The Wounded Witch
What is a Wounded Witch, and could you be one too? A look at how the Wounded Witch can become Toxic, tainting more than just Magick.
We are all wounded in some way, shape, or form. We all, at some point in our life, experience trauma, abuse, neglect, humiliation, and pain. We carry these issues with us as we work, play, sleep, eat, and so on. I have witnessed the Wounded Witch within myself, the community, and most notably on Social Media. A Wounded Witch is any witch who has experienced trauma, abuse, neglect, shame, and damage to the mind, body, emotions, and spirit. One thing to remember here is you can recognize the Wounded Witch in yourself, but you don’t have to allow yourself to become toxic.
We all have different methods of dealing with trauma and abuse. Some turn inward, sulk and become depressed. Some lash out and blame others. Some adopt addictive behaviors. Some choose to remain angry. Others choose to seek healing and understanding. The path of the Witch is one of wholeness. It is a path of self-understanding and patience. At least that is how I was taught. In my training and from what I can gather from many other Witches who have practiced as long as I have, we received the same message: “Heal yourself so you can be effective in healing others and effective with your magick.”
However, over the past several years, and definitely since the rise of social media, the Wounded Witch and eventually, the Toxic Wounded Witch has become an unacknowledged persona. Too often, too many of our kind are wearing a destructive mask dressed in disruptive behavior. Many wear this persona like a badge of honor. The heavy thing to realize is that the actions expressed are toxic. They are damaging not only to one’s self but to our entire community. It’s like sludge in our drinking water. No one wants it there, but once it is in the water, you have a whole new brand of cool-aid.
I relate this persona to a mask for many reasons. I also see why disruptive and non-productive behavior has been on the rise. When we are on the internet, we can hide behind the disguise of a made-up profile. Trolling (aka the Toxic Wounded Witch) can be explained through a psychological concept called “online disinhibition effect.” We are all strangers without physical cues and nuances to lead our conversation. People can freely express themselves uninhibitedly contrary to face-to-face encounters. It becomes easier to disregard moral responsibilities when we can easily walk away from the impact made. Often there are no repercussions for toxic behavior.
I refuse to drink this cool-aid. I have been caught in the trap before and I’m not going back! I love my community, both local and virtual. I love learning and growing together. It breaks my heart when we tolerate the toxic behaviors expressed on social media. This kind of thing should cause us all to sit up and take notice. We are in a time of crisis and we need to form alliances so that we can survive what is coming. If you don’t know what I mean, then you have not been paying attention to our current political and social climate.
For thousands of years, we have been persecuted, and we are FINALLY in a position where we can reclaim our rightful place in this world. Our Elders have worked very hard to give this to us. Witches like Starhawk, Selena Fox, Margot Adler, Scott Cunningham, and MORE! They have worked for decades to unlock the cell door that once imprisoned us. They have worked to allow us to come out of the shadows and broom closet. But this work is far from done. The crack of opportunity we have before us is often taken for granted by many witches. Don’t forget that this door can once again be slammed shut and locked on us. Somehow, we have entirely forgotten the trials and abuse our predecessors went through to get us to the threshold of freedom. It is critical to heal yourself and to NOT allow your toxic traits to rule you! We have so much more work left to do, and we can only do it when we are unified. If you fear coming out of the closet because you could lose your home, family, and friends, then you know what I say is true. It is absurd to treat each other like the enemy when we have much more significant issues to address as a community.
When the Wounded Witch goes Toxic
A Toxic Wounded Witch is someone who makes intentional inflammatory, insolent, and upsetting statements to produce strong emotional responses from others. This is often done to redirect the conversation or topic as they seek some sort of validation. This is frequently done when the topic addresses something the Wounded Witch is not yet ready to consider, heal from or acknowledge. The topic might somehow challenge their opinion about a person or practice. A Toxic Wounded Witch is someone who feels the need to abuse, accuse, and shame others so they can feel better about their opinions and life choices. Often this can arise from a sense of guilt, shame, remorse or anger. Unacknowledged and ignored feelings are often the culprit. Some Toxic Wounded Witches do this for their own amusement, and to push a specific agenda. It distracts them from the real issue at hand, the one seething and rotting under the surface.
