounds + unawareness] cycle.