Thoughtful Thursday #245 – Internalizing Emotional Pain

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Internalized emotional pain is personal slavery and a prim and proper intimate prison in your mind. It’s where we have been triggered and swallowed emotional pain for any number of reasons. Maybe we have been betrayed by someone you trusted, or out of the blue you were the target of cruelty, perhaps you have been the object of someone’s dysfunctional projections, and the result is you feel a life situation has crushed you.

We can recognize how we have internalized emotional pain. We have excessive worry, over indulge in social media, phantom physical sensations, venting at others expense, wanting to retaliate, self-destructive behaviors, your self-esteem is nowhere in sight, there’s a presence of anxiety, sadness, and social isolation, we blow up over nothing.

This is a painful way to live, very painful, I understand how it feels, and no one is immune internalizing emotional pain.

If you are struggling with sorting out emotional pain, hang in there, initially the pain may be  too much, that’s OK, take some time to process what has happened.

Practice self-care: acknowledge what happened, save yourself from further pain, summon up compassion for yourself, internalizing emotional pain does not make you tough, confrontation may be appropriate but do it with a calm voice, find someone who will listen to you unconditionally, write it out on a piece of paper, write every last emotion and detail, find whatever you need to bring a sense of groundedness and peace back to your mind,  look within yourself for an answer that works for you.

In time the pain will pass, that’s the beauty of time and self-care and perhaps you will learn that you are really very strong and can be grow internally and handle the next situation with self-protection and authority as the mighty, capable person that your are.

 

Thoughtful Thursday – #244 – Stream of Consciousness Writing

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I usually write with stream of consciousness because it’s easy and therapeutic. Here’s an article about several writers who use this method very effectively. From Quiklit.com.

10 WRITERS WHO USE STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS BETTER THAN ANYBODY ELSE

By May Huang

A narrative technique that has perplexed and fascinated readers for centuries, the stream of consciousness technique has been used by many writers to trace the seamless (and oft erratic) musings of characters such as Mrs. Dalloway and Stephen Dedalus. Below are 10 writers whose works – ranked amongst the finest in English literature – feature the stream of consciousness technique.

Okay, but what is Stream of Consciousness?

Stream of Consciousness is a type of writing that originated with the works of psychologist William James (Brother of Novelist Emeritus Henry James). Basically, its purpose is to emulate the passage of thought through your mind without any inhibitors. For that reason, sentences become longer, less organized and more sporadic in style. Its lack of structure is not for everybody, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any order. Stream of consciousness permits deeper patterns of order to emerge, ones based on the genuine movement of information in your brain. It also permits writers to simulate different forms of consciousness, such as dreams, comas, drug use and hallucinatory seances.

  1. Dorothy Richardson

Considered the pioneer of the stream-of-consciousness technique, 20th century British author Dorothy Richardson was the first author to publish a full length stream-of-consciousness novel: Pointed Roofs. In fact, it was in reviewing Pointed Roofs that British author May Sinclaire first coined the term ‘stream-of-consciousness’ in April 1918.

On one side was the little grey river, on the other long wet grass repelling and depressing. Not far ahead was the roadway which led, she supposed to the farm where they were to drink new milk. She would have to walk with someone when they came to the road, and talk. She wondered whether this early morning walk would come, now, every day. Her heart sank at the thought.” from Pointed Roofs

  1. William Faulkner

Recipient of both the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, American author William Faulkner used the stream of consciousness technique to great effect in The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying, exploring the depths of different characters’ inner conflict through disjointed, unpunctuated narrative. In one short paragraph, the reader is at once exposed to different smells, sounds and movement:

“Nonsense you look like a girl you are lots younger than Candace color in your cheeks like a girl A face reproachful tearful an odor of camphor and of tears a voice weeping steadily and softly beyond the twilit door the twilight-colored smell of honey suckle. Bringing empty trunks down the attic stairs they sounded like coffins […]” – from As I Lay Dying

  1. James Joyce

Dublin born writer James Joyce employed the stream-of-consciousness style in all of his novels, including Finnegans WakeA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and – of course – the 1000-page, 265,000-word long Ulysses. It is easy to get lost in any paragraph in the novel, as the protagonist Stephen Dedalus guides us quickly – and disjointedly – through his thoughts and surroundings. One moment he is asking himself, “Would you go back to then?” and the next he is on Grafton street, pondering whether to buy a pincushion while the “jingle of harnesses” sounds in his ears. Then, out of the blue, he answers himself and concludes that it would be “useless to go back.” Next thing you know, he’s moved on to Duke Street and we’re not quite sure how he – or we – got there.

