CHILDHOOD WOUND

On alternate Friday-Saturdays, our 40 student Organizational Behavior class broke-out into quadrilles, to address some touchy-feely topic. This particular day we were charged with date-stamping the most significant event in our childhood from 0-19. Even though we were not required to spill-the-beans on what happened, it was the 'when' of Six Stages of Childhood Development that would help us identify our Achilles's Heel.

Our foursome soon became a trio, when an engineer colleague objected to paying $30,000 in EMBA tuition for public amateur psycho-therapy sessions.  After class I learned that our OB (psych) profs, (8 out of 10 graduates of the University of Michigan), were disciples of Erik Erikson's eight stages of psychosocial development,

Stage 7: Care (middle adulthood, 40–59 years) Existential Question: Can I Make My Life Count?

    Stage Seven did me in, at 48.2 years, my Existential Question was how to avoid  homelessness. My psycho-therapist suggested that Harvel Hendix's "Keeping the Love You Find," could help. I quickly became an apostle of Harvel's Six Stages of Childhood Development or 'Wound Theory.'


    As an architect I can read pictures, diagrams, even maps, so the above chart said to me that I never got off of first base, the ATTACHMENT phase. My 30 year relationship had become so incompatible because my partner was also wounded in the ATTACHMENT stage, only on the opposite Achilles's heel.

     

     

    ATTACHMENT STAGE (0-18 months)


     
     The AVOIDER:
      Minimizer, Rigid Boundaries
    Basic Fear (Wound):  Contact may lead to emotional and physical rejection, loss of self through contact with parent (partner).
    Internal Message:  Don't be
    Core Belief:  "I have no right to exist"
    Relationship Belief:  I will be hurt if I initiate contact with you
    Image of Partner:  Demanding, all consuming
    Relationship to Partner:  Detached; avoidant
    Core Issue:  Too much togetherness;  too many feelings;  too much chaos
    Typical Frustration:  You hate me;  you feel too much
    Recurrent Feeling:  Terror and rage
    Conflict Management:  Hyper-rational;  avoidant;  passive/aggressive withdrawal and coldness
    Growth Challenge Claim right to be;  initiate emotional and physical contact;  express feelings;  increase body awareness and sensory contact with environment 
     
     The CLINGER:  Maximizer, Diffuse Boundaries
    Basic Fear (Wound): Separation and abandonment;  loss of self through loss of contact with parent (partner)
    Internal Message Don't need me
    Core Belief:  "I can't get my needs met"
    Relationship Belief:  I am safe if I hold on to you
    Image of Partner: Unavailable;  has no feelings; a rock wall
    Relationship to Partner:  Clinging; demanding; attempts to fuse
    Core Issue: Separateness
    Typical Frustration: You are never there
    Recurrent Feeling: Voracious rage and terror
    Conflict Management: Hyper-emotional, uncompromising; demanding, then giving in
    Growth Challenge: Let go; do things on your own; negotiate

    EXPLORATION STAGE: (18 months to 3 years)

     
    The Isolator:  Minimizer, Rigid Boundaries
    Basic Fear (Wound):   Being smothered, absorbed, humiliated, loss of parent (partner)
    Internal Message  Don't be separate
    Core Belief:   "I can't say no and be loved"
    Relationship Belief: I will be absorbed if I get close
    Image of Partner:  Insecure; too dependent; needy
    Relationship to Partner: Sets limits on togetherness; passive/aggressive; acts out absorption fears by distancing
    Core Issue: Personal freedom; autonomy
    Typical Frustration: You need too much
    Recurrent Feeling Recurrent Feeling: Fear and impotent fury
    Conflict Management: Oppositional; distancing
    Growth Challenge: Initiate closeness; share feelings; increase time together; integrate positive and negative traits in partner
     
