PREVIOUS: Ennea – Triad Emotions (Part 3)
QUOTE: “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” ~ Sigmund Freud
ACoA have been conditioned to believe that having emotions is as evil as killing someone. (See 8 posts re. positive purposes for emotions). Also, people living with an intense mood disorder for a long time (panic d., obsessive-compulsive d., manic-depression, rage-aholism, paranoia….) tend to reject various emotions as unacceptable. Unfortunately, this can lead to some very dangerous behaviors such as self-harming, sexual acting out, addictions…..
• The popular field of Positive Psychology is sometimes used to justify pushing away ‘unfriendly’ emotions. This suits many people who do not want deal with their pain, partly because they never learned how to handle uncomfortable feelings.
— However “emotions, no matter how painful or dark, are natural expressions of what it means to be human. They all have a message for us that will ultimately lead to greater clarity, if acknowledged, contemplated, & not repressed. They are just like thoughts – merely symptoms of more deeply held beliefs, which must be fundamentally changed if we want to modify the experience of uncomfortable emotions. (From :” Why Feeling Bad is Good”)
In general, having access to all our Es is essential to being fully integrated & functioning well in the world. We should never expect to do this continually or ‘perfectly’*. It’s just important to accept all of them.
While it is sometimes necessary to have a bit of distance from our emotions or to even be temporarily shut down – as self-protection – long-term suppression causes bigger problems than whatever was being avoided in the first place.
• SO – it is our responsibility, as much as possible, to gently check in every day with ourselves, in order to keep track of what we’re feeling, on our own &/or with help. This gives us invaluable information about how well we’re taking care of our PMES & how safe or unsafe our environment is!
✶ Naturally we have to take into account the WIC’s over-reaction to people & situations, from stock-piled old wounds, & to our under-reaction from obeying the Toxic Messages, rather than our True Self. As we heal & develop our “Unit” we can usually tell the difference between historical vs present-day emotional responses to our environment (“Getting to our Es”)
• While we do want to aim for serenity & a balanced life, it’s not healthy to cover up painful emotions & harmful beliefs with a bunch of platitudes & ‘positive thinking’, especially without first cleaning out old pain accumulated from as far back as earliest childhood.
KEEP IN MIND that WE:
• can experience Emotions & not act on them at all
• can have our Es & find the right place to ‘get them out’
• will notice Es shifting from pain to pleasure – when hearing a kind word or being with an accepting, comforting friend, loved one or group
• change how we feel emotionally by coming to an aha! moment, or by mentally understanding what’s going on with us
EXP: In her 30s Amy was dating a very ‘religious’ man who made it clear he did not approve of anger. For a few weeks Amy let this information slide, trying to be the person Carl wanted. When she began noticing aching joints not related to age or illness, she started searching for an internal cause. Finally Amy realized she was holding in her rage about being told not to have certain feelings, just like her religious parents had done. As soon as she put those pieces together – the joint pain disappeared!
Emotional intelligence (E.I., also called E.Q.) refers to our ability to understand & use emotional information to guide our thinking & behavior. E.I. includes: (MORE……)
Self-awareness: recognize internal feelings/emotions
Manage emotions: handle Es suitably, according to the situation
Motivation: use self-control to channel Es toward a goal
Empathy: understand emotional perspective/experiences of others, especially if different from ours
Handle relationships: use information about self & others to appropriately manage social relationships & develop healthy interpersonal skills
(IMAGE from children’s movie 2015)
• Researchers are beginning to develop tests that can measure emotional intelligence. It seems obvious that — people with high E.I. have greater mental health, show great job performance, & usually work well in cooperative situations, being good at motivating & managing others,
— people with low E.I. have low(er) self-esteem, often misinterpret emotional signals, have difficulty with relationships & are not as motivated to be cooperative or perform well in work situations.
Although E.I. probably has an inherited component, many psychologists believe that people can be guided into making better use of the E.I. they were born with but which is as yet under/undeveloped.
NEXT: ACoAs – ACCESSING our Emotions (Part 2)