Emotions – One Part of The Multi-Paradigm Weave That Makes Us Who We Are

Immanuel Kant developed his own version of the...

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Yesterday we spoke about the emotion, happiness, as it connects to and does not connect to spirituality.  Traditional western religions squirm  or  more, disagree when they hear this.  Everything is spiritual in their school of thought.  However, as our understanding of where emotions and behaviors come from, we have happily disentangled ourselves from the stigma and judgment that comes from the way many people have (mostly unwittingly and often without intended malice) abused us with mental illness.

I know that I have also been in this crowd of prejudiced.  Coming out of that has been fun.  There is still so much that I think I see clearly but don’t, as it is for us all.  The growth we’re talking about is part of the high adventure that brings pleasure to life.

To say it plainly:

  1. Emotions come from the brain.
  2. Emotions are not always directly chosen as we can’t directly choose the way our brain works.
  3. Emotions are what we use to interpret the world around us.
  4. Emotions don’t have intrinsic moral value.  Morality is bigger than the way we feel.
  5. Emotions are not constant between us.
  6. Emotions are a sense.  We’ve called them the Sixth Sense.  Senses are subjective and not objective.

How does this fit into your biopsychosocial model of how you see yourself?

Biology.  Psychology.  Socially.

How does it influence the way you befriend yourself?

How might this influence stigma surrounding emotional illness?

Emotions are just one of the many things that make us who we are.  Many many things.  As we tease these bits of ourselves apart, it is not the same as denying the multi-paradigm weave that makes us who we are.

Self-Care Tip – Enjoy your emotions but don’t put your life on them.

When Things Get Heated, Remember to Ask Your Friend’s Opinion. You.

Check the Meaning

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Self-Care Tip #237 – When things get heated, get a second opinion with your friend.

What would my friend say?

When in question, ask.  And who is the friend we are referred to here?  The “Me.”

This is a great check point to give ourselves.  Things get heated between her and him, she gets a second opinion.

Barbara had read this blog and tucked something of its fabric away in her blended space between conscious and sub.  Then one day, while zoning out listening to her husband yell and criticize her, she saw herself.  It was as if she split into the participating Barbara and the observing Barbara.  The participating Barbara suddenly didn’t feel so alone.  The word, or more the concept of “friend” came to mind and she put it together.

Now generally when she is in a situation that hurts and bewilders her, she is remembering to ask her friend what she should do.  Asking used to take longer, but now it comes to mind as quickly as the thought of consulting an intimate partner would.

What would my friend say?

Things weren’t peaceful yet in her life, but just asking her friend what she would do has helped Barbara a lot.  Barbara explained to me that if she were with a girlfriend, say Sally, and Sally gets worked over by her husband, Barbara wouldn’t have any problem thinking of what Sally should do about taking care of herself.  Barbara says that being her own friend is almost the same.

And then for me, it clicked.  I can ask my friend.

What should I do?

Question:  When getting hurt by someone, how can you get friendly with yourself in the moment?  Please tell me your story.

Love – Take What is Already Yours. You Have Been Given Love.

Stef's Present with Handmade Wrapping

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Self-Care Tip #194 – Take what is already yours.  Be a friend to yourself.

Parenting, we hold the power in the relationship between us and our child/ren.  If we are emotionally maltreated by our child/ren, we parents are still the ones with the power.  What are we giving to her if we teach her that we will take the terrible words and dark emotions?  When we take the projected anger when we have the power to choose not to, what message are we giving to ourselves about ourselves?  What is the message if we say by our actions that Love demands from us to accept, to take and to be a victim to the emotional abuse?  Is that what love tells us?

It is difficult to receive maltreatment from anyone.  And because of the suffering involved, we can misinterpret the message, “This is the sacrifice that Love demands” – the sacrifice is doing what other people want before taking care of yourself.

It is difficult not to receive maltreatment as well.  Which choice is more consistent with our understanding of Love?  The words in the message might be the same, “This is the sacrifice that Love demands.”  However, the interpretation of the message, of what the sacrifice is – that meaning is different.  The sacrifice is, rather, taking care of yourself first so that you have the best of you to offer to others.

To read more on this topic, please see posts, Criticize if You Love MeListen to The Intention in What People Say and Stop! Before Hurting Yourself or Others.

Because we as parents hold the power in the relationship, we can feel trapped by our own power.  What a confusion for many of us.  Holding power but feeling helpless.  Holding a stick in both hands, so to speak, not seeing that we can still use our occupied hands for anything else in the mean time.

This kind of choice takes Love.  This is the kind of choice that is a work of a life-time or of a moment, but is life.  See, Let It Go and Keep Going.

