Don’t Be a Wounded Healer

wounded healer

There is a lot of confusion about the Healer Archetype. Some think that it’s a life path. They think of themselves as wounded healers and use that as fuel to understand and tend to the suffering of others. The Healer is not that. Archetypal energy belongs to all people, not a select few.

Some feel that the wounded healer is a mark of spirituality. They were selected to bear a wound that never heals. This suffering makes them feel more deeply, makes them more sensitive, and more highly evolved. The wounded healer is the shadow of the healer. As such it is the part of us that needs to be brought into the light so that we can use it grow. It’s not a perpetual or special state.

To clear up the confusion, let’s look at the Healer. (Some call this archetype the Magician or Mage). Here is a snapshot.

Super Power: transformational power, personal power, ability to heal
Motivation: to make things better, to grow beyond
Challenge: overcome fear of power, wield power wisely, egotism, creating cult followers, disconnecting from reality, using power to keep others down or subservient
Shadow: manifesting negative outcomes, pretending to be more powerful or capable than you are; having power but withholding it; manifesting negativity, turning positives into negatives; belittling others, causing or enjoying others’ difficulties
Growth points: experiencing healing or noticing synchronicities; following inspiration with action to make dreams come true; consciously blending the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual to live or create change

Let me give you an example of the Wounded Healer. My first dance teacher used to use a lot of exaggerated praise. She didn’t focus on skills or technique. She praised the person for being beautiful. Often the students didn’t get this anywhere else in their lives so they came to depend on her for this. She used praise as a carrot to keep them devoted to her while holding back teaching techniques that would make them accomplished dancers. On the surface, she appeared to be a healer, but in reality, she really wasn’t.

Another example is a dance colleague who cloaked insults in constructive criticism. As soon as a student would show initiative or promise, she’d send self esteem destroying words her way to knock her down. However, her manner was so pleasant and sweet that the student trusted her and doubted herself.

I saw an article that was titled something like Ten Things That Show You are a Wounded Healer. They were all signs of codependence that were written in a way that made them seem positive. Codependence is absolutely a sign of the Wounded Healer; however, it’s not desirable or sexy. The Healer energy is about learning to stand in your personal power in a healthy way. With codependence, your worth relies on the opinion of someone else.

Whether you are a nurse or a babysitter, you have Healer energy. This energy exists to help you on your journey through life. You may also use it to help family members or friends just in the daily comings and goings of life. You may use it professionally. The primary purpose is to help yourself.

We are all wounded. There is the first childhood wound. Many more follow. Each wound gives us the opportunity to go into it and strengthen our true self or hide into the shadows. When we hide in the shadows, we weaken our power and deny the transformation. Trying to work from this place doesn’t allow us to help others very effectively nor ourselves.

When we are diminished, we often say, “I can’t wait to get back to the way I was.” That’s limited thinking because being the person we were is what allowed the wounding to happen in the first place. The Healer is the juice that helps us to squarely face the lesson, walk through it, and use it to transform us into something greater.

The experience then becomes our teacher and we become our own healer. Even when something else is involved – a doctor, book, therapist, or medicine – we must participate in and allow our own healing. When we give our power to others, the healing is incomplete. The wound may heal, but the energy that spawned it still exists. This means it will simply manifest again in another form later.

The Wounded Healer is the pretender. When it’s on the low side, the Wounded Healer withholds healing or uses the healing power to create negative things like dependence. When it’s on the overactive side, the Wounded Healer may pretend to be more skilled or resourceful than he is. This energy provides us with the excuse to stay where we are.

Wounds hurt. They can heal when we stop giving them energy and allow them to create scars. For emotional wounds, start with acceptance and being nonjudgmental. If you need to do something, follow through. Keep doing your part until the wounding is behind you. It takes mindfulness, surrender, acceptance, and perseverance. You can do it.