Healing your emotional wounds is essential if you’re to reach your happy place, and stay there. Your emotional wounds can often be the source of your day-to-day triggers, so by healing your emotional wounds you’re able to reduce the stress and anxiety you experience each day.

The problem is that we’re not always aware of what those wounds are. Many of the experiences that are at the root of these wounds probably happened before our conscious memory kicked in and so it can often feel like we’re looking for a lost pin in the dark. Also, some of these wounds are built up over time with the repeating of similar experiences.

So while one event might not stand out, it could be that we had many many experiences that followed a particular theme and over time, a wound was created. Just like if you get one scratch from your cat, it’ll pass, but if your cat keeps scratching you in the same place, eventually it will get infected and be super painful. Then when it eventually stops, you’ll probably get a scar #ouch

If we are to think about our emotional wounds in terms of themes, it can get a bit easier for us to start to address them. Because even though we might not have strong memories of the individual events that created our emotional wounds, once we start thinking about how we’ve been affected by a particular theme in our life, memories start to come to the surface for us.

What also helps us to heal our emotional wounds is starting with common emotional wounds that are common or universal. By starting here, we can begin to reduce the emotional load we’re carrying and so make any onward journey easier.

What is a universal emotional wound?

There is a shortlist of emotional wounds that can be considered universal, in that they affect all of us to some degree. This is because they are experienced by us at a very young age before our we are able to fully understand what is going on. This means that simple experiences end up carrying a lot more emotional weight and impact than they should.

For example, let’s say a mother has to hand her new baby over to health care professionals just after the birth because she needs medical attention. In that moment, the baby is going to feel abandoned or rejected, and may also experience separation anxiety. And so the first of many wounds is in place.

Of course, many of us have had situations whereby our parents or caregivers had moments when they were struggling and took it out on us as children. Being a parent I can testify to the triggering nature of kids, and it’s all too easy to react in ways you’d rather not. All of our childhoods have had many of these kinds of experiences.

Over time, these slowly build up to create painful emotional wounds that show up in our adult lives through our fears, emotional triggers, limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging behaviours. With this as a backdrop, it’s not surprising that as adults we are the emotional walking wounded.

If we don’t address these wounds, then just like physical wounds, they can start to fester. So for our emotional health and well-being, we’re better off trying to understand what they are. Once we know what they are we can start taking steps to heal them.

Below I’m going to share with you, some of the common or universal wounds that we all have to some degree. In sharing these with you, I’m also going to share

  • how they show up – so that you can more easily spot if you have it
  • recommended Head Trash Clearances that you can do to start healing the wound

Head Trash Clearance is the clearance technique I developed that you can use to clear your emotional triggers, value conflicts, negative emotions and self-sabotage. I call this stuff head trash! You can find out more about Head Trash Clearance here.

What are some of these common or universal wounds?

The 5 emotional wounds wounds we all suffer from

Here are the five core emotional wounds we all suffer from.

1. Betrayal

This wound comes from when a child feels that their parent or main caregiver has disappointed them. Perhaps a parent lied to them, or they didn’t fulfil a promise to them. As a result of this they can’t trust them because the person has not lived up to expectations. As a parent I can see how easy that this wound can be so widespread!

People with this wound have a need to control everything around them. They also have a hard time trusting others. They try to impose their point of view and don’t tolerate the lies on the part of others.

Experiencing betrayal during childhood leads to adults with controlling personalities and a perfectionist streak, where they want and need everything to be exactly the way they want it to be. They’re people who want everything set in stone with no loose ends, leaving nothing to chance. In their mind, their need to exercise control over others is all to do with their ‘strong character’ and they are blind to what is really going on.

The betrayal wound can also lead onto other negative feelings and beliefs, such as not feeling worthy of promises or what others have to give.

How the betrayal wound shows up

  • Lack of tolerance for the lies of others, but often guilty of lying themselves.
  • Imposing your will and point of view on others, and not afraid to use manipulation achieve control.
  • A constant need to improve, with a high expectations of others.
  • Has a need to be special and important, to be worthy (which they never really feel)
  • Attaching importance to reputation and so will seek honours and titles.
  • A need to be well-prepared, which means a love of planning to the nth degree.
  • A lack of flexibility when it comes to unforeseen situations (see above)
  • Lack of trust in the opposite sex (as a result of the person who originally let them down as a child)
  • Trust issues, leading to problems with discovering and confiding to others.
  • Quick reasoning and action, which can lead to being very quick to jump to conclusions.
  • Lack of tolerance and impatience, with a tendency to offend.

Recommended Head Trash Clearances

  • betrayal
  • control, and all its facets
  • trust
  • patience
  • being tolerant, flexible
  • being knowledgable, expert
  • delegation
  • responsibility
  • being worthy
  • being prepared
  • being important


2. Injustice

The injustice wound is as a result of being in a cold and authoritarian environment, where our sense of individuality has been clipped. When we experience excessive demands that push our limits we often end up feeling ineffective and useless, and these feelings can continue into adulthood. This in turn leads to people who are very demanding with themselves, as they seek to prove that they are not useless or ineffective. The coldness that they experienced can often lead to them blocking their own sensitivity

Another consequence of injustice is rigidness, and these people tend to try to be very important and acquire a lot of power. They also love things that are ordered and neat, and struggle with perfection and making decisions with certainty.

