ACoAs: Getting to our EMOTIONS – Over (Part 1)

too many Es HELP, I’M overwhelmed –
I can’t cope with all these feeling!

PREVIOUS: ‘Under-Feeling’ (review)

SITE: “Handling emotional overwhelm

– emotional intensity comes from the Wounded Inner Child (WIC), who had to stuff & store all the hurt no one helped us process in childhood, day after day, year after year! “If it’s hysterical it’s historical”,

• Our self-hate, guilt & shame add to the mountain of misery we already carry. As well as staying with emotionally unavailable &/or outright abusive people.
Yet we stubbornly resist doing emotion-release work because we say we don’t want to feel the WIC’s pain – while we’re creating more pain with our damage!  Over-Feelers (O-Fs ) are already suffering! Why not clean it out & be done?

• Being swamped with old pain (and new) blocks our ability to have pleasure! We know we’re not happy but are so used to misery, we believe we’ll never be free. “Does a fish know it’s wet?” Unexpressed grief & rage keeps us stuck obeying our Toxic Rules.

• ACoAs need permission and courage to express distressing Es. We need to learn how to handle them appropriately whenever they surface, expressing them in the right places & in safe ways.

• One reason O-Fs are afraid of letting out intense rage & terror is because we honestly don’t want to hurt others. But sometimes, when our huge abandonment button gets pushed, our Inner Sadist (I.S.) raises it’s head, & we can’t stop ourselves from saying & doing cruel things.  Afterward we feel guilty, ashamed & remorseful.  So O-Fs try to push big Es down too – just not as successfully as U-Fs.Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 4.14.10 AM

IMP: If you’re over-sensitive (O-F) AND see it as a character defect – brainwashed to believe that by dysfunctional parents because everything seems to upset you, consider this:
• You were born with an active limbic system (brain-seat of Es)
• It’s very much like having hyper-sensitive pale skin. If you’re out in the sun too long – without protection – you’ll get burned

• So too, an emotional ‘sensitive’ will have intense reactions to being burned by years of emotional abuse & neglect as a child – without the internal protection of an adult brain, & externally without safe adults to protect your little body & heart!   NOTE: It’s not the sensitivity but an abusive childhood that’s at fault!

a. Damage
O-Fs have a hard time holding in Es when hurt, so growing up we were scolded, punished, made fun of & misunderstood – everywhere
We cried too much, were depressed, felt suicidal, threw tantrums, were clingy or rude, withdrawn or flamboyant…. The more we expressed our pain, the more we were abused, so the more pain we had to endure. AND – the more we showed distress at being abused – the more we were punished for it! Vicious cycle.

EXP: Jinny was a bright, intuitive & hyper-sensitive teenager. Not only had she been emotionally & mentally stressed since birth, but then hormones kicked in. Her ACoA parents had no clue how to deal with her – the narcissistic mother wanted her to ‘shape up’ & the depressed father identified with her but was powerless himself. One evening, in the kitchen, yet another insensitive comment from her mother set Jinny off & she began sobbing.

— Her father came in & told her to stop, which made she cry harder – so he slapped her.  His reason: “You were hysterical & I was trying to snap you out of it”.  It’s something he had once read, so thought he was being ‘helpful’! UGH!
Jinny was devastated by his betrayal – as he was ‘the kind one’.  She knew she was not hysterical & could think quite clearly!  Not everyone can “walk & talk & chew bubble gum” but she could, yet her father never bothered to find out who she really was!

• As a result of our experiences, O-Fs often hate having emotions but can’t suppress them, so we despise our ‘weakness’!
Growing up we were rarely if ever comforted, left desperately alone with our pain – profoundly terrifying for any child.  Combining no empathy with being penalized for expressing legitimate suffering = taught us to loath being Sensitive.

• This enormous backlog makes un-healed ACoAs very touchy & easy to flare up. One O-F woman in early Recovery expressed it as : I’m an emotional hemophiliac – touch me & I bleed”!

