What is Woundology?

Question: I just discovered Caroline Myss and she used the term ‘woundology‘ in her presentation “Why People Don’t Heal?” What does woundology mean? How can you permanently heal your wounds? I’d like to heal my wounds once and for all. I journal, meditate, listen to podcasts, burn incense and sage, etc. and nothing seems to work. Help!

Answer: Woundology means you use your wounds — you cling to your wounds. According to Caroline Myss, “Woundology is a very expensive habit to keep a wound alive. The energy comes out of your system, your cell system.” According to the Halexandria Foundation, “Woundology is also a form of scapegoatology which means outside events and others are blamed for what a wounded person experiences.” We have the power to heal from our wounds; however, to do so, means we must give up ‘being right’ for being happy.

When you carry your problems with you everywhere you go, you’re practicing the art of woundology. For example, gave you ever met someone who’s told you their life story in a matter of minutes? They were practicing woundology. However, the person believes they’re sharing their life’s story. They can’t see what they’re truly doing. Let’s face it; we’ve all done this at one point or have done this. I have and now realize the error of my way. Now, wonder I’ve been feeling stuck in a funk for the past year (or more).

FYI: Some experts believe woundology is a form of addiction. Instead of being addicted to drugs and alcohol, gambling, smoking, being right, attention, people pleasing, being a rescuer or victim, food, sex, the internet, movies and television, working out, shopping, relationships, traveling, etc. people are addicted to their pain.

Recognize and heal your wounds today by getting in touch with your emotions and exploring them. The next time you’re tempted to share your life’s story with someone, ask yourself a few questions such as:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • What do I get from this?
  • What’s motivating me to share my story?

Woundology is a way to control and manipulate the people around you. It’s a way to get their attention or for them to rescue you. The truth is you can only rescue and save you. If you wait for others to do it, you’ll be waiting for a long time. Life will pass you by and you’ll be left wondering, “Where did my life go?” However, you can heal your wounds today, and tomorrow life will be easier and happier.


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  1. Larry Duff says:

    I’m late taking part in this discussion, but here’s my comment to another more recent post and discussion on the topic:

    This is a more complicated subject than is covered here or by Caroline Myss, or Mr. Bolsta. There is truth to the assertion, that some people get ‘stuck in their wounds’, and some (but not all) may use the fact of their trauma history to try to control others, or be given special privileges.

    But what I have seen and experienced is that coming to a support group, and/or a therapist to be able to speak about painful/traumatic experiences is an important, even necessary experience, to come out of denial, and/or dissociation from the experience of trauma. Receiving validation from another, or other humans is vitally important, and, ideally, there is a period of experiencing that validation and support, and eventually being able to give it back to newcomers.

    But we as a culture, and the world only just scratched the surface of real, deep trauma recovery. Trauma, especially something like childhood sexual, violent or non sexual abuse, dissociates us from our true selves, and we then come to feel we are fundamentally flawed, or we wouldn’t have had that inflicted on us, maybe we brought it on ourselves, we deserved it. There is pain from true trauma that is internalized in our nervous systems, even the cells of our body, that talking about, and no amount of outer validation, can really touch, or heal fully.

    The nature of the experience of real trauma is overload of the whole system, and then dissociation, shutdown happens for survival. To really fully heal, that shutdown process must be reversed; we have to come to feel again, piece by piece, as we’re able, and the body brings to the surface, triggered by life’s experiences. The unfelt pain remains, along with the defenses we were given to protect ourselves from it, developed for our survival. But those survival defenses (addictions, behavior patterns, body armor, etc.) work against us as we become older.

    So, a good program of recovery works by, little by little letting go of, or dismantling those survival mechanisms, breaking the patterns, a day at a time, with the help of a Higher Power, and support from others trying to do the same. ‘Peeling away the onion’ as they say. But for some, they may not be able to do without those defenses, and we should not judge them, that they should. Only God knows who is capable of what.

    Those defenses/patterns, as counter productive, destructive as they may be, serve a purpose; to keep us from feeling that ‘original pain’. So, when the patterns, addictions etc. are removed, we begin to feel again what we stopped feeling, dissociated from as children, or even as adults with severe traumatic experiences (rape, etc).

    My experience is that the pain (ideally, for those who are able) must be given a space to be fully felt, in all it’s intensity, even feeling initially that if we allow ourselves to feel it, we will die. But the body/Spirit, in it’s inherent intelligence, wisdom and compassion, knows how much we can feel at a given time, and just shuts down, subsides when we’ve experienced what we are ready for on a given day or time period. It is allowing the absolute truth of the experience to come to the surface and be felt/processed. It is accessed by just being fully with painful feelings that come up in the present, triggered by life, or maybe delving into our history. Deep breathing is also very helpful to allow the body to let go enough to ‘drop into’ the pain.

    So for someone to just say to a trauma survivor, at some point when they think that person should be beyond the grief or whatever they are still experiencing around a trauma, “Get over it”, can be a very destructive thing to do. It can be asking them to shut down again, to go back into denial, disconnect from themselves.

    Holding someone accountable if they are making others miserable because they are trauma survivors is another thing completely. That person has made the step of acknowledging the trauma but hasn’t gone deep enough in processing the raw pain of the experience. They are staving off the real deep feelings and acting out their pain on others.

    So, the real issue is that (for those who are able), to process, feel their pain at the source, in a real, deeper way. This is the process (or an essential part) of reclaiming the self that was lost as a result of trauma.

    I used to hear a lot of Carolyn Myss’s talks, and remember hearing her say that there should be an end point to ‘processing’ painful experiences. Does she know what that is? Is she God? Could it be possible for some extreme traumas that a person might need to, on some level be dealing with something the rest of their lives?

    Someone with some similar ideas (in a way) is Byron Katie (all your suffering is a result of ‘believing your thoughts’). BK quotes include “Victims are violent people”, and “All sadness is a tantrum”. In both I see an unspoken, underlying contempt for weakness and vulnerability, and resistance/denial of the reality that there are overwhelming, traumatic life experiences which don’t conform to our idea of when we think we should be ‘over’ them and their effects. This contempt of weakness and vulnerability, unfortunately, is common in our culture (usually promoted by men), but not often promoted as spiritual. Both teachers also have a lot of truth, that can be helpful in some contexts. But some truth can then be used to promote something that can be destructive, in the name of healing and spirituality.

    The phrase ’spiritual/emotional bypass’ fits.