  1. Virginia Woolf

 

Recognized as the most important feminist writer (and perhaps one of the most important writers in general) of all time, Virginia Woolf used the stream-of-consciousness technique to great significance in her work. Paying scrupulous attention to detail and describing even “the footman’s hand,” “parcels and umbrellas.” Woolf takes readers through different minds, perspectives and surroundings in Mrs. Dalloway. She makes us wonder who is speaking – and about what.

  1. Marcel Proust

French writer Marcel Proust also used the stream-of-consciousness style in his works, notably in the seven-volume long Remembrance of Things Past, in which even the simple childhood memory of eating a petite madeleine plunges one into the “vast structure of recollection.” Reading Proust, one is caught up in the taste and smell of the pastry, “the water-lilies on the Vivonne” and “Sunday mornings at Combray” – all of which are memories that converge in the narrator’s stream of consciousness.

  1. Jack Kerouac

American writer Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is now remembered as one of the defining novels of the Beat Generation – as well as a modern example of stream-of-consciousness writing. Originally written over a course of 3 weeks on one scroll of paper (deemed the ‘original scroll’),On the Road is based on Kerouac’s road trip across America, a journey at times vividly recounted in continuous stream-of-consciousness prose, fusing both description of land and memory:

The brown hills led off towards Nevada; to the South was my legendary Hollywood; to the North the mysterious Shasta country. Down below was everything: the barracks where we stole our tiny box of condiments, where Dostioffski’s tiny face had glared at us […]” from On the Road

  1. José Saramago

Portuguese Nobel Prize Laureate Jose Saramago, like Woolf, also liked to alternative between narratives and use stream-of-consciousness in his writing. In Blindness, Saramago uses long sentences and eschews quotation marks to enhance the seamlessness of his prose, allowing the stream-of-consciousness to run free of interruption:

The very air in the ward seemed to have become heavier, emitting strong lingering odours, with sudden wafts that were simply nauseating, What will this place be like within a week, he asked himself, and it horrified him to think that in a week’s time, they would still be confined here, Assuming there won’t be any problems with food supplies, and who can be sure there isn’t already a shortage, I doubt, for example, whether those outside have any idea from one minute to the next…” – from Blindness

  1. Samuel Backett

The second French writer on this list, Samuel Beckett used the stream of consciousness technique in his Three Novels (Molloy, Malone Dies and the Unnamable) to deliver a stream of observations and musings on time and existence. In fact, Molloy defies conventional grammar and tense rules in order to emphasize the continuity of the narrator’s non-stop train of thought:

What shall I do? What shall I do? now low, a murmur, now precise as the headwaiter’s And to follow? and often rising to a scream. And in the end, or almost, to be abroad alone, by unknown ways, in the gathering night, with a stick.” – from Molloy

  1. Fyodor Dostoevsky

Although Crime and Punishment is Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s best-known work, his 1864 novella Notes from Underground also sits amongst the classics of Russian literature. Throughout the novel, the ‘Underground Man’ expresses his continuous train of thought through long, comma-filled sentences (even in brackets).

