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5 Soul Wounds That Impact Your Health & Relationships

healing trauma, healing heartache, overcoming grief, personal transformation

What is a Soul Wound?

Soul wounds were discovered by American psychiatrist John Pierrakos. His research was then continued by Lise Bourbeau, Canadian therapist, and author of the book “The 5 wounds that prevent you from being yourself”, a link between inner wounds and the external appearance of the individual.


·      Abandonment

·      Humiliation

·      Betrayal

·      Rejection

·      Injustice


Soul wounds, often referred to as emotional wounds or inner traumas, are deep-seated psychological and emotional injuries that can significantly impact an individual's well-being and inner harmony.


These wounds can be the result of various life experiences, such as childhood trauma, loss, abuse, or significant life transitions. Most men and women can relate to all five wounds on some level. It is important to become aware of them because the 5 soul wounds impact your health and relationships subconsciously until you identify them and heal.


A person is said to suffer from at least three wounds, with one wound usually being more dominant than the others. Those who endured more stress as a child will register higher on the symptom spectrum.


These wounds play an important role in life since they condition a person’s behaviors, thoughts, relationships, and emotions. Each soul wound has its own set of symptoms, also referred to as “masks”, i.e. the “mode of defense” that the person will adopt in a situation in response to the triggering of an inner wound.


During uncomfortable moments of conflict, our egos are triggered and we feel the symptoms related to one (or more) of the wounds. The first step in working on yourself should be to identify your soul wounds and egoic protective mechanisms.


Being able to safely identify when one or more is being pressed on is essential. It is not our partner's job to heal these wounds for us, however, they must be understanding of them and know how to support us as we heal, and vice versa.


Not all of the symptoms listed for each wound have to apply to you to be impacted by it. So, keep that in mind as you review them and their symptoms.


The 5 Soul Wounds & Symptoms (Masks)

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Abandonment wounds stem from feelings of being left, rejected, or unloved by significant individuals, often during childhood. This can include parental neglect, emotional unavailability, or even a sudden loss of a loved one.



·      Fear of intimacy and forming deep connections with others.

·      Difficulty trusting others and forming secure relationships.

·      Low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness.

·      Fear of rejection and avoidance of emotional vulnerability.

·      Struggles with codependency or emotional dependence on others.



Betrayal wounds result from the breaking of trust by someone close, leading to deep emotional pain and a sense of betrayal. This can involve infidelity, dishonesty, or broken promises.



·      Feelings of anger, resentment, and hurt towards the betrayer.

·      Difficulty trusting others and forming new relationships.

·      Ongoing feelings of vulnerability and fear of being hurt again.

·      Emotional numbness or detachment as a coping mechanism.

·      Struggles with forgiveness and letting go of the pain.





Rejection wounds occur when an individual experiences being excluded, dismissed, or unaccepted by others, leading to feelings of inadequacy and a sense of not belonging.



·      Low self-esteem and a negative self-image.

·      Avoidance of social situations to prevent potential rejection.

·      Fear of judgment and criticism from others.

·      Overcompensating for approval and seeking external validation.

·      Struggles with setting boundaries and asserting oneself.




Humiliation wounds are a result of experiencing shame, embarrassment, or degradation in front of others, causing lasting emotional distress and self-doubt.



·      Persistent feelings of shame and self-consciousness.

·      Avoidance of situations that trigger memories of humiliation.

·      Difficulty expressing oneself authentically due to fear of judgment.

·      Self-isolation and withdrawal from social interactions.

·      Struggles with self-acceptance and embracing vulnerability.



Injustice wounds arise from experiencing unfair treatment or witnessing injustices in the world, leading to feelings of anger, disillusionment, and powerlessness.


·      Persistent feelings of anger, resentment, or bitterness.

·      A sense of hopelessness and cynicism about the world.

·      Emotional reactivity to perceived injustices in personal or societal settings.

·      Struggles with finding meaning and purpose in life.

·      The desire for social justice and advocacy for marginalized individuals or causes.

It's essential to remember that healing from soul wounds is a complex process that often requires professional support, such as therapy or counseling. Engaging in self-compassion, self-awareness, and self-care can also be valuable in the journey toward healing and personal growth.


How to Identify Our Ego’s “Masks”?


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According to the author Lise Bourbeau, our masks are the product of our “ego” and its defense mechanisms.  While they served their purpose at some point in our lives, they hindered the development of our resources to deal with the problem. In this, they impoverish our personality.


Identifying the fear and anxiety that arise when a relational situation reactivates, or risks reactivating the fundamental wound, makes it possible to identify our defense strategies, that is to say, our mask.


The way the ego, or your mind, avoids the suffering and pain associated with the wound of the soul is to put on a mask every time it is activated. This is because the ego tries to avoid unpleasant situations at all costs.

The ego uses this trick to convince you that you have no wound. It thinks that denial will make it disappear and you won’t feel it. Unfortunately, every time you put on a mask; you hide something from yourself. It causes a deep sense of betrayal because you are not faithful to the needs of your soul.


