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Friday, April 17, 2015

2 Tips on Eliminating Emotional Pain

"If I could just get rid of my overwhelming hurt from horrible childhood experiences that I have been carrying most of my life I would but I don't know how. I keep being attentive to them. Due to my constant feelings of hurt, I don't have a good feeling about myself, in fact, I hate myself at times." - J. Backbe

Post-traumatic Stress (PTS) is very hard to deal with after experiencing overwhelming emotionally hurt from painful situations. The amnesty experience between the actual hurtful experience and onset of PTS symptoms is so sweet. Then at some point, the reprieve ends and the recollections begin to surface. Sometimes it is just a flash of a vivid image from the traumatic situation or a connected sound but many times it is a piece of painful unprocessed emotion that you can’t connect to your history.

My Experience

For me, it was almost 17 years before my symptoms began to surface. I discovered the reason I had such a long pardon was that I was still experiencing traumatic situations in my life both small and large, so my mind was holding back to save my sanity. But once my life settled down and I began to feel again, my mind began to broadcast vivid images, sound and particularly hurtful, confusing emotions to my conscious mind. When the symptoms took hold and crept into my conscious mind I was faced with thinking about what thoughts were surfacing into my conscious mind and what emotions were traveling through body all the time. I was having flashbacks visually, auditory and especially emotionally all the time. Seemed like I being triggered everywhere I went in my life. My reaction was to numb out or dissociate to avoid thinking, feeling or listening.

The funniest thing or maybe not so funny was that the emotional pains of my past did not seem to want to let go me or I won’t let go of them. It was like an old friend that never goes away. 

Here is something even stranger, I found myself not wanting to let go of them.  It was almost as though the pain / the emotional hurt was frightening but so comfortable at the same time. I could never figure out why. I finally understood and came to believe that I didn't want to stop holding on because if I let go of my emotional pain then I would not be able to figure out how to fix my past.

Eye's Wide Open 

Recently while working with a coaching client on making closure with her abusive and traumatic childhood experiences I realized something very profound. No matter how hard she stated she wants to stop holding onto her past, have a “normal life” and being free of PTS symptoms, she was not able to break free. Especially from the emotional pain which kept her attached to her abusive and traumatic history.

She stated “No matter what I have done in my life to move forward, I keep going back to that day when my life completely stopped, turned upside down and I felt like I died. I kept having vivid flashback episodes of that significant day in which I awoke as a small child while being sexually abused by my Dad. As I remember, I woke up from being in a white cloud, realized what was happening to me and who was doing it to me. I felt totally betrayed, could not tolerate it so I went back to a white cloud. I was totally normal the day before and then in those 20 seconds, my life ended. I have been emotionally beating myself ever since.” 

All through her story, she could not lift her head the whole time to look at me. 

I asked, “who is responsible?” 

She answered without hesitation and with resounding positiveness “my body”. She continued "Rationally I know who it was but somehow my thinking keeps on averting responsibility off of him and places the responsibility on me, or should I say my body. But seems as though my logical thinking changed in those 20 seconds. Frozen in that moment. Since then my emotional mind keeps going back to that frozen point in time. Those emotions I have not dealt with haunt, my Soul. I have been emotionally replaying it and beating myself up, over and over again.” 

2 tips that will help eliminate past emotional pain

1. I learned a most important tip from my own recovery that has been very successful for my clients I coach and other survivors seeking recovery and healing emotional pain is - "do not feed your pain".

       “Emotional pain will diminish if you don't feed it”

Feeding your emotional pain acquired from your past will only intensify the pain and keep those painful emotions at the forefront of your conscious mind. Feeding them will not allow you to get what you want and move forward in your life. Feeding your emotional pain causes you to create a false reality that will not serve you, in fact, will hold you back. Feeding your emotional
pain will only cause you to focus on regrets. 

As a result of this act of feeding, you may feel fearful of your present or may cause you to constantly being ever watchful and predicting in the future for the next possible attack. No longer able to feel fun, happiness, love or success. No longer wanting to be in your skin or where you are. You will become numb and disconnected.

Meaning if you continuously focus on your past in order to “figure it out”, “analyze what you should have done differently”, “review your emotional hurt” or “scrutinize what you have lost” then you are feeding your unprocessed emotions at the expense of living in the moment. Feeding emotional pain is not conducive to healing, being happy or being mindful, in fact, it is counter-intuitive.   

2. Focus on the Moment

Best way to eliminate the effects past emotional pains is to become mindful. Mindfulness is being aware and in the moment. 

Don't focus on old regrets because there is no way you can change what has already happened. Focusing on old regrets which you can't complete will cause an increase in anxiety.

Also, do not focus on predicting what might or might not happen in the future. Not one can foresee the future. Not predicting will significantly reduce worry and stress.

Take Away

If you are more mindful of what your emotional pains are, you can understand what you are feeding and then stop doing it. Doing such will empower you. You will become stronger, happier and more fulfilled with not only yourself but the where you are in your life. 

Live in the moment because in a second it is gone.
         Coach Bill
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