PREVIOUS : What about Es? (#1)
Review: CD & Emotions (1 & 2)
HEALTHY emotions usually are immediate responses to some situation or thought in the moment. They are important because they give us information about our current status & gets us ready or motivated to act when appropriate or necessary. They are a direct result of either:
• an external event, like being cut off in traffic or your boss being annoying – so you may feel angry, irritated, frustrated…. or
• an internal ‘event’, like memories of —
— a bad job, a lost loved one – you can feel sad, lonely, angry, scared
— a fun party, great success – you may feel happy, relieved, proud…..
LONG-TERM* emotions are those we keep feeling over long periods of time & cause great stress on the body, since it never gets a chance to rest. The only ‘benefit’ is in letting us know what happened to us as children. They accumulate & hang on because we never had a way to verbalize or process them.
But in the present, when an old button is pushed, we chew & chew on a feeling (anger, abandonment, disappointment….), by obsessing on the painful experience, and then add more pain by judging how we feel. These emotions won’t dissipate easily or quickly because they’re attached to self-abusing beliefs that our WIC is loyal to.
✶ Long-term Es prevent us from being in touch with or honoring our honest gut responses, which then distract us from taking needed actions, or drive us to take the wrong kinds of actions.
EXP: You got really angry at a rotten driver on the highway, yelling & giving them the bird… but then gave yourself a hard time about having that anger – because you learned as a kid that it was not an acceptable emotion – so you may feel guilt, shame, anxiety & self-hate on top of the immediate feeling. In this case you may not have made a distinction between the emotion of anger & your outward behavior.
Truth: All emotions are legitimate, but not all actions are appropriate! Regardless, you may not always be able to prevent the self-hate ‘recording’ from starting up, BUT don’t let it go on & on, since it’s a type of internal abuse & just adds to our misery!
REMINDER re. T.E.A.
• Most people (even healers & therapists) talk about Es as either positive or negative, but that is not a realistic or correct way to think of them. Anything labeled ‘negative’ is always considered bad, & should therefore be suppressed or eliminated. However, it is not healthy to suppress or eliminate Es! What is most healing is to feel our emotions in appropriate places & with safe people, so we don’t have to carry them around for too long. If we keep shoving them away they pile up & clog our energy pathways, like an old sewer. They harden us or we explode.
• It is our thoughts & actions that are either positive or negative. To feel empowered we need to keep track of our Es (with great patience & kindness toward ourselves) so we can be in charge of what we’re thinking & how we act on them. Emotions just need to be accepted & felt! (CHART from a TED Talk)
EXP: After regularly attending ACoA meetings for a couple of years, one young man explained: “I spent much of my life running from my emotions. I was convinced that if I stopped, I would drown in them. Finally I got so tired of running I just ‘sat down’, fearing the worst. Even tho the waves of emotions came like a tsunami, they washed over me and kept on going. And I’m still here – better than ever!
Correction: Instead of calling them positive or negative, we need to think about Es in terms of being painful or pleasurable, in varying degrees, from neutral to the extremes: Pa N Pl
Always keep in mind that Es are necessary & beneficial. Not having them or trying to get rid of them is like wanting to be rid of your hands or feet! Consider:
• Sociopaths are people who feel little or no emotions, doing whatever they want without remorse, guilt or shame. They have few internal deterrents to prevent being abusive to others because they can’t empathize with the pain they cause. Many of them do understand intellectually that their actions create suffering in someone else, & this may actually give them some satisfaction or pleasure, but no identification with the sufferer, so they don’t care about the terrible effect they cause
• Narcissists (especially NPDs) can feel some Es, but mainly for themselves & assume that others feel exactly the way they do – about everything, like the N. mother saying to her daughter: “Put a sweater on, I’m cold”! Narcissist say they ‘love’ someone, (a child, a spouse…) and they can be experiencing an emotion they label as love, BUT it’s all about themselves – only about their need to get something from the other person or protect themselves
In a symbiotic (boundary-less) relationship we hold someone so closely – like being in a tight embrace – that we can feel them, but not actually see the real person. It’s as if we’re always looking past their shoulder, at the rest of the world but never making mental or emotional eye contact with our co-hugger, so in a very real sense both people are alone!
• While the WIC is terrified of letting go, ultimately the enmeshment is unsatisfying, since each person is in the clinch for mainly self-centered reasons. The reality is that:
✓ If we can’t be seen – either – we can not be loved for who we really are & can’t get our social needs met
✓ If each of us is only in it to stave off our fear of abandonment we can’t grow & develop our potential
✓ If we can’t separate for fear of harming the other person, we can never be truthful, comfortable in our skin, or enjoy ourselves
HEALTHY: Legitimate patent-to-child or adult-to-adult love can see the other person clearly & always has the other’s well-fare in mind. The healthy parent would say: “Jimmy, I’m cold. Are you?” If the answer is “No”, the mother lets it go or adds a sweater to the backpack….. (depending on the age of the child, of course)
NEXT: What about Es? (Part 3)