How to Process Uncomfortable Emotions Caused by Childhood Emotional Neglect Part 1
by Lisa A. Romano
Today we're going to talk about how you can begin to learn to trust your feelings.
Looking At The World Through a Lens
Every time I coach somebody, we get to a point in their recovery where they ask me questions about trusting their own guidance and trusting their own feelings. They'll say to me but how do I know that this feeling is correct? Or how do I know that this perception is correct? I always say we're looking at the world through a lens, and that lens has been corrupted by childhood programming. We perceive ourselves and the world through a particular lens.
Every human being is born asleep, that's why newborns sleep so much because they're in a sleep state. Children up until about the age of seven, are in a trance-like state which is a hypnotic brainwave state. So essentially, our parents and teachers are like hypnotists.
We have to understand that our perceptions are the result of what's happened in the past and that we view the world through a filter. We are all projecting our inner stuff onto other people all the time and you get to a point in your recovery where you begin to understand this and become accountable. You then start wondering how this affects you, so if you're the co-dependent and you've been in a narcissistic relationship, you know how much of this you are projecting on to your partner. Anybody who's asking that question is brilliant and so close to having an amazing breakthrough because, in my opinion:
“The people who heal the deepest are the most humble.”
You have to be a humble person to be able to ask yourself that type of question because there are people out there that never ask that question. Narcissists never ask themselves is this opinion of my partner valid? They never ask themselves, am I really looking at this correctly, or am I projecting? Am I being fair? So the fact that you're even asking the question is brilliant.
It's indicative of how humble you are and it also means that you're on the right path and definitely close to experiencing breakthroughs.
The 123 Process:
What we have to understand is that many of us have been taught not to trust how we feel. When you're trying to learn how to trust your feelings, you have to work backwards. This means that you have to trust every feeling in that moment, that's why I teach the 123 Process.
The 123 Process is my way of teaching you, members of my class and personal clients, how to identify what has gone wrong because often what has gone wrong throughout our lives is that we have not been allowed to feel our feelings. We have not been allowed to validate our feelings, we have been taught in big ways and in small ways that what we think and what we feel is invalid. My solution to that is to rewind the tape and go back to the beginning.
Let's go back and treat ourselves the way we were always supposed to be treated so we can get to a point where we're able to process our emotions in a more constructive way.
When I was on my healing journey, what helped me was accepting that I was taught that I wasn't allowed to feel my feelings. No matter what I said, Lisa was wrong, she was being a drama queen, it's always about her, she just wants attention, etc. So then I went back and I realized what was supposed to happen was; my parents were supposed to be inquisitive, they were supposed to validate what I was feeling, they were supposed to show up, to mirror what they heard me saying, and they were supposed to hold a space for me so that feeling could flow because emotions are just energy and motion.
“The goal is to learn how to let the energy in our bodies flow.”
Acknowledging Feelings in Children:
I began to understand that I wasn't allowed to flow my energy, so I had to teach myself how to flow my energy. Parents are supposed to hold the space for their children, allowing them to feel their feelings. They’re supposed to mirror back to the child and say oh I can understand why you're so angry, I can understand why at this moment you feel like you hate mommy because mommy said no, I can understand that. So we're not reacting, we're validating a child's emotion.
Now what happens is the energy in the child is moving throughout their system and they’re not feeling ashamed for what they feel. They’re a being who's presenting themselves. As parents you have to be selfless and say to the child: I hear you, I see you. Not making it about you, but having complete empathy for this child's experience. Not taking it personally and understanding that your place in this child's life is to guide and teach them how to allow their feelings to flow. This is our job as parents.
Teaching our children how to stay in the flow with what they feel so that they can get so in touch with who they are on an emotional and authentic level. So that as adults, they follow their own instincts, their own bliss and evolve into people that are just magnetic, living their lives out loud. But we can't create adults like that if we are teaching our children that they're not allowed to feel what they feel.
So we create this space for this child, they feel what they feel, we acknowledge it, we mirror it back, we tell the child “I can see why you feel that way,” and very often what happens is this child's emotions begin to dissipate they no longer feel the need to hold on to that anger which is awesome!
Just hold the space for the child and then later on you can revisit and you can talk to them about how you felt about it in a very calm space. When we talk about how what the child said affected us, we don't want to turn kids into narcissists, we don't want to have them thinking that it's all about them so we have to also teach them in a gentle, loving way from a space of love - not from ego - the consequences that their words have on other people who love them. It's a balance but everything has to start from love getting back to us.
- Allow Yourself to Feel:
When we're taught as children that we're not allowed to feel, what we have to do as adults is train ourselves to take some time and understand that we're just in the moment for now. We're just supposed to learn how to flow our energy so that means if I’m angry I have to accept that at this moment, I’m pissed off: we don't judge it. You need to stay with that anger, stay in that moment and accept how you feel.
- Identify How Your Body Speaks:
The second thing you do is try to identify where you feel and how your energetic body speaks to you. How do you know that you're angry?
For me, it feels like cotton is in my head and I’ve just hit a wall. I look at my energy body like a second separate entity that is speaking to me letting me know how I feel, and so when I feel this sudden change in my disposition or and I just feel out of alignment, I look to identify how my energy body is letting me know that this happened.
You have to identify how you know that you’re pissed off and learn how to connect to your body because you've been taught to be disconnected from your body by past experiences. Then what you do is you decide what you want to do with how you feel. Most codependent and abused adults get stuck in how they feel; they feel it and then they go into a panic mode they're in fight-flight or freeze. Most of the time when you’re frozen you don't know where to go from there.
What Do You Want To Do?
The next step is to decide what you want to do about how you feel. Ask yourself what you can and can’t control and ultimately how do I want to feel? We make the decision based on the answers to those three questions.
To find out more about how you can learn to process these difficult emotions, watch this video on my YouTube Channel where I dive into each aspect you should know about that can aid you in your recovery.