Traversing the Inner Terrain

The search for the Authentic Self.

Woundedness and Authenticity

How do we sort our the distinctions between the two?

First, my apologies to my loyal readers for being late in getting this blog to you. Twice this year, I’ve been very involved in the editing process for my next book, and therefore unable to keep up with the many other important things that call me. That process is over now, and I’m ready to get back to writing more frequently. But if you are interested in reading a very spiritual book, the title is Inhabiting Heaven NOW and it can be bought at any online or brick and mortar book store after December 13th, and on some sites, preordered now.

Now, on to our topic. In the last blog I said, “…our wounds have to do with accepting as fact the introjections we’ve absorbed from other’s projections.” And I also said, “…the journey to authenticity is an inside job. It requires that we become very, very familiar with that terrain. It requires that we learn to sort out the fine distinctions between what is and what is not authentic within us.” In this blog we are going to try to sort out some of those distinctions—those between authenticity and woundedness.

The first thing we generally want to do with such a concept is to defend our woundedness. “Are you saying,” we might ask, “that my wounds are not authentic?” We know that we are not lying about our wounds—how dare someone question their authenticity—and off we go. But that then becomes part of the reason why we cannot sort out the fine distinctions between authenticity and woundedness. These are indeed fine distinctions.

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The central damage found in any wound is in its ability to change our identity. We accept as introjection an external circumstance, another person’s projection, or someone else’s personality or emotions. We absorb these things and identify with them so that we now see ourselves, at least in part, as that external circumstance, or that other person’s projection, personality or emotion.

So, if I am sexually abused, I might begin to see myself as somehow the perpetrator—I am guilty, I am bad, I am embodied in this nasty, despicable body. So, now my identity is changed from that of innocent child to nasty, guilty, bad adult who should have done X, Y or Z to make sure this didn’t happen to me.

Suppose that I have suffered emotional abuse, so that primary caregivers are indifferent to me, or they play emotional games with me, or they cheat on and betray me in various ways, or I never know what mood they are going to be in so that I have to walk on eggshells just to be around them. In these instances, I might change my identity to incorporate an idea that I’m the one responsible for how my caregivers are reacting to me. I might carry other’s emotions for them, intuiting what they feel before they even feel it, and reacting in ways to keep them from doing what I fear they might do with their emotions. My identity then is slowly devolving to one in which I become the emotional caregiver for other’s emotions.

In these and other ways, I’m introjecting and changing how I see myself and my life as a result of the introjection. And THAT is the wound. It isn’t just the pain of what was done—we can get past pain through a healthy grief process. The “damage” is done when we change the identity to match the event, person or circumstance so that we ARE now that event, person or circumstance in some small or large way.

And it will not be until we can make that distinction that we are able to begin to really heal from that event, person or circumstance. It’s a bit like walking through a cobweb and having to slowly peel off the sticky mess. Once we peel off the identification with the introjection, we find pieces and parts of our authenticity. Or the authenticity can begin to emerge and point out to us the spider web we are still wearing. Either way, we begin to make that fine distinction between woundedness and authenticity.

Andrea Mathews, L.P.C., is a Cognitive and Transpersonal Therapist, internet radio show host, and author of Restoring My Soul: A Workbook for Finding and Living the Authentic Self. more...

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