How to Process Uncomfortable Emotions Caused by Childhood Emotional Neglect Part 2
by Lisa A. Romano
Learning how to process uncomfortable emotions is a journey. In the last blog, I discussed my 123 Process and how you can utilise that to help you. In this blog, I will cover how you can identify what emotions you can and can’t control, how to deal with them, and how to accept what you are feeling.
Control, Acceptance, and Energy Flow
Focusing On What You Can And Can’t Control:
I can't control when my daughters are up late, and they leave me with a sink full of dishes. I can't control the anger that shows up because it’s valid. I’m not going to push away my feelings.
I can control whether or not I go up there and wake these kids up, act like a crazy person and make them go downstairs and clean the dishes. I can control whether or not I wait until they wake up and ask them to clean the dishes. I can control whether or not I meditate, relax, detach and realize this really isn't a big deal in the scheme of things; it’s dishes in a sink. You know it's not anything life-threatening.
I can reframe this and choose to look at it differently: the kids were just up together, having a good time, working on art projects and didn't want to have to do the dishes at 1 am; I get it.
What you have to think about is ultimately how do I want to feel in alignment with my daughters? I have to make a decision that is going to get that result. So, now that I know what I can control, and I know how I want to feel, I’m going to choose to wait until they get up, explain what it feels like to wake up and see this, hear their side of the story, and then ask them to take care of their responsibility. Then all is well.
Accepting How You Feel:
We learn to trust our feelings by accepting how we feel, no matter what we feel, even if you at the moment think that what you feel, you shouldn't feel.
So let's say you feel jealousy and you don't think you should, or you still feel anger; we have to get to a point where you understand that the only way to learn how to trust what you feel and to know that what you feel is valid, and to know that you're making decisions based on valid perceptions, is to start by accepting how you feel no matter what you feel in every single moment.
So let's say you're dating somebody and he's spending a lot of time with his kids. Here you are at the park with your boyfriend and his kids, and you're beginning to feel jealous. You notice, “uh oh, I’m beginning to feel jealous, I don't like the way I feel”, you have to accept that at the moment I’m feeling jealous. Then ask yourself, “how do I know I feel this way?”, my thoughts are changing, my stomach's changing, I feel pressure in my chest, I can tell by the way my mind is thinking that I’m feeling jealous.
I have to decide how I feel. What can't I control, what can I control and ultimately, how do I want to feel? I can't control that I feel this way because it's like trying to control the fact that I have green eyes, and I can't control that; it is what it is. I can't control that my boyfriend spends a lot of time with his children right now; I can't control that my boyfriend has children. I don't have any children. I can't control that he has them today, and this was a day that we were supposed to spend together; it just happened, his ex is sick or whatever, and they're with him today. So I need to ask myself, “what can I control?” I can control whether or not I leave; I can control whether or not I stay in a relationship with a man who has children whose life is very unpredictable; maybe I don't want that in my life, you know. I can control whether or not I act like he's doing something wrong, I can control whether or not I act out, or I can be very kind at this moment and be supportive of what he's going through and actually support these children.
Ultimately how do I want to feel? I want to feel a lot in alignment with my decisions, and I want to feel peaceful.
“So the decision you're going to make is based on how you feel.”
Well, I’m not going to react to these jealous feelings, but they may be an indicator that I’m in the wrong relationship; maybe I’m not ready to date somebody who has children, maybe I am. But right now, I’m not going to react to how I feel, and I will revisit this feeling later and journal about it and think about it but for the moment.
I think I’ll go over to my boyfriend and his children and help them or hang out in the sandbox or on the swings eventually what will happen is if you do this enough times, you will be able to feel your feelings and learn how to trust them over time. But the big thing that we have to help everybody understand is this idea that:
“no matter what you feel, you have to allow that feeling because what we do wrong is we layer our feelings, and when we layer our feelings, we prevent ourselves from being able to stay in the flow.”
Energy is meant to flow, you are an energetic being, and you're supposed to flow, and when you don't allow yourself to feel what you feel and when you judge what you feel, you are preventing yourself from flowing, and you can't progress, you just can't.
Allow Your Emotions to Flow:
The next time you feel something good or bad, terrible or ugly, something you don't wish you felt, don't judge it; spend five or ten minutes allowing how you feel. Put your hand on your heart and say to yourself, I feel jealous in this moment; I’m not sure I know why I feel jealous, but I am becoming aware of this feeling, and I’m going to allow myself to feel that jealousy. I’m not going to judge myself; I’m just going to allow it.
If I’m going to allow myself to feel that jealousy, I’m also going to allow myself to feel that anger. I feel that wow I’m really angry right now I’m really angry at my husband or my daughter or my wife, I’m really angry at my boss or my co-worker, I’m really pissed off at that cab driver, you know I’m really pissed off, say Romano I’m really angry, I’m really angry!
Don't judge it the minute you are angry that you're angry. You have put a cork in your emotional circuitry. You're creating a block, don't layer your emotions; allow your emotions to surface. That doesn't mean you have to react to them, but you must get in the habit of allowing your emotions to flow, and if you do this enough times over time, you will be able to process what you're feeling.
And in a short amount of time, you'll be able to trust what you feel because what will happen in seconds eventually if you practice this enough is you'll feel a feeling you'll validate it you'll survey the situation and decide how you want to feel about it which is just awesome, but again dear ones, this all takes practice, practice, practice.
To find out more about how you can learn to process these difficult emotions, watch the video on my YouTube Channel where I dive into each aspect you should know about that can aid you in your recovery.
You can also check out the rest of my website www.lisaaromano.com for some more resources, as well as my 12-Week Breakthrough Program and Codependency Quiz.