PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Emotions #2
BOOK: Emotional Intelligence, by Goleman, 1995 “…..what it means to be smart
Down side of some ‘New Age’ ideas
It can be hard to figure out whether our strong emotional reactions are appropriate for a present-day event OR coming from an old wound. Usually it’s both. The good news is that as we heal & develop our “UNIT” we can begin to tell the difference more easily & more often.
When ever we find ourselves obsessing (mentally ruminating about a hurt), we can start by writing down – briefly – an outline of the situation. Then ask some ‘look inside’ Qs to see what’s behind our reaction (See Part 3)
• Those of us brought up on religious, new age or other spiritual teachings that tells us to always be positive (“Be happy, don’t worry”) have found it impossible to live up to. It left us hating ourselves more, feeling desolate & hopeless of ever ‘getting there’. What they often don’t acknowledge is that we need to allow our human side to heal & be nurtured first, before we can aspire to be ‘serene’!
• While we certainly do aim for a balanced & peaceful emotional life, it’s not healthy – NOR successful – to just cover painful emotions & harmful beliefs / thoughts with a bunch of platitudes & ‘positive thinking’, without first cleaning out old Es & memories accumulated from as far back as infancy
• Charles Whitfield, MD has provided a useful image:
Take a basket of delicious fruit & let it sit for a long time until they rot. Someone comes along & says – “Ugh, that’s gross. Let’s put some fresh fruit in there. It’ll look & smell so much better!” So you do that & everything is fine – for a while. After all, it sounded like a good idea, & they were offering it for free.
BUT you added the beautiful fruit on top of the rotted ones without cleaning the basket out first. Q: What will happen to the new food?
A: After a while the fresh ones will start to rot from underneath!
Obvious? It seems not, since that’s exactly what many people do when they try to layer new ‘positive’ ideas & attitudes on top of all their emotional damage & cognitive distortions. They think they can escape the hard work of Recovery & still be ok!
Human Beings are like that basket – originally holding precious, wonderful qualities & potential. But to survive Alcoholism & Narcissism we had to create a False Self, added Toxic Rules & mixed in a lot of S-H.
➼ In Recovery we gradually ‘take out the garbage’ of our past, replacing it with the ‘good stuff’ we’ve been told about, so it doesn’t get contaminated! As our Healthy Adult takes charge we start protecting ourselves, while being respectful towards others. We can be definite & clear, getting to the point, asking for what we want. We just don’t have to be rude or aggressive.
🎯 Practice making declarative sentences so you don’t beat around the bush.
Say “I know he’s being disrespectful”, instead of “I feel like he’s not respecting me” – which sounds as if it’s only your opinion rather than what’s actually happening.
HEALING: When we’re emotionally in pain, the FIRST thing to do for our WIC is comfort him or her. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed at the moment. Only then can we start asking the Checklist Qs in Part 3.
We must and can develop permission to have all our emotions, our human qualities & requirements. We also need to receive validation (cognitive) & comfort (emotional) from as many people & for as long as we need them – as well as from our Higher Power. Using all our tools will heal enough of our old wounds so we can tolerate the intensity of old emotions as we re-experience them in Recovery – a little at a time. LOVE HEALS!
NEXT: Repressing Es