The core wound of “I am incapable” can cover many areas of life. For instance, there can be a belief that one is incapable of love, incapable of achieving, incapable of being known, incapable of intimacy, incapable of making decisions, incapable of fulfilling a role. It may mirror what’s known as the inferiority complex, which Alfred Adler believed to be when an individual lacks the motivation to act in one’s best interest to achieve their goals and desires.
Feeling inferior from time to time is part of the human experience. At one time or another we have all experienced failure, incompetence, inadequacy, mistakes, and misunderstandings and lacked to motivation or direction to amend these. What sets these experiences apart from it developing as a core wound is typically the depth of shame experienced and the time of the experience. The core wound of “I am incapable” often develops its roots in childhood experiences such as having critical parents or other shaming authority figures, being bullied by peers, or perhaps not given opportunities to engage in challenging experiences in a positive environment that developed feelings of adequacy or competence. As an adult you may find yourself replaying these circumstances in the workplace, in your relationships, or even in your everyday life.
This wound may express itself in fear of failure, imposter syndrome, feeling stuck or incompetent, codependency, fear of rejection, feeling powerless, resistance to change, fear of embarrassment, anxiety, depression, or even post traumatic stress disorder. Often, someone with this core wound will have a negative view of self, struggle with self confidence, and isolate themselves socially. Isolating socially could also look like being with many friends, but with only surface relationships.
The task of working through this core wound is difficult, as it does deal so greatly with a lack of motivation and/or a fear of change. It takes doing what was previously mentioned, facing challenges in a positive and healthy environment to develop feelings and beliefs of adequacy and competence for sustainable, effective change. The thought of this can be daunting, given the fear is so deep, but making a small, realistic goal and achieving it can be one step toward starting the process to face this fear and heal this wound. Another way is to engage in relationships where there is support, acceptance, intimacy, and a secure attachment. Often, in order to do the former, the latter is essential.
We can also find comfort in scriptures, where it is considered strength to act even when we feel weak. This brings glory to God, but also strengthens us for more trials and the attacks of the enemy. Below are some scriptures that confirm if we trust and hope in the Lord, He will provide and we can do hard things, even when we do not feel like it.
“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” (Psalm 73:26)
“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5)
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 1:19-20)
Remember, feelings are real, but they are not reliable. Your fear or trauma may be causing you to remain stuck, but this uncertainty does not have to hold you back. You can heal and find freedom, one step at a time.