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Uncover Your Core Wound ‒ The Power Of Your Story (Part 1)

Written by: Amie Dean, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


You carry around a life story that impacts you today and these stories run deep ‒ they live within your body, your thoughts, and your emotions. The story you tell yourself and others, the good and the bad, has led you to where you are today. Your story has impacted every single moment of your life. Your story changes naturally over time, but there are parts of your story that never change until the past has been healed. Perhaps you hide the storybook of your pain in the attic of your mind where it collects dust and debris seemingly hidden from your awareness. If so, you’re not alone.

My heart goes out to you as I know that whatever pain you have endured has ripped your heart wide open, and when this happened towering walls were built around it to protect you from additional pain. Fear becomes the primary experience and shadows the innocent desire to live as your true authentic Self. This human journey is like a maze, and while we all want to find the center (where true joy and peace reside) to get there, you are bound to come up against dead ends and constant fear blocks in your continued commitment to trudge ahead. On top of it all, it is also incredibly common to experience trauma (which is any adverse life event that was deeply distressing at the time of the event). In fact, five out of ten women have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. ¹ Also, women experience more complex and varied patterns of childhood adversity that cause core wounding and are more likely than men to have mental health, social, and emotional difficulties in adulthood. ²

This means no matter your story, whether it includes trauma or not ‒ you’ve had enough pain in your life and no matter what you have been through, I can guarantee you have been through enough suffering.

Enough is enough.

We are on the brink of one of the largest shifts in mental health and spiritual growth for women so many women want to go beyond coping, beyond healing even there is a blazing fire burning within the hearts of women everywhere ‒ this desire to transform the parts of their lives negatively impacted by their past while deepening the connection to their Soul.

If you’re ready, we will rewrite your story together one step at a time knowing that your new empowering story is waiting for you to discover.

Your Four Core Wounds

Listening to my client's stories and reflecting on my healing journey, I have discovered that the cause of most (if not all) of our human suffering can be broken down into four core wound categories: shame, survival, abandonment, and disempowerment.

These wounds are most often carried by your inner child, who lives within the walls of your heart. These core wounds are intricately woven together like a tapestry, you likely carry more than one or even all four, but you have one core wound that has negatively affected your life the most. There is one core wound that wreaks havoc in all areas of your life and once this one is fully healed, it is much easier to heal the others.

Let’s walk through them one by one in more depth so you can start to identify your 1 core wound and how it affects your life today. I’ll share more of my pathway to heal these wounds and then I will walk you through your journey to help you step into your true, authentic self.

Shame Wound

(being judged, not seen for who you are, guilty, feeling unlovable)

From a very young age, I knew I was different. I was deeply sensitive and highly anxious, I felt things so very deeply and struggled to process through my emotions. I didn’t know it at the time, but I discovered I was a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) which makes up about 15-20% of the population. An HSP is someone who is extremely sensitive to the emotions and energy of people, animals, and elements in the environment. In addition, I discovered I was also an empath which takes sensitivity to the next level, as we tend to absorb others emotions unconsciously.

Without the knowledge of this understanding, my only outlet was writing poetry. It became my trusted friend when I didn’t feel safe enough to share the inner workings of my mind and emotions with others.

When I became a teenager, I continually asked myself the question “what's wrong with me?”, and despite my ability to make friends easily, I never truly feeling good enough. It didn’t help that I was a very late bloomer ‒ I was told by peers and adults that I was too thin (are you anorexic or bulimic? They would ask.) too nerdy (thank you so much glasses and braces) and too sensitive just all around too much, and yet…not enough. All the while, I suffered with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) with chronic panic attacks (which I didn’t have a name for at the time and instead thought I was dying). I never felt safe in my body, a theme I would come to face throughout my adult life. Because none of my friends seemed to exhibit these behaviors, clearly I thought, there had to be something wrong with me. I was also a natural So I tried to fit in, to be like everyone else. When I had panic attacks, I pretended I was okay. When I struggled with OCD, I tried to hide it from others. I believed that no one could accept my shadow self.

It wasn’t until my early twenties that I began the personal counseling journey and discovered that my high sensitivity and related anxiety was actually a treasure chest of gifts just waiting for me to unlock them. Through a lot of deep inner work, I learned that my life purpose was to help others awaken to the qualities of their divine Soul, to align as their most authentic selves. In this empowered state, I was drawn to a holistic spirituality which became my beacon of light.

According to Brene Brown, researcher and author of Daring Greatly, almost everyone suffers with shame (except the rare individuals who lack the capacity for empathy). Her definition of shame is incredibly helpful: Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging. ³

For women, shame shows up as the need to look perfect and be perfect. The fear of being judged by others, the fear of the flawed aspects of self-revealed. For many women, no matter how much they achieve or accomplish in their lives they never feel good enough in different areas of their lives intimate relationships/sex, friendships, family, career/finances, and body image. If any of this resonates with you, know that this is one of the most common core wounds.

