Emotional Scars: The Price of being Human

Our lives may be unique, in experience and environment, but one thing we all have in common are Life-scars. We all carry personal scars, emotional wounds from life’s up and down roller-coaster ride. For many of us, these scars still fester, having never completely healed. And perhaps, never will? Because emotional scars are sometimes well hidden — even to the ones that bear them.

We all carry emotional baggage, old wounds left over from our past. From troubling relationships, with our mates, our parents, siblings or friends — or from past emotionally traumatizing events or bad experiences.

Physical scars heal but the unseen mental scars we carry, sometimes never do. And unhealed emotional scars do more damage than just haunt us with bad memories. They can in fact, change the very way we live our lives.

“The scars you can’t see are the hardest to heal” — Astrid Alauda

THE SCARS OF LIFE

Now there are all kinds of emotional trauma that can leave open wounds during our lifetime. Physical, sexual, emotional abuse perhaps the obvious. These, even from childhood can linger and cause mental anguish in adulthood. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) another well-known cause of emotional disorder. Any of these left alone to their own progression can emotional scar one for life.

Death of a loved one can be a very traumatic experience. Going through a long terminal illness with someone you love can be emotionally devastating. As can a sudden unexpected loss, or the emotional unraveling of loosing a child. A horrible grief unending. Truly an emotional scar for life.

So trauma and tragedy head the emotional scarring list, but by far they are not alone. Depending on personal experience, vulnerabilities and circumstance, the list can be vast and varied.

From the innocence of childhood to the cognitive chaos of our teenage years, emotional-scarring for some, starts early in life. After all, these are delicate years, years of not only physical growth but of emotional as well. An awkward stage of emotional upheaval, one in which we are emotionally exposed, defenseless and most vulnerable to scarring.

Emotional wounds of youth often remain with us throughout our lives. Even compilations of past events, detrimental to our youthful psyche, can play havoc with our self-esteem later in life.

The most damaging of course is Childhood abuse, both physical and verbal. In our sensitive teenage years, where self-esteem can easily become damaged and set a tone of discomfort for years down the road; Obesity, bullying, teasing, peer pressure and low status of acceptance to name a few.

All of these, in the right circumstance, can lead to mental scarring. They all can have an impact on how we perceive ourselves going forward. Self-esteem scarring can last a lifetime. Baggage of burdens we carry with us into our adulthood years and beyond.

Yet, emotional-scarring doesn’t end in adulthood. Relationship scarring is very prominent in a society bent on selfish individual desires, ego, pride and lack of commitment. Who among us haven’t endured an emotional breakup? A boyfriend or girlfriend, a long-term relationship or marriage that abruptly ends. Perhaps leaving feelings of rejection, lost-hope or personal failure. Damaging blows that leave scars to our self-esteem.

Many of us overcome, rebound and carry on, our scars healing with the passing of time. Yet for others, the damage remains. Becomes part of us, part of who we are. An emotional burden, forever to be carried.

Relationship rejections, can indeed damage self-esteem. Scarring us so badly that the wound never heals. Changing life perception’s, initiating future relationship fears leading to social indifference. Even social avoidance, turtling our heads back into our protective emotional shell.

— Never again wanting to feel the hurt of rejection.

Do you know of someone, like this? Someone who has taken to extremes to hide from rejection? Who carries emotional scars from the past and cannot overcome the damage to their self-esteem? Who instead, socially hides in protection, unwilling to chance opening old wounds of perceived inadequacies, lost love and relationship failure.

I myself, know of a person like this. They have been this way now, for well over half their life. It’s sad, depressing and frustrating. Frustrating because all well-intentions to intervene have been futile. Their Life-scar, so overwhelming, gone on now for so long that sense and rationality can no-longer overcome it. Change is now permanent! — They will be this way for the rest of their lives!

Such is the power of emotional scarring. From childhood bullying to fragile self-esteems — to the burning rejection of a failed relationship and many more… I’m sure I’ve missed!

Like how our relationship with fear can scar us …

Emotional scarring events can effect us in many different ways. They can not only change our perception of who we are, but change our sense of the world around us. Like how the death of a loved one, can at times, awaken our own sense of mortality. — The fear of death that’s hidden inside most of us.