How the injustice wound shows up

  • Showing your vitality despite being tired.
  • Constant optimism, and difficulties in admitting that you’re experiencing problems
  • Controlling yourself to always be perfect, and appear perfect
  • Fear of losing control or not being in control
  • Very aware of injustices around you, but blind to your own injustice towards others
  • Problems showing feelings or expressing to your emotions. This leads to you prioritising skills over feelings.
  • Problems creating a satisfying intimate relationship
  • Totally fine with pain and cold, and pushing the body. This might lead to you not acknowledging illness or dis-ease when it’s there
  • A tendency to criticise others and yourself.

Recommended Head Trash Clearances

  • injustice
  • fairness
  • control, and all its facets
  • trust
  • perfection
  • having problems
  • making mistakes
  • being emotional
  • being useless, ineffective, incompetent
  • being lazy
  • being cold, rude
  • being flexible
  • chaos, being disorganised
  • order, being organised


3. Humiliation

Humiliation occurs when you receive disapproval or harsh criticism from other people. Perhaps as a child you were told that you were bad in some way; stupid, slow, clumsy or overweight, and that maybe these things were discussed in front of others. This kind of childhood experience can affect our self-esteem, and make it difficult to cultivate a strong sense of self-worth.

This can lead to people-pleasing habits and having an overly helpful attitude (to the detriment of the self). But it can go the other way too. Some adults who were humiliated as children, become selfish and tyrannical, and tend to humiliate others as a defence mechanism.

How the humiliation wound shows up

  • You do things to be worthy, or to be seen to be worthy
  • You put the needs of other people before your own
  • Use of food to satisfy emotional needs – tendency to put on weight
  • You’re good at making people laugh, but usually by mocking or humiliating yourself.
  • Suppression of your sensual drive, a reluctance to admit to your sensuality.
  • You’re under the impression of being constantly observed
  • You have a fear of punishment for the excessive joy of life (feel unworthy of it)
  • You often feel sloppy, dirty, or unworthy

Recommended Head Trash Clearances

  • humiliation
  • independence
  • selfishness
  • being important, self-importance
  • being bad (or whatever the thing was you were told as a child)
  • being helpful
  • pleasing
  • being criticised, criticism

4. Abandonment

This universal wound can come about for many reasons. Perhaps one of your parents was not present, or, even when they physically were, there was a lack of emotional connection, so you didn’t feel like they were really there for you. This can also come about when a parent or main care-giver dies. This can lead to a deep feeling of loneliness, and leads to being emotionally dependent on your partners and your closest friends. You might feel that you just can’t manage on your own.

The abandonment wound can create a fear of rejection and a fear of loneliness which means you will do anything to prevent experiencing abandonment again. This could mean that you will be the one who does the abandoning or rejecting – of partners, projects – which means that things don’t tend to reach their potential, or completion. People with fears of abandonment might think things like “I’ll leave you before you can leave me”, “nobody supports me, I am not prepared to support anyone else”, “if you leave, you won’t come back…”

How the abandonment wound shows up

  • You smother others with your needs to be looked after and NOT abandoned
  • You make yourself dependent on other people, you become a burden.
  • Problems with independent functioning and fear of loneliness.
  • You might find yourself crying alone, sometimes for hours on end, and you’re not always sure why
  • You have a victim mindset – believing in bad luck, causing dramas and/or diseases, thinking that the world/universe is making your life hard (that’s it’s not your fault)
  • You dial up your suffering to attract attention
  • You are susceptible to celebrity behaviour, constantly talking about yourself
  • You have problems with making decisions and acting independently
  • You resist the advice of others
  • Your moods are very changeable
  • You have problems ending relationships, because you need to have someone there to look after you
  • You might use guilt – you owe, I did that for you, you need to be there for me – you need to do this with me

Recommended Head Trash Clearances

  • loneliness
  • abandonment, being abandoned
  • rejection, being rejected
  • independence
  • dependence
  • being a victim
  • making decisions
  • sadness
  • being a burden

5. Rejection

This wound can originate very early on in life; from the moment of conception until your first year of age. it can come from a feeling of not being accepted or being rejected by your parent or caregiver. But it’s important to realise that this is how a new infant is experiencing the world. So even something innocent as a mother putting her new baby to sleep in a cot in another room just so that she can get some sleep, could be experienced by the child as rejection. This is what makes this wound so widespread and universal.

Anyone who suffers from this wound feels undeserving of affection and understanding, and they have thoughts of rejection, of being undesirable, or of being worthless.

Those who have been rejected as children tend to become elusive adults, preferring time on their own where they are safe from potential rejection or abandonment.

How the rejection wound shows up

  • You hold back from putting yourself forward for things as you just assume you will get rejected
  • You take rejections to heart and they can affect you deeply
  • You’re dissatisfied with who you are
  • You see yourself as a meaningless person, someone who is not worthy
  • You have a lack of self-respect, which can in turn mean poor personal boundaries
  • You have moments when you consider yourself a family freak
  • You have a tendency to escape into alcohol, drugs, sudden trips, virtual games – anything to escape your current reality
  • You have a rich imagination – you like to create an alternative reality for yourself
  • Your tendency to withdraw from others can lead to isolation and loneliness.
  • You anchor in the material world by being busy and giving yourself plenty of things to do.
  • You’re a perfectionist and like things to be just so.

Recommended Head Trash Clearances

  • being rejected
  • perfection, being perfect
  • respect, self respect
  • being worthy
  • being deserving
  • respect
  • isolation
  • loneliness
  • being busy
  • being lazy

Explore other universal wounds

These five wounds are just some of many universal wounds that we all suffer from. Find out more about these in these related blog posts

Healing audio tracks for all of these wounds can be found in The Clearance Club. The Clearance Club is a vault of head trash clearance resources to help you free your mind of stresses and anxieties, and let go of those things that getting in the way of your happiness.

Alexia Leachman
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