As a coach and psychologist I work with many individuals who’ve baggage from the previous. Face it, all of us have some. Nobody will get by their life with out one thing taking place that has a destructive influence. Whether or not these occasions are traumatic or whether or not they’re merely traumatic, all of us develop coping mechanisms and techniques to take care of them and to get by.
Generally these coping mechanisms are answerable for our very survival. For instance, they could enable us to “flip off” our emotional response in order that we will do what we have to do to outlive, as is the case for troopers in battle. These coping mechanisms might maintain us from experiencing issues which can be far too intense for us to have the ability to comprehend, corresponding to when a sexually abused baby disconnects and floats out of her physique. We might shove our personal emotions apart as a way to assist others as is the case in accidents or disasters. In an effort to cope, folks be taught to “flip off” their feelings. And emotional numbing is an efficient factor on the time. It helps them survive. It helps them cope.
However these similar coping methods that began off as a survival instrument can run amok and grow to be an enormous detriment to a contented life. Whereas turning off the emotion was as soon as a lifesaver, it could actually grow to be an computerized response and will get used because the default response although the stressor that prompted this response within the first place is not there.
As people we’re not robots, and behaving like one would not enable us to expertise all of the issues which can be necessary about being human. It shuts us off from intimate relationships. It retains us from experiencing pleasure and happiness. It would not enable us to dwell absolutely and passionately. Once we are emotionally numb, we undergo life as whether it is gray, perhaps not experiencing lows and intense destructive feelings, but in addition not in a position to expertise highs and intense constructive feelings both. We wander round as if we’re in an emotional fog, reduce off from one of many issues that makes us uniquely human-our feelings.
Some folks won’t assume it is a large deal. In spite of everything, that coping mechanism that enables us to numb ourselves-dissociation-keeps us from being overwhelmed and permits us to give attention to what we have to do to outlive. It will probably enable us to cut back each emotional and bodily ache, permitting us to chop ourselves off from our expertise till we’re higher in a position to handle it. However after we use the coping mechanism of emotional numbing on a regular basis, we lose our potential to really feel.
Sadly, the feelings you numbed get stockpiled and you do not ever get an opportunity to work them by. Your personal coping mechanism basically retains you from getting all the way down to coping with the scenario and people feelings you have been avoiding. You aren’t getting a chance to handle the feelings so that you simply will not have to keep away from them.
As well as, many individuals type the idea that it’s dangerous to really feel intense emotions-because it wasn’t O.Ok. means again when, it nonetheless is not O.Ok. to really feel them. They generalize from the expertise the place they numbed their feelings as a way to cope to present conditions. The belief is that the present scenario can be one which must be numbed. And, all of this goes on under the floor of your acutely aware thoughts, within the a part of your thoughts that’s under your consciousness a lot of the time-your unconscious thoughts.
Emotional numbing, as soon as it turns into a behavior, would not often provide the alternative to expertise your present feelings and uncover that you would be able to handle them very effectively with out having to numb them. You aren’t getting the corrective expertise to unhook from this sample.
As a result of emotional numbing has grow to be an unconscious behavior, you might want to take steps to vary it. And, it can be modified. To alter it, you sometimes have to revisit the occasion wherein this behavior first shaped. The excellent news is that it isn’t fully essential to go digging round within the muck and mire and re-experience previous trauma or previous destructive experiences. Once you view these experiences from a distance, and uncover what you might want to be taught from such experiences, it’s simple to let go of the extraordinary feelings that have been blocked by your emotional numbing. However you do have to let these feelings go so as to have the ability to start to really feel once more.
One mind-set about it’s that the extraordinary feelings and the need to keep away from them are damming up your potential to really feel. When you acknowledge the extraordinary feelings (discover I mentioned “acknowledge,” not “re-experience”) them, you may be taught what it’s you might want to know from that have and go away this behind. I exploit a technique I’ve developed known as the “Life Moments Makeover System™” which permits folks to launch the destructive feelings and beliefs hooked up to important moments of their lives in order that they’re not held captive by these moments. As soon as that occurs, they will as soon as once more start to expertise feelings about occasions of their previous with out fear that the feelings will probably be too intense.
It will probably take some observe to start to re-experience feelings again-they generally have to return out of hibernation. However the thought is to have the ability to expertise feelings within the second with out having to hold the emotional cost round from previous experiences. The thought is that you simply will not must numb your self since you actually will not be haunted by these feelings from previous experiences.
Whereas this may occasionally sound difficult, it actually is not. It might take somewhat steering or some observe to start to really feel once more with out worrying about being overwhelmed by feelings from the previous. Eliminating the destructive feelings and limiting beliefs from previous destructive experiences is step one in direction of having the ability to really feel once more. And it’s effectively price it!
(c) 2011 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D.