What shame can look like:

  • Heightened self-consciousness “what do others think of me?”

  • An embarrassment of “who I am”

  • Comparison with others activates a loud “inner critic” sub-personality

  • Feeling like an imposter

  • Feeling unworthy and not good, not smart enough

  • A sense of not being able to do things “right”

  • Feeling inauthentic in relationships

  • Social anxiety

  • Self-doubt in decision-making Underlying feelings of guilt

The world will tell you that you need to become someone, to prove your worth (just look at any advertisement or magazine geared towards women, there's a message about who you should be, how you should look, and how you should spend your time, money and energy).

In truth ‒ you are ALREADY enough

There is nothing you need to do, become or achieve to align as the divine brilliance that you are. I encourage you to breathe into this knowing, right here and right now.

You dear one, are beautiful and perfect just as you are.

Abandonment Wounds

(feeling neglected, betrayed, rejected, needs unmet)

My dad passed away several years ago, he was my very best friend, at the same time we had quite a complex relationship. My dad struggled with an alcohol and narcotic addiction throughout my childhood and into adulthood as a result of living with painful, chronic health conditions. I watched a man I love dearly be taken over by the throws of addiction, fighting against it some days, and just barely hanging on the others. On the good days, I saw him as the dad I knew and loved, the funny, loving father I could depend on. On the bad days, he was numb, depressed and therefore, emotionally unavailable. My roles switched quickly between daughter and responsible caretaker, which means I had to grow up much faster than my inner child was ready for. Through the ups and downs of my childhood, I developed an insecure attachment style, known as Anxious Attachment, which led me to feel fearful and preoccupied in my adult relationships.

Now that my dad has passed and I have had time to grieve and heal, I can look back and say with certainty that my childhood was exactly the way it was supposed to be. I needed these experiences for my highest growth, to help me awaken to the truth of who I really am. I wouldn’t be more this braver, more compassionate aspect of myself without this key piece of my past.

When I look back at my dad‘s role in my upbringing, I have nothing but love in my heart for him and I feel him with me all the time. With all my dad was up against, I admire him. He remained strong and his love for me, my mom and my sisters were always at the root of who he was and how he lived his life.

And today, after healing multiple layers of wounding within, I’m happily married with much more of a secure disposition than an anxious one. However, healing never happens in a linear fashion, so I know there will be more layers of healing that will make themselves known to me in the right timing, and when they do ‒ I’ll be ready.

The abandonment wound occurs after experiencing abuse, neglect, betrayal, or losing the people you love, or as I shared, growing up in a chaotic home. There are three different insecure attachment styles that fall under this abandonment wound: anxious, avoidant, and disorganized attachment.

What the abandonment wound can look like within each of these attachment styles:

Anxious Attachment:

  • An underlying sense of unease, and preoccupation with a lack of trust and safety in the relationship, and a lurking worry that you’ll lose your partner

  • Difficulty trusting others

  • Low self-esteem

  • Craving closeness and intimacy, feeling like there is a hole that can’t be filled

  • Needing ongoing reassurance that others care about you


  • Avoids long-term commitment in relationships

  • Feels uncomfortable with touch or being physically close to others

  • Does not show emotions easily

  • Does not ask for emotional support

  • Stresses the need for independence, feels that partners are too “needy” or “clingy”

Disorganized Attachment:

  • Difficulty in regulating emotions

  • Back and forth between extreme closeness and isolation from others (push-pull)

  • Desiring close relationships but struggles with emotional intimacy

  • Extreme fear of rejection

Disempowerment Wound

(feeling manipulated, gaslit, used/exploited, make yourself small)

My inner ego system was born to make others happy to avoid conflict (aka to avoid more pain and potential abandonment from childhood). I learned early on that people like you when you are nice to them, and do not like you when you show any kind of negative emotion (hint: because it activates their wounding, which then activates my wounding and then the cycle continues).

So I played the game especially in young adulthood, not knowing it was a societal game at the time. It felt very serious, and I had to make sure everyone was happy, all the time, in every circumstance. It felt like walking on eggshells. I carefully set up around every relationship imaginable. I was the “yes” woman, even when I wanted to say no. Boundaries? Nope. Too high of stakes to set boundaries, my wounds could be activated. I simply smiled when I was cringing inside, and then I wondered why I was burnt out, exhausted and deeply craving alone time in nature. I was all “peopled” out. The worst part? In part it led to my success, to my achievements and appeared to help me move more quickly towards my life purpose of helping others and making a big impact. This is the disempowerment wound, it sneaks up on you sometimes when you least expect it, and only afterwards do you realize that you lost your voice, your authenticity and your dignity. I also became angry, and in case it wasn’t obvious, anger wasn’t okay either.

