Stage Two: The Wounded Healer
As the Wounded Healer, my empathy and compassion have deepened. I am able to see and feel into the interiors of another and connect with them based on relating rather than only through a therapeutic framework. I feel your pain. Sometimes all of the world’s pain comes pouring in, and I want to save the world. My Fixer has turned into a Rescuer, and I want to give all the victims of the world love and care. More than anything, I am with you in the trenches of your pain. We are both equals and neither of us in any better than the other. I am not comfortable playing “expert.” I believe we are all hurt, wounded, and in this together . . . except for the perpetrators. They are bad.
I try to listen deeply and allow you to find your own way, but I often get caught up in your stories and have trouble distinguishing my feelings from yours. When you feel bad, I often feel uncomfortable. My helplessness is activated, and then I seek to save you in order to make myself feel better. Self-responsibility for my own experience, issues, and feelings is abdicated for the over-responsible urge I get to rescue you from your issues and feelings. It is all about you. Sometimes my boundaries are blurred which may lead to additional emotional, financial, or ethical challenges.
At some point, my other-directed focus may lead me to neglect my own physical and emotional well-being. I am unaware that my urge to save others is really a longing to save myself. “I heal you, and you heal me,” has been my unconscious mantra. My own issues have not been healed. Deep down I feel shame, fear, anger, and hurt, and I don’t know how to be with these feelings in a different way. Due to these feelings of helplessness, I almost always end up feeling exhausted, burned out, disillusioned, and cynical about people’s ability to change.