Q. Yesterday you tossed around a lot of frankly fancy language about this thing you call the Wound, before I question the basis for your remarks, would you be kind enough to inform your audience a little more about this thing you claim is real?
First, know that everything that is not the authentic self is psychosocial in nature. The authentic self is neither a product of society nor does it possess psychological attributes.
Q. Well you certainly started off in a rather heavy fashion haven’t you? Not feeling all that light hearted and lovey dovey this morning are we?
L. I’m sorry for the complicated language. I wish I could make it simpler for you. But let’s move on.
The Wound is psychological in nature. While our emergence in this world is perfect and the purest reflection of the Great Spirit, our birth as a person with a story begins with the Wound. This is the one birth we, as individuals, can point to. It is the birth of our psychological self..
So, going back to the wounded self, as the one who is rejected, how are we to respond?
We respond the way we respond to anything that causes us pain; we remove the source of the pain.
Q. What does that mean?
L. The primal psychological self removes the pain by struggling for love or, conversely by proving the correctness of the projected identification by bringing even more negative attention to itself.
Q. And how does it do that?
L. Living with the Wound is something that cannot be borne. To cancel the pain of the Wound, the child needs to figure out how to obtain love from the parents. The lesson, it most typically learns is this: love is earned. So, the next step is how to earn love. We do this by becoming compliant, good, pleasing others, obedient, in other words, lovable. Some children take the opposite path. They, on some level, accept their belief in their own inadequacy and reify the experience through opposition, rebellion, anger, and depression. Thus the story of our life begins and, for most of us, ends.
Q. Would you be kind enough to give us an example or two?
If the child believes that the basis for the inadequacy identification is that he is unworthy of love, then she will begin her life-long struggle to please the important people around her. In this way she will get the love she believes that she failed to obtain as the inadequate child. She learns the complex path of manipulating life with the purpose of elevating herself by pleasing important others (and often demeaning unimportant others). In the second example, let’s take a look at the Expert Fear-Self. If the young child believes that he is so worthless that his voice fails to merit attention (a very common type – such as Mr. Liberation himself), he will seek to develop a personality whose voice must be heard to gain him, at the very least, attention, and, hopefully, respect and even love. Liberation calls these Wound responses Fear-Based Selves. In the first case we have the Pleaser and in the second, we have the Expert. The compensatory responses to the Wound are who we believe ourselves to be. They are compensatory adaptations to the agonizing pain of the Wound. They are motivated by fear and overall insecurity. We hope to make our mark on the world with these personalities. They are, in a way, the children of the Wound. They generally don’t stray too far from their parent, for when life gets difficult (and it will), when the pleaser powers of the Pleaser fail to please, when the Expert is ignored, the full, dark force of the Wound returns and life becomes agonizing. This is the way the life of fear and insecurity works.
Q. You certainly have said a mouthful. I must say it’s rather compelling, but how do you know this is true?
L. We cannot know anything in a vacuum. We can only know something through contrast.
Q. What the hell does that mean? You know you can really be exasperating sometimes. Has anyone else mentioned that to you?
L. Yes, several times and yet I try to be very clear. I guess I’m not the greatest communicator.
Q. So what does that statement about contrast mean?
L. We can ask the question, do we notice the Wound and the Fear-Selves phenomenon in all cultures?
L. In fact, the Wound and the Fear-Selves are all but absent among hunting and gathering people, a type of culture, although dominant in most of human life on this planet, is all but extinct today. These cultures respond very differently to children in ways that are too numerous to mention for the time we have today, but suffice it to say that they experienced children as direct creations of God and not as objects that needed to be molded into a projection of the parents through discipline, correction, isolation, or (god forbid) comparison. Children were seen as mysterious, carrying their own unique gifts that flower in each moment. We know this to be true based on the accounts of dozens of anthropologists, explorers, as well as my own experience working on the Navajo Nation. These children present a very different psychological profile than do the children of civilization, particularly of the intensely competitive society of the United States, which is one of the most fear-driven cultures in human history.
These children tend to be emotionally balanced, are not prone to temper tantrums, and often show an effortless smile and easy laugh. This is not a romanticization of primal cultures. These are the observations made by highly trained researchers and explorers who lived directly with people living in this way. These cultures possess their own frailties and beliefs, but they are not the concern of this book.
Q. So what are we supposed to do with all of this information?
L. See if there is validity to it. Find out if it is true. If it seems to be true then what do we do with this knowledge? This is the most challenging question you could ever ask yourself, for if your whole identity rests on this personality type that lives to avoid underlying fear and insecurity, then who are we really if we are not the person we have taken ourselves to be? Making this journey even more scary, we realize that if who we have believed ourselves to be is false, then we risk falling back into the Wound; the very last thing most of are motivated to do. When we are fear motivated, and nearly all of us are, then the person we have needed to be is false. There is not a wake-up call more powerful than this.
What makes this doable, is that the Wound to, as we understand it, as false as well. This is the silver lining. This is the gold ring.
Let’s take a look at our Expert. He has dedicated his life to getting noticed, being respected, whatever – now he sees that all along he was compensating for a belief in his own innate inadequacy and insufficiency. This identification in his innate inadequacy is the LIE that is referred to in the title of the Liberation book. At once, he sees both his Fear-Self and its corresponding Wound. He sees the whole trajectory of his life. What then?
Q Yes, what then?
L. He is now much more in touch with his authentic self, however fragile that contact might be, that energy that can observe without the undermining contamination of false belief. That is huge and immediately transformative. He watches himself and, for the first time, he sees, but now he sees with the eyes of the authentic self. This is Liberation, or, at least, the beginning of it. This is the next great step in the Journey of his life. The tethers are coming off and the light of freedom glimmers on the horizon.
Hey, my friend – this is enough for today. Thank you for giving me this time. I’m sorry to have to take my leave when we have reached such a pivotal point in our discussions.
Q. Well, you have certainly given us quite a bit to mull over. Frankly, I find your ideas intriguing and would like to know more. Thank you Mr. Liberation.