Healing Mindset

The Wounded Healer, What Is It?

In case you haven’t heard of this archetype of a person, the Wounded Healer is simply one who has been through a massive bunch of life shit. After many years of broken hearts, damage and broken dreams, then therapy, and then the bolstering of self-confidence because we simply knew we had to overcome and triumph, we now can hold ourselves up with strength and great confidence that we “got this.” We not only made it through to the other side but now hold ourselves confidently with a staff of Knowing.

Screenshot of random online search on ecosia.org for images related to “wounded healer”  

And then now we can be there for those who need the same kind of masterful care and support that we needed and gave ourselves all those years.

I truly believe that to help someone who’s been through hell you need someone who has been there. Because they KNOW that they can get through it. They are fully aware of what it feels like when it feels like your heart is being torn from your chest with iron tongs.

I feel a special kinship with those of you who have this type of life path as well. 

I choose to focus on the strength part of this journey. I think once you get just beyond the most painful part of the healing journey, you definitely do not want to dwell in the past. The present is so amazingly bright, light and exuberant. You almost cannot believe that you have this massive sense of freedom. 

I also believe we’re never ever done with our growth (and certainly everyone falls into this category, never being done either). Not all who go through this journey are actual “healers” per se, but tend to heal others around them simply by being around them.

When you meet another wounded healer you don’t even have to ask them certain questions. You can just feel their calmness and they just have a certain wonderful amount of balanced energy around them. You can just look at them. They have relief and peace all over them.

  1. Wounded healers must take time for themselves amidst it all. Self healing is a requirement.
  2. People who approach a certain wounded healer are coming to them for a specific reason; something that they can offer that is unique to that relationship.
  3. Each of us has a specific skill-set for a specific group of people. 
  4. It’s usually not what is spoken. That is the task for the healer to allow energetic healing to work as it does naturally and not try to “heal” the person. (like those of you who have studied Reiki, Polarity therapy, Touch Therapy and many other types of energy work)
  5. These kinds of healers are especially driven with an amplified purpose to assist those who have gone through similar to what they themselves have faced.

“In Greek mythology, the god Chiron” …“was wounded by an arrow from Heracles that was tipped with blood from the Hydra. Because of the Hydra’s blood, the painful wound would not heal. As he was an immortal god, the wound did not kill him, so he roamed the earth healing others. Chiron was later transformed into a star, and the star Chiron represents the wounded healer in astrology.

Plato described the idea of a wounded healer in medicine; he said that the most skillful physicians are those who have suffered from illness.

The idea of wounded healers also exists across multiple cultural and spiritual contexts, including shamanism.” — https://mentalhealthathome.org/

Jason and His Teacher by Maxfield Parrish (1909)

Let’s talk about empaths and wounded healers. Wounded healers are empaths. In a discussion about how empaths can use their abilities to benefit themselves versus benefiting others, which direction do they go? 

Can they utilize their egos along with their souls to embody true healing potential? Or do they go the dark route and then become narcissists? That is their choice. I’ve seen both ways in people. It’s astounding the line that divides the two and also the very different qualities they express towards others. 

I won’t go into a discussion of what a narcissist is. I know that you know and there are plenty of writings (books) out there that go into gross detail about it. Gross, because you do not want to retraumatize yourself or others around you. Knowing and learning about what to look for, understand, yes! Going over it and over it again is not good. Hell, they even made movies about them. After living that kind of a relationship, I will not entertain or retraumatize myself or anyone else with that. There. That is all I have to say about that.

The movement in the direction where you want to go, that is my intent for you with these words. Keep looking THAT way, what do you want? If you need to heal from wounds, yes, get with someone to help recover and as a good healer they won’t let you loop (but showing you that you are looping, showing you so that you gain awareness of the looping…). Redirection is key. If you keep looping, there’s something you still need to heal, it’s still serving you to be in that damaged space. Just noticing that will help you heal. Noticing that you are in a loop like a record, a song on repeat.

I will say that it is so important for the healer to take heed to being in a space of a client that will draw you back into the sickness that she healed from in the first place to be able to help others. That power and strength I talked about from the beginning of this writing is what is needed and absolutely important in healing work. 

In twelve step programs they talk about this. We can help newbies, but are cautious of being sucked right back to where we were before. It is a healthy respect for the natural rhythms of nature. It is the snake that can and will bite you if you aren’t aware of its patterns. We respect and honor that which is toxic, that which is inherently towards the negative end of the life spectrum. Negative in that it’s not where I want to focus my attention.

www.pixabay.com, Gerd Altmann

The best example that comes to mind for healing is this:

[caution: graphic imagery here. Use the words I’m typing right now as a metaphor to how your mental space needs to heal as well.] I’ll never forget certain stories my father or mother told me having worked in the emergency rooms and other medical establishments. Imagine yourself having been in a motorcycle accident where you fell and you hit the road hard and to make matters worse, you got dragged into the pavement where rocks and dirt were pushed into your bare skin. 

When my father told me this story I was cringing hard and of course, he was very matter of fact about it when he told it to me, which is the way of the wounded warrior too when needing to help someone overcome trauma. Gentle, strong, confident, swift and with perseverance it is to be done so that the patient can get to the other side of trauma… get to the meat of it, clean it up, then move forward with healing.

You just can’t wash it out. Nope. The physicians and nurses have to scrape it out of your skin, literally opening up your wounds to get all the stones, dirt and whatever the heck you got stuck in your body… out of there. You can not heal properly if you have shit stuck in your skin. 

And if you leave it there because it’s too scary to think of reopening the wound that just almost sucked the literal life out of you because you have to get the shit out, then it’s going to work itself out of your body in one way or another later guaranteed. And it won’t be pretty.

The methods for extraction of the foreign stuff can be extremely hard. My dad described tools like a metal BRUSH to scrape it out. [ughhhh!] But they do it because it truly sets the body up for proper reset and proper healing.

Ever get a splinter and you just left it in there or couldn’t get all out? Yep. Same kind of thing but on a much smaller scale. A couple months down the road you look at your skin and you notice something pushing out. And you say to yourself, “Oh yeah! Cool, there’s that splinter part that I left in there. Dang, why does it kind of hurt again?” And it might even bleed again when it comes out much later.

Sometimes when you leave something in there, you know what else can happen if your body cannot push it out? Your body accommodates itself to the foreign object that is now embedded in your being. Now, to simplify this metaphor, you might have a limp, or blood flow that normally goes through that body part, now has to be rerouted to another part of your body and possibly a part of you won’t get quite the same attention and blood flow that it used to.

I know. There are some times that stuff is stuck in there that actually cannot be physically removed because of causing further extensive future damage or even to your life itself. So, the healing process must accommodate this new foreign object. Our bodies are phenomenally outfitted for this. Miracles happen every moment of every day where people recover and heal from crazy stuff. 

I’m not here to describe miracles. I know you have seen them or heard of them. It will truly remind you of the capacity for healing that our bodies and psyches have after trauma. Embrace these stories for they will empower you to remember that you yourself are a miracle as well.

Now what? My main message is this: The Wounded Healers hold a great amount of healing capacity simply because they have been there. They can sit in this healing space that people need for the greatest amount of healing in the shortest amount of time: “Holding space”. AND they need to also keep in mind that they also need to take care of themselves in the utmost capacity.

Are you a Wounded Healer? Do you know some of them? What experiences have you had working with these healers? I am excited to hear about your thoughts on this topic. I only just recognized this in myself recently. 

Have a beautiful day, my friend. Let’s hold space for those around us so that we can all step into the highest and greatest potential for all.

Blessed be!

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