Healing Your Past: Breaking The Emotional Pain Patterns

heal emotional pain

No matter how committed to healing you are, your relationship patterns always measure how much you have healed.

Considering every childhood fear developed in relationships, with parents, siblings, and ex-lovers, the true measure of healing is seen in your relationship patterns.

If you desire to measure your healing, I’ve listed signs of healed and unhealed relationship trauma here:

1. Signs You’ve Healed Relationship Trauma

• You’re not afraid to lose your partner.
• You take responsibility for your own emotions.
• You don’t idealize your partner and put him or her on a pedestal.
• You give yourself the love, peace and happiness you desire.
• You aren’t taking responsibility for your partner’s unhealed pain. You encourage him or her to heal oneself.
• You don’t use arguing to face conflict. You open your heart to learn from conflict.
• Sex isn’t an escape to avoid lack of emotional connection, but something that happens after an emotional connection is established.
• You don’t use relationships for security. You use relationships for growth, learning, and healing.

2. Signs You Have Not Healed Relationship Trauma

• You need your partner.
• You push your own emotions onto your partner.
• You idealize your partner. You put him or her on a pedestal.
• You depend on your partner to feel loved, peace and happy.
• You believe it’s your job to help your partner through the pain.
• You use arguing to solve problems.
• Sex is used to escape a lack of emotional connection. Sex keeps you coming back.
• You use the relationship to escape feeling insecure, unsafe and alone.

If you can sit with your pain, listen to your pain and respect your pain — in time you will move through your pain.

Responding Vs. Reacting – A Key To Personal Growth

Responding vs. Reacting

Responding vs. Reacting in Life

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

~ Viktor E. Frankl

Often time people don’t notice the difference between responding to something and reacting to something. Both require an action and both are usually instigated by a situation or cause outside of oneself. But the difference between these two behaviors can be quite profound. The difference between responding versus reacting means a bad situation can become worse or a bad situation can become better. Or the opposite can happen. The choice in behavior can make a good situation bad or a good situation even better. The importance of recognizing the two choices in your life is significant.

The act of responding requires one to look at the circumstance, identify the problem or situation, hear what is happening and reflect. That reflection can be for a moment, five seconds, one hour, two days or longer. The time frame doesn’t matter. What matters is that you stopped and put an effort to think and suspended judgment. It is a conscious act and shows that you are willing to listen or observe. This “gap” between the circumstance and your behavior is what contributes to gaining a sense of control in your life. Once a person can identify that in responding they actually have a choice in the manner, he/she will start to realize that they are able to make better decisions. The key is that pause. If the situation requires an immediate action, then just take a deep breath first. This alone can help one gain a semblance of control and make one choose an alternative statement or action that can make a big difference in an outcome of a situation.

Reacting on other hand is the absence of this time gap. It is an immediate behavioral response and it is usually based upon emotions and not intellect. Reacting to events, reacting to comments from other people or reacting to sudden situations in an immediate way, can create unpredictable outcomes. When intellect or logic is bypassed for emotional vengeance, then there is a greater chance that irrationality will take over. Usually when you react you are unprepared and overwhelmed in feeling (i.e. anger, frustration, lust etc.) that your intention becomes strictly one-sided. As a person has an immediate reaction it is unlikely that the person has even considered the other person’s point of view or understanding. Immediately reacting can also mean that the person is not thinking about future consequences. The person is only identifying with his/her immediate emotions and using the emotions as a point of reference.

Now, there are obviously certain times and places for reacting. Humans have this innate biological mechanism for a reason. If you were being attacked for instance, you would want to immediately react for survival. If you’re driving the car and a dog jumps out in front of you, you will usually swerve to avoid hitting the dog without much thought. The problem arises when a person can only identify him/herself with emotions and not mindful reasoning and the need to react becomes a constant type of response mechanism. In the extreme sense a person who only uses reaction over responding can become emotionally overwhelmed thus producing hysterical or illogical behavior. Numerous and ongoing problems can arise for those having no impulse control or the ability to self regulate emotions.