If you take, for instance, the antithesis of the normal man, that is, the man of acute consciousness, who has come, of course, not out of the lap of nature but out of a retort (this is almost mysticism, gentlemen, but I suspect this, too), this retort-made man is sometimes so nonplussed in the presence of his antithesis that with all his exaggerated consciousness he genuinely thinks of himself as a mouse and not a man. It may be an acutely conscious mouse, yet it is a mouse, while the other is a man, and therefore, et caetera, et caetera.” – from Notes from Underground

  1. Toni Morrison

83 year old African American author Toni Morrison published several books on slavery, the most compelling of which is undoubtedly Beloved. The story of a ‘ghost baby’ who returns to her family in the form of a grown woman, Beloved is both a harrowing tale about the horrors of slavery as it is a testament to the unrelenting power of memory. Morrison uses stream of consciousness in one of the final chapters to reveal the intermingling of three characters’ thoughts:

Beloved

You are my sister

You are my daughter

You are my face; you are me

I have found you again; you have come back to me

You are my Beloved

You are mine

You are mine

You are mine

I have your milk

I have your smile

I will take care of you

You are my face; I am you. Why did you leave me

who am you?” – from Beloved

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday #243 – How To Get Unstuck

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Are you a victim to perfectionism or failure, racing thoughts, numbness, confusion, addictions, inability to trust, poor self talk?

We can treat ourselves in such an awful way by not taking care of ourselves physically and mentally.

Actually mental health is paramount for a successful life.

One way of easing our troubled minds is to ask questions.
Why was I triggered by that comment, why did I slink away from a potential intimate moment, why did I run away so fast that it actually scared me, why did I act that way?

Take a piece of paper or open a word document and start writing every possible scenario, keep going until you can’t think of anything else. By doing this you release all the power of holding these types of concerns in your head.

I guarantee you will be surprised at the insight and peace you experience.  Asking questions to yourself is another tool in your resource box for getting unstuck and have clear mental health.

Thoughtful Thursday #242 – Avoidance, Procrastination and Coming Out On The Other Side

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We all avoid and procrastinate actions that we really don’t want to do for a myriad of reasons. Fear, feeling inadequate, uncomfortable with the unknown, anxiety ridden are just a few reasons to avoid an action that could be very beneficial to us.

Let’s look at a scenario, I need to recertify for my job, I procrastinate and think I can just wing the test without studying. I take the test and fail, I can take the test again and I avoid studying again. I fail again. Now I am kicking myself for not studying, at this point my job is on the line and I could suffer ramifications. I feel stupid and embarrassed, what do I do now?

I must step back and seriously study. If there are other resources to help me  I must use them. I can take the test again with confidence and come out on the other side by passing the test.

Coming out on the other side increases my confidence and hopefully I won’t do that again.

I know it’s hard but choosing to take action instead of avoiding and procrastinating will make your life so much easier, less stressful and give you peace of mind.

Thoughtful Thursday #241 – Am I Unloveable

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Sometimes our behavior makes us seem unloveable. We get unflattering feedback of our strange behavior and cringe with embarrassment. We get rejected because we seem aloof and unapproachable. Maybe we are single and think we just have not found the right person. Or perhaps we think we need a trip to Tibet to find ourselves. Are we that strange?

A Full Stop is Necessary.

Part of maturity and growing as a person is asking questions.

How am I making my life difficult. We may draw a blank here but keep asking.

How do I react when I am  annoyed, angry, happy.

How do I react when I am tired. Am I difficult around money, what do I worry about. What are my beliefs around sex.

There are tons of questions to ask and none of them are meant to make you feel guilty. The answers to these questions are to make you aware of your own patterns and how others in your life may perceive them, be it annoying or not.

Growing up to be a whole human is not easy but step by step you will become how you are meant to be.

 

Thoughtful Thursday #240 – Mind Your Mind

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Paying attention to what you are thinking is an important step in a healthy mind.

Mindyourmind.org has some steps to help you have a healthy mind.

Top 10 Easy, Everyday Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

  1. Spend Time Outdoors
  2. Share a Laugh
  3. Express Gratitude
  4. Get Quality Sleep
  5. Exercise
  6. Dance
  7. Talk (to a friend, to your cat…)
  8. Take a Break
  9. Sing (in a choir, in the shower…)
  10. Your idea here!

From Psychology Today: The mind can sometimes be a wonderful, creative instrument. However usually, the inner dialogue is anything but constructive. Remember – you are not your mind, and never let yourself be tricked by it.

Quote by Denis Avey, Author: The mind is a powerful thing. It can take you through walls.