Knowing how to mindfully relay this vulnerable intimate personal information to your partner honestly and effectively is what my S.A.F.E. Communication Method is all about.


How Can You Heal Your Wounds?

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Begin by cultivating awareness of when this activation occurs, and practice observing it. Try to approach the arising thoughts and emotions with compassionate curiosity, allowing them to be present without judgment and fully taking over your will.


Furthermore, it's valuable to recognize that we often resist in others what we resist acknowledging within ourselves. This tendency leads us to focus on altering those around us rather than confronting our reflections.


Identifying and taking ownership of your emotions is a vital step toward liberating yourself from the influence others wield over your mood and your sense of self. It's through this self-awareness and accountability that you can untangle from external triggers and regain your emotional autonomy.


Trauma Impacts the Nervous System and Vagus Nerve

healing trauma, healing heartache, overcoming grief, personal transformation

The concept of the five soul wounds and the corresponding ego symptoms is intimately tied to our nervous system and the vagus nerve, which plays a pivotal role in emotional regulation.


Our nervous system, particularly the autonomic nervous system, reacts to these wounds by triggering stress responses. The vagus nerve, a key component of the parasympathetic nervous system, helps regulate our body's physiological functions, including heart rate, digestion, and respiratory rate. It also plays a central role in the body's stress response and the "fight-flight-freeze-fawn" mechanisms.


When these soul wounds are activated, the ego responds with specific symptoms such as control, avoidance, aggression, or conformity. These ego symptoms are often protective mechanisms aimed at avoiding the pain associated with the soul wounds. However, they can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, and emotional dysregulation.


healing trauma, healing heartache, overcoming grief, personal transformation

Emotional regulation involves understanding and managing these responses by engaging the vagus nerve's calming effects through the "rest-and-digest" mode of the parasympathetic nervous system.


Techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness, and meditation activate the vagus nerve and help shift the body from stress to relaxation mode. By calming the nervous system, we can better manage emotional triggers, promote self-awareness, and make conscious choices in our responses.


In essence, emotional regulation is closely intertwined with the regulation of the central nervous system, particularly through the vagus nerve. By addressing the soul wounds and ego symptoms, we can create a foundation for healthier emotional responses and a more balanced nervous system, leading to greater emotional well-being and more harmonious relationships.


Mindful Journaling Exercise: Increasing Relational Self-Awareness

healing trauma, healing heartache, overcoming grief, personal transformation

Remember, this journaling exercise is an opportunity for deep self-reflection and growth. Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you uncover and navigate your wounds, triggers, and healing journey. It's natural to feel different emotions when doing inner healing work, so ride the waves as mindfully as possible. Your increased self-awareness will contribute to healthier relationships, personal well-being, and more peace in the world. So, thank you for caring to love yourself and others mindfully.  

Identifying Your Soul Wounds:

  • Reflect on the 5 soul wounds (Abandonment, Betrayal, Rejection, Humiliation, Injustice). Which ones did you experience growing up?

  • Rate the intensity and frequency of each wound you experienced on a scale of 1-5 (1 being low, 5 being extremely high).

  • Can you recall how it made you feel to be treated that way? Describe your emotions.


Patterns from Childhood to Adulthood:


  • Reflect on your childhood experiences. Do you notice any recurring patterns of the 5 soul wounds in your adult life?

  • Identify the wound(s) that dominate and trigger you the most in your current relationships.

Understanding Dominant Triggers:


  • Refer to the symptoms of each soul wound. Which wounds align with your dominant triggers?

  • How do these wounds manifest in your reactions, behaviors, and emotions when triggered?


Exploring Emotional Responses:

  • Recall a recent situation that triggered one of your dominant wounds. How did you emotionally react in that situation?

  • Do you recognize any connection between your childhood experiences and your current emotional responses?


Acknowledging Your Suffering:

  • Practice acknowledging your emotional suffering without denying or minimizing it. Notice the bodily sensations that you feel when it arises.

  • How does it feel to recognize that the way you felt as a child when experiencing the wound is similar to how you feel now when triggered?


Identifying Masks and Defenses:

  • Reflect on times when you put on a "mask" or defense mechanism in response to your wounds.

  • How did this mask protect you at the time, and how does it impact your relationships now?

Confronting Your Reflections:

  • Explore situations where you resist in others what you resist acknowledging within yourself.

  • How does focusing on changing others' behavior reflect the avoidance of your own wounds?

Ownership of Emotions:

  • Describe a recent scenario where you felt triggered by someone's behavior or words.

  • How can you take ownership of your emotions and avoid projecting your wounds onto others?


Practicing Compassionate Curiosity:

  • Cultivate awareness of when your wounds are activated in relational situations.

  • Practice observing your thoughts and emotions with compassionate curiosity.

Reclaiming Emotional Autonomy:

  • How can understanding your wounds and triggers help you regain emotional autonomy?

  • What steps can you take to liberate yourself from external triggers and their influence over your mood and sense of self?


If these were helpful and you know someone else who could benefit from this information please pass it on. Be well. :)


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