Not as a woman, as a professional or as someone who was “supposed to have it all together” (what an impossible standard..)

Emily and Amelia Nagoski in their book Burnout: Unlocking The Stress Cycle said it perfectly when they called it “Human Giver Syndrome” ‒ “Human givers must, at all times, be pretty, happy, calm, generous, and attentive to the needs of others, which means they must never be ugly, angry, upset, ambitious, or attentive to their own needs.”

But there is another way. And this way for me included walking the dark tunnel of being willing to confront my people's pleasing tendencies and in turn the disempowerment wound. That way, I’m not so broken down when I am faced with other people's wounds. I’ve come a long way as now I speak my truth, even when it’s not the popular opinion, and might even upset someone else. I also now put my self-care first, which come to find out also means you might upset someone in the process, but have discovered it is well worth the relationship repair after. And as before, there are always more layers to heal, but in the past I used to dread this painful process of healing, and now, I am here with open arms, it is afterall, my path to awaken.

The Disempowerment wound can occur as a result of childhood experiences where you learned that it wasn’t okay to express yourself authentically. Such as growing up in a family that asked you to keep quiet often, and to contain your emotions. Or being bullied by other children in school. Perhaps you were told “children should be seen but not heard” when you were upset as a child, maybe you were criticized for speaking your truth, and boundaries weren’t acknowledged or respected. This is a suppression wound, at the time you had to suppress who you are to be who others wanted you to be.

What the Disempowerment wound can look like:

  • A feeling of helplessness, and the potential to blame others for the way you feel due to suppressed anger

  • Struggling to set firm boundaries in relationships in fear that you won’t be acknowledged or respected.

  • Silencing your voice, making yourself smaller around others

  • Self-doubt, difficulty making decisions, and trusting intuition

  • On the other end of this, you might notice a feeling of rage when you are not respected

Survival Wound

(feeling attacked, violence at home (childhood/current), physical or emotional trauma, scarcity)

As with many things, there is a web that connects one wound to the next, is this is definitely my experience. As an anxious, sensitive child that struggled to feel safe in my body with a predisposition towards OCD/health related fears, I was not well prepared for the health catastrophe that would cause the spiral that led to my rock bottom. As life will have it, sometimes we will given challenging”life assignments” to face our wounding one after another after another. In my case at the time of my identity and life crisis, I was carrying the heaviness of abandonment wounding (which peaked when my dad passed away), the disempowerment wound, and the shame wound.

It took a near death hospital experience to launch me into a two year journey to heal my physical pain, underlying shame and loss of identity. But here's the good news ‒ I survived! Everytime we survive, no matter what we have been through, it can become a Post Traumatic Growth experience. PTG is a positive transformation after trauma where you feel stronger and more resilient than ever before. And studies show time and time again that those who face adversity (come up against their Survival wound) are often the ones who are the most empowered, the most resilient, and the most transformed. It turns out the aphorism, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” does have a great deal of truth to it.

The survival wound shows up in many different ways. For some this wounding begins during a time of witnessing violence or experiencing abuse or neglect. For others, they grew up in poverty watching their parents struggle to put food on the table for dinner or stress over their inability to pay the bills. No matter how this wounding comes about, the underlying belief and felt sense is the same: I am not safe. This lack of safety spills over into all areas of life as adults but especially in the categories of relationships and money as well.

What the Survival wound can look like:

  • Preoccupied with finances and having enough

  • Concerned about the loss of money even when things are fine

  • Experiencing chronic anxiety or panic attacks

  • Fear of death, getting sick, or suffering

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Anxiety or Panic Attacks

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

All of your suffering has brought you to this very moment.

That’s so important to consider, because while you have been through enough suffering ‒ it is also a beautiful blessing in a cloaked disguise. Suffering truly is the catalyst to your highest growth and your deepest awakening to who you really are.

Let’s walk this journey home together…

Download The Free Core Wound Guidebook To Learn More

Read Part 2 To Discover A Simple, Powerful Method To Heal Your Core Wounds

Follow Amie on Facebook or visit her website.


Amie Dean, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Amie Dean is a Clinically Certified Trauma Professional and Awakening Transformation Coach specializing in high sensitivity. Her Awakened Living Community and online courses have helped hundreds of empaths and HSPs break free of the four core wounds hindering their growth in their spirituality, relationships, work/career, and life purpose. She guides them to fully align with their Higher Selves so they can awaken their true essence, and live a meaningful life while sharing their gifts with the world.





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