“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Friday, September 30, 2011

Expressions of deep woundedness from Wolfensberger

Several months back, I taught a class introducing students to Social Role Valorization. As a part of the lecture, we discussed the 18 wounds or as Wolfensberger describes them "The bad things that typically get done to devalued people." Having listed and described those bad things, he goes on to list the evidences or expressions in devalued people that they have been deeply wounded. I list them here for your consideration. These are quotes from "A brief introduction to social role valorization: A high-order concept for addressing the plight of societally devalued people, and for structuring human services" (3rd revised edition, 2004).

1. The wounded person may be, act, and feel like, an alien in the world, particularly the world of valued society. Devalued people can become very much aware that they do not fit in, that they are not welcome.
2. Wounded people may begin to dislike themselves and think that they really are despicable, unlovable, worthless; that everything bad that happens to them is their own fault, and that they deserve bad fortune.
3. Many of the wounds tend to make the wounded person very insecure.
4. These wounds can also generate an expectancy in the wounded person to fail at everythign or what psychologists have called a "failure set," which then tends to actually lead to avoidance of challenges..."
5. People who are the objects of devaluation may be very aware that they are a source of anguish to whatever people may still be around who love them, especially their family members.
6. Some people who have been deeply wounded by rejection and/or real or perceived abandonment -- especially early in life -- will embark on a real or smpolic quest for the abandoner.
7. Relatedly, people who have been deeply wounded in their relationships may develop fantasies about having once had positive relationships...
8. Relationship-wounded people may also seek a great deal of physical contact with others, perhaps going as far as being sexually promiscuous...
9. Deeply wounded people can become very distrustful of relationships
10. Many devalued people become embittered and perhaps even full of resentment and hatred towards the privileged world for having done, and continuing to do, such hurtful things to them.
11. Some people have been so badly wounded they withdraw from all contact from other human beings...
12. ...many deeply wounded people are so enraged about what has been and perhaps continues to be, done to them that they become overtly violent...
13. And coping with one's wounds can take so much energy that a deeply wounded person actually ends up reduced in intelligent, rational and adaptive functioning...
Wolfensberger's comments should give us pause.  It should also impact the way we think about developing ministries that would facilitate openness and inclusion of devalued persons including those experiencing disabiliteis.


1 comment:

ArtworkByRuth said...

As a mother of a deeply wounded, previously discarded child, this is not news. Raising up those who know how to love and bring healing to them is the challenge before us, the Church. If not us, WHO?