We can’t teach others that we are valuable and how to treat us with Love if we don’t do it ourselves for ourselves.  When we act on Love, self-care means that we don’t accept treatment that is inconsistent with Love.  If we accept bad treatment, we are saying that self-care is accepting our lack of choices versus making the choices that are still available despite the circumstance.

FriendShip... A gift of God.

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This of course applies to any relationship.  It applies to any connection, whether it is in the work-place, marriage, if you are the child in the parent-child role, friendships – take your pick.  You can choose Love.  You can choose.  Self-care starts and ends with “Me.”

Freedom is a gift.  No matter how many times it is wrapped up and placed in our hands, if we don’t open it, use it, own it, we will never have it.  Freedom to choose has been given to us before we were born, just like our salvation.  The salvation will never be taken away.  Nor the freedom.  Both are elemental and constant.  But if we don’t pull on the ribbon, lift the lid and take – we can’t expect anything but living without what was inside.  Does the title “victim” even hold if it was our choice not to take what was already ours?

Question:  How do you claim your freedom to choose when all you perceive at the time is what has been taken away?  Please tell me your story.

Stop! Before Hurting Yourself or Others

scream and shout

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Self-Care Tip #192 – Before hurting yourself or others, stop.

Sometimes all we can do is leave.

Not being created as a limp noodle, that’s what Brenda said.

In the moment of conflict with her daughter, she had used up the coping skills she thought of and in the end, her purse had no more gum, lip-gloss, candy-money or crayons.  She couldn’t stop the acidic emotions from taking their turn to burn.  Brenda yelled (yes she knew it wasn’t right) and then she yelled again, this time to her husband that he was on kid-duty.  She left.  The mom-van keys were the last thing left in her purse of things to do to stop the burning she was giving and receiving.

Emotional abuse is equal to or more damaging than physical or sexual abuse.  This made Brenda gulp, who could still hear her own mother screaming with bulging bubble-packing veins and eyes.  Brenda didn’t know she could say,

Let’s stop.  It hurts Mommy.

When she first had her babies, tiny with soft bones, fluffy warm sweet cakes just out of the oven, Brenda was scared.  Her pediatrician gave her baby care directives that said things like,

If you are angry and feel like you’re going to shake your baby, stop!  Call for help.

And there was a number.  Now that her kids were older, her pediatrician never gave her helpful sheets of instructions and rescue phone numbers.  Brenda drove away to stop, hoping to come back with more available to offer.

Not bad, huh?

Question:  When you can’t think of any more coping skills during a crisis, how do you stop?  In what feels like an emotional emergency, what have you seen others do that you think is useful?  Please tell me your story.

“He’s Never Hit Me.” Abuse.

Self-Care Tip #163 – Name abuse when it is there.  Be a friend to yourself.

Alexandria (Alex) was crying a lot.  She was trying to divorce her husband but he wouldn’t leave.  He wouldn’t speak.  He only yelled.  He yelled at her, alone, in front of their kids, in the morning, when he came home from work, he yelled.  And he never spoke to her any more.  It’s been weeks since they spoke.  When I asked her if she thought she was abused, she said, “No.  He’s never hit me.”

Mar de Emociones / Emotional Landscapes

What do I do?  I can’t go on like this but everything I try, he won’t listen!

There are so many things many of us would tell Alex.  But would any of it make sense if she didn’t know she had rights?  If she didn’t know what was happening to her?  If she didn’t know, this is abuse.

The “Do You?” questions, per Dr. Quijada, to ask yourself if you aren’t sure if you are abused:

Do you feel good about yourself when you are together?

Do you feel scared?

Do you feel like you have choices?

Do you have effective boundaries; observed boundaries?

Do you say, “No,” and are heard?

Do you have a balance of power?

From the outside looking in, we could answer these questions for Alex.  But anyone who is or has been abused in any way knows that from the inside, answering these questions is hard.  It was hard for Alex.

Alex missed a few beats.  She didn’t want to see herself as abused.

Identifying abuse, naming it, is a start towards the other side of things.  It is reaching the peak of a hill or mountain of life-stuff, taking the view in after the fog lifts, and knowing that things are the way they are.  This is abuse.  A tangible thing.  Not the drifting mist of fights or arguments that once stalked you, leaving you bewildered and empty-handed.  Simply naming abuse is the start of empowerment.  Name it.  Name it out loud.

“I am abused.”

Alex said,

Wow.  I didn’t know that what he is doing is abuse.  I didn’t know.

After we talked about the name of what she was suffering, she talked about what she thought she could do about it, such as:

Call 911 if she feels unsafe.

Record him.

Say the words out loud, “I am valuable and should be treated well.”

