the emotion that breaks your heart is often the one that heals it
Most of us would like to control our emotions in order to avoid very negative feelings and make life more pleasant, but in my experience this is not actually possible. In fact, when we try to control our emotions they become more powerful, but if we don’t try to control them and just experience them instead they become powerless. The paradox is that when we attempt to control a negative emotion by attempting to change it or escape it, the negative emotion controls us instead.
Last evening I had an example of this when something happened that had me feeling angry, inadequate, worthless, and upset ~ basically I felt bad. I didn’t want to have those negative feelings, and I tried to avoid them by transferring them to someone else instead. And that doesn’t work because all that did was have two people feeling feeling angry, inadequate, worthless, and upset. Then I thought about avoiding those feelings by buying some booze and drinking ~ and for me that is an extremely bad idea. The most extreme way of avoiding negative emotions is to attempt suicide.
I didn’t want to do any of those things, but the desire to escape negative emotions is strong in me. For a short while my negative emotions were controlling me.
The alternative is to observe and experience negative emotions without getting lost in them.
I may not be able to control my emotions, but if I try hard I can control how I react to them. I can’t change how I feel, but I can change what I do. Last evening I was half successful because I didn’t actually buy any booze and get drunk, and after a short while I stopped blaming someone else for what was basically my own mistake. I have learned that if I feel bad, angry, inadequate, worthless, and upset, it’s usually because of something I’ve done. And anyway, my feelings are my feelings, and I shouldn’t be afraid of them.
For me, the secrets of coping with really negative feelings are;
- Do not immediately react when I suddenly have strong, uncontrollable, chaotic, dark, negative feelings.
- Recognise the emotions and try to work out why I’m feeling what I’m feeling. And usually it’s much more complicated than it first appears.
- Try to stay calm, even if inside I’m feeling uncontrollably angry. Just realise that in a while the anger will most likely pass, and if I do something stupid now I might regret it for a long time.
- Try to find a polite, logical, unemotional action in response to feelings which are utterly the opposite to anything polite or logical.
Some say that we shouldn’t get angry we should get even. And that we should never apologise because it’s a sign of weakness. All I know is that if I just react to the way I feel I usually get myself into deep shit.
this is a good rule
when it comes to negative emotions
the heart is a strange beast and not ruled by logic
if all you have is a lonely beach…..
Nobody is rational about emotions ~ that’s why they’re called emotions. And yet, I am handling my extreme and chaotic emotions quite rationally.
Feelings cannot be ignored, no matter how unjust or ungrateful they seem. ~ Anne Frank
Feelings cannot be ignored, and yet I am ignoring some incredibly powerful feelings that boil like black lava with in me.
I suffer from a very serious mental malady which creates wild, extreme, and powerful mood swings, and yet outwardly I am calm and grounded.
I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in-between. ~ Sylvia Path.
The Borderline Personality Disorder, (BPD), that torments me creates extreme and instant feelings; anger, bitterness, disconnectedness, fear, guilt, insecurity, jealousy, loneliness, lust, paranoia, rejection, resentment….. and a kaleidoscope of all of those and more. Yet, through putting in the hard work I do not now often react to these negative feelings, nor act upon my intricately-constructed negative thoughts.
Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness. ~ James Thurber
In the very recent past I would oft give my negative feelings and darkest thoughts free rein, and that never ever made things better, reacting to negative feelings and acting upon my darkest thoughts always, always, made everything in my life much worse. About 10% of everyone who has suffered from BPD commits suicide, and a greater number die from the near-suicides of such things as alcoholism, drug addiction, and risky, impulsive behaviors like promiscuous casual sex with strangers and insane driving. Those with personality disorders also have a higher than average risk of ‘lifestyle illnesses’ such as cancers, pancreatitis, cirrhosis, strokes, and heart attacks.
For me, when the inner emotional pain got bad I would retreat into the self-destructive oblivion of alcohol ~ which is very akin to temporary suicide.
In my lowest moments, the only reason I didn’t commit suicide was that I knew I wouldn’t be able to drink any more if I was dead. ~ Eric Clapton
Three very simple stratagems have relieved me of the torture and torment I have suffered for as long as I can remember.
- Learning and understanding everything I could about my personal personality disorder.
- Delaying my reaction to negative feelings, and delaying taking any action following my darkest and most evil nightmare thoughts. If I delay long enough the darkness passes.
- Keeping busy and avoiding idleness, even if doing something was outside of my comfort-zones.
To recover from Borderline Personality Disorder I have had to embrace change.
We have to be honest about what we want and take risks rather than lie to ourselves and make excuses to stay in our comfort zone. ~ Roy T. Bennett.
