Emotophobia from Emotional Abuse

emotophobia

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image source Pinterest

Emotophobia is the fear of unpleasant emotions, not to be confused with emetophobia, the fear of vomiting.

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There is little online about emotophobia, so I thought this would be a great topic to write about. People that suffer from emotophobia need to understand what it is and what causes it. It is the first step to healing.

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The few articles I found offered the suggestion to “stop treating negative emotions as if they are your enemies and can harm you.”

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This implies that emotions themselves cannot harm you. But abusive situations are different from normal ones. There are two basic reasons that people who grew up with abuse can end up with emotophobia. 

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The narcissistic parent does not allow their child to be an individual. When the child expresses their feelings and thoughts that are different that the parent wants them to be, the parent reacts with punishment of some kind. 

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Emotional punishments are typical from narcissistic parents, when the child asserts their boundaries, their feelings, or otherwise asserts their identity as an individual. 

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Living with a parent that can suddenly explode, means to be on constant vigilant duty to protect the parent from becoming upset. In some cases the child has to take on the parenting role. 

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Part of keeping the parent from becoming upset, is to keep any negative feelings of your own to yourself. So you are basically brainwashed into thinking that all negative emotions are bad, both yours and those of the people around you. 

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Saying “No” to people can be difficult because it brings up the symptoms of the C-PTSD.  Adrenaline and cortisol are released into the body, alerting the person that there is a threat. Even if the threat is imagined, the physiological response is the same. The feelings of panic in the body are the same as if there is an actual danger or threat of danger.

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People with emotophobia are wired to control their own emotions and the emotions of the people around them. We feel responsible to comply with people, in order to keep them from becoming angry or upset. This is called People Pleaser Syndrome.

 

There is an association between someone becoming upset and being hurt yourself. Complying with other people helps to keep the PTSD response at bay. The anxiety that an abused person feels when they are near someone who is becoming angry, can be overwhelming. 

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yelling

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image source Pinterest

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This anxiety is then coupled with the fact that you are not “supposed to” express how you are feeling. So when the adrenaline kicks in from the PTSD response, the person just wants to shut it down as fast as possible.

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It is better to avoid it all together and just keep the people around you content. At least that is how it can feel.

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.For people that have emotophobia, emotions were the enemy and they were followed

by consequences.

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People that grew up in mentally abusive childhoods were not permitted to have emotions like other people are. It is not safe for them to express their feelings 

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The expression of emotion, which represents being an individual, is often punished by abusive parents.

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Adults who were emotionally abused as  children do not always recognize the abuse. They think that if they were not physically injured by their parents that everything else was okay. You may have felt that something was wrong when you were a child. If you did then you probably were emotionally and mentally abused. 

Narcissistic parents and other overbearing, manipulative parents do not want their children to develop independent thoughts and ideas.

They do not want their children thinking in terms of their own needs at all. When their children expressed feelings, the parents retaliated.

Punishments from the silent treatment to aggressive verbal abuse of the child are used.

Physical consequences may also follow as a matter of course, when a child showed anything resembling disobedience, including not feeling what they were told to feel.

These mentally abusive parents, want the focus on themselves and their needs. They demand for the child to cater to their ever changing desires and demands.

In order to survive in this type of environment, the child must learn to constantly read the parent’s body language and tone of voice.

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They must anticipate the desires and moods of the parent. If they fail to do so, it is met with negative consequences.

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If the child expresses disagreement, or unhappiness with the parent, they will likely invoke the anger and wrath of the parent.

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.crying child

image source Pinterest

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Even a facial expression of disagreement with the parent can bring out their anger.

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For their own protection, these children and teenagers learn to disguise their feelings and push them down.

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They do not want the parent to see their feelings because it will be used against them.

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If you grew up in this type of environment, then feeling negative emotions was the enemy. It is not something we have suddenly developed an irrational fear of as adults.

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This environment causes C-PTSD, which is Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, in many people. This is carried over into adulthood.

