Let’s learn to recognize the emotional wounds of childhood

“During childhood, we experience events that can cause pain, sadness, anger or fear. If we aren’t able to resolve them at the time, these feelings can remain lodged in our body and mind, for many years, and generate an emotional wound”, explains Brenda Esparza, teacher in family therapy at the Municipal Institute of the Family (IMF), of Durango.

For the psychotherapist, in childhood we are exposed to physical injuries when we fall down and scrape our knees. But also to emotional wounds, “which sometimes do not heal in a lifetime and can leave deep pain in the child and later in the adult”.

Emotional wounds need time for healing

Like a physical wound, an emotional wound needs time for healing, because if it is not cared properly, in the long run it will continue to cause pain, explained the expert in the discussion “The Wounds of childhood”, organized by the System of Comprehensive Protection of Girls, Boys and Adolescents Durango.

Emotional wounds begin in childhood and are often caused by primary caregivers like Mom and Dad. This means that the experiences we live during these stages of our life will mark our way of feeling, thinking and acting

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According to the survey on “Violence in Early Childhood”, carried out by the Guardians organization, half of the parents had emotional wounds generated in their childhood, and there are still those who have not been able to resolve them.

The five wounds of childhood

If you do not want your children to suffer or live with pain, it is very important that you recognize the emotional wounds you have grown up with, but, above all, that you try to carry out a therapeutic process to heal them.

Once you have identified those prints that marked you, you will need to resolve them so as not to hurt your children.

“We adults have the obligation to heal these wounds, since the mental health of the children will depend on us and our upbringing”, says family therapy teacher Nora Esparza.

Below, we briefly describe these five childhood wounds and explain how they may be harming you and your children, as discussed in the aforementioned discussion.

  • Abandonment. Physical or emotional abandonment in children can generate anguish. If they grow up with this injury, when they become moms or dads, they will not be able to take care of themselves, they will be dependent and toxic, and use their children to fill their own emotional voids.
  • Rejection. This wound begins in pregnancy and in the first years of life. When the pregnant woman experiences emotional and economic deficiencies, the baby feels them. Parents who experienced rejection find it difficult to show affection to their family. The child will have many emotional deficiencies because he does not feel important a nd taken into account.
  • Humiliation.This wound is closely related to feeling shame for our own family. In childhood, the adult felt himself an unworthy person, and they may have been abused. They are indulgent fathers and mothers, who do not set limits and often carry the problems and responsibilities of their sons and daughters. To hide their wound of humiliation, parents are going to protect their children.
  • Treason. When a child perceives a father or mother anxious and incapable of giving him peace, his uncertainty and anguish grow. As an adult, they will wear invisible masks to protect themselves. They are authoritarian and controlling parents, so they must work on being more flexible and respecting their children in the way they do things.
  • Injustice. These adults had in their childhood a rigid upbringing and polarized positions: the good and the bad, the right and the wrong. As parents, they are severe and demanding. They want their children to have adult attitudes. They also have a hard time being warm and empathetic; and they condition their love to their children.

“Time does not heal wounds. Therefore, it is important to solve them in the present. Otherwise, there will be injured children in adult bodies”.

Brenda Esparza, psychotherapist

Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara

Spanish version