Get a restraining order.

…And other things.

Alex didn’t have a lot of extended family support, so for her, that was out.

Alex said,

I feel more empowered.  I didn’t know I could do that.

And there it was.  A dandelion growing out of the cracked cement.  Hope.  A redistribution of the unequal power.  Alex was growing a plan.

Question:  What would you tell Alex, yourself, or anyone else in her position?  How do you see words being a form of abuse or not?  Please tell me your story.

Your Life. Your Choice. Why Are You Still Negotiating?

 

 

Self-Care Tip #102 – Take what is yours and live.  Be a friend to yourself.

Cheri came, still dressed in work scrubs, with her 2 daughters, 8 years old and 3 years old.  Having finished their dinner date, they were swinging by for her appointment before going home.  Cheri told her kids, “Get out now and go sit in the lobby!  If you don’t listen to me I’ll….”  Turning to me, she said, “It’s never enough!  I just took them to dinner and they do this to me!  No matter what I do…!”

1.  Cheri tells me she’d like to cope better with simple stressors such as redirecting her kids

2.  We talk at length about her perception of her kids abusing her.

Cheri is married.  Her husband laughs at her for “…having to take those drugs to be normal!”  “…But he just sleeps his problems away.  He doesn’t deal with them like I do.  He has no idea!”

3.  We talk more about her perception that her husband is responsible for her place in life.

Cheri believes if she doesn’t take more than 2 pills a day, she is less “dependent” on drugs.  She says, “I don’t want to go on like this!”  Her tears continue talking when her voice stops.  She is ashamed.

4.  The concepts supporting taking care of yourself as being the kick-off point to caring for anyone else comes up.

5.  We talk some more about who is “The Why” for what we do or don’t do.

Cheri feels less shame, but it’s still there.  She is willing to give a new medication a try but clearly doesn’t buy it all yet.  She’s going home with her girls to her husband with new pills.  And hope?  Yes.  It is all connected.  It all pulses together and is a living negotiation of sorts.

Disease <–> behavioral/emotional negative symptoms <–> victim role <–> self-neglect <–> greater crisis <–> seeking help <–> responsible self-care <–>  healing <–> fewer behavioral/emotional negative symptoms <–> emotional abuse from husband may continue but is no longer seen as responsible for personal choices and self-care <–> less shame <–> further healing and so on….  (Lub-dub…Lub-dub…)

 

hbofamily.com

 

Cheri is still negotiating her deal in life.  She doesn’t realize that it’s already hers for the taking.  Her life.  Her choice.

The deal is already made.  Take it or leave it.  Your life to live.

Question:  How are your negotiations?  Do you see them as still in progress or settled.  Please tell me your story.

Our Changing Reality

She had been gone for 3 months helping her mother transition from life to death.  However, instead of it being a melancholic experience, she felt better than she had since a time she couldn’t calendar.  Back when she had a respect for herself.  Back when she had youth, she had hope, she believed in a generous future.

I had no way of knowing what it was like for me until I left the situation.

Reality is only as real as our perspective.  She came back to a new perspective and her reality changed.  She saw an impoverished life.  She saw need to stop waiting for the better of future’s promises.  She saw disrespect when caring for her disabled daughter and emotionally abusive husband.  She hated disrespecting herself.  She felt this and she rebelled inside.  Holding back her furry with the flimsy lid of guilt-glue.  She cried.  She had just let her mother go and feeling good about letting her daughter and husband go now embarrassed and shamed her.  But there it was.  The thought she hadn’t thought before.  Reality had changed.

I’m told that it is bad for a counsellor to tell someone specifically what to do.  Turns out that my job includes some counseling.  I ran into a former patient today at a coffee shop.  She saw me typing on my computer and learned about this blog.

But you do meds!

Apparently sometimes I’m not that great of a counselor.  Or maybe I am if she didn’t realize I was, with her, all along.

I had to stop and say hello!  I’ve missed you!

(Whew!)

Today, I kept thinking about the way reality changes when we let our perspective get some air.

This daughter/mother/wife will never be the same woman she was before she left for 3 months.  She didn’t know.  And now she did.  She can’t stuff that knowledge.  She can’t disappear it.  She is left with a knowledge.  Is it better?  I think so.

We played with options as we talked.  A window opened in the room and a breeze came through called hope.  That was lovely to share with her and I am grateful.

Maybe when with determined labor we are trudging on in life, we might think of this.  With this memory, we could more willingly accept the urge to walk away just to see for a time.  Maybe a knowing, that we were missing, will come and change us.

Self Care Tip #67 – We might be in a different reality if we walk away.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What has your own experience been?  Please tell me your story.