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So, the advice to “stop treating emotions as if they were the enemy” and to tell people that feeling emotions is safe, does not make sense to someone with C-PTSD from childhood mental abuse.

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Adults can also develop emotophobia from ongoing abusive relationships with a partner. Women become afraid to disagree with their partner because they fear his anger.

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Abusive people do not tolerate independence from their partner. When the victim asserts the fact that they are an individual person, it is met with extreme resistance or anger from the narcissist.

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Again, the brain rewires the neural connections to avoid showing negative feelings. This is a necessary survival tactic at the time.

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It is not easily undone. The subconscious brain wants to do everything to protect you. Living with an abusive parent requires the brain to alter neural pathways, in order to make you hypervigilant about the parent’s emotions.  It learns to focus more on their feelings than on yours, so that you can survive.

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It takes years to develop this survival tactic and to detach from and avoid negative emotions. The brain becomes wired to discourage entering into situations that may cause negative emotions.

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To undo what was a learned survival skill takes a lot of work in re-wiring the brain.

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Telling someone “emotions are your friends” does not work, especially without any idea why the person feels such anxiety about emotions like anger and sadness.

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The problem with emotophobia is that having it makes you easier for people to manipulate. People that want their way all the time, can use emotional manipulation to make you want to comply, rather than experiencing the pain of the emotophobia symptoms. 

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Realizing that you allow people to have their way, in order to avoid upsetting them is the first step to healing. Then you can understand that people get upset sometimes and unless you are in danger from them in some way, you can endure the feelings you will go through when they react to you. 

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You can begin to recognize when someone is trying to emotionally manipulate you. They will not take no for an answer. They use shame and guilt to get you to do things. Another sign is that their reactions to things will be far out of proportion to the “slight” they should be perceiving. 

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You have just as much of a right to your boundaries as anyone else does. People should not get their way just because they play on your fear of upsetting them. Experiencing emotions such as sadness, fear and anger is normal. You can learn that you can sit with emotions and get to the other side. 

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**for information about coaching, hypnosis, and NLP for people with C-PTSD and emotophobia see my web site HERE or follow the gentlekindness facebook page HERE

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Emotophobia and Being Manipulated by Others

Emotophobia is the fear of unpleasant emotions, not to be confused with emetophobia, the fear of vomiting.

There is little online about emotophobia.

The few articles I found offered the suggestion to “stop treating negative emotions as if they are your enemies and can harm you.”

This is somewhat condescending and implies that emotions themselves cannot harm you.

The person offering this advice clearly has never been in a situation where showing negative emotions could harm them.

So, they think it is rather ridiculous that someone would associate their negative emotions with danger.

The problem with this thinking is that there are situations where someone’s emotions can cause them harm.

This advise shows a complete misunderstanding of emotophobia and its root causes.

People with emotophobia are not “treating” emotions as if they are the enemy.

For people that have emotophobia, emotions were the enemy and they were followed by consequences.

People that grew up in mentally abusive childhoods were not permitted to have emotions like other people are.

The expression of emotion, which represents being an individual, is often punished by abusive parents.

Even children who were not physically abused, could have had their right to individual ideas and feelings violated.

Narcissistic parents and other overbearing, maniplulative parents do not want their children to develop independent thoughts and ideas.

They do not want their children thinking in terms of their own needs at all. When their children expressed feelings, the parents retaliated.

Punishments from the silent treatment to aggressive verbal abuse of the child are used.

Physical consequences may also follow as a matter of course, when a child showed anything resembling disobedience, including not feeling what they were told to feel.

These mentally abusive parents, want the focus on themselves and their needs. They demand for the child to cater to their ever changing desires and demands.

In order to survive in this type of environment, the child must learn to constantly read the parent’s body language and tone of voice.

They must anticipate the desires and moods of the parent. If they fail to do so, it is met with negative consequences.

If the child expresses disagreement, or unhappiness with the parent, they will likely invoke the anger and wrath of the parent.