NEXT:  Over-Feelers – #2

ACoAs: Getting to our EMOTIONS (Under)

feelings hurt
I won’t let anyone get to me

PREVIOUS: Feelings Aren’t Facts – #2

POSTs:  Emotional Maturity

ACoAs were trained to ignore our Es, often with tragic consequences. It prevents us from being able to identify what is:
• suitable or not for us          • mentally sane & logical
• psychologically healthy       • genuinely pleasurable
• At its simplest: The Right brain governs our emotions & the Left brain our thinking (among many other things).
Connecting the 2 sides is a thick mass of nerves, the Corpus Callosum, allowing the halves to communicate, like being able to verbalize (T)<—> feelings (E).  (see posts re. M & F Brains)

• Everyone is born with a unique personality which then interacts with their  environment & training.  Growing up in constant stress, the 2 sides can stop communicating, for protection. Then some people function too much from the L & others too much from the R. We can see this in the way we react to physical or mental hurt.

1. UNDER-FEELING – L brain
Under-Feelers (U-F) “live in our head” to avoid painful Es, cut off from a vital part of our being, & need ways to re-connect the ‘wiring’.
a. GOAL – TO:all Es
• feel all our emotions without judgment
• learn names of a wide range of emotion & be able to associate them with sensations the body generated in the limbic system
• use available tools to help us get in touch with repressed emotions
• learn how to manage painful emotions when they surface
• nurture the Inner Child so that our Abandonment pain diminishes – making us less afraid of Es!

• The exact order & stages (process) needed break thru layers of emotional denial is different for every person & can’t be predicted. Each of us is born unique & therefore is at a different mile marker on the road to Recovery. So the effectiveness & timing of these activities will vary

• Any one, or a combination of the following methods can bring up Es we had to push into the unconscious.  It takes patience & perseverance. Try as many as you can & never give up

BODY WORK — ANY available in your area, like:
acupuncture, to re-align meridians so energy can flow freely (Es are energy)
Brain Gym (re-patterning), to reconnect the 2 brain halves
• core energetics, a safe way to clean rage out
• craneo-sacral therapy, to get trapped cerebro-spinal fluid moving …..
massage, to release holding Es in muscles
◉  If none of these are available, go to a gym, find a place to run, get a punching bag, hit pillows, get a plastic bat & use it on the bed or couch
• 12-step literature          • Personal-growth articles & books
• Spiritual works         • any other writing that ‘touches’ you
SEEING / LISTENINGspiritural practice
• movies, plays, classical & modern music, choirs
• old family photos, diaries, letters….
• religious services, spiritual gatherings
• meditation, prayer….

• 12-Step Meetings – Al-Anon,  ACoA, SIA (Survivors of Incest)….
• any form of therapy – individual, group, experiential, primal….sharing
• loving friends, getting family info from anyone willing to talk
• Inner Child visualizations & guided imagery
• ‘hypnosis’ – with a trained therapist or self-administered (fully awake but with focused concentration on a topic)
Dreams – write them out using the Gestalt Method
Evening Inventory – Brief Journaling OR a positive 10th Step4th-Step inventory: list of character defects, childhood traumas & losses – but NOT used for self-abuse!
2-handed IC dialogues – learning to listen to the Inner Child AND how to respond lovingly

 Lists of positive qualities – 5 or 6 categories (PMES, Natural abilities, Learned Skills, Talents, Interests, Personality traits… ). Use POST: “Our Timeline inventory”
–> Add to each category as often as you think of : things you do automatically, what you’ve learned in school or on your own, natural tendencies, tastes, interests…, whatever you’re good at, AND anything positive that other people say about youjournaling
Morning pages – stream of consciousness – first thing in the a.m. we’re less ‘defended’ against our inner truth (POSTs “Writing for Personal Growth

• keep a separate list of self-hating beliefs every day to ’hear’ how ugly & untrue they are.  ASK: “Would I say these things to someone I love?” If not, then why let the Pig Parent say them or let the kid agree with them? You can change that!

NEXT: ‘Getting to our Feelings’ – OVER – #1