    The Pursuer:  Maximizer, Diffuse Boundaries
    Basic Fear (Wound):  Unreliability of others, abandonment; loss of parent (partner)
    Internal Message  Don't be dependent
    Core Belief:   "I can't count on anyone"
    Relationship Belief:  If I act independent, you will abandon me
    Image of Partner:   Distant; has no needs
    Relationship to Partner:  Ambivalent pursuit and withdrawal
    Core Issue:  Partner reliability; support; standing
    Typical Frustration:  You are never there when I need you 
    Recurrent Feeling: Panic and anger
    Conflict Management: Blaming, demanding; chasing; complaining; devaluing
    Growth Challenge: Initiate separateness; develop outside interests; internalize partner; integrate positive and negative traits of partner

    
                                                                                   IDENTITY STAGE (3 to 4)

     

    The Controller:  Minimizer, Rigid Boundaries
    Basic Fear (Wound)Being shamed; loss of control; losing face; loss of parental (partner) love
    Internal Message  Don't be what you want to be, be what we want you to be
    Core Belief:   "I can't be me and be accepted and loved"
    Relationship Belief:  I'll be safe if I stay in control
    Image of Partner:   Unorganized; scatterbrained; over-emotional
    Relationship to Partner:  Domineering; critical; invasive; withholding
    Core Issue:  Partner's emotional liability, chaos, and passivity
    Typical Frustration:  You want me to be somebody else; you don't know what you want
    Recurrent Feeling:  Shame and anger
    Conflict Management:  Rigidly imposes will; super-rational with occasional angry outbursts; takes charge; punishes
    Growth Challenge:  Relax control; mirror partner's thoughts and feelings; develop flexibility and sensitivity
     
    The Diffuser:  Maximizer, Diffuse Boundaries
    Basic Fear (Wound) Being invisible, self-assertion, loss of parental (partner) love 
    Internal Message  Don't assert yourself
    Core Belief: "I'll never be seen, valued, and accepted"
    Relationship Belief:  I'll be loved if I go along and please others
    Image of Partner:   Insensitive; controlling
    Relationship to Partner:  Submissive; passive-aggressive; manipulative
    Core Issue:  Partner rigidity and dominance 
    Typical Frustration:  You never see me; you want everything your way
    Recurrent Feeling:  Shame and confusion
    Conflict Management:  Confused; alternates between compliance and defiance; exaggerates emotions; makes few suggestions; self-effacing
    Growth Challenge Assert yourself; set boundaries for yourself; respect boundaries of others
     

    COMPETENCE STAGE (4-6)

     The Competitor Minimizer, Rigid Boundaries
    Basic Fear (Wound):   Being a failure, guilt and disapproval, fear of parental (partner) disapproval
    Internal Message  Don't make mistakes
    Core Belief:  "I have to be perfect"
    Relationship Belief:  I'll be loved if I am the best
    Image of Partner:   Manipulative; incompetent
    Relationship to Partner:  Competitive; aggressive; puts partner down
    Core Issue:  Control; battle for who's boss
    Typical Frustration:  You are never satisfied
    Recurrent Feeling:  Anger and guilt
    Conflict Management:  Competes for control
    Growth Challenge Accept competence; become cooperative; mirror and value partner’s efforts
     
     The Compromiser:  Maximizer, Diffuse Boundaries
    Basic Fear (Wound): Being aggressive, successful, competent, and powerful, losing parental (partner) approval
    Internal Message  Don't be powerful
    Core Belief:  "I don't know what to do; I can't be aggressive or express anger"
    Relationship Belief:  I'll be loved if I am good and cooperative
    Image of Partner:  Never satisfied; has to win
    Relationship to Partner: Manipulative; compromising; sabotaging
    Core Issue:  Feeling controlled; efforts not valued
    Typical Frustration:  You always have to win
    Recurrent Feeling:  Helpless and resentful
    Conflict Management:  Compromises; manipulates
    Growth Challenge: Be direct; express power; develop competence; praise partner's success

    CONCERN for OTHERS STAGE (6-13)


