When the very young child is wounded and wounded repeatedly, the pain is unbearable. While the young child’s mind might try, desperately, to make sense of the chaos, it cannot – it just doesn’t possess the perspective or the fundamental analytical tools. The child cannot “blame society” or “blame his parents” for doing what every parent does. So the child, inevitably, blames himself.
The child lays claim to his own inadequacy, insufficiency, and worthlessness. This is called the invalidation triad. This is the Wound.
The raw material of the Wound is physical separation, discipline and demands for obedience. Through direct observation, the child discovers that he can please his parents when he does what he’s told, when he puts on a brave face when he experiences grave separation anxiety, and when he gives love through compliance, being cute, and smiling often. This is the harshest lesson of all because what the child is really learning is that there is something fundamentally wrong with his natural self, for it is his natural self that receives abrupt separation, is punished, and, finally, is the recipient of the withdrawal of love from his parents. Thus, our connection with who we really are is severed. Few of us rediscover our authentic selves.
The child grows to understand that he must develop a new self designed to counter the belief system of the Wound. Thus, if the child believes that his pain is a result of being physically unacceptable, this new fear-based self will focus on physical accomplishments. If the child comes to believe that his pain is a result of stupidity, his fear-based self will seek to counter that belief by becoming an expert. If the child believes he is unlovable, he will become a “pleaser” of others. The basic law is that love is not a given. Rather it is earned. And thus is born the false self; the person we believe ourselves to be all of our life.
The Fear-Based self runs on achievement. It must continue to assert the prime objective of the Fear-Based belief.
In the next post, I will further develop the qualities of the Fear-Based self.