Making Sense of Family of Origin Wounds

So, if you had a wonderful childhood, you may want to skip this blog.   But if you didn’t, please read on.   🙂

What defines your identity?

Growing up, most of us defined our identity by our popularity status, academic achievements, sports awards, who we dated, and most importantly, most of us define our identity by what our parents told us about who we are or perhaps what they did not tell us about who we are.

Most of us associate our sense of identity by what we had done, not by who we are.  So, when we achieve, perform, win, excel, we feel good about ourselves, however when we fail, lose, and are defeated we feel lousy about ourselves.  Therefore, our sense of identity is like the house that was built upon a sand foundation.  When the storms and rain come, surely the house may come crashing down. Our identity rather needs to be based on something greater than our achievements, status, success, or lack thereof, our identity needs to be based on a firm foundation and understanding of who we are.  Take out a sheet of paper right now, write your name on the top of it.  Then for 15 minutes, write down anything that comes to your mind when you think of the question; how do you see yourself?  I want you to write down reflections that depict how you see yourself right now, not how you want to see yourself.  I want you also to be brutally honest, say what you really think.

The answer to this question may shed light on the messages that you heard growing up about who you are.   These answers also shed light into whether or not you may have a Family of Origin Wound. To further explore this issue, on the back side of your sheet of paper answer the following questions.

What did you hear growing up from your parents regarding your identity and self portrait?  Sarah is ________________. (write down the first ten words/phrases that come to your mind in terms of how your parents saw you.)

Did I feel invisible in my childhood? Yes, No, Maybe. A little.  Explain.

Did I feel comfortable talking about my feelings w/my parents?  Yes, No, Maybe. A little.  Explain.

Did I feel really cared for and loved by my parents?  Yes, No, Maybe. A little.  Explain.


Disclaimer: knowing something and feeling something are two different things.  So, you may have always known that your parents loved you, but maybe your didn’t feel loved by your parents.

All of these scenarios from your childhood give us more insight into the development of your identity and personality as an adult.

What does the word FAMILY mean to you?  Family is___________.

Family is such a loaded word and it can mean something entirely different to each person.  Family can be a source of strength and love and family can also be a source of deep pain and hurt.  Many of us may have Family of Origin wounds that we are not aware of.  When these Family of Origin wounds are not acknowledged, they wounds can cause Depression, Anxiety, and Relationship Difficulties in adulthood.

What is a Family of Origin Wound?  A Family of Origin Wound is an emotional wound that is left from our biological, adoptive mother, father, or the person that was responsible for raising us, where maybe made us feel like we were; “invisible, defective, and inadequate” or on the other side of the spectrum, made us feel like we were “too special, too amazing, golden child, and/or cannot do anything wrong”  Additionally, a family of origin wound can be also be a wound in which our parent(s) did not teach us an essential life skill necessary for a successful life, such as learning how to interact with people, initiating socializing, and/or taking feedback.    I have created a “diagram” to help show how our family of origin wounds can affect us in adult hood, however I will save that for next time because this blog will be waaaaaay to long if I don’t break this up a little bit.  With that being said, it looks like it’s time to share with you another gluten free five ingredient or less recipe, so here is a recipe for; Orange You Glad It’s Not Green Smoothie! … Because I just LOVE Smoothie’s!

Warm Regards,

Kelly Johnson, MA, LPC

“Create the kind of life right now that you will L-O-V-E.”

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