Even a facial expression of disagreement with the parent can bring out their anger.

For their own protection, these children and teenagers learn to disguise their feelings and push them down.

They do not want the parent to see their feelings because it will be used against them.

If you grew up in this type of environment, then feeling negative emotions was the enemy. It is not something we have suddenly developed an irrational fear of as adults.

This environment causes C-PTSD, which is Complex Post Traumatic Stess Disorder, in many people. This is carried over into adulthood.

So, the advice to “stop treating emotions as if they were the enemy” and to tell people that feeling emotions is safe, does not make sense to someone with C-PTSD from childhood mental abuse.

Adults can also develop emotophobia from ongoing abusive relationships with a partner. Women become afraid to disagree with their partner because they fear his anger.

Abusive people do not tolerate independence from their partner. When the partner asserts the fact that they are an individual person, it is met with extreme resistance or anger from the narcissist.

Again, the brain rewires the neural connections to avoid showing negative feelings. This is a necessary survival tactic at the time.

It is not easily undone. The brain considers it necessary in order to protect the safety of the person.

It takes years to develop this survival tactic and to detach from and avoid negative emotions. The brain becomes wired to discourage entering into situations that may cause negative emotions.

To undo what was a learned survival skill takes a lot of work in re-wiring the brain.

Telling someone “emotions are your friends” does not work, especially without any idea why the person feels such anxiety about emotions like anger and sadness.

 

 

The problem with emotophobia is that having it makes you easier for people to manipulate. People that want their way all the time, can use emotional manipulation to make you want to comply, rather than experiencing the pain of the emotophobia symptoms. 

Realizing that you allow people to have their way, in order to avoid upsetting them is the first step to healing. Then you can understand that people get upset sometimes and unless you are in danger from them in some way, you can endure the feelings you will go through when they react to you. 

You can begin to recognize when someone is trying to emotionally manipulate you. They will not take no for an answer. They use shame and guilt to get you to do things. Another sign is that their reactions to things will be far out of proportion to the “slight” they should be perceiving. 

You have just as much of a right to your boundaries as anyone else does. People should not get their way just because they play on your fear of upsetting them. 

**for information about coaching, hypnosis, and NLP for people with C-PTSD and emotophobia see my web site HERE or follow the gentlekindness facebook page HERE

You Can’t Please Everyone! People Pleaser Syndrome

If someone has consistently shown you that they do not have a desire to care about how you feel, then stop expecting to find kindness and caring from them.

They may not want to care about your feelings. They may not have the capacity to empathize with you. Either way, you cannot force people or convert people to the side of kindness and compassion.

If someone never listens to your thoughts and feelings then they possibly never will. Communication goes two directions. If you always listen to their side, and they never listen to your side, then see it for what it is.

If your communication is consistently not being heard, no matter what the circumstance, then most likely this person has no intention to hear you.

Holding onto beliefs that you can “make them” care about you, is not productive. Find alternative ways to deal with conflicts and situations with them.

Evaluate what they do with information you give them. What has happened in the past, when you explained your reasons, and your thoughts to them?

Do they end up using it against you?

Do they completely disregard it?

Do they hear and remember what you say?

Do they claim later on, not to remember what you said?

Do they make fun of what you say and belittle you?

Do they laugh at you?

Do they become angry when you present your side of a situation?

Do they give you equal time to explain yourself or do they cut you off?

Do they bring other people, who seem inappropriate, into your conversations?

Look at the history and make observations in present time. See if they are the same way with other people.

Learn what their usual tactics are, in order to get their way.

Observe their responses to situations where you or others try to stand up for an opposing or alternative opinion.

Making these observations will help you to learn things about this person’s behavior, attitude and patterns.

Often people that are rigid, unbending, and always right, have observable, predictable response patterns.

If you can learn this about them, then you can use it in order to find ways to deal with their rigidity.

You have to work around people sometimes. Most importantly you have to protect your mental state and not allow people to cross into your emotional boundaries.

