Getting used to the ups and downs in life is something I’m still working on learning how to do. I’ve come to realise the negatives in my childhood didn’t feel safe as I didn’t learn how to identify, to name my emotions, and how to fully process them. And then the upshot was this process hasn’t happened for generations in my family.
In my family it was a case of if we don’t acknowledge the emotions they’re not happening. If we don’t talk about them, they didn’t happen. At around 14 years of age I was given the nickname “Elizabeth Taylor” after the famous actress. Apparently me expressing emotions was likened to me be a drama queen. This was my family’s way of deflecting, of not being adult enough to say “we have no clue how to deal with someone expressing emotions.”
My need for an emotional conversation, to understand things I just didn’t as a teenager, for emotional validation i.e. to be seen and heard and cared about, went unmet. I wrote notes to my parents and left them under their pillows. Mainly apologising for my emotional outbursts but also wanting them to sit down with me and explain a few things. I’d wake up the next morning wishing, hoping, praying for one of the adults to speak with me. Nothing.
What’s a girl to do?
Out of this mess I developed some really unhealthy emotional habits. Some I’m still working on today. One of my earliest ones I needed to address was not speaking unless I knew I was right. I look back now and think I might have been a pain in the butt! My latest one is learning how to speak up at home when I’m upset. It’s been decades of managing my emotions internally on my own but I’m up for the challenge.
Now that science is showing how unexpressed emotions stay in the body until identified, understood and felt in a safe environment I need to build a new habit into my life. Healing is a journey of forming new habits. I need to recognise when I’m not feeling good about a situation and start speaking up. I’m grateful my adult children want to have the tough conversations with me.
Throughout my healing journey I’ve noticed how some of my emotions have been held in my gut and until I did my internal work I had zero experience of what a gut instinct actually felt like. It’s definitely a different experience when you haven’t grown up experiencing it. To get to feeling a gut instinct I had to do a lot of awareness around how tight I held myself internally.
Now I’m working on the deep seated emotions in the heart area. I’m gathering the keys to unlock what is holding it tight. It definitely is taking a bit of time to gather the keys. The good news is I know it’s doable by taking action, through forming new habits.
I remember years ago when the practice was to identify emotions and have an emotional release i.e shed a tonne of tears. The problem with this process was it didn’t release the tightly held emotions out of the body. This process could quite literally keep those of us with Complex Ptsd reliving and revisiting the past repeatedly.
Now, we know better. Healing from Complex Ptsd, the releasing of long held onto emotions comes from a multi disciplined approach. None of which involve going over the past because it’s still alive in us here and now.
So for today we’re going to begin to teach ourselves it’s ok to feel crazy when life changes because we didn’t get modelled to us the imprint of how to recognise and process change. Then we’re going to sit down and work it through just one step at a time. In the meantime I’m going to use these affirmations to remind me it’s okay not to have answers right here and now and to breathe and take one step at a time.
Blessings and dreams,