How to Process Uncomfortable Emotions Caused by Childhood Emotional Neglect Part 3
by Lisa A. Romano
In order to learn how to process difficult emotions, we must rewind the tape and reflect on why it’s so hard for us to feel our feelings. I always get emails from viewers who say they never realized that they were so disassociated from their feelings and that it's so hard for them to feel their emotions. This is very sad, but it's a reality that most of us are living in. In this blog, I will cover how that comes from our childhood experiences.
Feeling Disconnected From Your Feelings:
A lot of us walking around aren’t really connected to how we feel, we aren't aware of what our boundaries are, and we don't know what makes us, us. The question of who am I? We really don't know.
I remember the first time somebody asked me that, and I was like, “I'm a PTA mom, and I want a business,” They turned to me and said, “No, those are the things you do. That's not who you are.” I was devastated because it made me realize that I'm a shell; I'm not a real person.
“What makes a human being is your feelings.”
So without being connected to your feelings, you don't feel like a human being. You feel like a thing. You get married because you think you should, you have kids because everybody has kids, and you take on a job because you think you should.
All these things that we're doing are coming from some intellectual space or information on the outside, and it's completely disassociated from how we feel and what we would like to experience in our life.
This can be very scary when you start to conceptualize on an observer level. You suddenly realize you’re not feeling your feelings; it can be a really scary experience. But just relax, dear one, it's not your fault.
How do you think someone might feel if they were driving a car and they were a mechanic? Can you imagine the confidence you would feel? You'd feel fabulous. If the check engine light came on, you wouldn’t freak out, and if you got a flat tire, you wouldn’t have to worry; you’ve got that covered. You’re a mechanic, so you would obviously feel very confident if something went wrong because you understand how to take care of a car.
If you would take the same type of thinking and address it to somebody who understands how the mind works, you’d be a lot more confident with that. Because healing doesn’t just happen on an emotional level, you need your brain to be able to process the feelings.
Not understanding and taking into account how the brain works and how it was designed to keep you safe, not understanding this fundamental piece of the puzzle is like trying to drive a car but not knowing where to put the key. If you also adopt an appreciation for how the brain works and you were on a spiritual healing journey, you would feel a lot more confident.
Expressing Feelings in Childhood:
The brain is wired to avoid pain and to seek pleasure. That's an innate instinct, dear one. Let me illustrate this through an analogy:
Imagine you’re a child called Charlie, you're two years old, and you're walking around your house, and you bump your head. You feel pain and the natural response of a two-year-old child is to cry.
If the baby has two functional parents, a male and a female energy, that represents him, if when mommy hears Charlie cry, she turns around and comforts him, then everything's great with the world. To Charlie, he feels like they listened to his cry and validated it. He feels he is important and that his pain matters. His pain is then relieved, so the message in Charlie's brain is that the pain is subsiding now he is feeling pleasure.
So Charlie associated pleasure with expressing his pain - he got relief from expressing his pain because it was validated. In this very innocuous experience, he learned that his pain matters, that it's good to express his pain, and that mom and dad are supposed to validate his experience.
Now, what if Charlie was born to an alcoholic mother and a narcissistic father who had very little impulse control? Imagine the place is all dirty, and he's not taken care of. He bumps his head, and then mom gets pissed off because Charlie's irritating her. He cries, and then mom says something like, “Why are you crying? You better shut your mouth! You better go in the other room and cry.” What if when Charlie bumped his head, his father came over and smacked him or threw him up against a wall? What does Charlie learn about expressing his pain then?
Charlie's brain is wired to avoid pain. So when Charlie expressed that pain and ended up experiencing more pain from the male and the female energy that created him, he felt rejected, so he thus begins to reject himself because it is too painful to put out what we feel and be rejected. It's even more painful to have these two people who are gods to us reject our pain, tell us that we have no right to feel what we feel or make fun of us or make us feel like we are a problem because we've expressed that pain. It hurts less to go back to the way the brain is wired.
So when Charlie gets a stomach ache later that night, do you think that Charlie's going to crawl out of bed and get his mom? Do you think that Charlie is going to cry or want to cry when his stomach hurts? No, Charlie is going to be afraid to express himself; he’s going to be afraid to tell people how he feels.
We have to go through stages of development: trust versus mistrust, we have to learn that the world is a safe place, and we have to learn that our internal experience is safe. If we learn that it's not safe to feel, we don't learn to trust, we don't learn to trust our feelings, we don't learn to trust our self-worth, and we don't learn to trust other people.
Understanding The Brain:
You have to understand the brain organically, the psychology of a human being and the emotional stages of development that we all have to pass through in order to feel like whole integrated human beings.
One of the biggest reasons it's difficult for us to feel our feelings is that when we were children and tried to express our feelings, we were treated with indifference, which hurt more than expressing our feelings. So our brain, to protect us, taught us not to express how we feel, to push that down and not say anything.
When we're adults, we have this limiting belief that was created a long time ago in our subconscious mind. We fear expressing our feelings; we have so much pain associated with telling people how we feel that we've become disassociated from how we feel.
Validating a Child’s Internal Experience:
The other issue is that for a child to learn the proper process of integration, a parent needs to teach a child to validate their internal experience. So if Charlie comes from a healthy home, he has been taught how to integrate, how to acknowledge how he feels and how to express it.
Now, if he came from a messed up house, he would have been invalidated, which taught him to invalidate his feelings. It's not his fault. If you’re 50 or 70 years old and you still don't know how to feel your feelings, dear one, that's not your fault. That happened a long time ago, and I'm here to tell you that we can go back, rewind the tape and rewire the brain; we can do it. It takes some work, but it can be done. If you don't do this work and don't figure out how to feel, you're going to be depressed, full of repressed rage, angry and irritable. I don’t want that for you, dear one.
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.