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April 07, 2013
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This video clip introduces psychological-wound reduction ("recovery"):
This is one of a series of articles on Lesson 1
this Web site - free your
true Self to guide you in calm and conflictual times, and reduce significant
wounds. This 3-page overview hilights...
example of a
real wounded nuclear stepfamily,
young kids raised in
survive (vs. thrive) by automatically forming a protective group of
personality subselves - a
"false self." False-self formation
("personality splitting") causes up to five other significant
Until these wounds are
admitted and significantly reduced, they combine with
unawareness to cause major
personal, relationship, occupational, and health problems.
This site calls adults
controlled by a false self Grown Wounded Children(GWCs).
The media calls us Adult Children of toxic (i.e. wounded) parents or
dysfunctional (low-nurturance) families.
Since 1981, I've spent over 17,000
hours consulting with more than 1,000
troubled women, men, and some of their kids.My
opinion is that well over 80% of them didn't know that a
was causing their problems and
wounding their dependent kids. Restated:
these typical adults were
unaware of the [wounds + unawareness]
cycle that they inherited and were
unintentionally passing on to their descendents.
psychological wounds and other
at risk of unwise mate-choices and eventually divorcing psychologically or legally.
course can help couples make wise commitment choices and protect their
descendants from inheriting toxic [wounds + unawareness].
learning how to reduce my own wounds
I discovered them in 1986. This gradual healing process has helped me release
life-long fears, shame, and guilt by freeing my
to guide me. Harmonizing my personality subselves
has significantly improved my life and
My clinical work with scores of
GWCs suggests that my recovery experiences are common. I've benefited from studying and
works of over two dozen veteran therapists
and researchers focused on understanding, healing, and
preventing these pervasive, crippling
article overviews a complex multi-year personal healing process. For more
perspective and detail on reducing (vs. "curing") psychological wounds,
see the Lesson-1 guidebook
Really Running Your Life? (4th edition - Xlibris.com,
integrates the key Web articles in this online Lesson, and is available in
print or as
multi-year, mental + psychological +
spiritual + social process.
A minority of
wounded people eventually
hit bottom, break
denials, and start this healing process - often in mid-life. Millions of other people endure
decades of unhappiness, wound
their kids, and die prematurely, without ever knowing
their wounds and how to reduce them.
changes in key attitudes,
values, behaviors, and relationships. The changes include...
learning how to
grieve many major
losses (broken bonds) from
through the present - i.e. learning how to finish grieving them.
True (vs. pseudo) wound-recovery involves recognizing and freeing the innately wise, resident
to organize other
personality subselves into a
cooperative team working toward clear, long-term personal goals.
Part of this process involves
seeking and accepting human and spiritual help, and controlling any
addictions (maintaining "sobriety").
Typical false selves are scared to let go of control and follow the true
Self, so they can go through the motions of recovery ("talk the talk")
without really changing toxic attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. This
protective strategy can be called "pseudo" or "trial" recovery. When
a GWC is in pseudo recovery, they don't experience the positive life changes
Many mental-health professionals feel that the
psychological injuries from
early-childhood trauma can be greatly reduced, but not totally "cured."
In stressful circumstances, Grown Wounded Children may still be taken over by
protective false selves, and old coping attitudes and behaviors (e.g. lying,
stealing, self-neglect, etc.) recur. These relapses diminish as
wound-reduction continues and becomes a way of life.
The wound-reduction process is complex, painful, confusing,
scary, freeing, exhilarating, and literally
life-changing. Every personality and profile of wounds is unique, so
there is no absolute "right way" to
This article summarizes some healing requirements and guidelines that apply
Requisites for True
Though each wounded person (GWC) recovers in their own way, the healing process seems to
require seven common factors...
knowledge and life experience,
motivation - wanting to recover,
(vs. religious) growth and faith,
sobriety - i.e. admit and control any
a pro-recovery environment, and...
a range of recovery resources.
Here's a little perspective on these requisites:
§1)Awareness – wanting to become habitually conscious of...
behave in various situations now and over time.
promotes more awareness of these factors in other
people. This helps in choosing a pro-recovery environments and
communicating effectively with other people.
and life experience
– recoverers need to...
learn about (a) early-childhood
abandonment, neglect, and abuse; and (b) how to recognize the
psychological wounds these stressors usually cause;
learn about personality subselves
and how to harmonize them under the leadership of the resident
true Self ("Inner-family therapy" - Lesson 1)
learn to apply
grieving, and relationship basics (Lessons 2 - 4); and to...
evolve a clear understanding of
high-nurturance families (Lesson 5), effective parenting (Lesson
6), and the
[wounds + ignorance]
cycle and what it
and recoverers need to...
accumulate years of life experience to
provide perspective on and validate these topics.
recovering people also need…
Motivation to change – this usually requires accumulating enough pain, frustration,
weariness, and despair (hit
true bottom) and decide “I can no longer live like this (be
controlled by a false self).”
faith in an attentive, responsive, benign (vs. "wrathful,
vengeful") Higher Power, and to…
turn overwhelming problems over
to that Being to gain daily
serenity (inner peace).
And some recoverers need to...
5) Admit and control any addictions (maintain "sobriety") for
at least 12 to 18 months.
Sobriety is the
gateway to permanently reducing psychological wounds.
For more perspective on controlling (vs. "curing") addictions, see
this and this after you finish this article.
