Trauma & Wounds We Don’t Heal … We Become, Repeat or Attract Like Human Magnets

“I agreed to sit and watch your workshop online with her, because I could tell you have really helped her. But I didn’t sign up for you to nail me to the wall!” the husband of my client proclaimed.

I had to chuckle, because I wasn’t sure if he thought that he was in trouble, or that he had hoped to put me on the hot seat for speaking to him through the screen. 

“Well, it appears you’re not too happy with me for speaking to you through the screen. So, I’m curious why you decided to come in?” I asked.

After squirming for a moment, he finally confessed: “I don’t like how what you said made me feel. And originally, I think I wanted to prove you wrong. That I had no trauma or unhealed wounds. But since I had to wait a bit to get in … I think, if I was totally honest, I am hoping to find a way to turn around some things I’m seeing in myself that I would’ve never owned … And I truly do not like.” 

I nodded and validated him with: “That takes courage. That takes maturity. That takes some rigorous honesty with yourself.”

I continued: “Do you mind cluing me in on what I said that nailed you to the wall?”

More squirming in his chair. I waited.

“That what we don’t heal… We repeat, become, or attract like a human magnet!” He almost whispered, as if he didn’t really want me to hear it.

Like he was afraid I might ask more questions. I obliged him: “Can you tell me how that applies to you?”

His squirming now morphed into fixing his gaze out on the golf course outside my window.

“All this ‘healing stuff’ just sounds like a bunch of frou-frou stuff that people who have too much time on their hands do,” he muttered. 

“I mean, I’m a big believer in all of the ‘just leave it alone theories’ like:

  • The more you stir it, the more it stinks.
  • Time will heal it if you’ll just leave it alone.
  • If you just leave stuff alone, it will fix itself.”

I couldn’t resist the Dr. Phil moment: “And how has that been working for you?”

“Well, if all that stuff you said was true on that workshop, it’s worked fine for me. But I’m guessing it hasn’t worked for my wife,” he muttered with a bit of concern at what I might say next.

“Did you ask her?” I inquired.

After a thoughtful moment, he nodded negatively, and added: “No. No I didn’t. But I did notice her wiping away tears at that moment in the workshop.”

“And were you able to comfort her?” I asked gently.

“No, I just kept my distance, and lived by my principles of leaving it alone,” he said, with a bit of regret.

I could tell there was more.

“That example you gave … it was just way too close to home,” he said, with a bit of a trembling in his lip. “I’m not a bad person. I’m really not!”

I nodded. “Often, I see people do things they likely would not have otherwise done had they healed whatever wound or trauma that they are becoming, repeating, or attracting.”

He was quiet, and his face was laden with shame.

“Are you hoping to heal something?” I dug in a bit deeper.

Almost like he was dismayed at himself, he nodded positively.

“I’ve become and repeated the worst moments in my life.” he said, with words now pouring forth with marked regret.

I explained: “That’s one of the awful things about unresolved trauma and/or unhealed wounds. What these moments or experiences program in us take the wheel of our lives. They override common sense, wisdom, good counsel … and far too often … they override our values.”

I leaned in toward him, and said, “I can imagine it’s not who you are. Because when we repeat, or become what hurt us, we often live in regret. And I am seeing and hearing regret.”

“But that doesn’t have to continue. It’s never too late to heal old trauma or old wounds,” I assured him.

The same is true for you, my friend. Let’s begin a healing journey.

1. What we don’t heal, we become or repeat.

We do not repeat trauma or wounds because we are bad people. When we are hurt deeply, or traumatized, the neuropathways are formed (with or without our awareness, and usually without). I say those neuropathways create ongoing burning in our heads (like being branded like an animal), churning in our hearts, and yearning in our spirits).

That’s an awful way to live.

Actually, it’s not living … it’s surviving at best!

They are deeply burned in our brains on our hard drive, and on our heart drive. We are deeply disdained by that programming, whether or not we know the branding occurred.

That branding is painful, and not easily removed. But it CAN BE REMOVED!

Every cell in our neuropathways wants so badly to reject it.

To eject it.

Every cell wants it out of our bodies.

Which is what it drives us to do things to get it out …

Often that means drinking or drugs. (Of course that doesn’t get it out, but at least provides a “moment” of soothing. Sometimes it means lashing out in anger trying to get it out, even though we don’t know that’s what’s going on. (The people on the other side of it don’t understand either).

And sometimes… in our unconscious effort to free ourselves from it, we become exactly what was done to us, and repeat the hurt and the trauma. Trying to expel it from ourselves, without any awareness or sensitivity that it might be harming people we love. Deeply.

After explaining that to my client, I was getting ready to ask him if that one was one of the things that made him feel nailed to the wall during my workshop? 

But when he looked up, the evidence was on his face, and flowing from his eyes.

“Can you tell me about it?” I invited him.

