Article What's the difference between broken and wounded? How you see yourself can make a huge difference. 0 2017 Life coaching Wellness coaching life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub
Request a free consultation

Broken or Wounded?

TAGS: coaching, life coaching, business coaching, coach, life coach, self help, personal development trauma, anxiety, depression, relationships, self-esteem, ptsd, broken, healing, life

It's Only When People Are Challenged That They Grow

People and things

Things get broken. This is an irrefutable fact of life. It is a truth of this fallen world.

I'm in a phase of life where I'm surrounded by small children. Two of these children live with me. One of these children has a ton of toys and other things he likes to play with. He has friends that come over and play. These playing children are not particularly careful, but are very rambunctious. There are lots of broken toys and other broken items in our lives.

Once something breaks, it can no longer be used for its original purpose. This doesn't bother my son whose imagination is magnificent. He turns a broken necklace into a utility belt or lasso. Eventually, I get tired of stepping on the broken toy and throw it away.

Maybe you think you're broken. That something is irrevocably wrong with you. That you'll never be successful or loved or attractive or good enough. And therein lies a problem.

Broken things have diminished value. They're disposable. Useless even. Things are designed to be used. You may have confused yourself with things.

But things cannot be wounded. Broken glasses don't want hugs. If your car breaks down, it won't get better when you talk kindly to it.

                            "Love people, not things; use things not people."

                                                  -Spencer W. Kimball


You are not broken

People can be wounded. Sometimes the wound is visible, like a sprained ankle or a paper cut. No one suggests that physical wounds make your body part useless. Instead, they encourage you to go to a doctor for guidance, healing, and support.

Sometimes, the wound is invisible. Humans are complex. Capable of great intelligence and empathy, and, in equal measure, great fear and ignorance. Ignorance results in not recognizing heart wounds. Fear results in not dealing with heart wounds.

It is hard to understand the invisible. This is part of the reason that faith, no matter what your faith is in, is often controversial. There is one person who sees the wounds and one who does not. Or maybe both people recognize the trauma but disagree on how to deal with it. American culture has a long history of not discussing things that are uncomfortable. But discomfort is necessary for change. It is only when people are challenged that they grow.

How are hearts wounded?

Hearts are pierced in many ways:

  • Belittling words
  • Dismissive tones
  • Being ignored
  • Having one's personal space invaded
  • Having needs unmet

Every time you are mistreated, the heart is pierced. If you ignore a wound, it is likely that to become infected. A heart that is uncared for will infect the body and the mind.

Childhood wounds

It is even more difficult to tend to the heart if many of your wounds occurred in childhood. Children are mostly helpless.

  • They cannot control when they are fed or held or cuddled.
  • They cannot voice problems that they do not have words for or a safe space to share.
  • If someone is being mean to them, they cannot simply walk away.
  • If they retaliate to protect themselves, they are often shamed or hurt in return. 

Children also lack a sense of time and knowledge. They do not know whether they have been crying for 1 minute or 10 minutes or 1 hour. They only know that they have a need and it is not being met. 

To protect the sense of self, a child must build defenses to reconcile the inbuilt ideal of care with the reality of unmet needs. It cannot be the caregiver. The problem must be with the child. They have to be smarter. Quieter. Cleaner. Better. 

The child rarely experiences enough to recognize that this is not how it should be. Often, family and cultural patterns reinforce that the caregiver's behavior is normal and it is the child that is wrong. And the wounds of the heart multiply.

As the child grows, they have an untended heart and defenses that attack any idea that something could be wrong. The infections begin to show up. Even the most outwardly successful individuals are subject to these infections. 

Infections of the body:

  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Sexual perversion and promiscuity
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Self-harm

Infections of the mind:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chronic anger and irritability
  • Obsessive and/or compulsive behaviors
  • Low self-esteem

We use the term broken heart, but a heart cannot be broken. It is never useless or disposable. A person cannot be broken. A person is never useless or disposable. 

You, my friend, have been wounded. We all have. And we're in various stages of recovery.

  • Some don't realize they've been wounded and simply think they or the world around them is broken.
  • Some have been tending to their wounds and have experienced healing.
  • Some have just realized that they've been wounded and they want to know how to heal.

No matter what stage of recovery you are in, there is more healing to be had and more grieving and growing to be done. But it is my hope that this article has brought you a little further on your journey. If it has, or if you think it may help someone you care about, pass it on. Wounds fester in darkness but heal in the light.

Blessings and grace to you.


Contact me




The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, recommended treatments, or professional advice. Readers should consult with a licensed professional to get advice for their individual situation. See the Disclaimer and Terms of Use for more information. Copyright Life Coach Hub Ltd 2016. A community of life coaches dedicated to improving your life.