Why Does Bad Sh** Keep Happening to Me?

By Gloria Zhang | April 23rd, 2024

‘A Woman’s Guide to Inner Child Healing’

Copy of "Inner Child Healing" book

An excerpt taken with permission from the book “A Woman’s Guide to Inner Child Healing: Overcome Trauma, Recognize Your Feelings, Learn to Let the Past Go, and Become the Best Version of Yourself” by Gloria Zhang.

From ‘A Woman’s Guide to Inner Child Healing’

The Original Wound

Ever wonder why life feels like a broken record sometimes? Why do we keep running back to the same things that cause us pain, even when we know it’s bad for us?!

Easy answer: because we have wounds.

Our original “wound” started long, long ago.

You became a baby soul after being separated from the Universe, God, Higher Self, The Great Spirit, Source, or whichever word you align with the most. Atoms from stars that have been around for billions of years began to form your body. Out of the darkness, your first attachment began: Mother’s nurturing umbilical cord. At seven weeks, you started to sprout arms and legs. By 24 weeks, your organs were fully formed. Encased by the comforting, familiar beating of Mom’s heart, there’s never a moment that you were alone.

Then, your human life began when you were ripped away from your mother’s womb in a traumatic event called birth. Your first gasping breath took place after drowning in your own lung’s fluids. Loud frightening sounds and scary images overwhelmed the five senses in your little vulnerable body. It’s utterly disorienting! You’d go on to spend your entire life searching for what make you feel whole again.

As a separated lone creature, you helplessly depended on your parents or caregivers to help you get on your feet. If you were lucky, you were filled with enough love and care to offset that original wound of separation, and you would have realized the truth that you’re already whole and complete. Just like a tiny leaf is a perfect aspect of the whole tree, you are already a perfect singular expression of the Universe. You would have understood that you are enough, and being enough means you feel safe to give and love freely. This would have given you the courage to survive all of the additional separations that life forces upon us: moving out, breakups, economic recessions, deaths. You would have been able to deal with life a lot better.

But if you didn’t receive adequate nurturing and support, then you didn’t feel like you were enough. You may have felt abandoned, ignored, neglected, hurt by your parents (who were also wounded and imperfect humans, sadly enough). That original wound of separation grew into a more global wound of feeling incomplete and broken. You resisted and broke down after each life challenge. Each additional separation felt like breaking off more pieces of you. These childhood wounds are what I call “Core Wounds.”

woman in therapy, image by Tsyhun. For excerpt from ‘A Woman’s Guide to Inner Child Healing’ by Gloria Zhang.You may have tried searching for wholeness in relationships, in sex, in climbing the corporate ladder, in self-medication, or in chasing material things and status. But it never felt enough, did it? You would momentarily escape into the rush of excitement, only to come tumbling back down to how you’ve always felt. By doing this work, you’ll realize that nothing outside of you can make you feel whole that isn’t already within yourself.

However, there is hope! What I’ve found is that when you learn how to re-parent yourself to learn this truth, then you can become free of this cycle. You can feel good without depending on external quick fixes. You can live in a state of authentic joy and magic. And when we break our own cycles of pain, we make the world a better place for our descendants and fellow beings.

The Four Core Wounds from Childhood

“My life’s dream is to dance off into the forest, and [lie] naked eating M&M’s.”

Although this isn’t the revelation you might expect from the boss-babe of a big engineering company, these were their words during our biggest breakthrough session yet.

Like many of my clients, Emily had a rough start to life in a prison-like childhood with a tyrannical, alcoholic mother. From that, this little suburban girl grew into a tough woman who spearheaded their way to the top of a male-dominated industry. Thirty years of cutthroat hustling and eventual complete burnout, all to prove that they would never again allow Mom (or anyone) to control them.

Emily was a badass, and I adored working with them! And as planned, nobody ever controlled adult Emily. In fact, nobody could even come close to them and the walls they had built around their heart. But even with these impenetrable walls, adult life was not all smooth sailing. Emily had two children of their own and even went through a messy divorce. And beneath all of that, Little Emily was longing for the freedom to be their true, wild, childlike self. But it seemed impossible. Emily could still hear their mother’s yells, could still feel their mother’s disappointment.

The irony is that by the time clients slide into my DMs, their problematic parents are usually out of the picture or dead. So then why do they continue living haunted by the ghosts of abusive, neglectful, or immature parents?

After a decade of working with high-performers who come from difficult childhoods, I can only sum things up in one sentence: We simply gravitate toward what’s familiar to us, even when we know it’s bad for us! It’s because you are unconsciously re-creating the same unresolved traumas and wounds from childhood well into your adulthood.

For example, if your dad abandoned you as a child, you may find yourself in the same types of relationships with emotionally unavailable men. You may even feel highly triggered by a boss who embodies similar qualities. Despite vowing never to be rejected again, your body is still attracted to the familiarity of men who remind you of your flaky father. That darn Freud is rolling in his grave as we speak!

Why does this happen though? It’s very simple. It’s because familiar feels comfortable to us, even when it’s not safe. The brain would rather experience predictable chaos than uncertain peace. Sure, it may end up in more trauma, but at least we know exactly what to expect. Plus the thrilling highs and lows of dysfunctional situations can intoxicate us into staying in something a lot longer than we want to admit.

If we go one level deeper, we can see that your inner-child may also be attempting to resolve an old wound by conquering this new situation. On a subconscious level this can look like, “If I can impress this new person enough to stay with me, maybe it will make up for daddy leaving me.”

If we go another layer deeper, we then touch that original wound from birth. It’s that deep, existential anxiety of living as separated, isolated beings. It’s only through connection that we find safety with each other, but only if we’ve healed enough within ourselves to have the capacity to maintain healthy relationships.

I promise it’s not you. It’s actually about what happened to you a long time ago.

Based out of Canada, Gloria Zhang M.A. (@bygloriazhang) is a renowned relationship coach, entrepreneur, and former psychotherapist. Gloria hosts the global sensation, “The Inner Child Podcast,” which has had 2 million downloads. Her new book, “A Woman’s Guide to Inner Child Healing: Overcome Trauma, Recognize Your Feelings, Learn to Let the Past Go, and Become the Best Version of Yourself,’ is available now. More at www.gloriazhang.com.

More from Boomer: Therapy for Depression


More from Boomer

Why Write? What Does It All Mean?

By E.G. Kardos | May 21, 2024

Joe Namath in the AFL

By Fred Del Bianco Jr. | March 18, 2024