An old friend of mine was dealing with the loss of his mother. His stage of grieving unusually long and concerning. When he finally reappeared, a different man stood before me. One of religion, a side I’ve never seen in him before. Death had awakened fears of his own mortality and the comforts of an after-life his choice of resolution.

Yet this change in him grew leaps and bounds. His new-found belief’s growing obsessive, becoming almost fanatical, consuming his life. Unrecognizable is he now from the man I once new. The fear of death all consuming, driving his obsessive dedication to reaching heaven. Heaven, where death cannot strike, or so the story goes. The emotional scar of awakened mortality, changing his life forever.

Not only his life — but of those around him!

PERSPECTIVE

We all carry emotional baggage. Life-scars from a personal and unique journey. Stories of emotional trauma, memories of burden and open wounds that refuse to heal.

Yet, as a highly emotional species, is it any wonder that we suffer so? That we must deal with emotional retainment, both good and bad, during the journey of our lives.

Perhaps in the end, it comes down to Acceptance.

Accepting that the human experience is fraught with emotional turmoil. And the effects are unavoidable!

— Life leaves scars!

Perhaps how we deal with them

Is what truly matters!

 

WordofWayne©

 

 

 

 

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22 thoughts on “Emotional Scars: The Price of being Human

  1. A memorable line from Childhood Disrupted (pg.24) reveals: “Well-meaning and loving parents can unintentionally do harm to a child if they are not well informed about human development …”

    Yes, people know not to yell when, for instance, a baby is sleeping in the next room; but do they know about the intricacies of why not?

    For example, what percentage of procreative adults specifically realize that, since it cannot fight or flight, a baby stuck in a crib on its back hearing parental discord in the next room can only “move into a third neurological state, known as a ‘freeze’ state … This freeze state is a trauma state” (pg.123). This causes its brain to improperly develop; and if allowed to continue, it’s the helpless infant’s starting point towards a childhood, adolescence and (in particular) adulthood in which its brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammation-promoting stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines.

    How many potential parents are aware it’s the unpredictability of a stressor, and not the intensity, that does the most harm?
    When the stressor “is completely predictable, even if it is more traumatic—such as giving a [laboratory] rat a regularly scheduled foot shock accompanied by a sharp, loud sound—the stress does not create these exact same [negative] brain changes.” (pg.42)

    Also, how many of us are aware that, since young children completely rely on their parents for protection and sustenance, they will understandably stress over having their parents angry at them for prolonged periods of time? (It also makes me question the wisdom of punishing children by sending them to their room without dinner.)

    I did not know any of the above until I researched the topic for the specifics.

    Still, general society continues to misguidedly perceive and therefore practice human reproductive rights as though we’ll somehow, in blind anticipation, be innately inclined to sufficiently understand and appropriately nurture our children’s naturally developing minds and needs.

    A psychologically sound as well as a physically healthy future should be all children’s foremost right—especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter—and therefore basic child development science and rearing should be learned long before the average person has their first child.

    By not teaching this to high school students, is it not as though societally we’re implying that anyone can comfortably enough go forth with unconditionally bearing children with whatever minute amount, if any at all, of such vital knowledge they happen to have acquired over time?

    Such curriculum would enable our young people to understand (even if just the basics) how the child’s mind develops. Therefore, they could understand how (with curriculum examples) a seemingly-minute yet consequential flaw in rearing/environment, perhaps something commonly practised/experienced, can have negative lasting effects on the child’s sponge-like brain/psyche.

    While such curriculum can sound invasive, especially to parents distrustful of the public education system, I really believe it’s in our future generations’ best interests.

    “It has been said that if child abuse and neglect were to disappear today, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual would shrink to the size of a pamphlet in two generations, and the prisons would empty. Or, as Bernie Siegel, MD, puts it, quite simply, after half a century of practicing medicine, ‘I have become convinced that our number-one public health problem is our childhood’.” (pg.228)

    [Frank Sterle Jr.]

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    1. An opinion as long and specifically directed as yours here — perhaps better suited to a post of your own rather than a comment? I mean no disrespect, your linear thinking on child rearing is progressive just perhaps a summation in short would make it more readable?

