When someone hurts our feelings, it is like being cut, punched, run over, or worse. The emotional injury is like a physical injury. And just like a physical injury, we need to take care of for it to heal.
But what happens if no one teaches you to do that? Or if the people around you badger you into stuffing all your feelings, belittling you, saying your feelings are not important. I remember one of my sisters telling me I was too sensitive. Back then, my mother and two sisters abused me. As an adult and searching self-help books for answers, I learned that in my 40s.
To me, my sister criticizing me is saying I am not important, which is cruel and mean. And it is something most raised in broken homes experience all the time. Plus, stuffing emotions time after time doesn’t help our common sense or clear thinking. Something happened that upset us; not being able to process it to understand what happened impairs us and messes up our thinking skills.
So cruelty and discounting leads abused kids to years of emotional wounds stuffed down under the surface, crippling us, making us weak and fragile. We avoid events, locations, people, and anything that triggers those wounds because they remind us of the pain we self-medicate to avoid.
I understand that firsthand because I avoided everything I could for decades of my life because I knew no better. I hadn’t asked what to do because I feared my emotions would overwhelm me and I would do something hateful and angry. So, I stuffed more.
Once I got into psychotherapy, I learned I could recognize where my behavior went off track, that I could correct myself and try different things. I got a lot of problems resolved and out of my way. But I reached a place where I got stuck. I did not understand what fueled my self-destruction.
But I knew the time had come where I had to face those emotions because if I didn’t, I would drink again. I had to sit down and face the pain I fought, drugged, and drank to avoid.
Certified in hypnotherapy, my therapist suggested hypnosis. Frustrated and sick of my constant failing and repeating behavior I swore to myself I would never do again, I agreed. I purchased a voice activated recorder and brought it with me on my next session so I could listen to the sessions at home. I wanted to get the pain moving and out of my way as best I could.
The hypnotherapy got me to the places where my cemented, padlocked pain had been out of my reach.
Over the following weeks, as I listened to the sessions in the privacy of my home, I cried buckets and it hurt, but I got through it. My psychotherapist guided me through it and I felt better. I felt happier and wanted to get through more painful memories because I saw the difference it made in my life.
That encouraged me to keep going, to keep writing out my fears as they popped into my head, facing, and accepting what I was afraid of. I accepted what isolated me and what made me push people away.
On October 17, 2012, I first blogged about “Why Overeat in the First Place?” The following day, on October 18, 2012, I blogged about “Overcoming My Fears”.
With those initial blog posts, I embarked on my journey to understand my fears and overcome them because I knew what scared me triggered my need to overeat. I knew no other way to comfort myself. What I wouldn’t know until recently was I had never felt secure. I did not know what safety felt like.
Also back then, I experienced flashbacks even though I did not know they were flashbacks, and I am sorry to say my therapist didn’t either. She did not diagnose me as having complex ptsd, which another therapist diagnosed me with years later. There were many signs, and she missed every sign. Also, she neglected to keep detailed notes of our sessions. Because of that, I have no records of my milestones except for what I blogged about, and I went to her for 8 or 9 years.
Now, I do not let that hold me back. I work hard to better my emotional issues to heal as much as possible. Because of that work, I get to experience the benefits firsthand.
One really important one is seeing my twisted up thinking straighten out. My common sense and logic are miles better than they were before I made great strides in therapy. It is easier for me to problem solve and make decisions now. And I haven’t been in therapy since December 2017.
Another important benefit I see is I realized when something traumatizes us, the trauma and the emotions tied to it knot up inside us. So those thoughts and emotions are fragile and easy to set off. When something triggers any of those emotions, the trauma tries to surface, unless we can contain it.
But when we work to heal that trauma, those emotions heal and behave naturally. Those emotions that frightened us no longer do, and when necessary, we can think about what we can do. And it is WONDERFUL to go through my day, seeing how much better I manage situations that used to make me run and hide.
So, that said, I know I have a ton of work still ahead of me, even though I have been working hard to heal my emotional wounds for over 8 years now. But, I keep putting one foot in front of the other and do everything I can to keep going, healing and pacing myself along my way. Life is much better than it was, and I have several health challenges and am deeply in debt. I have times where I have to stop and face old wounds now surfacing. So, I detour for a while and try to take care of my wounds and my healing.
Then when I am ready, I get back up and keep going.