You cannot make them care. You cannot logically or rationally convince them that they should care about the feelings of others, or your feelings in particular.

But you may notice that you have been doing things to put yourself in their line of fire. You are giving them the advantage, by assuming that deep down they are really a caring person.

The more you believe that an abusive person really wants to work with you , the more advantage they have over you.

Not only that. They are probably fully aware that you want them to care and that you believe they want to.

There are people that will use your kind beliefs about them really being a caring person inside, against you in situations.

Observe people like this with an objective, scientific like mindset. Take notes on each situation and how they respond.

If you are dealing with a rigid person that never has empathy, then you need to know their response patterns. It should not blindside you, when they respond with a completely narcissistic attitude.

Dealing with these kinds of people can be stressful and crush your self esteem and feelings of self worth.

Situations where people like this are harmful to you are: as bosses, supervisors, neighbors, therapists, doctors, landlords and other positions where they can affect you.

Intimate relationships with anyone who has no empathy or compassion for you are even more dangerous.

People will not always believe what you have experienced with someone who lacks compassion. You cannot always get your opinions and observations about them validated.

Also be careful talking about this person to others.

You do not know who they have manipulated into doing what.  In a work situation, there may be minions who will report back to the narcissist about things you say.

That is why it will help you to take personal notes. Write down what you said and exactly what they said in response.

If you are on the phone, you can do this with a pen and paper during the conversation. If the interaction is in person, then take notes when you have privacy to write them

Keep your notes as “word for word” as possible. Do not change their wording to what you think they must have meant.

The exact wordings will help you later on, when you look over lots of interactions on paper. You can find inconsistencies and gaslighting tactics this way.

There are compassionate people, but all people are not compassionate. There are people who care about what happens to you and there are people who never will.

Your Peace of Mind matters,
Annie

Feeling Safe and Deflecting Shame from Others

The people that try to make you feel guilt or shame over not doing what they want you to do, are just serving their own agenda.

If they continue to try to emotionally manipulate you, they have no concern for your reality. They do not respect your right to see things from your own point of view.

People will claim to know what you should start doing…or stop doing..that will make you a better person. But take a closer look and see that they are trying to get you to fit into their own agenda.

You do not have to change your core beliefs to make someone else’s reality more comfortable. They are clearly not changing their beliefs to suit you.

If you are not trying to guilt and shame them, then what right do they have to do it to you. What gives one person, or one group of people, exclusive rights to know everything that everyone “should” and “should not” be doing?

Shaming people is not loving. Any group or individual that is making you feel bad about yourself, or trying to make you question your own truth to support theirs, is more concerned with serving their own agenda than wanting you to be your authentic self.

People that claim to care about your best interest, but try to shame and guilt you into changing for them, do not have your best interest at heart….but they have their own best interest at heart.

So let them continue to follow their own path and do what they feel best supports them…..while you follow your own path and do what best supports you.

Why is it okay for them to want an environment they feel safe and supported in….but you are selfish because you also want to feel safe and supported?

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Life Coaching for People with C-PTSD, PTSD, and Anxiety Disorders

I have cringed watching videos with Life Coaches who yell and are very aggressive with their clients. They are trying to shove them to where they “should be” and push them with covertly  shaming tactics to into their future.

I do understand that most life coaches are trained to be future -oriented with their clients. This is what they learned from their trainers and mentors. Maybe it even works for some people….but not for people with C-PTSD from a background of abuse or trauma.

I understand that it is not the job of the life coach to diagnose mental illness or to identify past trauma in their client….but you cannot minimize or ignore someone’s trauma either.

Many of these loud aggressive methods border on bullying the client. Someone who has already been mistreated by their family, manipulated, or has gone through some kind of trauma, cannot tolerate this kind of “help” from a life coach.

It will further traumatize the client. So if you are a life coach, make sure you do a proper intake assessment of your clients. If it is clear that your approach and methodologies are not a good “fit” for the person, then refer them to a different life coach…one who specializes in helping clients with C-PTSD or PTSD.

