A wound in the Pattern System is the result of emotional pain or trauma, usually from childhood, that underlies the motivation for a pattern. Since Inner Critic parts are trying to protect you from pain, it is important to understand the wounds that they may be trying to protect you from.
There are three types of wounds—harm, deficit, and deficiency wounds.
Harm Wounds. These wounds relate to how you were harmed as a child.
Judgment Wound. When you were a child, you were criticized and made to feel inadequate, worthless, or bad about yourself when you didn’t measure up to your parents’ impossibly high standards. You might be afraid of this happening again if you don’t meet such standards.
Shame Wound. When you were little, you were ridiculed, shamed, or embarrassed by your parents or others you were close to. You might be afraid of this being repeated in your adult life.
Domination Wound. You were dominated and controlled by one of your parents, and they justified it by making you believe that you weren’t good enough, so they had to take over. You may have hated being in that position, so you don’t want to allow anyone the chance to do it again.
Attack Wound. When you were little, your parents (or others) may have yelled at you because they said you weren’t good enough. They may even have abused you physically. Now you might be frightened of being treated that way again.
There are four more harm wounds–Betrayal, Violation, Exploitation, and Guilt.
Deficit Wounds. These wounds are defined by what you didn’t receive as a child.
Abandonment Wound. You may have been abandoned by your parents at a time when you really needed them, and they gave you the impression that it was because you weren’t good enough. They may even have blamed this on something you did that they judged as inadequate.
Rejection Wound. When you were a child, your parents, siblings, or friends rejected or dismissed you or treated you as someone who wasn’t of value, and you ended up feeling unlovable. Now you might fear that happening again.
Need Wound. You didn’t get the love and care you needed when you were young, and your parents said or implied that this was because of your flaws. Now, as an adult, you might be trying to be perfect to get the caring you never had.
Not-Seen Wound. You weren’t seen for who you really were. Your inner world and personal concerns weren’t noticed or valued.
Deficiency Wounds. These wounds caused you to feel deficient. They often overlap with Harm or Deficit Wounds.
Basic Deficiency Wound. When you were a child, things you did were dismissed and not valued, which may have made you feel inadequate, worthless, or bad about yourself. You might be afraid of this happening again if your products or actions aren’t extremely good.
Unlovable Wound. When you were a child, your parents, siblings, or friends dismissed you or treated you as someone who wasn’t of value, so you ended up feeling unlovable. Now, as an adult, you might be trying to be perfect to get the acceptance you never had.
Where Wounds Come From
There are three ways that a wound can originate—personal action, situation, or legacy.
The most common origin of wounds is that someone (usually a parent) did something to harm you or didn’t meet your needs. For example, if you have an Attack Wound, a parent yelled at you a lot or physically abused you.
A wound can come from a situation that occurred at any point in your life. For example, here are some situations that might cause an Attack Wound. Some of these are childhood situations, but many could occur in adulthood as well.
- Being exposed to the violence of war
- Being exposed to terrorism
- Being exposed to the violence of gangs
- Growing up in an angry family
- Witnessing angry fights between family members
- Witnessing violence between family members
- Witnessing someone being physically abused
- Being mugged or otherwise attacked violently
- Being raped
- Being beaten up
- Being exposed to Holocaust images, stories, or feelings
A wound can also be inherited directly from a parent as opposed to being created by something a parent did to you or a situation you were in. For example, if your father felt inadequate and worthless, you can inherit that from him by osmosis, so to speak. A part of you ends up taking on your father’s feelings and feels worthless in the same way.
It is possible for a wound to originate in both ways—as a result of personal action or a situation, and as an inheritance from a parent.