One thing to remember is that they are in pain. They need to be heard and validated. They have not dealt with their inner trauma, neglect, emotions, or abuse. If you frequent any social media sites, you’ve likely run into a Toxic Wounded Witch at some point (or many). Perhaps you know a few in your local community too. Like I mentioned before. We are all wounded in some way. We all have experienced neglect, trauma, shame, etc. at some point in our lives. How we choose to deal with the repercussion is the key. We can choose to be inflammatory, refusing to deal with the underlying issue… OR we can raise our vibration and decide to deal with it healthily.
Sadly, glorifying the Toxic Wounded Witch is a trend I see infecting our witch culture from bloggers to authors and more. They can come in many forms and are present in all communities.
13-Tell-Tale signs of a Toxic Wounded Witch:
- Ineffective magick, you might find them in groups and chats demanding that others provide them with spells. Or you might find that they seem to have trouble creating positive change in their life with or without the use of spells and hide the fact that their magick is ineffective.
- Their personal life is fragmented and imbalanced: perhaps they keep a filthy home and pretend they do not. Maybe they suppress anger, depression, and fear but act otherwise. They have trouble maintaining healthy relationships and often attract others to their side who are also toxic and in desperate need of healing. Their love life or long term relationships suffer or are non-existant.
- Refusal to thoroughly research, seek out help and develop an understanding. This is often someone who hides behind the few books they read and have little to zero experience in working with others. They tend to claim to know it all without having any real experience to back it up.
- Taking the words and intentions of others out of context & bending the words and intentions of others to serve their own purpose
- Refusal to acknowledge the evidence, even when the facts are clearly stated and proof provided, they will ignore this element and continue to argue their point of view. I get it, sometimes admitting we are wrong is hard, and it is made even harder the more we dig our heels into the ground.
- Refusing to apologize, again yes, it is harder for some to admit they are wrong, but when wrongdoing is apparent, Toxic Wounded Witches will not apologize for their trespasses. Sure, they might, in some way, acknowledge they played a part in the wrongdoing, but their admittance will be vague at best, and they will not atone for it.
- Blaming others, when addressing the issue, you might find that the conversation is turned around, and you somehow become the one to blame.
- Abuse, using insults, and off-topic remarks to disrupt the conversation. Some are clever with this one. They will lead another into believing it was their fault or that they somehow deserved the abuse.
- Addiction, The Toxic Witch, might be in denial, which is common, but signs of addiction will be there if you look.
- Narcissistic behavior seated in manipulation; often, the individual will act dismissive and condescending when their attitude is addressed. The Toxic Wounded Witch will work very hard to make others feel like they are somehow wrong for expressing their concern. The Toxic Witch does not like to be called out for their harmful actions.
- Seeming obliviousness, they can’t fathom that their behavior is wrong, harmful to others, and causing harm to themselves and the community. They will claim that each of us holds our own truth. This is used as a distraction from the reality of their harmful behavior.
- Exploits others without guilt or shame, A Toxic Wounded Witch will lack empathy, but they are good at pretending to have it. In many ways, they view other people as objects (the means to an end) to serve their needs. They don’t think twice about taking advantage of others to achieve their own goals.
- Seeking approval from others. The Toxic Wounded Witch will also place themselves in positions where they can gain the adoration and support of others. They often pose themselves as leaders, like a High Preist/Priestess (HP). They need to feel validated and will use manipulative behaviors like gaslighting, criticism and trolling to disparage those who oppose them. Simultaneously they will bathe others with feigned compliments, flattery, and support to gain favor so long as they view these individuals as useful to their cause.
Sometimes the interpersonal exploitation is malicious and is most often subtle. Toxic Wounded Witches simply don’t think about, or they simply don’t care about how their behavior affects others. At least not as long as it gets them what they want. Even if you point it out, they still won’t truly get it. The only thing they understand is meeting their goal and needs.
