Why Purposeful Living Seems Unreachable When We Have Unresolved Trauma or Unhealed Wounds

“Is it true that everyone has a purpose? I mean I’m a good person. I try to do the right things. Could my purpose be to just do that? Or am I missing something?” 

This client had been working with me for a while.

She’d worked through the trauma of growing up in a “house filled with crazies” (her words).

She’d been the middle of 3 kids. One sibling was diagnosed on the bipolar spectrum and an addict (a combo that often comes in the same package).

The other was schizophrenic. She had originally come in, to see if she had escaped mental illness, or if she was like her siblings … “crazy, but in denial of it” … (her words).

The environment in her childhood was less than ideal. For her it was traumatic. A mom who had characteristics of narcissism and was a ‘real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’.

A dad who leaked anger with every word that came from his mouth. Never kind, respectful, or nurturing to any of them. And sometimes violent.

In her first appointment, she stated: “It was a war zone. You had to protect yourself and learn to fight if you wanted to survive.”

After working through the effects of the trauma, she came to the realization that she had become quite selfish as a defense mechanism. She was courageous enough to see her selfishness in her marriage.

She and her husband had worked through some of that together with me. It was a beautiful to see them become healing partners to one another.

This visit was a very nice transition after noting her selfishness, learning to honor her husband with her presence daily, and still desiring to improve her growth.

To her question, I responded: “I do believe we all have a purpose. Every one of us! But I also believe that unresolved trauma prevents us from zoning in on our purpose, and living the life of fulfillment we are meant to have.”

Then I added: “But now that you’ve worked through that, let’s talk about how and why unresolved trauma or unhealed wounds keep us from clarity about our purpose.”

I wanted to share this series about living with purpose with all of you, because there is such great power in knowing our purpose.

As I shared with my client, here are just a few of the researched benefits of finding and living with purpose:

  • Extended lifespan
  • Higher functioning immune system
  • Greater quality of life
  • Less depression and sadness
  • Decreased incidence of anxiety
  • Improvement in symptoms of ADD/ADHD
  • Greater quality of sleep
  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater financial satisfaction
  • Protection from heart disease
  • Less likely to develop memory loss or dementia
  • More resiliency when facing challenges
  • Greater energy levels
  • More joy
  • More peace of mind
  • More fulfillment

Resolving trauma and healing wounds in order to open the doorway to living with purpose … to gain all those benefits … is worth every bit of the effort it takes to heal!

I know you would agree!

But before we move to finding purpose, let’s look at how unresolved trauma and/or unhealed wounds keep us from our purpose.

“There’s no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive.” Oprah Winfrey

Let’s examine how unresolved trauma and unhealed wounds keep us from our purpose.

1. Living in survival.

No matter how ‘great’ we ‘look on the outside’ … when we have unresolved trauma and/or unhealed wounds, we’re living in survival at best. 

  • Always trying to get things done and ending at the same dead ends.
  • Always trying to “do better” or “be better” and falling back into the same cycles.
  • Always finding ourselves in “barely getting by” mode.
  • Hoping things will look better or get better.
  • Stressed out internally.
  • Tired internally and externally.
  • Restless, but denying to be so.

As I was sharing those things about living in survival with my client, she exclaimed: “Oh my God … that’s ME! Did you write that about me?”

I smiled as I said that when I share those descriptors of “living in survival” with clients … almost everyone asks the same thing!

“You must understand that when we are living in survival, the only purpose that we can see … is … surviving!” I explained.

(A note…Survival is continuing to do the same things we don’t want to do based on our looping internal dialogue knowing it’s not true … then living in reactionary mode to that internal looping-lie.)

“I didn’t even know I was living in survival. I started it when I was a little girl trying to escape the sniping at the dinner table each night. Trying to feel like there was anything valuable about me since surly things were spoken to me and about me on an ongoing basis,” my client shared.

I waited as she collected her thoughts.

“You’re right. My only purpose in life was surviving that household. And then I married into the same thing with my first marriage. And spent years in survival mode.”

Whether your unresolved trauma or unhealed wounds are from childhood, or whether they’re from your adult life … you are simply held hostage to living in survival mode until you address those issues.

Living purposefully is the most fulfilling thing available to us. Yes, it’s awkward at first and feels like looking up at a sheer cliff … with only the hope being the ropes you’ll create.

But know this. The world, your world, needs the love (and the purpose) you’ll discover by becoming what your gifts will guide you to be.

You were not created to live in survival mode. I love this quote from Dr. Benjamin Hardy: 

“You are unique. No one else is quite like you and no one else can or truly wants to be like you. The best thing you can do is embrace and value your uniqueness. Then live that out in the world in your highest and purest form by helping others in the way only you can.”

2. Inaccurate view of ourselves.

Most of our views of ourselves are indelibly branded on us by how we were treated in our moments of trauma and/or wounding.

The truth is, we were all born with the gifts, with talents, with causes and purposes deep within us.

We had to replace the wiring in our brains we were born with, with survival version wiring from shocking moments of trauma and/or wounding. Those moments were not our fault. They’re not your sins.

It’s time to untangle those neurons and find the peace that purpose promises.

Trauma and wounding bury those gifts, talents, causes, and purposes deep within us. Keeping them out of our awareness and leaving us with only the view the person or people who traumatized us, wounded us, branded us with.

As the songwriter shares, “This heart wound is like a soul tattoo you never can erase.”

My client recalled: “I remember when you were processing me through my trauma with my mom. I was sharing with you how she would get frustrated if I asked her for anything. I shared with you that she would open the back door and with a scowl on her face, demand me to ‘get the hell out’! And she’d slam the door!”

“I remember when you asked me what message had that branded on me, about me? I’m pretty sure I looked at you like I had no idea what you were asking or what language you were speaking!”