Some say that the emotion that can break your heart is the one that heals it. And that there is nothing they can do but to follow their heart. All I know is that it’s a good thing that I’ve finally found a way to control myself.
eventually the night comes
and with the night come the nightmares
Cultivate love within you and negative emotions will disappear.
Negative emotions are so all-pervasive that doctors will now prescribe drugs like Prozac and Valium to patients who are merely feeling mild anxiety. Really negative emotions, such as; anger, boredom, confusion, despair, disappointment, fear, grief, jealousy, resentment….. are extremely powerful and painful. Medication, and self-medication such as booze, are no solution whatsoever. Go down that road and you will become hypersensitive to your feelings, and take more and more of the drugs of your choice in an attempt to medicate them away.
This is just treating the symptoms, and it doesn’t work. I should know, for many years I had a pot-mess of those negative feelings running through my psyche. And none of those negative emotions did me any good at all.
So, what takes people back to the doctor, the pharmacy, the drug dealer, and the bar? Not to mention the casino, the refrigerator, unsuitable relationships, and casual sex. Escaping painful thoughts and negative emotions drive people to do stupid things, all in an effort to find a pleasure rush that will ameliorate those bad thoughts and terrible feelings.
There is also the thought that just one drink, or one piece of cake, or one small wager wouldn’t hurt at all. Besides, you’ve been pretty good all week, so one little slip is OK. Forget that, escaping really negative emotions takes a lot more than just one drink, or one night fucking a stranger. And the guilt you will feel, (even if you don’t acknowledge that guilt), will make your bad feelings worse.
Your mind will tell you that you might as well give up on losing weight, staying sober, being good, because it’s pointless. You will never get better, just take another pill and have another drink.
To truly escape those negative emotions and bad feelings you have to find another way. This might involve a 12-step group, talking therapy, or completely changing your lifestyle ~ more exercise is good. Try walking 10,000 steps a day. Mostly, stay away from those people, places and situations that encourage you to do bad things that will only feed your negative emotions.
Some say the way to escape negative emotions is to turn to drink. And that moving home and finding new friends is the solution. All I know is that running away never solves anything.
get out the back Jack
make a new plan Stan
no need to be coy Roy
From time to time the darkness would overwhelm me.
It turns out that I am an emotional being, which is an unwanted paradigm shift for a taciturn and repressed English guy like me. And yet, for much of my recent life I have been completely defined and driven by powerful emotions.
From time to time my psyche would spiral down a dark hole into a place where I became angry, jealous, manipulative, paranoid, resentful, unreasonable… filled with negative thoughts and feelings.
These emotions would hit me out of nowhere, coming from deep within my subconscious mind, usually when my conscious guard was down ~ because I was tired, stressed, had been drinking, or someone close had lied to me, or perhaps just because something had gone slightly wrong in my life.
And these intense, darkly negative emotions could often drive a complete change in my personality, turning me from a rational and sociable man into an irrational and dangerous Mr. Hyde.
One thing you can’t hide ~ is when you’re crippled inside. ~ John Lennon.
The reality is that intensely negative and darkly dangerous emotions are driven by fear, and in my case probably a paranoid fear of abandonment created by the Borderline Personality Disorder I have suffered from for most of my life.
Fear is powerful, deep, affecting the most primeval part of our psyche, what Freud calls the id. And fear generates the equally powerful fight or flight reflex. At my darkest I would fight by attacking people verbally and in writing, and run away into a bottle of booze. Neither of these reflex actions was in the least useful to me.
What I needed was a strategy which allowed me to accept my negative emotions without allowing their destructive power to ruin my relationships and my life ~ wanting to find a suitable way to check out of life is not good.
What I needed was to be more emotionally stable and resilient.
It turns out that emotionally resilient people have some important things in common. Emotionally stable and resilient people;
- Are Realists. Grounded. Optimists are soon disappointed and easily lose hope. Realists make the best they can of the ‘Now’.
- Have Faith. Believe in something greater than themselves, something greater than whatever bad situation they may find themselves in.
- Are extremely and radically creative.
- Have a support network of close friends, doctors, counsellors, 12-step groups…
- Have a great, but usually weird and warped, sense of humour.
These are all things that I could invent for myself. I can grow and develop these character traits that actually exist in all of us. Each day I have been able to further manifest these character traits within myself. Every hour I have become more emotionally stable and resilient.
One ought to hold onto one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche.
Life goes on, and I do not have to allow my emotions to control me.
Although my emotions are an important part of me, I AM NOT MY EMOTIONS.
Some say that negative emotions have an important role to play in a happy life. And that negative emotions are telling you that you need to change and transform yourself. All I know is that you can turn things around and control how your emotions affect you.
Life does not have to be perfect to be good.