story? Am I aware that I sometimes actually use my history of wounds
to influence someone? Could I commit myself to changing?
Second myth: Without my wound, I'd be all alone. Consequences--
If I recovered from this trauma, I would have to be more independent,
more on my own, and less in need of help. In short, I'd be
overwhelmed and lonely. Changing is scary--adopting a different
personality, thinking about different things, finding a new group of
friends. Maybe things are pretty good the way they are, at least I'm
not isolated and helpless. Oh, besides, I'm sure my new
therapist...support group...meds...self-help book... is going to get me
Do some reality checking by asking yourself: Are my emotional
wounds the basis for most of my relationships? Could I be depending
on other people's caring nature or even on their codependency? Why
am I so afraid of changing? Could I find greater satisfaction and
security by developing solutions to my problems and unhappiness?
Third myth: My awful and painful life means that I am sick.
Consequences--My constant awareness of my wound is never going to
go away. I'm doomed to stay this way. This pain serves no purpose. It
is just making things miserable for me.
Ask yourself: Am I really sick--and permanently sick? Where does
this pessimism come from? Can I see how I unconsciously used my
trauma to control people? to change a conversation? as an excuse? to
identify with others? to get sympathy? Was that "sick" or just trying to
meet my needs as best I could? Have my wounds become an
addiction? Am I afraid of becoming healthy? Could I now change and
get to a better place, like others have done? Can my pain and
unhappiness become a motivation to change and find a better life? Can
I use some self-change methods?
Fourth myth: All emotional problems are the result of traumatic
experiences. To get better, the primary wound--what started it all--has
to be uncovered, brought into full consciousness. Some awful, horribly
damaging experience must be buried deep in my unconscious. If I
don't know the cause for certain, I can't get better.
Ask yourself: Why must you know the one original wound? How do
you know there was one? Isn't it likely that many other life
experiences besides trauma, including your own thoughts and
emotions, have contributed to your wounds? Even if you were terribly
abused as a child, is that likely to be the only cause of some problem
as an adult, such as low self-esteem? Didn't someone else model low
self-esteem? Didn't you have skills and assets that have gone
unrecognized? Weren't there other failures and disappointments
throughout life that may have contributed to the low self-esteem? Can
you now find and use some of your good traits and values, and, in this
way, become more self-accepting?