Existential Psychology

A Wound That Won’t Heal

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We think of emotional wounds as different from physical wounds and that’s the problem. When our bodies are injured most of us take active steps to help them heal. We see doctors, we take medications, we apply bandages, we rest.

Imagine if someone did none of these things after an injury, if he kept going along exactly like before, and then several weeks later complained about how his wound just wouldn’t heal. The reason why would be obvious to anyone. It’s not just time that heals wounds, it’s what we do within that time period. It’s sometimes as easy to exacerbate problems as it is to make them go away, and it largely depends on the part we play.

Emotional wounds are perhaps more ephemeral than physical wounds but they require attention and care too. People can and do go all of their lives without addressing their emotional wounds though. They allow them to fester, to interfere with their emotional health, secretly hoping that time alone will do the work of healing. But it doesn’t, and unless they consciously face the ephemeral and take active steps to heal their emotional wounds there is as little reason to think they will get any better as if a person with a broken leg continued to try to support all his weight on it.