Buddha: “It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.” “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” “There is nothing so disobedient as an undisciplined mind, and there is nothing so obedient as a disciplined mind.”

We can never stop thinking but we can pay attention to what the chatter is all about and allow us to be a little more detached. Having a healthy mind is a lifelong journey. A journey so worth the effort.

 

Thoughtful Thursday #239 – Secret History

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Now hang in there with me as I explain what a secret history is: a secret history is your hidden beliefs.

The beliefs that are not even conscious, the beliefs that come from fear or terror or emotional hurt. Our beliefs try to protect us from being hurt again, You can hear it say, don’t go there, remember what happened last time. Don’t talk to her, she looks mean, Don’t take that risk, you will fail like all the other times. Don’t talk to him, you’re too shy, ugly, dumb, less than everyone else.  On and on these beliefs hold us prisoner and not allowing us to live up to our full potential.

Some beliefs we would never vocalize. It’s too dangerous for anyone to know how we really feel. Some beliefs we go to our graves with.

This is your secret history of  negative beliefs. It’s time to examine them one by one, scary as it is. Perhaps we can reverse the negative beliefs into positive ones.

I am worthy to be in the world, let me smile at her, I can take a tiny risk, it’s OK to fail because it’s a learning experience. I can express my love and feelings without worrying about rejection. What can I do to help someone else.

Hopefully we will be creating a new secret history of positive beliefs and be a light for ourselves and someone who may need it.

Thoughtful Thursday #238 – Psychological Projection

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Projection is something we all do and the subject is uncomfortable. Here is an article from Everydayhealth.com that explains psychological projection in simple language.

Psychological Projection: Dealing With Undesirable Emotions

Psychological projection is a defense mechanism people subconsciously employ in order to cope with difficult feelings or emotions. Psychological projection involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with the unwanted feelings. Have you ever disliked someone only to become convinced that the person had a vendetta against you? This is a common example of psychological projection. Luckily, there are methods you can use to identify why you are projecting your emotions and put a stop to this coping mechanism.

The Basics of Psychological Projection
The theory of psychological projection was developed by Sigmund Freud, an Austrian psychologist commonly referred to as the “father of psychoanalysis.” For this reason, psychological projection is sometimes called “Freudian projection.” During his sessions with patients, Freud noticed that they would sometimes accuse others of having the same feelings they themselves were demonstrating. By engaging in this behavior, the patient was better able to deal with the emotions he or she was experiencing.

The classic example of Freudian projection is that of a woman who has been unfaithful to her husband but who accuses her husband of cheating on her. Another example of psychological projection is someone who feels a compulsion to steal things then projects those feelings onto others. She might begin to fear that her purse is going to be stolen or that she is going to be shortchanged when she buys something.

Projection is not always as dramatic or as easily identifiable, however. An instance of projection that most people can relate to is when they come across someone they do not like, but are forced to interact with on a somewhat-polite level. For example, Jessica begins to resent her sister-in-law, Carla, for being so close to her husband.

Jessica knows that she has to be nice to Carla for her husband’s sake. Over time, however, Jessica begins to notice that Carla does not like her either.

Whenever there is a family gathering, Jessica thinks that Carla is being snippy with her, especially when Jessica’s husband is in the room. Jessica explains to her husband that she has tried as hard as she can, but the reason why she does not like Carla is because Carla does not like her. As you can see, Jessica has projected her feelings of dislike and resentment onto Carla.

Why Do We Project?
As mentioned earlier, projection is used as a defense mechanism, and defense mechanisms are used to cope with feelings and emotions that we have trouble expressing or coming to terms with.

To return to the Jessica and Carla example: Jessica has a hard time coming to terms with the fact that she resents her sister-in-law. She may feel guilty about being jealous of the time Carla spends with her husband, or she may worry that her feelings will be noticed by other members of the family, who will then think badly of her. Jessica then subconsciously projects her feelings onto Carla which gives her an excuse for disliking her. Instead of having to face these feelings of dislike and resentment on her own, she is able to project her feelings on another person.

