Emotions – Wow! They are difficult, simply because they are so far-ranging. But the undeniable fact is that they are all coming from the same place of origin – deep-seated within the very core of our being. We have it within us to feel such a range of emotions, over which at times we have no control, no matter how we try. They seem to take on a life of their own – at times dragging us along behind, even whilst we are kicking and screaming. To try and contain all of the emotions we feel within this piece would be no more than a fool’s errand; quite simply – I would be here well into the night, and you would have fallen asleep, bored by the long-drawn-out process.
For everyone there are some emotions that are far more extensively used than others: love, hate, fear, sadness, are the four that come to my mind most readily. These are the emotions that enter our lives often, sometimes on a daily basis; they are the core elements, from which every other emotion finds itself standing at the starting block. Once these feelings are evoked within us, we find that we are unable to exclude the others; they are unable to wait their turn, all so eager to add their input. Emotions never arrive purely alone, there is an ever-ready queue standing right behind ready to jump abroad – sure that without their say we will never reach a conclusion. Purely for this reason at times it seems that we are forever chasing our tail. Inviting in or rejecting each emotion, as we try to find a way out of either the pain we feel that we can’t endure, or the love that seems to invade our every waking hour. At these times we are trying so hard not to allow another thought to enter our mind. But the truth of the matter is that the only choice you have is no choice. Granted they are doing so solely by means of trespass, but the Park Warden is nowhere to be seen. Emotions can take us along on a roller coaster ride through heaven or hell, which can fill us either with complete elation or the deepest despair. I guess we should never be so blind to think that we can survive purely by feeding on nourishment alone; without the other side of the coin, there would never be balance.
Our brain is very much akin to a computer: this is where we store all our thoughts; this is where we go to make our decisions. Our minds control everything that we do; we go there to retreat, to reflect, to work on the emotions within us which need attention to complete the development of our very being. But unlike the computer, we don’t have any access to a quick fix. It would be oh! So easy if – just like that computer – the technology was available to fix the parts within ourselves that is broken. We can’t rely on an easy downloadable program to fix our bugs within, to remove a virus, or even a super-smart defrag program to clear out our complete system, rearranging all the files within so that we have a speedier access point from which to start.
Let’s take a look at how we ourselves deal with our emotions within abuse. If it were within the realms of possibility for me to create a tick box list advising you which emotion to deal with first, that’s just what I would be doing. We could then together work through each and every one. From there we could easily remove them with a click of a mouse to our dealt-with or saved files. If only we were as analogical as the equipment in front of me here and now. But we have to live in the real world, knowing our place within it; there will never be a more complex force than the emotions that reside inside of each and every one of us. We all need to feel these emotions even with the highs and lows they create and inflict upon us, because without them each one of us really would become just another machine.
So now let’s think about the emotions that surround abuse. As children we learn that emotions are something that we have to learn to control, we can’t just hit out because a sibling makes us angry. We can’t always have our own way within the home environment compromise has to exist. We need to learn the art of sharing, waiting our turn, behaving in a manner that keeps a harmonious balance. All these lessons are of course life’s demands on the way in which we are expected to behave; if we all follow these rules then peace settles around us. Why rock the boat when you’re not even in the water? Ok! here ends today’s lesson of a life of a child without the terror of abuse.
You have to remember that even as children living with the effects of abuse, those same lessons were always being put up in front of us. Turning our world on its head, our emotions upside down, whilst we struggle to find as to how we can achieve any of the above. We have been singled-out for special treatment; we are so very lucky to have all this attention lavished purely upon us. All this adoration should make us feel that we are the favourite, the one that does not need to live within those rules why should we? How do the rules above apply to us anyway: surely by definition we are different? Maybe we act out a little just to push the boundaries that one step beyond. The emotions and conflicting signals all around us have us almost feeling that we are just a little bit spoilt. That last statement left a very unpalatable taste in my mouth. Confused? How can any child make any sense of the situation surrounding them within that world of complete madness?
So we learn those lessons but in a completely different way than a child not suffering the intolerable pain of abuse. We learn that, love, hate, fear and sadness exist – but in a completely different manner. We learn to hide our emotions; almost as if we are not allowed to feel them at all, we grow up to interpret the world in a manner which only an abused child would understand. We learn that nothing is only ever black and white there are so many other colours that blend in, so that where we want to be. If we could only just blend in we could go unnoticed. Our emotions will never have to be out there on show; maybe we can’t even feel any emotion in its purest form.
Speaking for myself I still struggle even today with being able to trust my emotions, or to trust anyone that ventures in to take a peek. I’ve learnt that emotions were to be held within – that a show of emotion leaves you in a situation you can’t control. I have spent so many years trying to undo the imprint of my childhood; yes: I’ve made progress but this is the one obstacle that for me is the hardest to climb over. Having dealt with my abuse you would think that it would have been a natural progression. But even the word emotion is hard to explain or relate to, whilst trying to find the words that seem unable to leave your mouth. Learning to live with these emotions unpicking all that has for so long been bonded together is not an easy task. Is it possible? I would like to think so. It’s a journey we can take together when we realise that we are not alone. The camaraderie found within us all can be felt even if no other person is present. There is another list of emotions that become new life lessons which once achieved will bring us closer together, enabling us to feel at one with our emotions within – honesty, loyalty, togetherness, affiliation and trust. But the hardest one of all that we need to embrace is self-love.
I guess today is a good day to redress my own list that is not yet completed; all you have to do is join me . . .