PREVIOUS: Fear of Responsibility (#5)
T.E.A. (Thoughts, Emotions, Actions)
Most people are not taught to distinguish between there 3 modalities. This causes much confusion in how we express ourselves, & therefore creates much miscommunication in our relationships.
While the 3 categories feed off of each other, they are not the same thing. The most important thing to remember is that Thoughts & Actions can be changed &/or modified, but emotions just are. It is not healthy to try to control our emotions, while it is healthy & necessary to have a choice in what we say & do, depending on the situation we’re in.
THOUGHTs – always made up of a string of words.
All of us have running dialogues in our head much of the day, on the surface of our awareness, such as:
– planning what we ‘re going to do or ‘should’ be doing
– reviewing what has happened to us or what we did (pleasant or not)
– ‘dreaming’, wishing, imagining, designing projects……
– worrying, obsessing – often about things we can’t control
– ranting to ourselves about people who hurt us & things we hate
– thinking about things we’ve seen or read
– planning things we want to say, either personal or for work……
What we’re thinking under the surface, out of our direct awareness, some deeply hidden, other accessible if we pay attention. (This is what sitting quietly in ‘meditation’ is for – to hear the chatter in our head.)
EMOTIONs – see extensive posts
These are always ONE WORD things – happy, sad, angry, amused, lonely, scared, pleased, sexy, excited……(NOTE: if you say “I feel” immediately followed immediately by a sentence – it’s not an emotion, but rather a thought. (“I feel like you don’t understand”)
See posts: Getting to Emotions – Under & Over // ACoA Emotions re Painful Events // ACoAs – accepting & accessing Es // What is Emotional Abuse? // Over-controlling ourselves
ACTIONs – both things that we DO as well as things that we DON’T do, that are helpful or harmful to ourselves & others.
See posts: Actions: Healthy opposites // Noticing painful events // Negative reactions to painful events // Positive responses
EXP: “Acting out” can be defined as –
– Any COMPULSIVE (temporarily out of conscious control) ↵
– ACTION or NON-action, which is ↵
– a way to externally EXPRESS or demonstrate ↵
– painful EMOTIONS we’re NOT aware of at all (ongoing repression), or not experiencing at the time, about a particular situation we’re in or that we anticipate
SUCH AS: being late for OR blanking out on an appointment that we didn’t realize is making us anxious // starting an argument at the end of a nice evening, weekend…. rather than feeling abandoned at the separation OR the suppressed emotions from our abusive childhood or any other traumatic events in our life
When was the last time you were struck by anxiety?
How long did it last? What caused it?
What did you do about it?
OR is it with you all the time? & how do you cope?
• All ACoAs are fear based, whether our preferred defensive style is to be phobic (passive, victim, timid, anxious) OR counter-phobic (don’t consciously feel scared, & then keep doing dangerous things to ‘prove it’). Given our painful, chaotic, abusive childhood – with very little comfort, explanations or guidance – we carry with us an enormous backlog of fear. This pile-up get suppressed, covered over, redirected….. so we barely realize it’s there.
Once we’ve cut ourselves off from being aware of the source of our fear, in many cases what we’re left with is anxiety – the free-floating painful flutter & tightness in our gut we don’t connect with anything in particular.
– For those of us who try to skate past it, when something sets it off, we’re deeply shocked, overwhelmed, can’t cope, think we’re losing our mind……
And if we unexpectedly get too flooded with anxiety, without a healthy way to resolve it, it can trigger an anxiety attack, which is very scary & physically painful.
• ACoAs will do almost anything to avoid feeling emotions – especially fear.
‘Coping’ styles (escapes):
– keep so busy you can’t feel it (or much of anything else)
– withdraw, isolate from people, refuse help or comfort
– find other ways to escape (internet, tv, sleeping……)
– stay angry so you don’t feel scared
– blame everyone/everything else when upset or disappointed
– use various types of addictions to numb out any unpleasant Es
– dump on anyone who’ll listen: compulsively go on & on about situations & people in your life that upsets you, without any self-awareness or attempt at making appropriate changes where possible.
▶ And then there are those of us who are drowning in it – for days, months, yrs or as far back as we can remember – our constant daily companion. We don’t know what to do about it, don’t know the source & have never learned how to find a solution.
NEXT: T.E.A. & Anxiety (Part 2)