It is during our relationships and interactions with people, regardless if they are friends, relatives, co-workers or distant associates and strangers, that we learn the most about ourselves. If we live like a hermit, no one can push our buttons. However, this requires a life of misery and isolation.
From personal experience, I have found that the biggest upsets in our lives often teach us the biggest lessons. Family members and close loved ones can especially get under our skin, and for the longest time, I have taken things quite personally. Selfish, ego-centered individuals tend to be born from their wounded inner child and how we were raised.
My perspective has recently changed; I opened up to a new way of seeing my situation and hopefully you can do the same. I really feel sorry for people who cannot see how hurt they really are from their childhood. When one doesn’t face how hurt they are, or were as children, they become damaged adults in damaged relationships.
My siblings felt that they weren’t always treated fairly by my mother. As a direct result, it left lasting bitterness, resentment, and the constant need to compete with each other. It still goes on and on today. I wish it would just stop and unfortunately it hasn’t. The saddest part is that if you do try to confront someone’s inner wounded child the other person become defensive. I’ve seen it countless times in others and have exhibited the behavior myself. We all do.
What I’ve noticed is that those who are wounded very rarely perform any introspection. Instead, they live in total denial of their behavior. It’s easy to spot someone who has been negatively affected, traumatized and hurt from childhood experiences.
Wounded Family Members:
Extreme competitive behavior especially with siblings. Brothers or sisters will often have one eye on the road and one eye on their sibling. If their sibling gets a new car, they’ll want a new car. If their sibling has a baby or is trying to conceive, they’ll have a baby or try to become a parent before the other succeeds. If the sibling has a big house, they’ll try and get an even bigger one. Usually the wounded sibling will act out of need to be the best. In order to do this, they must outdo everyone, and that means the need to have the highest education, the biggest house, the most kids, etc. It’s never ending; the hole in their soul is always hungry for more. Just wait until your kids are getting ready for college. They’ll likely try and get their children into a better school than your kids.
2.) APATHY & SELFISHNESS
Totally apathetic to your accomplishments, will not compliment you on anything. They’re also highly selfish and very busy. Usually their agenda and schedule is more important than anyone else’s. Even when they’re on the phone with you they are rushing you off because they have very little time to talk to you. It’s always about them. Any effort to meet or have a family reunion requires that you put in all the effort (airfare, driving, meeting them on their terms).
This family member is so hurt and wounded that they’ve decided to totally cut off everyone from their lives. So essentially, they really don’t communicate with anyone. No emails, text messages, no phone calls, and definitely not an in-person visit. Their family is practically dead to them. They’re so angry and bitter that they have started an entirely new life, one that doesn’t include their own blood.
I have experienced all three, as I have four sisters. And for a long time I was really hurt because I am a sensitive, creative soul with an abundance of compassion and empathy. I am what some holistic healers would call an emotional empath. I am highly sensitive and it’s what makes me very easily able to sense deep emotion and put myself in someone else’s shoes. I can see behind the veil and the façade that is covered up by defense mechanisms. However, I realized that while this can be a strength, I didn’t always know how to manage it. It’s been recently that I’ve begun to learn how to extract my own personal emotions and judgment from the situation in order to see things objectively.
You see, by being objective you provide space to fill between your perspective and beliefs and the truth. With space separating your mind from your emotions, you can take a deep breath and see things the way that they truly are, without your ego. My ego kept getting in the way, as I would get my feelings hurt because I kept taking things personal. It was when I began to understand that people are nothing more than wounded children, did I finally see my own wounded child within me and heal her. I have male and female friends, all of which one can very easily see that they have not healed their wounded child. They are still acting from their childlike nature and when one acts from their child self, they behave selfishly.
Babies and children are selfish in nature, because they are not independent and need the care of an adult until they can do things on their own. They need their diapers changed. They need to be fed, clothed, bathed, looked after, and loved. When the child inside us is still in pain we behave like children. We behave selfishly. Everything becomes about us and our needs and our need for approval. When you finally understand that people who are rude, selfish, arrogant, competitive, stuck up, self-righteous, bullies, abusive, negative, cynical, hypercritical, superficial and etc; these people are in pain. They usually don’t know it because they bury their pain in work, titles, accomplishments, degrees, awards, money, and etc. They also bury their pain in substance abuse as well.
If you see a wounded bird on the ground with a broken wing, unless you are a psychopath and enjoy seeing suffering, your heart begins to soften. How do you feel when you see a baby crying? When you watch them crying for their mom? Or when you see a child scrape their knee? There’s a softening of the heart that takes place. This is precisely how you have to see the wounded humans you encounter daily. No matter how toxic, rude, competitive, annoying the humans in your life are if you see them as a wounded bird with a broken wing, you begin to see them as they truly are and once you do this you begin to realize that it is not about you. So rather than take it personally, put space around the emotion and take a deep breath. There is no need to react to them, let go of your own ego and realize it’s not you.
Someone else’s unresolved childhood issues are not at all about you. It’s about them. It has always been about them. Knowing this and truly understanding it can be the most freeing acknowledgement. You are free because you can empathize and feel sorry for those that haven’t dealt with their own personal traumas. Rather than take it all personally, you can smile and go about your day. You can focus on yourself and let them behave however they want. You don’t have to feed into their behaviors and you don’t have to be hurt by them. No one has the power to hurt you unless you give them the power.
Don’t give away your power; use it to confront yourself and heal yourself. This way you don’t have to live unconscious anymore, not like others that walk around in denial because they can’t face their past. Let them deal with their own issues, if they want to live unconsciously, let them. You have your own life to live and you should do that knowing that you’ve transformed yourself by choosing to live free of the blueprint of the past, free of the old story of woes and pain. You can live no longer feeling sorry for yourself, but selflessly empathize with others and see them for who they truly are.