Another universal requisite is...
environment–choosing to associate with people who…
guided by their true Selves
or are working to achieve that; and...
can differentiate low-nurturance
high-nurturance (functional) relationships, settings,
and belief-systems; and...
understand and accept personality subselves and
psychological wounds; and people who can…
think clearly, empathize,
are evolving their own spiritual
(vs. religious) faith and awareness, and who...
genuinely (vs. dutifully or
support psychological-wound reduction.
Acquiring such supporters
usually requires replacing some toxic family, work, and
social relationships with more nurturing ones, and grieving related losses. This may include
relationships with wounded parents,
siblings, partners, and some co-workers and/or friends.
And typical recoverers also need...
To acquire and use some resourceslike those
on p. 3.
The more of these seven requisites a wounded person has, the more likely they
are to free their true Self and reduce their inner wounds over time.
Pause and reflect. Can you name these seven requisites? How many of them do
you have now?
Now let's examine...
An overview of the
or true recovery usually begins with a traumatic
event or a series of events which finally shatter or
weaken life-long protective
events may include a prized relationship
ending; bankruptcy; job losses; major
injury, disability, or illness; an abortion, a "breakdown," and/or a child's
major distress. People in
12-step addiction-management programs call this
"hitting bottom" or
the wall." Addicts who relapse are said to have hit a "false"
(preliminary, or pseudo) bottom or wall.
There are many
kinds of recovery triggers. Some are sudden and dramatic. Others occur on a
trip, watching a movie, taking a shower, in church or a confrontation, driving to a store,
reading, or in a sleepless night. I recall one divorced, middle-aged addict
saying "I realized one morning that my life was just... gray, and I
to change." Approaching or experiencing middle age seems to make hitting the wall
more likely - perhaps from really accepting
the inevitability of limited remaining years and eventual death.
Grown Wounded Child (GWC) begins to admit their
inner pain and
emptiness to themselves and
others, they often experience a confusing period of searching, mood
swings, and disorientation. Lifelong attitudes and beliefs are no longer valid (e.g.
"My childhood wasn't as fine and 'normal' as I've always thought!"),
beliefs aren't clear or solid. This is typical of true core-attitude shifts.
early recoverers pull into themselves (isolate) for a
period, others frantically seek companionship. Through "chance" (a
conversation, a book or TV program, a sermon, ...) they come across the idea of
addiction recovery or some version of "Adult
Child" (GWC) recovery. Something
"clicks," and they seek more information.
stages of typical wound-reduction are wonderfully varied. They
A hunger to learn -
reading self-help books voraciously
("bibliotherapy"), using audio or video recovery tapes, going to
recovery lectures, finding and talking with others in recovery, asking family-history questions of
A growing feeling of "AHA!",
"rightness," or "centeredness" about
personal awarenesses, without
being able to identify why; or starting to
nurturance-deprivations ("I realized my Mom never said 'I love you' or
hugged me."), and how those promoted GWC personality traits,
beliefs ("I'll never amount to much"), and
Vague or compelling longing for a "better life" blooms.
And typical early-recoverers experience...
A gradual shift of daily focus
from external events, relationships, goals, activities, and material
things to internal awareness, exploration; and growth. This shift
may feel alien at first, and gradually morph into a way of life. And...
A growing comprehension of how
many other people are unaware of early-childhood trauma and of being
ruled by a protective false selves. As their true Self becomes more
trusted, recoverers gradually shift from blaming, resenting,
criticizing, envying, and/or fearing such people to calm compassion.
They may try to persuade wounded people to try recovery, and gradually
accept that such decisions must come from within when the time is right
for each person.
And they experience...
A gradual thawing of emotional and physical
for decades, and/or a validation of lifelong "unexplainable"
feelings - usually surges of
resentment, rage, deep sadness ("depression"),
This thawing can come in rushes or
unpredictable spurts, over months or years. Growing conscious awareness of these legitimate
feelings and their prior repression can evoke intense feelings of anger at parents,
themselves, others, and/or a "loving" God. Long-repressed grievingof lost childhoods, relationships, and life-opportunities begins;
As these emotions, senses, and awarenesses cascade
and amplify, typical people in early wound-reduction may start ...
Seeking and accepting various kinds of
recovery help, including individual and/or group
self-help (e.g. 12-step) groups; inpatient addiction-treatment and aftercare
spiritual communion and guidance; Tai Chi or meditation classes; dance,
massage, or art therapy; retreats and wilderness sojourns;...
All these experiences
add to a growingwholistic
awareness of the original
early nurturance deprivations, the old coping
and their impacts, and a humbling, exciting visions of the person's true
Self and a possible
new truly-authentic lifestyle;
As old denials and repressions continue to dissolve, people
in true (vs. pseudo) recovery confront a series of difficult
inner and social
conflicts.To keephealing inevitably requires changing or replacing
attitudes and beliefs (e.g. "It's OK for me to
work 65 hours a week," "I can skip breakfast with no
risk," or "There is no real God") with
mates, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, and employers; and ...
social memberships - e.g. working in a
organization and/or regularly attending a toxic (low-nurturance)
club, or other group.
means any relationship, activity, belief, value, or setting that
consistently promotes (a) personal
shame, guilt, distrust of self and others, anxiety, confusion,
frustration, pessimism, anger, despair, and
"failure;" and/or that promotes (b)
true Self. Restated:
in this context,
toxic means wholistically self-harmful and
typical recoverers try
these scary, exciting changes, the alarmed
subselves of other (wounded and unrecovering) people try to manipulate them
back into their old ways of believing, thinking, feeling, and behaving. True (vs. pseudo) recovery rocks everyone's securities!