The next hour was a tearful, grieving, deeply moving story that poured out.

“In the workshop you gave the example of the husband whose wife had cheated on him. Who had disrespected him in countless ways. It sounded like she had literally stolen life from him.”

He continued: “It was way too close to home.”

I waited as he spoke with brokenness about catching his first wife in their bedroom with another man.

He said with shame, “I lost my mind.”

“I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was as if she had taken a knife out of the kitchen drawer and literally slashed my chest open with a jagged edge. Then used a sledgehammer to break my ribs. And ripped my heart right out of my chest.”

“It was visceral. It felt exactly like that was happening to me,” he said with real determination, as if he wanted me to really understand what had happened in him.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do. I scared myself. So… I knew I had to leave the house. I went outside, then begin breaking windows with my fist.”

I was with him in the moment.

“I finally got control of myself as they sped away from the drive. Together. How could this have happened? God help me. It still haunts me.”

There was much more to the story, but I realized the trauma of that moment broke this very strong “macho man.”

“I know I looked like a fool. But I had to do something to keep myself from killing him. I wanted him to hurt like I hurt …”

I nodded with understanding.

After a few moments of silence, he cleared his throat, and took a deep breath.

“So, I’m fairly sure you would say that the moment of that trauma was branded deep inside my neuropathways, and I’ve been trying to get rid of it ever since?” he asked, hoping I could help.

I knew the question was rhetorical. So, I responded with a question: “It sounds as if you followed your principles of acting like it never happened, thinking it would go away with time?”

With great dread, shame, and palatable regret, he added, “Yes.” Silence. More silence.

“Then I did it to my current wife. My wife who has done nothing but love me.”

His face fell into his hands with deep sobs. 

“Mine was all very different. It started online… But ultimately, it destroyed my wife in the same way that I had been destroyed,” he choked out between sobs.

“I hear you. And clearly, we’ve got some healing to do on both sides. But this is not who you are. This was driven by unhealed wounds, and unresolved trauma,” I explained.

“But that doesn’t make it right,” he choked out the words, while pounding his knee with his fist!

I nodded in agreement.

“And to make it worse, I blamed her. I told her it was because she was too emotional, too demanding. And all she ever wanted was for me to hug her sometimes and tell her that I loved her.”

“But I was too proud. I was too hurt by what had happened to me.”

“And the worst part is that when she would try to get some resolution, I refused to talk and told her she just needed to get over it. What an insensitive *ss I have been!”

I gave him a moment, and then I asked curiously, “Does she know you’re here?”

“Not yet”, he murdered. “I had hoped to get this done under the radar. But I’m over that. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to heal this before I do it again!”

With more tears, “And I have to help her heal!”

“There’s a song on the radio that I hear almost every time I get in my truck since I watched that workshop.”

“After I heard it about a dozen times, I knew I had to come.”

“Here are the lyrics (about my wife) that got me here:”

You brought me to God and I put you through hell
You were all about us, I was all about myself
What kind of man would lose a woman like that?
If my soul could be forgiven, I would give it all back

Now I’m in this cold bright light
And this don’t even feel like life
‘Cause I don’t have the only woman who believed in me

And now I’m in the back of the church
Beggin’ God just to stop the hurt
‘Cause I don’t have the only woman who believed in me

“Please help me! I can’t lose her!” he begged.

I assured him that we could heal the original wound, and then we could help his wife heal from the trauma he had inflicted on her.

Whether it be verbal harshness, financial indiscretions, meanness … Whatever kind of hurt or trauma that you have repeated, we can heal yours too, my friend.

And then I will help you heal the others that you repeated or became your trauma on … and wounded and/or traumatized them.

2. What we don’t heal, we attract like a human magnet.

“I think I would’ve said this does not apply to me… But as I’ve been thinking about it after our last session, I think it does in a strange way,” my client said.

“It just seems like total craziness how that happens!” He said, clearly judging himself harshly. “Why the hell would we do that?”

Once again, I knew the question was rhetorical, but I responded anyway. “Well, it’s not like we sit around thinking… ‘How can I attract more of this awful stuff into my life’ …”

“But it’s familiar. And even though we may not like it, we are more comfortable with what is familiar. We have this in sense that if it’s familiar, at least we know how to deal with that.”

He nodded. I waited for him to process.

“It’s like every employee I hire has to have a prerequisite of wanting to hurt the people that they work for… Employers that are good to them,” he moaned.

“My business is small, so I only have a team of 7 to 10 people. But I treat them well. My wife says maybe I treat them too well.”

I understood. We all attract what is unhealed within us. 

As Shelly Bullard (author and marriage and family therapist) says:

“Your unconscious is programmed to attract people who activate your wounds. The reason for this is so you’ll grow. You’re replaying your wounds so you can finally heal them. We cannot heal anything we don’t feel or see; we can’t heal things that are unconscious! The uncomfortable feeling must come to the surface for you to grow beyond it.”

