We Repeat What We Don’t Repair“A physical wound must be cleaned and medicated rather than ignored.
Emotional wounds also need attention. They don’t simply just fade away.” – Steve Arterburn

Many children are taught to stuff their emotions down. They’re often told to stop crying. And if they do reveal their feelings, anger is the emotion that surfaces, usually in the form of a big tantrum. This might’ve worked as a child—it doesn’t work as an adult. Yet, some adults still haven’t learned to deal with the wounds causing their outbursts.

If someone doesn’t repair the damage done to them, they repeat it. For example, parenting will trigger unprocessed emotions from childhood. Just ask any parent! Adulting, many times, displays the unhealed wounds of the past, even if someone isn’t a parent. Recognizing there is healing to be done is the first step to a better life. Reactive emotions are a good indicator that something needs processed and healed so that it isn’t controlling the present.

One of the best examples in the Bible of this is the story of David reacting to Nabal in 1 Samuel 25. While running from Saul, David crossed paths with Nabal, a wealthy landowner. It was common for a landowner to help the men who guarded his property. So Nabal should not have been surprised by David’s request for help (vs. 4-9).

But Nabal, whose name means “fool,” insulted David when he said, “Who does this son of Jesse think he is?” (v. 10, NLT). After hearing Nabal’s put-downs and insults, David reacted out of anger by preparing 400 of his men to attack Nabal (vs. 12-13). Thankfully, Nabal’s wife, Abigail, intervened by sending supplies (vs. 18–19).

Why did David react so abruptly? It wasn’t the first time he had been hurt. When David was a young man, he was not even invited to the consecration by Samuel—an event that David’s father and all his brothers attended. It was not until Samuel asked for David that he was anointed as the next king (1 Sam. 16:1-13). Undoubtedly, David reacted so strongly to Nabal because it brought up past, unhealed wounds.

Like David, many people bury wounds such as feelings of:

  • worthlessness
  • failure
  • rejection
  • disappointment

When children react to their pain, it is obvious. As adults, pain usually gets stuffed or numbed by various substitutes for healing like alcohol, drugs, porn, or several other things. The pain can no longer be ignored. No matter how long these wounds have been buried, they’ll come out eventually in the form of anger, rage, or another emotion. It may be obvious to others; yet, unless there is an effort to heal the wounds of the past, they will continue to impact the present and future in ways that may become worse than the initial wound.

Seeing a New Life Counselor Network licensed therapist will help get to the root of the pain and begin to repair the damage done so it will not be repeated. Don’t let the past determine the present. Experience a new life!