If you are looking for a life coach and you have C-PTSD, or PTSD, you need to interview the potential coaches and be sure you feel comfortable wit them, and that their methods will not re-traumatize or trigger your PTSD.F

Find someone who is sensitive to your needs and can be flexible with their techniques and methodologies, to individualize their sessions to benefit you…not re-traumatize you. 

If you are interested in life coaching which specialized in clients with PTSD, C-PTSD and mental illness, feel free to stop by my web site.

gentlekindnesscoaching.com

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Blessings.

Namaste,

Annie -gentlekindnesscoaching.com

 

Depression C-PTSD and PTSD – How to get Your energy Back

I just finished giving a guitar lesson to my teenage niece. It is nice to spend time with her. I have been giving her lessons for a few months now, about every other week.

Before her father had asked me if I was interested in doing guitar lessons with her, I had not been doing much with guitar at all. 

I used to play all the time. Depression has a way of making you lose interest in the things you once used to love to do. After back to back abusive situations with partners and family members, I lost my will to do anything that I liked to do. 

Since I have started my life coaching business I have been feeling that life force coming back. Once people suck your will out of you, it takes time to be able to self generate that energy again. 

It takes doing something that you are passionate about. Since I have been working with other abuse victim, I have felt a purpose in my life that means something special to me. So this is having the effect of generating some of that will power back again.

I still feel the weight of depression pressing down on me as I try to push it off. I am learning that you cannot push it off at all. It is more a matter of accepting without judgement of yourself. 

Then allowing the feelings to come and sitting with them in a way that is nurturing. Showing yourself compassion when the people closest to you cannot show you any compassion is not easy. But you can do it once you learn that the perceptions others have about you do not have to frame your reality. 

Anyway, I was thinking of putting new strings on my guitar so that it would sound better. The old strings have a very thumpy, dull sound. I know that I would be pleased to hear the sound of new strings and I would be more likely to play for enjoyment. 

I might learn a new song or write one of my own. Baby steps are sometimes the way to make great changes in your perceptions. It is the change in perception that will create change in your behavior. 

Perceptions control your emotions. Emotions are underneath of all behaviors. Once you can begin to change behaviors and have more control over getting some momentum, then you can begin to enjoy your path as you are creating it under your feet. 

Nurturing Emotional Wounds

Emotions should be treated with kindness and a gentle spirit. When an emotions feels like it is too overwhelming you can console that feeling and care for it. 

Think of your emotions and feelings as children who need to be taken care of and nurtured. If you abandon your feelings they will only grow more. You have to walk with them and hold their hand. 

Emotional wounds

When you feel sadness, grief or anger there is always a reason for it. Sometimes the reason is obvious and other times the emotion is coming from an old emotional wound. 

Emotions are always trying to tell you something. They are trying to protect you from something. 

It can feel like we cannot handle feeling the emotions and so we try to bury and repress them. But this is a way of abandoning ourselves. 

Abandonment

You have already been abandoned by other people in your life. You have been rejected by people and hurt by people. Your emotions are telling you that you need to be cared for.

Self Love

Self love is a powerful thing. It is not selfish , even though you may have been taught that way. Often the people that discourage us from caring about our own feelings, do so for their own agenda. 

In another words, they try to get you to forget about your needs and feelings, because they are protecting their own needs and feelings. This is kind of hypocritical …isn’t it?

Emotional fractures.

Refusal to listen to your emotions will cause you to break down and become fractured. Emotional wounds are often fractures parts of you that were hurt and abandoned at an early age. 

These fractured child parts are trying to get your attention. They want to know that you have not abandoned them. Your inner child needs to know that it has not been abandoned by you too.

Nurture your pain.  

When emotional pain comes up please nurture it as you would a sick child. Care for your feelings and console those wounded parts of yourself. Ask them what they need and have not been getting.

