Healing is not fixing

February 3rd, 2024
In: Trauma

Wounds, whether they are physical or emotional, can be quite painful. When it comes to physical wounds, we are often advised not to touch or disturb them. This is because we are concerned about the possibility of infection, bleeding, or making the wound worse.

If we get a cut on our skin, we notice that before it fully heals, a scab forms over the wound. It acts as a protective layer, preventing external contaminants from entering the wound. We understand that if we prematurely peel off the scab, before the wound has had a chance to fully heal, it may result in scarring on our skin. However, once the wound has completely healed, the scab naturally falls off on its own.

In a similar way, our emotional wounds are just as real and painful as physical wounds, even though we cannot see them. When we experience emotional pain, especially those rooted in past experiences, we may have developed defense mechanisms early in life to cope with and adapt to the expectations placed upon us as we grow older. These defense mechanisms are like the scab that covers and protects our emotional wounds.

As we continue to mature and develop, we may forget that these defense mechanisms initially served as protectors for our inner child, shielding them from further hurt and pain. However, what may have been adaptive defense mechanisms in childhood can become maladaptive in adulthood.

Yet, when we try to address and fix these maladaptive defense mechanisms, it is akin to trying to peel off the scab before the underlying wounds have fully healed. This can leave our inner child feeling vulnerable and unsafe, similar to exposing raw and wounded skin to the risk of external contamination.

In the practice of inner child work, it is important to approach ourselves and our pain with love and compassion. This loving and compassionate attitude towards ourselves serves as the nourishment needed for inner healing. The inner child, who may have felt unseen, unheard, and hurt in the past, desires to be acknowledged, listened to, and loved by us. Only when our inner child feels safe and accepted by us can the emotional wounds properly heal, allowing healthy emotional "skin" to form without leaving scars.

It is important to note that external fixes do not heal our emotional wounds. Instead, the healing process occurs within us, through our own self-love and acceptance.

Heidi Kwok
Innerverse Therapy
212-179 Davie Street, Vancouver, V6Z2V4

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