Wounded Healer or Victim?

As human beings we have many things in common, one of them is that all of us have been wounded by someone. For some the wound or wounds have been deep, disorienting, painful and catastrophic. I know there are the few who have never been able to overcome the wounds in order to take responsibility for their lives and have had to be taken care of for the remainder of their lives. People like this are the exception. For most of us, we must decide how we will go on with life having been wounded.

The reality is, we have two choices, we can go on living as victims, constantly blaming the perpetrators of our wounds, and not taking responsibility for our life’s direction and outcome. The other choice is to seek healing for our wounds and become wounded healers to others.

Either way, the outcome is really ours to decide. Let us take a look at what is involved in becoming a wounded healer.

Each of us is different in our emotional, mental and psychological make-up, and those differences lead to variation in how we go about the healing process. Our wounds, even if similar, impact us in various ways.

That said, over the past 15 years while on my own journey of healing and adventuring with others, I have discovered some things most of us must do if we are to experience healing of our woundedness and become wounded healers.

Take responsibility for your healing. No one can ever do that for you. They may be your “voice” to raise awareness for you and others like you who have been wounded by others. But when it comes to your healing, you must be your own voice and decide that you want to be healed of your wounds. Whatever the wound and however deeply it has affected you, until you decide to take responsibility for your healing, you will continue to live in the shame, embarrassment and dysfunction of your wounds. And you will continue to live as a victim.

Regularly associate with others who are also seeking healing of their wounds. Very few people have been able to experience genuine healing in isolation. You need to hear the stories of others who have been wounded like you and how they are experiencing healing from their wounds to believe it is possible for you also to be healed. You need to be able to talk openly about your woundedness in safe environments without fear of judgment. And that is often what you will find when you gather with others who are on the journey of healing themselves.

Choose healing over justice or revenge against those who wounded you. Seeking justice is one thing and may be appropriate. However, neither justice nor revenge is healing.

I have realized through my own and others’ healing journeys that we can experience healing without getting justice; I have also observed that justice did not always bring healing. Getting justice may aid in the healing process, but it cannot be the basis or the center of our healing. Many of us decided that seeking healing was of greater importance to our well-being than seeking justice against those who caused us great harm.

In reality, we are better able to seek justice when we have experienced healing from our wounds, than to seek it while still suffering in the shame and embarrassment of those wounds. Seeking justice without healing usually turns out to be pain driven justice, which is never healthy.

Decide to no longer see yourself as a victim. Along with wanting justice for our woundedness, this is the most difficult hurdle to get over when seeking healing.

Yes, we were victims who were preyed upon by those who wounded us. At the time of the wounding, whether a one-time incident or over a period of time, we were indeed victims. But now we must take responsibility for our healing and refuse to be labeled as a victim. To continue to live as victim is to surrender your life to the perpetrators who hurt you. If we continue to see ourselves as victim and allow others to label us as such, over time we will develop a mentality of entitlement.

To be labeled a victim is to appear to be helpless; that was true when you were wounded. Now you must see yourself as a person who has the power of choice to either seek healing or continue to be imprisoned by your wounds and the perpetrator(s) of those wounds.

Like many others, I too decided that I have the power of choice to seek healing for my wounds rather than to continue living as a victim.

Going from victim to wounded healer is not easy, fast or painless. It is hard and painful work. But the reward is worth it. We no longer live as prisoners of our wounds but in the freedom of healing which enables us to help others find healing as well.

When is the right time to start the healing process you may ask? According to writer Mary Lou Redding, “The right time is whenever we become aware that the pain from old wounds is leaking in to today, interfering with life.”

Have you started the process of your healing or are you stuck in the process? Wherever you find yourself in the process today, I encourage you to continue to pursue your healing, because through your own healing you will be able to go from victim to wounded healer.

To live as victim is life-sucking, to live as wounded healer is life-giving!

If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at errol@errolcarrim.com to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.