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EMOTIONAL WOUND THESAURUS
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Emotional wounds from the past have the power to greatly impact our characters’ personalities and choices in the future. Get to know your characters intimately by choosing the right emotional wound; understanding its effects will enable you to write realistic, fully-formed characters that resonate with readers and make sense for your story.

ABANDONMENT OVER AN UNEXPECTED PREGNANCY

A CARJACKING

ACCIDENTALLY KILLING SOMEONE

A CHILD DYING ON ONE’S WATCH

A HOME INVASION

A HOUSE FIRE

A LEARNING DISABILITY

A LIFE-THREATENING ACCIDENT

A LOVED ONE'S SUICIDE

A MISCARRIAGE OR STILLBIRTH

AN ABUSE OF POWER

A NATURAL OR MAN-MADE DISASTER

A NOMADIC CHILDHOOD

A PARENT’S ABANDONMENT OR REJECTION

A PARENT'S DIVORCE

A PHYSICAL ASSAULT

A PHYSICAL DISFIGUREMENT

A SCHOOL SHOOTING

A SIBLING’S BETRAYAL

A SPEECH IMPEDIMENT

A TERMINAL ILLNESS DIAGNOSIS

A TERRORIST ATTACK

A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP

A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

BATTLING A MENTAL DISORDER

BEARING THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MANY DEATHS

BECOMING A CAREGIVER AT AN EARLY AGE

BECOMING HOMELESS FOR REASONS OUT OF ONE'S CONTROL

BEING BULLIED

BEING DISAPPOINTED BY A ROLE MODEL

BEING DISOWNED OR SHUNNED

BEING FALSELY ACCUSED OF A CRIME

BEING FIRED OR LAID OFF

BEING FORCED TO KEEP A DARK SECRET

BEING FORCED TO LEAVE ONE’S HOMELAND

BEING HELD CAPTIVE

BEING HUMILIATED BY OTHERS

BEING LEGITIMATELY INCARCERATED FOR A CRIME

BEING LET DOWN BY A TRUSTED ORGANIZATION OR SOCIAL SYSTEM

BEING RAISED BY AN ADDICT

BEING RAISED BY A NARCISSIST

BEING RAISED BY NEGLECTFUL PARENTS

BEING RAISED BY OVERPROTECTIVE PARENTS

BEING RAISED BY PARENTS WHO LOVED CONDITIONALLY

BEING REJECTED BY ONE’S PEERS

BEING SENT AWAY AS A CHILD

BEING SEXUALLY VIOLATED

BEING SO BEAUTIFUL IT’S ALL PEOPLE SEE

BEING STALKED

BEING THE PRODUCT OF A RAPE

BEING THE VICTIM OF A VICIOUS RUMOR

BEING TORTURED

BEING TRAPPED IN A COLLAPSED BUILDING

BEING TRAPPED WITH A DEAD BODY

BEING TREATED AS PROPERTY

BEING UNFAIRLY BLAMED FOR SOMEONE'S DEATH

BEING VICTIMIZED BY A PERPETRATOR WHO WAS NEVER CAUGHT

CAVING TO PEER PRESSURE

CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE BY A KNOWN PERSON

CHOOSING TO NOT BE INVOLVED IN A CHILD'S LIFE

CRACKING UNDER PRESSURE

CROSSING MORAL LINES TO SURVIVE

DECLARING BANKRUPTCY

DISCOVERING A PARTNER'S SEXUAL ORIENTATION SECRET

DISCOVERING A SIBLING'S ABUSE

DIVORCING ONE'S SPOUSE

DOMESTIC ABUSE

EXPERIENCING POVERTY

EXPERIENCING THE DEATH OF A PARENT AS A CHILD OR YOUTH

FAILING AT SCHOOL

FAILING TO DO THE RIGHT THING

FAILING TO SAVE SOMEONE'S LIFE

FALLING SHORT OF SOCIETY'S PHYSICAL STANDARDS

FINANCIAL RUIN DUE TO A SPOUSE’S IRRESPONSIBILITY

FINDING OUT ONE’S CHILD WAS ABUSED

FINDING OUT ONE WAS ADOPTED

GETTING DUMPED

GETTING LOST IN A NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

GIVING A CHILD UP FOR ADOPTION

GROWING UP IN A CULT

GROWING UP IN FOSTER CARE

GROWING UP IN THE PUBLIC EYE

GROWING UP IN THE SHADOW OF A SUCCESSFUL SIBLING

GROWING UP WITH A SIBLING'S DISABILITY OR CHRONIC ILLNESS

HAVING A CONTROLLING OR OVERLY STRICT PARENT

HAVING AN ABORTION

HAVING ONE'S IDEAS OR WORK STOLEN

HAVING PARENTS WHO FAVORED ONE CHILD OVER ANOTHER

HAVING TO KILL TO SURVIVE

IDENTITY THEFT

INCEST

INFERTILITY

INFIDELITY

LEARNING THAT ONE'S PARENT HAD A SECOND FAMILY

LEARNING THAT ONE’S PARENT WAS A MONSTER

LIVING IN A DANGEROUS NEIGHBORHOOD

LIVING IN AN EMOTIONALLY REPRESSED HOUSEHOLD

LIVING THROUGH CIVIL UNREST

LIVING THROUGH FAMINE OR DROUGHT

LIVING WITH AN ABUSIVE CAREGIVER

LIVING WITH CHRONIC PAIN OR ILLNESS

LOSING A LIMB

LOSING A LOVED ONE DUE TO A PROFESSIONAL'S NEGLIGENCE

LOSING A LOVED ONE TO A RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE

LOSING ONE OF THE FIVE SENSES

MAKING A VERY PUBLIC MISTAKE

MISPLACED LOYALTY

NOT BEING A PRIORITY GROWING UP

POOR JUDGMENT LEADING TO UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

PREJUDICE OR DISCRIMINATION

SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION

SOCIAL DIFFICULTIES

TELLING THE TRUTH BUT NOT BEING BELIEVED

THE DEATH OF ONE'S CHILD

UNREQUITED LOVE

WATCHING SOMEONE DIE

WITNESSING A MURDER

WITNESSING VIOLENCE AT A YOUNG AGE

WRONGFUL IMPRISONMENT

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