How do you know if you are a Wounded Witch or worse a Toxic Wounded Witch?
An excellent place to start is by asking yourself the tough questions that probe into your motivations and actions (or reactions). Look at the list above and ask yourself if you indulge in any of these mindsets and behaviors. If you find that you do, then you have taken the first critical step, which is acknowledging the issue. Next, you can begin addressing the issue. The mind is a cunning deceiver. You might find it hard to determine if you are coming from a place of fear and anger when you respond or react to others. A key thing here is to pay attention to your motivations and the feelings that crop up when you do.
Take out your journal and ask yourself these important questions:
Do you react or interact with others?
When you react to others, what emotions do you experience?
Do you have an attachment to how others perceive your thoughts, opinions, and the facts you reveal? If so why? What do you fear when addressing a topic or issue? If you are reacting with anger, fear, hostility, or defensiveness, you are coming from a place of fear.
If you are merely stating your opinion or the facts with no attachments to the views and thoughts of others, you are coming from a place of healing. When you no longer need validation to feel rooted in your believes and practices, you are balanced.
How does this affect your Magick?
The Witch is a master of energy. To be an effective Witch, you MUST learn to discern and funnel the right energy into the right activities, ideas, people, etc. and at the right times. This is not to say you have to be 100% healed 100% of the time to be a Witch. Maintaining balance is an ebb and flow, healing is a journey and not a destination. We are all at different points on a similar path, and that’s totally okay.
When we are not healing, we are acting from a place of imbalance. Imbalance disrupts our ability to decipher, raise, and direct energy. Activities like intuitive readings, spells, and other psychic or magickal tasks can become tainted with our anger, fear, and sense of inadequacy. Often our own issues, concerns, and trauma can leak out into the activities creating a false message or unwanted manifestation. Our imbalances can also cause blockages in our abilities and energies, much like blocked chakras.
How do you know you are on the path to healing?
- The words of other wounded witches no longer trigger you. They no longer make you feel insufficient or unworthy.
- You can speak to them from a place of stability and peace.
- You can express yourself clearly and eloquently.
- You can clearly see their wounds, and you will feel some pity and compassion for their current place on this path.
How to handle A Toxic Wounded Witch
A good rule of thumb is “don’t feed the trolls.” Toxic Wounded Witches refuse to acknowledge their behavior and will root themselves more deeply into this behavior. This often happens because we unknowingly give them permission or at least the means to do so.
They are in desperate need of emotional responses, and they are provoked by knowing that they got to you. Many are amused by this, like childish bullies on the playground. When they realize they got under your skin, their work is done! Replying to them or attempting to debate with them will only feed the Toxic Wounded Witch persona. Many advise ignoring them, but I find that they only find another outlet in another group where someone will eventually engage. Perhaps ignoring will frustrate them for a little while but only until they find another outlet. Some even turn to their friends to gossip and further disparage others feeding their need for validation.
An important thing to remember is that a Toxic Wounded Witch will spend countless hours trying to make people mad. You have no obligation to give this person your time, and frankly, they are not worth it. You also are under no obligation to take them seriously. When a Toxic Wounded Witch is unwilling to resolve his or her negative behavior, it is time to utilize the tools most social media platforms offer. You can opt to report them to the site’s moderation team, or if the behaviors have become overly offensive and volatile, you can report their profile to the platform itself. Depending on the platform, their profile may get suspended for a while. Just note this will not solve the issue. It is likely that when their suspension is over, they will be back to their old tricks. Meanwhile, they will likely be on other sites doing the same thing to others. I have seen many create alternate profiles, so there is little to no disruption in their goal.
One sure way to combat these toxic behaviors is to create a culture where these actions become ineffective. We should work to create a community mindset where noxious witches are no longer tolerated. This means coming together as a community for the betterment of the whole. In the end, it is up to you and me. Together we can work to heal our community, making it cohesive and balanced.