Broken Bones and Broken Emotions

If a child breaks a bone they are usually rushed to the doctor where the fractured bone is x-rayed and set so that it can heal correctly.

But, if a child breaks an emotion, it is seldom treated correctly. If anything, they may be given harmful instructions or advice;

  • Get over it. Move on.
  • Big boys / Cowboys don’t cry.
  • Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me.

If you don’t set a bone it may be painful for a much longer time than if it had been set correctly. If an untreated broken bone doesn’t get infected, it will eventually heal but, if it doesn’t set correctly, it may result in a deformation or disfigurement that can continues to effect one’s life for decades.

As a youngster I thought I was tough and, despite numerous accidents, I believed that I had never broken a bone. Yet, in my mid-twenties, after suffering acute back pain, I visited an orthopaedic surgeon to get it checked out. While inspecting the x-rays of my back and pelvis, the radiologist asked me when I had broken my hip. “I have never broken my hip!” I confidently replied assuming that he was wrong. But the x-ray didn’t lie and the radiologist pointed out where my left hip had been broken and how it had healed incorrectly. That was part of the cause of my acute back pain; other injuries contributed.

When did the hip-fracture happen? I am not sure but I do recall two accidents, a water-skiing accident where the muscles of my left thigh were crushed when I over-shot a jetty (the dent in my muscle is still visible almost 40 years later) and the other was being bucked-off a particularly wild young horse I was training. In both instances I was unable to walk for weeks after the accident, but it never occurred to my parents or I to visit the doctor. Accidents were considered a normal part of farm life.

Years later I discovered that my shoulders also showed ample signs of fractures; “your shoulders are stuffed” was the radiologist’s professional opinion! Hardly surprising given the number of horse-riding accidents I had as a kid.

Although no disfigurements or deformations are visible, I have experienced more pain from those injuries in the decades following the accidents than I experienced when the injuries actually happened.

What about broken emotions?

The same is true of broken emotions with one exception; they are likely to fester for decades without being recognised or acknowledged.

And what happens when broken emotions don’t heal properly?

Imagine living with a bunch of untreated, broken emotions that have either continued to fester below the surface or, having healed improperly, result in some emotional scarring, deformation or disfigurement.

Such scarring, deformation and disfigurement will, no doubt, negatively impact a seemingly-healthy person’s sense of self-worth and diminish the potential of their relationships. All of it hidden, often hidden from one's own conscious awareness. How sad is that?

Although I am happy to write about my broken bones in a blog, I am less inclined to discuss my broken emotions, except to acknowledge that far too many went untreated and, as a result, had a lasting, negative impact on my both my self-esteem and relationships.

That said, I have always understood that the human psyche needs to be treated in much the same way as we treat a car when something goes wrong; when a car breaks down we take it to a mechanic so why not have a professional check out our broken emotions?

Better still, it’s a good idea to have periodic check-ups before the breakdowns happen. With cars that means regular servicing. With humans that may mean regular quiet times for meditation or periodic visits to a counsellor or psychologist.

Simply do whatever it takes to ensure that some self-sabotaging emotions aren’t continuously tripping you up.

Over the years I have invested a lot of time and money seeking to understand the causes, effects and healing of broken emotions, my own and others’. It has been an interesting journey and it is far from over.

Scroll to top