Do you have a lot of emotions that pop up? Do you anger easily? Or do you have moments where someone said something and it really upset you? Do you have certain triggers that affect you every time they come up?
Emotions can be really hard to control and can make life and relationships very difficult. It’s hard to control something when you don’t even know where it’s coming from or why you’re feeling that way. I know because I lived most of my life this way. I was an emotional mess with all kinds of triggers.
I’ve been on a soul searching journey for almost 7 years now. I knew I wanted a better life and I wanted to be healthy emotionally. From the outside I had it all together but on the inside I didn’t.
For me, as a Christian, I needed alone time with God. I packed up and moved away from all my friends and family and said “God, my way is NOT working…I’m all yours, let’s do this”.
I have to admit, I expected this warm and fuzzy time with God but I got quite the opposite. He shook things up with great force. You see, suffering changes you. It forces you to take action. It kicks you in the butt!!
“Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed, and rearranged to relocate us to the place we are meant to be.”
Today I’m a totally different person. But I didn’t just sit idol and endure the struggle. I took ACTION. I was deliberate and determined. I was ready to do the work.
I was dealing with so many emotions. The way I had learned to function in life was by putting up walls that no one could break through. I was like a soldier going to battle every day and I was known for my strength to endure anything. When really, I had a lot of buried damage inside of me.
I grew up in a dysfunctional family. I’ve never quite understood why my parents had kids…they never seemed to actually want us or like us for that matter. I spent the first 20 years of my life enduring a lot of emotional and sometimes physical abuse. I never received an ounce of encouragement from anyone but quite the opposite.
I was an extremely shy and introverted child. The worst thing you can do to a child that is already very timid is emotionally abuse them. I became very insecure and I didn’t stand up for myself. Instead I tried to be perfect.
I left home at 17 and moved in with my boyfriend at the time. I’m sure you can guess, I attracted another dysfunctional person. We were engaged and I stayed for 5 years. I had a son with him at 20 years old and then left him when I was 21 after years of cheating and being treated like garbage.
The thing is…he did this to me because of his buried damage and his coping mechanism was to make other people feel small because it made him feel safe, he had the power. If he crushed my spirit he thought I’d never have the confidence to leave. It was all about fear of rejection for him.
We take out our past hurt on people who had nothing to do with causing that pain and we make them pay for it.
One day I had enough. I can’t remember how old I was, 19 I think. But I remember it very clearly. I snapped. I had put up with everyone’s abuse for 19 years of my life and never stood up for myself. But this day I snapped. My boyfriend started tearing into me again…I blew up (starting with some strong foul language). You should have seen the look on his face…and wow did I feel empowered by his reaction.
Here’s the thing, I shifted from being timid and bullied, to using anger as my weapon. From that moment on I wasn’t going to take it anymore and I didn’t. I fought back when people were mean to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t go around screaming and yelling and fighting with people. I very assertively put people in their place and I was pretty good at it.
The good part was that I learned to stand up for myself which stopped allowing people to hurt me. The bad part is that all my walls went up and I was keeping everyone at a distance.
I was trying to set boundaries but doing it in an unhealthy way.
Mean people became a major trigger for me and not only was I going to protect myself, but I was going to protect those who couldn’t protect themselves.
My poor son, I was mama bear protective of him. No one would ever hurt my child. As he got older he didn’t want to tell me if anyone did anything bad to him because he knew I would go confront them.
You see I traded fear and weakness for anger and battle. I wasn’t a hateful person, I was always kind first, but I wanted to protect the good people from the bad people. I developed “coping mechanisms” and the need to protect everyone else.
We all do this based on the damage from our childhood or even from adulthood. We all find a way internally to deal with situations or life.
So how do we repair this? How do we become healthy and balanced?
A large majority of people have buried all the bad stuff deep inside themselves. I did. We have all this mess inside us that hasn’t been dealt with and it lingers…affecting our moods, creating reactions…to the point that we don’t even know where our feelings are coming from. We don’t even know what took over us sometimes! Have you ever looked back at a way you reacted and think “WHO WAS THAT!?” Yeah…me too!
You probably know where this is going. Yes, we have to deal with this stuff. But how do we deal with it when we don’t understand where it’s coming from?
We start going deep.
I know the thought of digging into your pain is overwhelming but trust me here, I’ve been through this. Instead of just diving in, we start with small steps.
Every time you feel an emotion pop up, stop everything and ask yourself:
Where is this emotion coming from?
Why did this trigger me?
What did it make me feel that in turn upset me?
This is going to make you start paying attention to where things are coming from. In turn, you are going to start seeing things that you have buried.
For me, the answer surprised me. “It made me feel unloved”. Pretty simple right? But it all boiled down to feeling unloved. Feeling loved is the one thing we ALL desire most in this world. We were made to be loved.
My biggest trigger was that I grew up never being fully loved by anyone. As an adult if someone looked at me weird, told me they didn’t like something I did, or especially if anyone put me down or made me feel small, it brought up those childhood feelings. Then it engaged my coping mechanism which was to fight back or put up walls.
Allow yourself to feel those emotions you have buried
Most of us don’t like this. We don’t want to go back there and feel those feelings. After all it’s very painful which is why we buried them in the first place! But that is how we heal.
What do I mean by feeling them?
Let them come up…this will happen over months or even years randomly. When they come up, allow them to be there, allow yourself to feel them. Cry, scream, whatever you need to do but let yourself feel it and deal with it. Then…forgive and let it go.
We feel, we forgive, and we let go.
We can’t change the past and we can’t change what people did to us. What we can do is look at what these experiences taught us and decide to move forward with power. Make something good out of the bad! That is how we win.
Do you want those bad things to steal your entire life? Do you want to live in a dark past or do you want to focus on a bright future? The choice is YOURS. It does you absolutely NO GOOD to hold onto the past. It only steals your RIGHT NOW.
This will be a process but my intention here is to make you aware of what’s going on inside of you and to process it. This is going to help you understand who you are and why you have feelings that you don’t understand at times.
The more aware we are of what’s going on inside of us, the more connected to our hearts we become. Once we connect to our hearts things shift and your life’s purpose can start to reveal itself.
GO DEEP! You can do this!
Please share this if you feel like it can help people you know and please comment with anything you want to share.
I’ll leave you with this quote I love. Really let this sink in:
If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.