The Five Wounds Of Childhood – Health And Well-being

The Five Wounds Of Childhood – Health And Well-being

The five childhood wounds: In this article I invite you to understand what they are and what impact they can have on our daily decisions today.

Childhood wounds are very painful early experiences. They are psychic injuries, emotional injuries, that originate when we are little and that remain detained -without healing- until our adulthood.

We can see them in adults in many ways: as very intense anxieties, panic attacks, isolation, the impossibility of opening up emotionally, distrust, catastrophic thoughts, or as an intense feeling of not deserving anything, among others.


Lise Bourbeau was a Canadian author who spent her career studying deeply the theory of Freud, Reich, and other leading psychologists. Unifying their theories, she built the theorization of the five childhood wounds that we will see below.

What is the cause of the injuries?

Childhood wounds can appear above all in two main ways:

1- For an intense and traumatic experience.

It may be that the mother or father has humiliated their child in front of other people by laughing at something that hurt them. Also for physical or sexual abuse, or even for a hurtful phrase like “Look how useless she is, she can never do anything right, she is so stupid.”

2 – Due to a succession of several negative experiences.

These can be smaller and not as traumatic, but sustained over time. For example, if a mother or father always takes more than 20 minutes to pick up her/his child from school, she/he will feel that it is not important enough to prioritize and pick her/up on time. .

Either of these two types of experiences, be it a single very intense one or several small ones, leave an affective imprint that remains stuck like a dagger in our self-esteem.

Who can cause us a childhood wound?

Not everyone can cause us an injury. It must be someone significant to us. It is not the same if an unknown child that we meet in the park tells us useless, than hearing it from mom or dad, or someone we love deeply.

The five childhood wounds

The affective impact it will have will be completely different depending on who says it. Let’s remember that adults are the ones who show us through their lenses what the world is like, and if they tell us that we are useless, we are going to believe it.

Adult masks to cover children’s wounds

Faced with each of the five childhood wounds, people have been building “masks” that allow us to defend ourselves when the wound is reactivated in the present. Some masks are more obvious, others more diffuse. Let’s meet them!

Abandonment wound:

Any of these situations can be interpreted by the child as a situation of abandonment:

“Dad and mom abandoned me, or left me in the care of another person for a long time, or, they spent their days so involved in their work that they didn’t even pay attention to me, they always left me with a caregiver and when they came home from work, exhausted, They didn’t even look at me. Or they were so wrapped up in their own fights that they never stopped to check on me.”

People with this injury are likely to be dependent on others. Every time a current partner or friend tells you that you can’t go out with them, or have another set of friends to make plans with, you trigger the abandonment wound all over again. Then the person, due to situations that at first glance may seem insignificant, interprets that they are going to be abandoned again. And she does everything she can to avoid it.

The biggest fear of someone hurt by abandonment is loneliness. Therefore, the mask that is put on is dependency.

Rejection wound:

This wound is common to see in children who felt that their parents loved their siblings or someone else more than them.

The person does not feel worthy of affection and rejects himself. She has this idea that no one will ever choose her. She does not believe that others can understand her and so she chooses to isolate herself. She cannot generate genuine relationships, nor strong bonds.

They use the escape mask. The terror generated by the mere possibility that another person does not love you is so strong that the best option is to walk away first. It’s these people who are in a relationship that comes along very well, too well, and just when they’re getting emotionally engaged, they walk away.

Wound of humiliation:

This wound is generated in children whose fathers / mothers made fun of. They disapproved of them, disqualified them, criticized them, branded them as “insufficient”, or expressed that something in them was “unacceptable”.

If this wound is not healed, the person will be involved in scenes in which others make fun of him. He will live on the defensive to protect himself from whoever wants to hurt him. The mask that the person with a humiliation wound puts on is, in most cases, that of masochism. She constantly criticizes herself and thinks that she deserves to suffer.

Wound of betrayal:

This wound is generated in boys and girls to whom their parents made a promise many times, they came to yearn for it, but it never came.

If this behavior becomes repetitive, the child is generating a distrustful personality. He is isolating himself and disbelieving from everyone, because mom and dad, who were supposed to teach him to trust, betrayed him.

To avoid damage from disappointment in their adult life, these people use the mask of control and mistrust.

We cover the wound with a mask

It is usually very difficult for him to reveal his privacy, for fear that this will be used against him (here we see the mistrust). Having difficulties showing his vulnerability, he has problems expressing his emotions and feelings, shielding himself emotionally. He likes to always have the last word, and organize the lives of others.

Wound of injustice:

We see this wound in boys or girls with fathers/mothers who were cold and rigid, who imposed an authoritarian, disrespectful style of education or treatment, with a constant demand that generated feelings of uselessness, inferiority, and a sense of injustice.

These children felt that they were not valued, and this is very painful. The reaction of the person who suffers the injury is to disassociate from her feelings, to feel protected and not vulnerable. To defend themselves against this wound, those who suffer it build the mask of rigidity. They become extremely perfectionists to prove themselves worth.

People with injuries from injustice have a hard time surrendering, letting go, and feeling pleasure. It is difficult for them to express their tenderness.

Does the childhood wound repeat itself in adulthood?

None of the five childhood wounds has anything to do with today’s people. It has nothing to do with a partner, or a friend, or a boss. It is likely that as an adult you create scenes in which you are always abandoned, rejected, humiliated… But it is the childhood wound reactivating over and over again. The current people are nothing more than “activators” of that present wound that you must heal.

“You will know that you are on the path of healing when you are aware that a wound has been activated and when you are able to observe the pain of that wound. You will know that you have overcome the injury, when you do not feel the need to wear the protective mask associated with it. Acceptance brings relief, makes the pain disappear little by little. So you see your wound as a teacher, the one who gave you a great lesson in life”. Lise Bourbeau.

Source: psimammoliti.-



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