After a pause she continued.

“I remember, I tearfully turned to you like a little girl, almost begging you for help: ‘I don’t know. Can you help me’?”

I nodded empathetically, remembering that moment. 

“And you suggested, “Could it have been that you were an inconvenience’?”

I waited I knew she wanted to share.

“I remember bursting into tears with the realization that I felt like I had been an inconvenience my entire life until that moment.”

Staring at the floor you could see the truth she’d found as she continued.

“I would never ask for help with anything, even as an adult. Because I knew what an inconvenience I was!”

With curiosity, I asked: “Has that changed at all?”

Beaming, she shared that recently her husband had told her how much it meant to him that she would ask him for help. She explained what a bonding moment it was for them.

Trauma and wounds give us an in accurate view of who we are. Whether we were made to believe we were an inconvenience, worthless, too emotional, or overly sensitive …. none of those things are accurate views of ourselves.

And sadly, who could possibly believe they had any purpose to serve in life … when they are inconvenient, worthless, or anything of that nature?

It takes courage to pause, step outside ourselves, and decide without grandstanding for or to anyone … I’ve decided to change my life. Now my friend … that’s agency! THAT’S power!

I highly encourage you, to get an accurate view of yourself. If your view of yourself is that you are anything less than someone created with great purpose, designed to become your very best … you have an inaccurate view of yourself.

“I can actually see some thoughts about purpose popping up in my mind a lot lately!” my client commented.

“You were born for purpose, and we will find that purpose. You will find your life becoming more meaningful and fulfilling than it’s ever been!” I stated.

The same is true for you, my friend. Search for, and embrace, an accurate view of who you are, and who you were created to be. Then you can live with great purpose. 

3. Lack of honesty with ourselves about who we were created to be, and therefore how we cope with trauma and wounds.

“I remember the first time you talked to me about having seeds to do great things planted deeply within me,” my client shared. “I’d never heard anything like that in my entire life! It shook me. In a good way.”

She continued: “I mean, I’m good at my job, this time around I’m a really good wife (at least try to be), and now that I’ve done the trauma work, I’m much happier. But I never dreamed that I would, or could, do anything meaningful with who I am.”

I nodded and said, “Whether we have any idea or not that there is anything great that could or would come from us, it’s true for every human being!” 

I continued: “Whether we just have never heard such a thing, or we’ve heard about it, and thought it didn’t apply to us … it’s hard to believe that there could be purpose in us.”

Because moments of trauma send an electrical flare power surge through our neuro network … our real self was replaced in our neuro system by fear-based thinking. And determination to survive. Dulling our ability to see and think with purpose. 

“In addition to that, many of us don’t even realize that we have unresolved trauma or unhealed wounds,” I explained.

I explained that although trauma-informed information and services are becoming widely spread, most of us do not even know that we are demonstrating screaming-red-flags that we are struggling with trauma or wounds by symptoms such as:

  • Drinking excessively.
  • Addiction.
  • Being short fused
  • Leaking negativity.
  • Experiencing a hard life.
  • Believing that everything is hard (and stealing opportunities from ourselves by talking ourselves out of doing things we call ‘hard’.)
  • Taking the easy way out.
  • Complaining and grumbling.
  • Running from everything that requires anything from us.
  • Speaking harshly to people who do not deserve it (as if anyone did)

We know something’s going on because we are driven by coping mechanisms such as these. 

But many people blame their personality, their life situations, other people, for these coping mechanisms. 

“I remember the day you leaned toward me and told me that I really wasn’t a horrible, angry young woman. You said that I sniped at my husband continuously because it was the coping mechanism I’d learned in my home. And with great care you told me that I reverted to that as default when I was overwhelmed.”

I nodded, remembering.

“And then my husband came and pointed out how I run from everything. That was hard!”

“I remember he said:

  • ‘You run when you’re overwhelmed.
  • You run when I make reasonable request of you.
  • You run when you’re sad.
  • You run from things when you’re angry.  
  • You run…
  • You run…
  • You run’!”

I reminded her: “That day you had great insights and ‘aha’ moments. And I clearly remember weeks later him expressing great gratitude that you had ‘turned into the marriage’, possibly, for the first time.”

“I can see why purpose was a foreign concept to me. I was repeating patterns from my history and running like hell!”

I added: “Now that those days are over, and you’re coping with things in a much healthier way, and you know who you were created to be … let’s find your purpose!”

And let’s find yours my friend!


We were all born with a purpose, or a cause. We were all born to make a contribution to this life.

Whether that be raising amazing children to become great influencers, or transforming lives by becoming a Master Trauma Coach, or a discovery that changes the course of medical history … we were all born with purpose.

For over 20 years, I have conducted a program simply called, “The Power of Purpose.”

Over a long day, or a day and a half, I walk people through exercises that do enough healing for unresolved trauma or unhealed wounds to discover their purpose.

To become passionate about their purpose.

To leave committed to living with purpose.

Why can all of that happen?

Because in an immersive experience, enough healing and resolution occurs to:

  • Pull people out of living in survival.
  • Give them an accurate view of themselves.
  • Provide them with a glimpse of who they were created to be.

Whether you attend a Power of Purpose, find some other workshop or experience … find your purpose my friend! There’s nothing more rewarding or fulfilling.

These are some of my favorite quotes that keep me focused on my purpose:

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” Viktor Frankl

“True happiness… is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”  Helen Keller

“There is nothing like a fixed, steady aim, with an honorable purpose. It dignifies your nature and ensures your success.” Nelson Mandela

Purpose. It’s how you were created to live.

Don’t settle for less!

Let ME help YOU replace the survival wiring with your own unique wiring with purpose thinking! Which creates a fulfilling life!