Psychological projection is one of many defense mechanisms people engage in on a regular basis.

Other common defense mechanisms include:

Denial – Refusing to admit to yourself that something is real (e.g., not believing the doctor when she tells you some particularly bad news about your health).

Distortion – Changing the reality of a situation to suit your needs (e.g., thinking that your boyfriend cheated on you because he was scared of commitment).

Passive Aggression – Indirectly acting out your aggression (e.g., purposely parking in your co-worker’s parking spot as retribution for a previous dispute).

Repression – Covering up feelings or emotions instead of coming to terms with them (e.g., being unable to recall the details of a car crash you were involved in – the brain sometimes purposely “loses” these memories to help you cope).

Sublimination – Converting negative feelings into positive actions (e.g., cleaning the house whenever you are angry about something).

Dissociation – Substantially but temporarily changing your personality to avoid feeling emotion (e.g., trying to “keep yourself together” at a funeral for the benefit of others).

Defense mechanisms are not always unhealthy. In fact, some defense mechanisms are essential to coping with stressful events. For example, humor is an example of a positive defense mechanism that people employ to deal with stress in life. Using humor in a difficult situation allows you to get your feelings out into the open and also brings pleasure to others by making them laugh.

How to Stop Projecting
Unfortunately, most people do not realize that they have succumbed to psychological projection until it is too late. However, there are steps you can take to identify whether you are engaging in psychological projection in order to avoid doing it in the future.

A good place to start is to examine the negative relationships in your life. Who don’t you get along with at work or in your family? Do you feel as though someone is out to get you? Try to determine where the animosity began. In some cases, you may find that speaking with a therapist will help you examine these relationships more honestly and openly than you are able to do by yourself.

Once you have identified that you are engaging in psychological projection, you will become more aware of this tendency during future interactions. Try to face problems and disputes head on rather than becoming defensive. The key is to be able to recognize when you are using a defense mechanism and learn how to respond in a more positive manner.

Different Types of Psychological Projection
Projection is not always a negative mechanism. Although the Freudian theory of projection assumes that the projected feelings tend to be undesirable, there are other types of projection that are more positive and productive.

Complementary projection, for example,is a type of projection where one assumes that other people share the same opinions that he or she does. This phenomenon is quite common. For instance, whenever you hear a story about an animal that has been mistreated, you are shocked to discover that not everyone shares the same views regarding animal cruelty as you. Likewise, although you cannot possibly see how other people perceive color, you assume that everyone sees the color blue the same way you do. In this sense, you are projecting your perception of color onto everyone else.

Complimentary projection is slightly different and not as common. People who employ complimentary projection assume that everyone has the same skills and ability as they do. For example, someone who is skilled in the kitchen might assume that everyone else is able to make a soufflé with as much ease as they do. Of course, we all know that this is not the case.

Psychological projection is not the healthiest way to deal with emotions, however, it is a difficult habit for some people to break. Next time you begin to project your feelings onto someone else, stop and ask yourself why you are engaging in this behavior. You will find that it is much easier to deal with the monsters in your head rather than project the negative emotions you are experiencing onto others.

How Do You Deal with Difficult Emotions?
It’s natural to experience anger, jealousy, hurt – even though your mother told you that “a frown doesn’t suit your pretty face, Dear!” But have you ever felt so overwhelmed by these emotions, or that you spend too much energy getting over them? Everyone could use some healthy options for dealing with difficult emotions. Find out how well you deal with suffering in this difficult emotions quiz.

Thoughtful Thursday #237 – Bad News Good News

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Bad News : trauma recovery work never ends. Trauma stays in your DNA, in your subconscious, in your dreams, in your worries, in your decision-making, in your choices. Trauma is embedded in your cells.

Good News : trauma recovery is indeed possible, trauma recovery is uncomfortable and our defenses will throw many distractions at us because they think it’s dangerous to feel. When we are ready and can sit with being uncomfortable without running away something happens. We become healed, because we didn’t run away, we allowed and trusted the organic process of feeling what we have avoided for so long and allowed the experience to fade away. Is recovery a simple linear process, not at all. The results are worth the effort.