In understanding the below the line levels of Hopelessness, Fear and Frustration (see the Seven Levels for full descriptions), it has been very helpful to us to look at the work of Dr. Mario Martinez on biocognition. In his research, Dr. Martinez found that there are three primary wounds of human existence, three ways we can be brought below the line. (When we first heard him speak, we were very happy to see the synergy of his work with ours, in that each of the three wounds corresponds to one of the below the line levels.)

Each of us have all three wounds to some extent, though there is often a primary wound. The three wounds are:

  • Shame, which creates the energetic field of Hopelessness;
  • Abandonment, which creates the field of Fear; and
  • Betrayal, which creates the field of Frustration.

Each wound has a bio-chemical and disease response, and of course, different causes:

  • Shame has a pro-inflammatory response in the body, and the initial reaction is a feeling of being hot and humiliated. The body feels like it is being attacked (we have a pro-inflammatory response to being cut or having an infection), and the disease links are the auto-immune diseases. Some of the causes of the wound of Shame are ridicule, criticism, blame, judgment, bullying, mean teasing, calling names and guilt trips.
  • Abandonment has a adrenalin-based fight or flight response in the body. We have an immediate cold and fearful response, and the primary disease link is cancer. Some of the causes of the wound of Abandonment are: neglect, being ignored, being left/abandoned (both physically and emotionally), dismissal, parent-child role reversal, not being taken seriously, lack of interest and/or support.
  • Betrayal also creates a fight or flight response as the body releases adrenalin and cortisol, but the immediate reaction is hot and angry. The main disease link here is heart disease. Some of the causes of the wound of Betrayal are: being lied to, being cheated (on), when trust is broken, when agreements are not kept, being talked about maliciously, meanness/unkindness, abuse, when someone doesn’t take responsibility.

Any of the three can lead to anger, but Shame and Abandonment have different initial responses than Betrayal.

Now let me tell you the good news — each of these three wounds has a corresponding healing field. In other words, there are actually ways we can actively bring healing to our wounds. Here they are:

  • The healing field for Shame is Honor;
  • The healing field for Abandonment is Commitment; and
  • The healing field for Betrayal is Value (note: Dr. Martinez calls this healing field Loyalty, but we found Loyalty and Commitment to be difficult to differentiate and work with — they just seemed too similar. Value gave us more ideas and access to specific ideas. Perhaps is fair to say that Valuing oneself or another is one way fo being Loyal.) 

When you are aware of feeling one (or more) of these wounds, you can bring the appropriate healing field to yourself. When you have caused one of these wounds (and yes, we all do, often not intentionally) you can bring the appropriate healing field to the relationship. So if someone feels like you have shamed them, you honor them somehow. If they feel abandoned, you focus on your commitment to them. If they feel betrayed, you stress their value to you.

All wounds occur in the negative, “below the line” field of dark, heavy, fear-based energy. Therefore, the solution is to bring an “above the line” light, expansive, courageous energy of love. The simple truth is, whenever you bring love to fear, love heals and transforms everything whether it is within yourself, in a one to one relationship or in a group or organization. Here are some examples of ways you can bring love to different wounds (all ideas are our own, inspired by Dr. Martinez’s work):


Shame / Honor




 Honor is so
powerful it
seems to heal
all the wounds
  • Being with the emotion without judging it or yourself (not suppressing)
  • Put yourself first – stop sacrificing yourself for others
  • Treat yourself as honored guest
  • Speak only kind words to yourself
  • Spoil yourself with beautiful food and surroundings
  • Wear your best clothes
  • Speak of your wounds/failings with tenderness and love
  • Stand up for yourself
  • Ask for what you need
  • Make boundaries as needed
  • Self care
  • Acknowledge their true self
  • Treat them as beloved teacher/guest
  • Speak to what is beautiful in them
  • Find the brilliance in what they do and say
  • Deep listening
  • Deep interest in who they are
  • Asking if they have what they need
  • Respect their boundaries
  • Be present with them


Abandonment / Commitment




will heal both
and Betrayal
  • Tell yourself that you love yourself every day
  • Say to yourself “I am here for you, I won’t abandon you”
  • Keep your word to yourself
  • Develop self-awareness and grow
  • Trust your inner guides
  • Follow your dreams
  • Make yourself a priority
  • Apologize and re-commit
  • Promise to honor your commitments to them fully (and then do it)
  • Make them a priority
  • Be honest and trust them
  • Help them love and believe in themselves


Betrayal / Value




 Dr. Martinez calls
this field Loyalty 
  • Stand up for yourself
  • Make appropriate boundaries as needed
  • Focus on your own strengths and talents
  • Acknowledge yourself for what you do well
  • Validate your own feelings
  • Apologize to yourself
  • Express yourself fully
  • Focus on honoring your values
  • Create and live into a vision for yourself
  • Apologize
  • Tell them how important they are to you
  • Acknowledge them for what they do well
  • Put your emphasis on their strengths and talents
  • Co-create and align on values and vision
  • Listen to them without being hooked—be open and non-resistant


These are just some ideas of both how the wounds are caused and how they  can be healed – we’d love to hear your own experiences, thoughts and suggestions.

~Ann, Minneapolis, December 2011

Ursula and I are grateful not only to Dr. Mario Martinez to introducing us to the idea of wounds and healing fields, but also to Jacek Skrzypczynski for helping us deepen our understanding of what causes wounds and how we heal them.