Have you ever found yourself stuck relationally or emotionally? Or maybe you’ve been deeply wounded by someone?
Perhaps you keep lashing out at the people you love the most. Or maybe you’re being damaged by someone else’s anger.
Maybe your caught in repetitive unhealthy habits or an addiction?
Chances are you’ve been emotionally wounded… Maybe recently, maybe far in your past.
At some point in time….
Emotional people (that’s all of us) have emotional wounds.
Most of us see a Doctor multiple times in our lives for various physical conditions because we are physical people with physical problems.
If we accept that we are emotional beings… then who’s looking after our emotional bumps, scrapes, bruises, fractures and conditions?
Common causes of emotional wounding
- Shame (or shame environment)
- Performance Orientation
- Abusive relational patterns
For more detail on some of these and other emotional wounds check out my other posts.
Healing? What is it?
So what do we need to do about emotional wounds?
We first need to recognize that there is a problem in our lives. This can happen in many different ways for people. Some people experience anxiety, some depression, some loneliness, broken or distressing relationships. Some experience a blockage in goal achievement, or the realization of potential that they know they have. Some experience unexpected loss or trauma from someone or some life experience. Some just wake up to the realization that they are not living life the way they want to be.
We need to recognize our part in the problem. Even though you may have received tonne of bad from life or people. You’re the one that lives in that body and thinks the thoughts you think. No one else (even if they wanted to) can think about or care about your problem as much as you do.
Even if you have been truly damaged or offended by someone it’s your life. You have to make choices to find the help you need to live better and happier.
Imagine that you are in a car, stopped at a red light. If someone fails to stop from behind and smashes into your car, you may sustain significant injuries. In this example we can clearly establish that person who smashed into you is at fault. However, for you to heal and get back to life (no matter what the compensation or settlement is) you have to take action. You have to see the physiotherapist, you have talk to insurance company, you have to find new transportation, etc… Even though you’re not at fault it’s your life and you have to make healthy decisions to live it well. This is true in every area of our lives including areas of emotional wounding.
Often determining who is responsible for our emotional pain and discomfort is a lot less clear than the example above. We are often contributors to our own pain. If for example we refused to do the exercise assigned by the physiotherapist (above) we would begin to be part of our own problem. We need to understand and take responsibility for the ways we contribute to our own problem.
We need to learn to understand what we do and do not control. To put it simply we do not control what other people think and do. We cannot force them to do what is right (or what we think is right). We can change the ways we relate to people so that the way they hurt us is reduced or eliminated….more about this when I write on the five characteristics of abusive relationships.
In theory we do control what we think or do. For some people this is difficult and they need help with unwanted thoughts and compulsive actions. However with practice, and help from both people and God self control can be developed.
Decide to take action. This one is pretty self explanatory but many people don’t take effective action. I include an informal definition of insanity that I have learned along the way. I know it’s used in 12 step addiction circles and may have originated in their material.
Insanity: “Doing the same thing over (and over, and over) and expecting different results.”
If you’re doing the same thing over and over find someone who has walked the path ahead of you and ask them for help. Possibilities include friends, family members, church groups and church resources and professionals. Something to keep in mind is that although all of us need the help of family, friends, and social groups and spiritual family sometimes these groups can also be a little bit unhealthy. They can sometimes contribute to living in the definition of insanity (above).
Almost every time I have personally accelerated in a problem area in my life I have consulted an expert. One example of this is in my weight training hobby. After years of lifting and talking about lifting and watching others lift I quit due to injuries. One day my wife convinced me to see this trainer. He was very good. After training with him for awhile two things surprised me, my injuries healed up and I learned how to lift weights in ways that I had never known from all my previous experience. And wow, it’s just my silly hobby, but I can lift some pretty heavy things these days.
Some people are very good at helping you understand why what you are doing is not working. Often they understand what works and how to teach you how to do it.
Learn the anatomy of the problem. While we don’t want to spend all our time in introspection. A little goes a long way. There are reasons why you continue to do the things that hurt you and those around you. Usually they’re patterns, thoughts, and beliefs that you learn at young age and now they have become unconscious. Maybe they worked well in the past but now it’s time to learn new patterns that are healthy and effective for your life now.
So simply stated understand the old patterns and learn new patterns.
Invite the power of God into your healing/change. Change is difficult it’s hard work and often we make some significant mistakes in the process.
In my personal journey my healing, change, and growth accelerated dramatically when I began to invite God into those deep habitual patterns, thoughts, and beliefs.
Learning to Dance…
Remember learning to live differently is the same as learning a complex skill set. First we learn a couple of building blocks of the skill, then we practice. Then we learn a few more building blocks of a related skill and we practice them. Then we link the blocks of skill together and practice it all. And so the process goes… interspersed with many imperfect attempts of each skill and skill combination.
It takes a while to heal the old injuries and become good at any new skill.
If you found this article helpful and would like to talk, give my office a call 587 879 7064.
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Until next time…