25th May, 2012
The act of managing damaged emotions is in fact a form of repair work carried out by a sincere heart that is ready to face facts and gradually reach for healing. Though in some cases, the assistance of a counsellor or therapist might be needed but working with a client who is neither willing nor ready to open up leads you no where than frustration. The main material to work with is the information gotten from clients which helps you decide how to handle their situation.
Everyone has got an emotional scar, whether they realise it or not. The depth of whatever wound they would have been exposed to go a long way to determine how they respond to situations and life in general. Being wounded by your spouse is a terrible thing but what do you do, especially when they do so on purpose? Don’t let your whole life depend entirely on feelings.
What remains a mystery is the attempt at treating others the same we were treated. Faith, a mother of five lamented the other time: “I did not like the way my mother treated me but I hear myself talk to my daughters the same way, ask them the same questions I was asked, display the same fears, express same suspicion and even use the same voice tone as my mom. I know I was never happy the way things were going with me in my parents’ house, but have I been able to offer my children anything better? It’s like the way I was treated has become the only way I know to treat others yet something tells me it could be better.”
Important to note about damaged emotions is the fact that it happens to all; you only clean up your splash and choose to move on. You cannot out-grow being hurt; people would always offend, hurt or disrespect your feelings. This is not something you think would pass with time. Every phase of your life brings its unique challenges and being able to cope is a function of choice and inner strength. The task of picking bits and pieces of the battered ‘you’ can only be best done by you; though sometimes a little help and support from others work well but you need to identify those sensitive spots and bring healing to them if you must live a good life. You have to constantly renew your mind by removing negative thoughts and feelings about you and others by replacing them with positive ones. Where someone used negative words on you, say the exact opposite to yourself and repeat it until it registers on your mind. For instance, someone saying “you are not good on your job”; you’ll need to enumerate all the things you’ve done well in the course of that job, congratulate yourself and aspire to be better. If sincerely you are not good enough on the job, there is no need feeling bad about the comments; although it might have been carelessly done, encourage yourself to be the best and attract a positive comment if possible. Work on your weaknesses and aim at getting better at what you do.
Damaged emotions may result in low self worth, depression, perfectionism, unnecessary criticism, self pity, anger, etc.
Steps to take:
• Accept that you need help and figure out what should be done. Where additional or external help is needed, feel free to ask for a hand.
•Don’t be all by yourself. It’s true that we do not want to wash our dirty linen outside for others to see but finding an experienced person to share your problems could be of great help.
•Find out why you feel the way you do and if it’s because you are trying to impress some people while you end up sad; look into the matter again: I don’t think life is all about satisfying the standard people have set for you.
•Guard your heart, do not be a dumping ground for people’s negatives. You might not be able to control what people say to you nor the way they treat you but you can chose to react or respond in certain ways. Tossing your emotions before people makes you highly vulnerable. Over time, when people who purposely unleash negatives on you discover you are not bothered by their venom, things begin to change for your own good. They might seek other preys and leave you alone since you are not willing to give them the satisfaction (response) they seek in their victims.
•Treat things lightly. Ignoring or making fun of people who purposely intended to mess you up before others is an effective way of putting them on the spot. Do not walk down the road of self-defence, allow them to do all the explanations and appear foolish.
•Draw up a number of thoughts that bring smiles to your face and dwell on them. Allow the bad moments to pass. The fact that you made a mistake during a public speech should not make you stay home sulking for days as if no one has ever made mistakes; the people you are so concerned about might not even attach so much value to what happened and even if it’s on the pages of newspapers, news happens everyday; move on with your life and let the person who has never made mistakes be the first to judge you.
•Consciously expose yourself to things that can speed up your healing —reading, socialising, relaxing, vacation and things that would generally make you feel better about ‘you’.
Things to note about emotional damage:
•The cycle seems unbroken: It is like paying back others for what you suffered and they too would want to do same to others and life continues in pains. You can imagine a young man who refuses to trust his wife because his ex-cheated on him. Why?
•There is a severe battle with constant memory replay. Some people say forgiving does not wipe your memory and feelings sometimes are evoked by memories but you can tell yourself to refuse responding to unhealthy feelings.
•You place yourself in the position of being a victim and look for every opportunity to retaliate.
•Love is far from what you plan to express; you haven’t received it so where would you get reserves to share?
Guess what? People who have been badly treated can decide to do something nice to others so they do not suffer like them, they can chose to be loving and accommodating bearing in mind the pains of rejection and harshness they had passed through. This I call a higher life —where you want to make others happy despite your previous hurt. Let’s learn to express real love to our spouses, children, friends, colleagues and loved ones so the world can be a better place.