I have been contemplating deeply these last few days the thorny path of healing which for many of us involves facing how and why we run from emotions and keep compulsively busy or take flight into busyness or doing as an unconscious defence against being with ourselves or others emotionally.
Often this occurs due to a childhood of emotional abandonment which may be unconcious, for example in order to develop a relationship with our feelings and inner landscape we need parents connected to their own as well as ours. The function of a healthy parent is to mirror and contain our feelings, to articulate and reflect back emotions and to provide soothing in order that we as beings can learn it is safe to feel things such as fright, sadness or pain (and even happiness and joy as some dysfunctional parents or caregivers may shame us for positive emotions).
When we dont get such help or positive reinforcement, when we are left alone for periods of time beyond what is needed we carry a deep body fund of unfelt and processed pain to which Pete Walker has given the name abandonment depression. We develop the unconscious belief that it is unsafe to feel and we take flight from feelings which are our inner guide to what is good or bad for us. This original pain of self abandonment lives deeply in us as adults and we may run or cover over it with a host of distractions. We may shame ouselves for it in a culture that teaches us to keep our focus outside of our deeper selves. In short we become narcissistic or co dependent.
Our modern culture urges us to keep running. Ads currently showing state I dont have time for a headache so I just take X whatever the tablet is. Where are the ads saying John is grieving so he is taking the day off to be with himself and feel the sadness….no, not encouraged…when sad how often have you been told to get over it, take a holiday or reach for some other kind of distraction? I know I most certainly have…lots!!
Despite what the culture tells us we can be strong and clever enough to turn against the collective tide. We can learn to spend time centring within and touching base with our feelings. We can learn about what happened in our childhood to disconnect us. We can learn about self care.
When we feel tired or sad we can rest, sit with the sadness, hold ourselves like a little child, speak loving words and recognise when our voracious inner critic is taking over, as the critic knows when we are most vulnerable and often uses that time to step in and beat us up. I know mine most certainly does. Often the critic wont let us rest. It sees rest as an indulgence.
We can also take advantage of many of the excellent videos online by such people as Teal Swan and Lisa A. Romano which help us to understand how childhood disconnection and dissociation from feelings gets set up and how we can reconnect inwardly and feel and identify our repressed or buried feelings. I am unable to provide links here at the moment for these.
Pete Walkers book Complex PTSD : From Surviving to Thriving is also an excellent resource as he shows the link between taking flight and abandonment depression which we need to understand in order to heal and develop compassion and self care.
Today I am having an at home with me day..resting, reading and nurturing, lately I feel Ive been running a little too much. On the positive side I have been opening to new and old connections, I have been practicing expressing my feelings to family and I have been noticing those who are running a bit too much and need to slow down.
I am conscious that when I slow down sometimes I connect with old pain, but at other times my inner critic shames me for not doing but it feels SO GOOD to rest and take care of me. And I feel blessed to have been led to some really good resources from links on here to such sites as the Empath Haven most especially Teal Swans excellent video on connecting with feelings. Go to the Facebook page Empath Haven and check it out. ❤