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.
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.
It is not easy to feel grief, we avoid it at all costs with distractions galore.
Allowing yourself to feel grief and cry and rage and weep are very healing actions to take you forward.
Grief that is not felt is invisible and holds you back. Clues that you are not feeling grief is lots of unfounded fear, perhaps you feel numb, anxious.
How can you get to a point where you can organically feel grief? Writing, talking to someone you trust, exercise, getting educated on recognizing grief, find a support group, being really good to yourself because you are hurting.
Grief work is a very personal journey, there is no timeframe, no right and wrong to process grief and your coping strategy will belong only to you. Only you have to validate this.
Is grief work easy, no it is not. It’s uncomfortable, the good news is that every opportunity you have to process and express grief the quicker it goes away.
Emotional numbing comes in two forms:
- detaching emotionally as a coping method to avoid triggering overwhelming feelings.
- detaching emotionally as a form of keeping boundaries and protecting from any psychic trauma.
What does it feel like to be emotionally numb? You feel like a ghost watching and observing others go along in their lives and you feel so invisible that you can’t interact with anyone. This state of mind is very painful. You feel unfocused and ungrounded. Can’t communicate or think straight.
There can be many causes for emotional numbing only you can say how it occurred in your life.
So how do you manage in the meantime.
- identify triggers, what caused your initial shutdown.
- write it out uncensored on your computer or by hand.
- talk to a therapist or trusted friend.
- stay busy.
- eat and sleep well.
- remember, the feeling is temporary.
It may take some time to come out of emotional numbness but that is the OK. Mental health is very important and it takes time to understand what is going on in our minds. Is it a linear process, not at all. Healing has its own time table, have patience with yourself and in the meantime take really good care of yourself. You are worth it.
I have had two strong flashbacks that has kicked my complex trauma response into high gear. That’s the thing with C-PTSD flashbacks, it places me in two worlds. The world of the past and the present.
Flashbacks are important in trauma recovery but not at all easy to process. Flashbacks are a necessary part of healing. You can’t heal if you don’t feel.
At this time there is a part of me that feels it’s safe enough to allow a repressed memory to surface. I am thankful for that. Doing this kind of work and the willingness to feel the feelings of the past uncovers underlying traumatic emotions.
Once the repressed feelings come to the surface it is easier to make positive change, stay in the present moment and get happy again.
Here’s a quote from Yolo Akili’s book: Dear Universe; Letters of Affirmation and Empowerment – For All Of Us –
Principles of Human Communication:
#5 Understand that everyone interprets the world through their own ideas, past experience, psychological framework, social location and pain. You see the world based on where you have been. You see the world based on who you are, based on how you are perceived and how you perceive others. Those perceptions are not absolute. They are not the only truth, and they are not the only way of knowing things. Understand this.
The author is pointing out that in order to have effective communication with other humans we must put aside our own beliefs. By putting aside our own beliefs we will better understand where the other human is coming from. As a result you will have a clearer, more truthful communication.
We cry in response to emotions like sadness, anger, grief, frustration, even happiness and joy.
There’s wailing, weeping, blubbering, lamenting, whimpering, all out bawling to the point of throwing up.
I have a hard time crying in front of others, however, in private I can really let it out. After crying I feel exhausted yet empty.
There is a soothing effect to crying, and can elicit support from others, relieve stress, restore emotional balance, and helps recover from grief.
No matter what you have heard or what you believe about crying: it’s perfectly OK to cry for as long as you want in any way that you want and you will not fall apart, you are not weak or defective.
I guarantee that even if the problem that causes you to cry persists, crying when you need it, will restore your balance.
Take that moment you need to deeply feel what is causing you to cry. You deserve to be relieved of pain.
Boundaries are powerful.
We all have experienced someone whether in our personal lives or work life who just does not know the meaning of personal space and minding their own business. Wasting your precious time and resources. We have to learn skills for handling such situations.
- know when to say yes, know when to say no and mean it. No point in being wishy-washy.
- know that boundaries keep you mentally and emotionally safe.
- know that boundaries are a big part of your well-being.
- physical, intellectual, emotional, sexual, material and time are all subject to boundaries.
There are soft boundaries, rigid boundaries, boundaries somewhere in the middle that are very flexible. We all have a mix of these types of boundaries. A soft boundary may be for a child, a rigid boundary may be for your job, the middle flexible boundary may be for your family. No matter who we interact with boundaries will look different.
You may think setting boundaries is selfish, it is not selfish, boundaries are an important part of healthy mental health and happy well-being. If someone gets upset with you setting a boundary, it’s their problem, not yours, stick to the boundaries that keep you safe.
We must abide by others boundaries too. Boundaries are a two-way street. Boundaries cause us to feel more in control of our lives and that is very important in feeling a whole lot less fearful.
If you are not used to making boundaries then take it slow, a change like this does not happen immediately.
You are worth the effort, keep trying, and figure out a way to set healthy boundaries.
Susan Anderson’s book The Journey from Abandonment to Healing is a wealth of information about the devastating effects of abandonment and that real miraculous recovery that is possible.
I am paraphrasing the five stages of abandonment.
- Shattering-devastating pain and hitting bottom.
- Withdrawal-the intense craving for the love you had.
- Internalizing-beating up on your self esteem.
- Rage-fighting back by expressing your rage and anger.
- Lifting-your life gets back on track.
These are not linear steps but as the author states they are stages that are circular, like a cyclone. We go through each stage at one time or together. It may take days, weeks, months or years to resolve but worth the effort.
Abandonment is one of the worst betrayals a person can experience. Recovery is more than possible, with some self care and self compassion you will come out on the other side changed, wiser and more resilient.
Read Susan Anderson’s book and be amazed at how recover from abandonment is possible.
Self sabotage comes in many forms.
We can become hyper aware because we have been dealing with unreliable people for a long time and we expect things to go wrong.
We can get in the habit of not making commitments because those we trusted thwarted all that we loved.
We may want to be unseen because any attention means possible abuse.
We may people please to keep us safe at the expense of our own needs.
We may want to control everything just to feel safe enough to exist.
There are many more ways to self sabotage but the reason why we do that is because there are unresolved issues just under the surface of our awareness and our self sabotage keeps us distracted enough not to feel those feelings.
Self sabotage is a coping method and that is OK until you are in a place to look at those feelings and release them.
It’s not easy but with some kindness and compassion for yourself you will gradually let go of self sabotaging behavior.