What does wounded healer mean
Chiron, the wounded healer
The Chiron in us
As holistic ideas spread, psychology and psychotherapy became an increasingly natural part of our lives. Many people went looking. After the challenges and traumas of the war, they increasingly turned inward and tried to research and better understand not only their personal but also their family history and their historical background. But where a lot of damage has been done, there is also a lot to heal.
Meanwhile, people of all ages are turning their lives upside down and questioning themselves and the environment around them, to a remarkable extent including people of advanced age. More and more seniors are taking advantage of counseling or therapy, cleaning up their lives or breaking away from decades of marriages and life concepts.
Meanwhile, our collective and personal wounds are everywhere. We find it in our disturbed relationship with nature, with animals, with our work, with our resources, with our nearer and more distant neighbors. Arno Grün called this the loss of compassion.
Between the old and the new
And so we are currently experiencing a generation “in between”, an extremely painful transition. More precisely, it spans more than a generation. It affects us all: the current generation of parents as well as their parents and their children.
I found a very fitting description in the book “Indigo Adults”. Outwardly we are shaped by the old, even trapped in it. Inwardly, the new fills us. But we are not just the change. We testify him aswell. The change is coming by us and With us.
The difficulty of being in between
The difficulty inherent in our zeitgeist is precisely that disruption between old and new. I feel this particularly clearly as a mother. And I experience it with many, yes, most of the parents. We wrestle. Violently. With the old man. With the new. And with ourselves.
The difficult, albeit thankful, part of this role is the "double burden", i.e. the double task that comes with it. More and more parents are meeting their own need, their inner, deeply wounded child, while at the same time, as biological parents, they are already responsible for their offspring.
I know many for whom this double task is a real show of strength and an ongoing challenge. A Herculean task (there it is again, the mythology). And the requirements are not small: it requires awareness (work), balance, the ability to self-reflect and self-distance, insight, foresight, empathy, willingness to change and the ability and necessity to heal yourself or to seek appropriate help. Above all, however, it requires a willingness to face generations of old pain. We are a generation of wounded healers. We live forwards and we heal backwards.
This insight also pains me deeply. I was - quite naive, but full of good will - to lead my children through their childhood as unscathed as possible. And even if I managed to get rid of the biggest stumbling blocks before my first pregnancy, there were still plenty of stones left. They line our way, and hardly a day goes by when I don't painfully stub my toe on forgotten, discarded or carelessly thrown away old rubble.
A generation of healers
But we are a generation of healers. I know many and more and more. The art that we have set out to master is to find a new balance between looking inside and outside, self-centeredness and service to others.
In one life we cannot solve all the problems that have been accumulated over centuries. That's impossible. But we can turn things around. We can set the course. However, as with Chiron, this requires a sacrifice. We must turn to our wounds and face our repressed parts.
We have to bring the outcast son home and learn to see the Chiron in us with new, loving eyes.
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