      In all honesty, I, and most likely all of my readers, gave up on it half way through. As well, our interests lie in your own personal thoughts and not of excessive referencing from others. Their book, if of interest, we can read ourselves. I do apologize if I’ve been overly critical but I must take the interest of all my readers in to consideration. Thanks for your understanding and have a great day!

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  2. Our lives are the sum total of our experiences, many of which are out of our control, and how we react to them, which is the only thing we can control. Unfortunately, for a myriad of reasons, we sometimes make maladaptive choices in our coping strategies, and it can take a long time, along with sometimes outside help, to gain sufficient vision allowing us to cope with all that has befallen us. It behooves us to be kind and mindful of the suffering of others, and place ourselves in their shoes as much as possible, rather than forming judgement. Learning to forgive others, as well as ourselves, is one of the cornerstones of happiness. Wishing you (and all of us) the grace to accept what plate life has placed in front of us. Be well..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well penned, Wayne. You are 100% correct. I definitely have some of these scars, I know we all have different coping mechanisms and some of those might be considered dysfunctional. In a sense, I, probably like many others, have constructed walls to prevent any further injury. That could be considered aberrant, but really, I’m pretty happy behind those walls. It’s not just that I don’t wish to get hurt emotionally again. I also can’t afford to lose all my assets for a third time. It’s not necessarily bad to limit relationships, or leave a toxic employer, or dislike a corrupt society. It is surprising just how much we can live happily without 🙂 .

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    1. I’m with you on this as well Harold. Surprising how we seem to match so. Perhaps our age makes us more cognitive of life’s experience. Life-scars can also be educational. Not just haunting bad memories but a learning experience that can be applied down the road. Some may call it putting up a wall but if we don’t learn by our mistakes we are doomed to repeat them.

      I, like you, am not interested in what others say how I should be living my life. How I should be happy to conform to current propagation’s of so-called societal normalcy. I’ve done that been there and have taking notes! This has led me to many startling truths. Truths I am not afraid to apply as reasoning. From your words I see — you have done the same!

      Good stuff buddy! Looking forward to our next conversation!

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  4. The moral of the story is that we all need psychological analysis to make us understand our true problem. Often we do not recognize our true problem and often blame a scapegoat. In the process, make things worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Again, if we were taught self-awareness early in life, perhaps more of us could reason our way through. The emotional overload in today’s modern society doesn’t help either. Media plays a big role in this, driving our expectation’s foolishly high, brainwashing us in believing we should all look slim and fit and beautiful. All have perfect unending romantic relationships and tight-knit families. When these do not happen, emotional scars are born. Thanks Haoyan do for your visit and insights! Hope to hear from you soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That is so true of emotional scars. Sometimes when our brain tries to cope with the scars, it creates an illusion (or delusion). Instead of facing the problem at hands and confronting the pressure point, we do something else. I remember a story (probably from Joyce) about a man who’s bullied by his boss or somebody he can’t confront. When he comes home, he beats his kid. Or one of the German movies I watched while in college. A man’s life is half controlled by his overbearing mom, and half manipulated by his wife who no longer loves him. He can confront neither. To confront his mother is to denying part of his own existence; to confront his wife is to face the stark reality of his marriage which he’s not ready to face yet. So he goes outside, find a random woman who looks like his mother or his wife–I can’t remember which. And he kills her.

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    1. Your right Haoyan do! We are all different and unique. And so Emotional scarring affects us differently and to different degrees. Some heal quickly and get on with their lives, while the effect on others “changes” their lives forever. And for some, drives them off the deep end as in your extreme examples.

      The problem as you’ve said, is that we are not trained to recognize this problem in us. Seldom do we think “Why” this is happening! This I believe, is a failure of our educational system. We should be learning “life skills” and “self-awareness” in school (among many others) and at an early age too. Teach us “How to think” — not what to think!

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  6. Lovely words Wayne. I am no stranger to emotional scars. When we repress or resist, we only making them stronger. My own issues with low self esteem come mind. We must embrace our demons otherwise they will control us. Acceptance is key.

    “The curious paradox is that what I accept myself as I am, then I change.” ~~CARL ROGERS

    Take it easy buddy 🙏

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