EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY People (EHP)
EHP Don’t Isolate themselves
Many ACoAs cut themselves off from emotional, social, even sexual contact with others – sometimes for decades – because of untreated Laundry List characteristics, mainly weak boundaries (Bs), self-hate (S-H) & fear of abandonment (FoA).
We often confuse damage-isolation with needed down-time, or isolation with Introversion. Healthy Introverts don’t need as much stimulation (lots of people & activities), & can as social & talkative as Extroverts, just not as much.
EHP know that periodically being alone is required to process difficult experiences or old emotions, a temporary but important part of personal growth. They also know that cutting themselves off from emotionally safe & intellectually stimulating people/ places/ things (PPT) for extended periods is a form of ‘starvation’
Even when they don’t have the ideal family or an intimate relationship, EHP regularly make an effort to develop healthy & loving connections with others, perhaps even forming an extended family, making time to create warm & interesting memories.
EHP Don’t Let their Emotions Control them
ACoAs learn, directly & indirectly, to deny & ignore any emotion the family / school / religion disapproves of. In some families it’s anger, in others it’s sadness & the need to be comforted….. This left us with the Toxic Rule “Don’t feel”. Our individual personalities cope with this injunction by either –
— suppressing most or all emotion & living in our head (obsessing), OR
— consumed by accumulated pain to the point of over-reacting to anything upsetting (even the minor ones), being too scared or too angry. That tells us then that – “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”.
Both extremes come from our WIC, not knowing any other way of dealing with this Toxic Rule. Instead, to be an Emotionally Healthy Person (EHP) the UNIT must be in charge
EHP can tolerate discomfort because they hold less old pain & because they know how to comfort themselves when distressed. They can identify & accept all emotions, know how to process them & choose how to act, so they’re not controlled by them.
What they think about a situation has a tremendous power to either help or harm. Since emotions are largely generated by our mind (see post: T.E.A. & Anxiety) EHP can modify how they respond to their emotions by correction any CDs they may have. Overcoming challenges starts with seeing things objectively, rather than reacting from childhood damage. (ACoA Laundry List)
EHP Don’t Get their Emotions Hijacked
People with high EQ don’t allow the people around them to dictate their emotions. They understand they can’t control the emotions of others, only their own, which they stay conscious of. They can tell the difference between their own & that of the people they’re dealing with, eliminating confusion.
EHP Don’t Live in the Past
ACoAs who are still ruled by the WIC & the PP think, feel & act as if they are still 5, 10 & 15 yrs old – still living in their dysfunctional family. Most of the time our responses to present day events – positive, negative or neutral – are the same as when we were kids, because we project our family on to all current relationships.
As unhealed adults, ACoAs repeat the life-patterns set out for us by our family & other sources, which caused us to take many wrong turns – in the form of repeated harmful relationships, self-harm, deprivations….. While our history contributes to out over-all makeup, we are NOT our damage.
EHP avoid wasting mental energy on past disappointments OR in fantasies of the ‘good old days’. They’ve carefully evaluated both the distresses & the valuable experiences of their early years, so now they can invest most of their energy in creating the best possible present & future. They tend to have a mindful, attentive way of engaging with the world. Being ‘present’ allows the to see things as they really are.
NEXT: MH Don’ts – 1c