How to Reveal and Heal Your Emotional Scars


When I was 15, I had the traumatic experience of being thrown from a horse. I walked away with a concussion and a multitude of cuts and bruises. To this day, I have scars on my hands and body from the incident. When my son asked recently about the scars on my hands, I was careful to explain the facts of the story without sharing the severity of fear that I felt during the incident.

I started thinking about my motivation in omitting my emotional experience from my story. Of course, I didn’t want to project my fear of horses onto my son, but I think it was more than that. I think, along with many others, I unconsciously have learned to hide complex emotions like fear, hurt, and sadness—whether they’re from physical or emotional experiences. But while the body works on its own to heal physical damage like cuts or bruises, emotional wounds are much more complex to heal. So here’s how to reveal and heal your emotional scars.

Healing emotional scars requires consciousness and intentionality—and that’s not easy! Unlike physical damage, we can pretend that emotional experiences never happened. However, like physical damage, regardless if we acknowledge the wound, we are still left with scars.

Reveal the scars.

How can you reveal your emotional scars? Emotional scars manifest in behaviors. For example, your husband said once during an argument that you are a lousy housekeeper. So every time he comes home and mentions how messy the living room is, you take it as a personal attack to your housekeeping, instead of hearing what he intended to be motivation for the kids to do their chores! There is hope; emotional wounds can heal and health can be restored. What emotional scars are you carrying around? Are you suffering from emotional wounds that haven’t healed properly? Ask yourself these questions.

  • Who or what sets you off or instantly makes you angry? It can be a word, phrase, a look, or a smell. When we have not healed from an experience, being exposed to similar elements can trigger intense emotions like anger or fear.
  • Who or what do you avoid? We can become very creative when we unconsciously don’t want to face a fear.

If in asking these questions you conclude you may have some hidden scars or wounded areas, I recommend that you connect with a trusted friend, a wise mentor, or a mental health therapist. We often feel like a failure in admitting our struggles, but what we don’t know is everyone has hidden scars they are trying to keep hidden and this ignorance robs us of joy and peace. Please know you are not alone in any of your struggles and that there is freedom and peace when we expose our wound to the right people!

And for those wondering, I did in fact “get back on the horse,” but lasted only 5 minutes! But hey, I got back on!

What wounds are you struggling with?

Paige Clingenpeel is a licensed teen therapist and has worked on TV, radio, and web-based media. Her passion is creating health, hope, and humor for youth and their families.