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 Es we less at risk, & the safest were the overall happy people, even though they sometimes got depressed as well
• MIND – Es give us information about what’s going on around us. 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, & it did” – thoughts based on physical clues below our conscious threshold.
We need to honor True intuitive – but it’s OK to check it out with others. It’s also useful to keep a dated written log every time we’re right – and 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 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 the best “early warning system” – our Es. Cleaning out back-logged pain, instead of just reacting to life from wounds, gives us more & more access to current feelings about things, so we can tell what’s really going on in the present. That lets us find bette ways to respond to “situations that used to baffle us” (from the AA Big Book Promises), creating an increased sense of safety
• 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 to protect and preserve life – by mobilizing us, inspiring determination & creative action.
💨 Without it we wouldn’t object to someone regularly mistreating us, so we’ll stay & take it, as it wares down our health & our soul
FEAR is deeply rooted in all humans, supporting life by signaling danger, which triggers life-preserving action
🧊 Without it we wouldn’t notice an unsafe person, staying with them & easily become emotionally scarred, if not 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 (not defensive walls) are imperative to protect our physical & mental health. (Review all Boundaries posts)
To develop appropriate Bs we must have internal permission to have needs, which requires some self-esteem by Loving the Inner Child via the Good Parent.
SO, we must to have access to a range of Es, which give us 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 also needed as physical & psychic protection. When another person’s behavior causes us harm, 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. They help keep the PP (Negative Introject) voice from battering us into over-working, perfectionism, putting us down….. Bs are 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: Predicting Behavior