You can find ways to heal the emotions if you listen to them first. It is not selfish to care about your own feelings and the needs of your emotional body. Your emotional health is connected to all of you.

Separation from the emotional body

In order to give of yourself, you have to have something left to give. When we neglect emotional wounds, part of ourselves becomes separated from the whole. 

You need to be whole and your emotions need to be integrated with all of you. Your spiritual health and emotional health are connected. Your physical health is also connected to your emotions. 

Inner Child 

Listen to your inner child and all of your emotions and feelings. Nothing comes up for no reason. There is always a reason if you are feeling something. 

You have much to offer the world. You are a unique person with very special gifts to offer and to explore. 

Acceptance of self

Everything about you will flow better when you nurture your feelings. Do not abandon yourselves by stuffing down your emotions. Allow your feelings to be accepted without judgement. 

You can survive the feelings as you experience them as a caretaker. You may fear that you will be overwhelmed by your emotions but you cannot push them away from you. 

Old emotional wounds

When you nurture and care for your feelings, the pain will release from you. You may find that the root causes are from long ago and the wounds have been re-opened by some person or situation. 

If this happens then the old emotional wounds were never healed from the past. They are coming up in order to ask you to care for them. 

Blessings, 

Annie ❤

 

Accepting Emotions and Healing Old Wounds – Emotophobia

Instead of trying to stop feeling the emotions that you feel, when you see them as negative emotions, show yourself love. Accept the emotions you are feeling.

Investigate within yourself and find out why you are really feeling this emotion. Show compassion and empathy to yourself and allow yourself to have feelings without judging yourself for them.

Emotophobia is the fear of negative emotions. Many people that grew up with chaos, trauma or abuse, have a form of emotophobia. You may have been taught that feeling certain emotions was wrong or bad.

Many of us were taught that feeling certain emotions was selfish, weak and that you were to be judged for it. You should not have to judge yourself for feeling things.

Repressing emotions does not make them go away. It does not deal with the problem that is underneath of the emotions that are coming up.

Being judged for your emotions as a child was emotional abuse. Being told to change, hide and feel shame for feeling “negative” emotions was also emotional and mental abuse. It made you feel that you were bad because of ways that you felt about things.

Being taught you are bad for feeling things and expressing your feelings, teaches you that you are either good or bad based on how you feel about things. This is wrong. Emotions are simply our subconscious brain trying to tell us something,

Emotions are generated by the subconscious brain and we cannot control the emotions that initially come up about things. Denying emotions is denying ourselves. Then our inner child can feel abandoned and devalued.

perception

Devaluing yourself based on the way you feel, is a way of abandoning parts of yourself. All the parts of you are an important part of your entire being, You cannot deny and abandon part of yourself without abandoning yourself as a person that has a right to be who you are.

This abandonment of yourself is taught to children from abusive back grounds. You are taught that your needs do not matter in the grand scheme of things, Your needs are less important that theirs are and than the rest of the family.

You either matter or you do not matter. I can tell you that you do matter. Once you begin to accept the emotions that come up and understand that your subconscious brain only brings u emotions with good reasons to signal them to you, then you can look at why you are feeling the ways you do.

Healing can begin once you accept yourself and your emotions without judgement. Let go of learned thought patterns that were forced onto you during childhood.

you matter

You matter as much as anyone else does. Why do someone else’s feelings matter more than your own? Why do you feel bad to have emotions that might contradict someone else’s reality?

Your reality matters and your brain knows why it sends certain feelings to the body. Investigate within yourself and let your inner child know that it has not been abandoned.

Many feelings that are “negative ” feelings are to protect you or they are wounds that are being re-opened from childhood. They may be wounds that are being triggered from adult trauma.

Even some adult trauma was more traumatic because whatever happened was re-opening childhood wounds. Your pain is trying to show you something that needs to be known.

The first step to healing old wounds is to accept that they are there. Understand that you have been wounded and that feelings do not just come out of nowhere, even when they seem to.

Blessings.

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