How To Release Childhood Wounds

I grew up believing that love is conditional. I donít blame my parents for this – and it turns out it wasnít true – but I genuinely thought my parents would only love me if:

  • I made straight Aís
  • I saved my virginity until marriage
  • I attended church twice a week
  • I didnít cuss
  • I respected my elders
  • I came home by curfew
  • I didnít smoke, drink, or get stoned
  • I didnít get knocked up
  • I ate my vegetables

And so onÖ rule after rule after rule.

Afraid they might withdraw their love if I ever broke a rule, I followed every single one of them religiously, to the exclusion of my own individuality and authenticity. I was the straight A, overachieving virgin who didnít drink until she turned 21 and only broke curfew once in 18 years (by escaping via my bedroom window while wearing my nightgown and hopping in my friendís car to go joyriding. Can you say ďgroundedĒ?)

My sister proved to me that the love of my parents wasnít conditional the way I believed. She broke all the rules and they loved her anyway. But somehow, that belief that love is conditional became ingrained in my impressionable consciousness.† I think itís still there sometimes.

When Iím naughty with my mother (like I was here), am I really asking ďWill you still love me if Iím naughty?Ē When I pick a fight with my husband – as I sometimes do – am I really asking ďWill you still love me if I treat you poorly?Ē† When I break a rule, am I testing the limits of love?

I think so.

In fact, I wonder if thatís the reason I post so many tell-all confessionals on Owning Pink (like this oneÖ†or this one.) Maybe Iím still living out my childhood wounds. Iím telling myself I donít care what you think and Iím just being unapologetically ME. But maybe the truth is that I think thereís some line I might cross that will make the people I care about stop loving me.

As long as weíre unconscious of our childhood wounds, we are doomed to repeat them. But when we shine a bright, pink light on them, we can examine them to see if they are true. And if they arenít – we can freely let them go.

Once I had the epiphany that part of me still believes this, I recognized that itís really not true. I know there are at least a dozen people in this world who love me unconditionally – including my mother, my daughter, and my husband.

So Iíve decided to stop repeating behaviors that are triggered from my childhood wound.

I’ve been doing a lot of one-on-one work with Steve Sisgold, author of What’s Your Body Telling You? From him, I’ve learned to address old childhood wounds using a technique that goes something like this:

How To Release Childhood Wounds

  1. Identify the wound/limiting belief.
  2. Ask yourself whether itís really true. (Hint hint: 99.9 percent of the time, itís not.)
  3. Once youíve recognized that your limiting belief is not true, release the wound/limiting belief. Try writing it on a sheet of paper and burning it. Or write it down, tear it up, and bury it in the earth.
  4. Now affirm that the opposite is true. (In my case, the affirmation is ďI am loved unconditionally.Ē) Post this affirmation around your house. Paint it on your wall. Repeat it to yourself several times per day.
  5. Pay attention to sensations in your body when you affirm that the opposite is true. Is there clenching anywhere? Tightness? A dull ache? What is your body telling you?
  6. Try affirming the new belief again until your body feels nothing but peace.
  7. Notice when you act out from your childhood wound and instantly repeat your affirmation and feel it in your body.

What Works For You?

Do you have techniques for releasing your childhood wounds? Tell us your stories. Share your tips.

Unconditionally yours,


Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of†,†Pink Medicine Revolutionary,†motivational speaker, and author of†Whatís Up Down There? Questions Youíd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.

Learn more about†Lissa Rankin here.

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Sarah M.
Sarah M.3 years ago

Yes, but what do you do if it is true? What do you do when you've been abused?

Luna ButterflyMoon
Past Member 3 years ago

I have a lot of childhood wounds, and I just can't seem to let them go. They've become so familiar to me, letting them go almost feels like letting go a childhood best friend. Think of Alanis Morrisette's 'Precious Illusions'. However, they also restrict and choke me sometimes. Maybe it is time for me to let them go.....and make some new friends along the way.

Susan S.
Paul Stephan3 years ago

So true. Have to keep forgiving yourself and others over and over sometimes.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

what if what we believe IS true?

Chad A.
Chad Anderson3 years ago

You know how they say time heals all wounds, I have found that to be so true as things I remember getting all worked up over do not seem to be so important, let alone upsetting, on reflection.

Atocha B.
Mary B.3 years ago

I passed a sign yesterday on a church billboard which stated, "Unconditional love requires obedience". Is this an oxymoron, or what?

Good article! Thanks!

heather g.
heather g.3 years ago

I guess I am fortunate in that I don't harbour any childhood wounds. When I listen to others I always am grateful for the way I was brought up..... I was protected by love and surrounded by wisdom which has guided me throughout my life. From middle-age I have needed a great sense of humour and the support of a good friend or two to help me on my passage through some stormy seas dealing with people with undefineable values....

Camila K.
Kamila A.3 years ago

asking if conditional love is true love is the beginning of healing. If you can still love the one who "betrayed" you, then you are touching true unconditional love. The pain may still be there, but underneath it all there is a peaceful, beautiful love that never dies. That's soul love, and we can choose this over egoic woundings. Meditation helps to get you to see yourself beyond the egoic self.

Camila K.
Kamila A.3 years ago

We are all wounded in one way or another, and no one can judge another's pain as "small" when its not their own (or "big" for that matter). We can't go back and change the past, but we can find a different way of looking at things. We can take another road than the one we have been traveling----we have choices in how to see things, and how to go forward, and that's where our power lies.

Bojon S.
Past Member 3 years ago

Love the 1 who love u