The benefit of understanding and identifying both these types of behavior in ourselves is immense for personal growth.

For one, this knowledge shows you that you have options and more control over circumstances than you realize. The effect of going through life in a reactive mode ultimately becomes draining, difficult and can even bring about isolation. In addition, constant reacting to life puts you in the ‘victim’ role, a role that makes life a struggle and unfulfilling.

Making an effort to respond on other hand helps you establish control. Responding takes a conscious effort and builds mind control. Responding looks at others actions and consequences and provides a more holistic approach to behavior. Responding, not reacting will get you closer to what you want.

~ m

Feelings: They Are Never Wrong

Feelings

There are no wrong feelings.

There may be wrong actions in the sense of actions contrary to the rules of human communication. But the way you feel towards other people: loving, hating, et cetera, et cetera; there aren’t any wrong feelings.

And so, to try and force one’s feelings to be other than what they are is absurd. And furthermore: dishonest.

But you see: the idea that there are no wrong feelings is an immensely threatening one to people who are afraid to feel.

This is one of the peculiar problems of our culture: we are terrified of our feelings. We think that if we give them any scope and if we don’t immediately beat them down, they will lead us down into all kinds of chaotic and destructive actions.

But if, for a change, we would allow our feelings and look upon their comings and goings as something as beautiful and necessary as changes in the weather, the going of night and day and the four seasons, we would be at peace with ourselves.

What is so problematic for Western man is not so much his struggles with other people and their needs and problems as his struggle with his own feelings. With what he will allow himself to feel and what he won’t allow himself to feel. He is ashamed to feel really profoundly sad, so much so that he could cry. It is not manly to cry.

He is afraid to loathe somebody, because you’re not supposed to hate people. He is ashamed to be so overcome with the beauty of something, that he goes out of his mind over this beauty. Because all that kind of thing is ‘not being in control, old boy‘; not having your hand on the wheel.

I think this is the most releasing thing that anybody can possible understand. That you’re inner feeling is never wrong. What you feel is never wrong – it may not be a right guide as to what you should do, but it is right that you should have the feeling of hating, or of being sad, or of being terrified. When a person comes to himself he comes to be one with his own feeling, and that is the only way to be in a position of controlling it.

~ Alan Watts

Being Human

“Feelings are never wrong” is really pretty simple. We can lie in our heads, we can label ourselves in certain ways, and we can misunderstand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. But not so with our feelings. Like guileless children, feelings are innocent and reliable indicators of what’s going on with us, and it’s important to pay attention to them, because they always, always, always have something to tell us.

We might not like our feelings. Or we might not want to deal with them. We might have learned early in life that our feelings are to be “toughed out”, suppressed, or ignored. Maybe we’re afraid of succumbing to them because we were shamed for our big feelings as children and don’t want to relive that as adults.

Why do our big reactions have so much to teach us? Because they’re almost always an indication of unfinished business from our past. Usually, they’re rooted in fear, and they’re very old, and they have probably been causing problems, or really, different versions of the same problem, for our whole life. Getting to the bottom of them is the only way to heal, and healing from our old wounds is so very necessary to living a fully engaged life.

So the next time you find yourself having a big reaction that doesn’t fit a situation, try to step away from it and assess what’s going on. You may need to own the reaction and apologize, but after taking care of this, go inward and try to find the source. Here are some things to consider:

  • What was the exact feeling? (Fear, grief, or anger)
  • What did this incident remind me of?
  • When did I feel this way earlier in my life?
  • What was I able to do about it then?
  • What can I do about it now?

You may be able to come up with a specific incident or two that are often indicative of a pattern that occurred in your childhood; probably a painful one that you would rather not remember (which is why you repressed it in the first place). Being able to identify this incident and own how painful it was is the key to working through it. Feel it, to heal it.

Feelings are never wrong.

If we start with this simple premise, we can come to understand our feelings, and thus ourselves, at a deeper level; we can learn to separate our feelings from our reactions; and, we can learn to control our reactions no matter how big the feelings that underlie them.

~ M.