     The Loner Minimizer, Rigid Boundaries
    Basic Fear (Wound): Ostracism by peers; parental (partner) rejection
    Internal Message  Don't be close
    Core Belief: "I am not lovable"
    Relationship Belief:  I'll be hurt if I try to be close
    Image of Partner: Gregarious and intrusive
    Relationship to Partner: Exclude partner from inner world; make unilateral plans; counter-dependent
    Core Issue: Partner intrusiveness
    Typical Frustration: You don't like me; you won't leave me alone
    Recurrent Feeling: Resentment and depression
    Conflict Management: Avoids conflict; sulks
    Growth Challenge Develop same-sex friends; join partner in socializing; share feelings and thoughts with partner; become inclusive
     
     The Caretaker:  Maximizer, Diffuse Boundaries
    Basic Fear (Wound): Having or expressing needs; being excluded; parental (partner) rejection
    Internal Message  Don't have any needs of your own
    Core Belief: "Others need me"
    Relationship Belief: I'll be loved if I meet your needs
    Image of Partner (IP): Unappreciative
    Relationship to Partner: Self-sacrificing; intrusive
    Core Issue: Partner's exclusion
    Typical Frustration: You don't appreciate me or my efforts
    Recurrent Feeling: Resentment; depression
    Conflict Management: Tries to be understanding and nice
    Growth Challenge: Express needs to partner and others; self-care; respect partner's privacy; take time alone

     

    INTIMACY STAGE (13-19)

    The Rebel:  Minimizer, Rigid Boundaries
    Basic Fear (Wound):  Being controlled by others (parent/partner)
    Internal Message:  Don't grow up
    Core Belief:  "I am not trusted"
    Relationship Belief:  I'll be controlled if I give up dissent
    Image of Partner:  Too nice; counter-controlling; devalues partner
    Relationship to Partner: Rebellious; controlling; devalues partner

    Core Issue: Freedom to break the rules
    Typical Frustration:  You are never on my side
    Recurrent Feeling: Anger and disappointment
    Conflict Management: Rebellious; suspicious of motives
    Growth Challenge: Maintain self-identity; be responsible to others; learn to trust others
     
    The Conformist:
     Maximizer, Diffuse Boundaries
    Basic Fear (Wound): Being different from others; disapproval of parent (partner)
    Internal Message: Don't make waves
    Core Belief: "I have to be good"
    RB: I have to hold things together
    Image of Partner: Rebellious child
    Relationship to Partner: Condescending; critical; controlling
    Core Issue : Stability and cooperation
    Typical Frustration: You won't grow up; you always want to be different
    Recurrent Feeling:  Angry self-righteousness
    Conflict Management:  Tries to impose rules
    Growth Challenge Experiment with being different; take risks, develop identity

    

    In Greek mythology Achilles was the son of Thetis a sea-nymph. Here Thetis is shown dipping the newly-born Achilles into the river Styx in the hope that the river's magical properties would protect him. Achilles became a legendary hero but was killed by an arrow to his heel the one part of his body left vulnerable.

    

    Our Childhood Wound is our Achilles's Heel. No matter how successful we are on paper, every relationship in friendship, business or marriage has the potential for a battle with Hector. At least a third of the population gets dipped in ATTACHMENT (no father, nervous mother). CONCERN for OTHERS 7-13 flunks their first away from home game at elementary school. Another third confuses sex with INTIMACY.

     Steve Jobs is our classic ATTACHMENT: CLINGER. No father, mother placed him with college educated parents who abandoned him. Jobs abandons his first partner & child goes on to karmically get fired by Apple, his true love.

      Obama a classic ATTACHMENT: AVOIDER. No father, absent mother gets to the White House to spill his mid-life transition 45-55 woundedness on the world stage. The problem for Obama and all of us, no matter the stage of childhood development- Yes Virginia, everybody gets wounded - we can't unwind our wound. Our only Hope for Change is self-awareness and focus on our Growth Challenge.

     Not to beat a dead horse of a presidential candidate but the quintessential ATTACHMENT: CLINGER Hillary Clinton might have won in 2008 or 2016 if she had responded to her Growth Challenge: Let go; do things on your own; negotiate. Let Bill, Obama, pollsters, celebrities, financiers, and your 'my turn' go. Do things on your own, campaign for yourself where the people are e.g. Wisconsin, Michigan and PA. Negotiate with transparency.