I CAN HAVE AL MY FEELINGS
I still be in control of myself!
PREVIOUS: What about Es? (Part 2)
MASTERY vs CONTROL
EXTERNAL focus: Control is defined in the dictionary TO direct & command & having authority over others, OR to hold back, curb, restrain. The need for negative control (being controlling) in our personal lives comes from an intense desire to avoid feeling fear – fear we’ve been storing away a little at a time, year after year, until it’s a mountain too overwhelming to face
Without realizing it, we believe that if we can ‘direct or restrain’ other people & situations around us we can prevent feelings of terror & rage from surfacing. Controlling our Es keeps us from knowing ourselves fully, while trying desperately to manage other people’s perceptions of us
INTERNAL focus: On the other hand, mastery indicates becoming an expert in some area. Regarding emotions (Es), it’s recognizing & accepting our True Self & therefore others – since we’re all emotional beings. We can be in charge of our feelings & behavior, as well understand & be respectful of others
• In ACoAs language mastery of our Es means having our Healthy Adult & Loving Parent in charge, instead of the WIC, while giving lots of room for the Healthy Child to thrive & express itself
When we allow ourselves to have a wide range of Es & learn how to handle them correctly, their intensity fades because they don’t get back-logged & then have to explode.
UNHEALTHY or UNUSUAL: Painful Es that we feel continually over long periods of time (rage, fear, sorrow, hopelessness …..) may be:
• from a traumatic past, & are tightly linked to beliefs, fantasies, wishes, resentments…. that we haven’t processed yet, & so are detrimental to us
• caused by sudden shock or unexpected loss we can’t seem to get over (such as with PTSD)
• the result of aging, a brain injury, chemical imbalance (like with clinical depression) or side0effects of legal & illegal drugs or medications
Many (but not all) of these causes of Es can be worked thru psychologically so they can be released, & in some cases can be greatly helped by corrective medication
NOT ALL EMOTIONS are big, scary or overwhelming. The ones we have in the moment are usually subtle, short-lived & sometimes conflicting. ACoAs have been so brain-washed to not recognize Es in general, that we barely acknowledge the big ones, so the subtler ones can get missed altogether (non-dramatic ones like – being pleased, relieved, quite comfortable, a little frustrated, mildly annoyed, glad…..)
Some ways to relieve the pressure of backed-up E:
• sometimes just writing them out is enough, or drawing them using pens or crayons
• call someone who won’t try to fix or control you, share your Es in Al-anon & therapy
• if angry, do a minute or more of under-your-breath yelling while pounding on the couch or bed, or go outside to a deserted place to vent
• if sad, listen to music, watch a movie, read a book…. to trigger your tears. Some of us can only cry when we are with others – if they’re safe, some of us only when we’re alone
➼ In many cases you’ll feel lighter & be able to sleep better!
EXP: You got an email from an ex you haven’t heard from in a long time. You’re over him/her, & the content was ok – nothing special.
So — you don’t feel anything. Right?
Well — a look inside, & you’ll find there are some – still vivid & intense. Don’t judge, just accept & use all your tools to process them
• OR maybe there’s only a little sadness, or guilt, or loss or forgotten anger or disappointment – that got activated. But you’re not aware of it – because, you don’t really care that much anymore, you’ve moved on…. And yes, you really are not invested in this person anymore, BUT feelings are feelings & aren’t logical. Just say “I might be feeling something – just quietly.” It’s normal. Acknowledge whatever Es you identify (quiet or loud), give your kid a warm hug & go on with your life – no drama!
NEXT: Es & the body (Part 1)