He clearly did not like what he heard, but knew he was actually attracting the familiar.

“So, should I have my wife do the hiring or what?” … he really wanted some clarity.

“Until you heal your wounds and/or trauma, that might not be a bad idea,” I said from a coaching perspective.

“But on a positive note, it sounds as if you did not attract a wife who desired to hurt you and wound you!” I made verbal note.

“Thank God!” he said as he threw his hands up in the air as if he didn’t deserve her. “But then I did it to her! She didn’t deserve that!”

“No, she didn’t,” I responded. “But I’ve witnessed how much she loves you. And I am guessing that with just a little healing work, she would continue to love you well, and love you faithfully?”

“I hope to God that’s the case!” he proclaimed.

“Let’s work diligently to heal your trauma and your wounds so that you don’t lose her!” I suggested.

He once again confirmed: “I’ll do anything!”

I hope you too can see that you no longer have to attract what has already hurt you like a human magnet.

It might be familiar, but it’s not a rich life!

3. How to heal to avoid all of that.

“I finally get it! I keep doing the senseless crap I do … and hire the people I do … because of all my wounds. But what if I have too many to heal? Or what if mine can’t be healed?”  He stared out the window to contemplate his own questions. 

“And what if I do all the ‘things’ and it doesn’t work?”

I grinned and commented with jest: “And what if I told you that you weren’t so special that researched and proven methods won’t work for you?”

He laughed. “I’m not such a special case?” he asked. 

I assured him he was indeed a special case, but the healing opportunities would work for him!

Returning to the seriousness of the matter… I shared: “I think we all are a little worried that we are ‘messed up’ beyond repair. Particularly if we’ve been carrying the wounds around for many years.”

He had an a-ha moment and agreed: “That’s exactly how I feel. And I don’t want to fail … so I am creating a reason in advance, so I won’t feel like a failure.”

As Peter Levine says: 

“I have come to the conclusion that human beings are born with an innate capacity to triumph over trauma. I believe not only that trauma is curable, but that the healing process can be a catalyst for profound awakening — a portal opening to emotional and genuine spiritual transformation. I have little doubt that as individuals, families, communities, and even nations, we have the capacity to learn how to heal and prevent much of the damage done by trauma. In so doing, we will significantly increase our ability to achieve both our individual and collective dreams.” 

Author of Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body

 “Let’s start this healing journey and give it a chance to transform you!” I suggested. 

“This week we will go through steps for the healing journey and then we will begin the process.”

“There are basically seven steps to healing trauma. Let’s go through them, so that we can get started on a journey that I believe you are ready for and committed to!”

He agreed. I am sharing them with you so that you can follow us on this healing journey.

  • An excellent debrief about what happened. I usually give people the assignment I gave my client, and I would like to share with you. Write out what happened in detail. Where you were. Who was involved. How old were you? What time of year was it? Do you remember what you were wearing? Do you remember what the other person/s were wearing. What did you hear? What words were spoken? How did you feel? Where did you feel it in your body? The more you can remember, the more in detail you remember it … the easier it is to assess what was branded on your brain, programmed deep in your heart.
  • Rescue. There is usually a part of us that is stuck in that moment. We must do a rescue to “unfreeze” and “resurrect to life” that part of you.
  • Branded Beliefs & Carried Feelings. We must extract what was branded on our neuropathways, and what feelings (that do not belong to us) were deeply embedded in our heart drive.
  • Emotional Home. We must explore out what feelings you experienced at that moment. Because it is the “familiar” place we will return to again and again. Unless we choose differently! And we will!
  • Break Cycles & Patterns. We must identify the cycles and patterns that the wounds and/or trauma set into play in us. Otherwise, we will keep doing the same things, and expecting a different result. The result will never be different until we interrupt the cycles and patterns.
  • Grief Work. We lose so much as the result of wounds and trauma. We lose relationships, finances, self-respect, self-esteem, self-confidence, our true great potential, our clarity, the ability to find fulfillment … the list goes on. Grief work sets us free to live!
  • Rewriting Your Story. Unless you find the gems and rewrite your story, you will continue living out the same thing again and again. You can find a powerful new story that will set your feet on the path you’ve been searching for and longing for all these years!

“That’s A LOT!” my client said with wide eyes and a bit of fear. “But I will do it!”

“I believe you will!” I affirmed.

And I believe you will too, my friend.


No one said that the healing journey was easy. But it is worth every step.

Otherwise, you will continue becoming and repeating something you never wanted to be. Or attracting it to yourself like a human magnet.

That’s not living.

It’s surviving at best!

You deserve to live!

You deserve a rich life!

Let’s do this!


I love what Steve Goodier, founder of Life Support System says about this:

“My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.” 

Let’s face your present.

And make it rich. And let’s use it to get you to a compelling future!