ACCESS TO MY EMOTIONS –
gives me an early warning sign of danger
PREVIOUS: Purpose – Awareness
Article: “The World of Feelings & Emotions”
2. INDIVIDUAL NEEDS – cont.
c. PROTECT from HARM
• BODY – i. Painful Es like depression, hostility, rage, anxiety, worry… have been linked in many studies to heart disease & other physical illnesses such as diabetes, as well as to hospital deaths caused by stroke
ii. Pleasurable Es: A first-time study of ‘positive’ emotions linked to illness concluded that people who are usually happy, enthusiastic & content are less likely to develop heart disease. This was done in Nova Scotia (1995), using 1,700 people who were followed for 10 years. Dr Davidson noted that the chronically unhappy people had a 22% higher risk of a heart attack. Even those with some positive feelings we less at risk, & the safest were the overall happy people, even tho they sometimes got depressed as well
• MIND – Our emotions give us information about what’s going on in our environment. We subliminally pick up signals about situations that will produce an emotional reaction, but we can’t always tell what set off our ‘Spidey Tingle’. We might say: “Something doesn’t feel right about this” or “I had a feeling something was going to happen and it did” – thoughts based on physical clues below our conscious threshold.
We need to honor those intuitive feelings – but it’s OK to check them out with others. It’s also very useful to keep a dated written log every time we’re right – as well as when we’re not – noting what we think may have made the difference between what we imagined & what actually occurred. These notes give us much-needed self-mirroring & validation of reality
• ACoAs – We know that ACoAs have a great need for safety – even above love. As adults we still walk around deeply fearful of people, places & things because we aren’t internally connected to our “early warning system” – our emotions. Cleaning out back-logged Es, instead of just reacting to life from old pain, gives us more & more access to our current feelings about things so we can tell what’s really going on in the present. That allows us to find more successful ways to respond to “situations that used to baffle us” (from the AA Big Book Promises), creating an increased sense of safety in the world
• Just because an Emotion hurts does NOT mean it should be avoided! Unpleasant Es such as fear, anger, jealousy or disgust prepare us mentally & physically to take immediate action against an object or situation that poses a threat. EXP:
ANGER is an emotion with a lot of energy that can protect and preserve life – by mobilizing us and inspiring determination and creative action.
— Without it we wouldn’t object to someone regularly mistreating us, so we’d stay & take it, while it wore down our health & our soul
FEAR is a deeply rooted emotion which supports life by signaling danger and triggering life-preserving action.
— Without it we wouldn’t be aware when being with an unsafe person, so we’d keep interacting with them & easily become emotionally scarred, not to mention possibly hit, raped, wounded or killed
SADNESS is a call to slow down, stop thinking & surrender to whatever we’re feeling. It suggests that we trust ourselves & ‘the process’ enough to open up & be vulnerable, in order to recover from losses
— Without it we would never know that we missed someone or something that is gone – a loved one, our youth, a career, a home….. etc .
Setting Boundaries (rather than using defensive walls) is necessary to protect our physical & mental health. Review all posts on Boundaries
• To develop appropriate Bs we must have internal permission to have all our needs. To allow ourselves those needs, we must have self-esteem – to Love our Inner Child via the good Parent. SO – it’s imperative to have access to a full range of emotions, giving us boundary cues that tell us:
— who’s too close or too far away for our comfort (causing us to feel suffocated or too lonely)
— what feels right for us & from whom (touch, talking, info…)
— who or what gives us the ‘icks’ in our gut
— when something is abusive, or ‘off‘ – etc.
• External Bs help define us in relation to everyone else, while being needed as physical & psychic protection. When another person’s behavior has a harmful effect on us, our emotions alert us – it we’re paying attention. Once we trust our Es & thoroughly believe it’s ok to speak up for ourselves, we can let others know what’s acceptable for us & what isn’t. Bs can help us choose who we want to spend time with, have sex with, work with, marry …..
• Internal Bs are just as important as external ones. They have to do with keeping the PP (Negative Introject) voice from battering us into over-working, demanding that we be perfect, telling us we’re no good….. They’re also needed to prevent the WIC from running the show all by itself, by building the ‘Unit’. Bs allow us to step back from the force of our damage, actually putting the Child & PP voices outside of ourselves – ie. detach with compassion. This makes it possible to cope with emotional stressors that come from these 2 ego states by putting their intensity & distortions in perspective.
NEXT: Purpose – Predicting Behavior