Intense Feelings: What to do with Them???

From time to time, we all feel these intense feelings welling up within us. Sometimes they are feelings of excitement and joy and other times they are feelings of great fear or inadequacy. These feelings are messages for us, so it is important to acknowledge and listen to them. They can take you in whatever direction you choose.

  1. You can choose to ignore them, medicate them, push them back down and pretend you never felt them. This is called reacting to them, you don’t like the way they make you feel. But feelings are energy, so they never go away and will continue to resurface when re-triggered by things in the present.
  2. You can choose to acknowledge and feel them. It may be a message from the past. What is within you that wants to be healed? Allow yourself to revisit what happened to you and be healed, either on your own or with the help of a friend or professional counselor.
  3. You can choose to acknowledge and feel them. It may be a message form the present. Can you allow yourself to just feel and express whatever the feeling is? Perhaps write a song about it, dance to it, draw a picture of it, sit with it for a while?
  4. You can choose to acknowledge and feel them. It may be a message about the future. What is within you that wants to be expressed in your life? Allow yourself to dream and believe in your creative abilities to make your life and the world around you a better place.

Choose to become friends with your feelings, they are an integral part of who you are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Freedom From Fear

This blog is being written for you, those of you who follow and read my blogs on Word Press. Most of you I have never met or talked with, but I appreciate your interest in what I write about. I wanted to invite you to a series of online classes I am doing on Zoom called Freedom from Fear. Fear is that one emotion we all get to experience on this life journey, some more than others. However, I have found that there are ways we can release these fears, so we can live with more peace and love in our lives and relationships. If you are interested in attending any of these classes, click on the link to register and I will send you an invoice for payment via email.  If you register and pay but can’t attend, I will still send you the video recording and handout. Class fee is $20 for each class.

April 13: Fear of God is about how so many of us were raised to both fear and love God, which is a conflicting message. You cannot love someone you fear. And if you cannot love someone, you cannot trust them, therefore you live with fear. In this class you will learn:

  • Who God is
  • Where this fear came from
  • How this fear manifests in our lives
  • The fear, love, trust cycle
  • How to release this fear

Registration URL:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/476819004a734be47510d14dfea9e911

April 27: Fear of Self is about how so many of us were raised to fear ourselves and are not even aware of this. We were taught that we are sinners, that there is something wrong with us. We are afraid to access the power within us and allow our true selves to shine. In this class you will learn:

  • Where this fear came from
  • How this fear manifests in our lives
  • Learning who you really are
  • The difference between self-love and selfishness
  • How to release this fear
  • How to be YOU in all your magnificence

Registration URL:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/7485dcc507d7ef25c5b9141539e44ee6

May 11:   Fear of Other People is about how so many of us were raised to fear other people. We were taught that we need to compete with others or become who they want us to be to be loved and accepted by them. In this class you will learn:

  • Where this fear came from
  • How this fear manifests in our lives
  • The difference between self-esteem and self-image
  • How to break free of people pleasing, enabling and co-dependency
  • How to love other people without losing yourself
  • How to release this fear

Registration URL:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/2032bb3a9837d91866858a512be5123a

Resurrection Love

Today is Easter Sunday, also known as Resurrection Day. It is the day the ladies went to the tomb and Jesus was no longer there. We all know the story.

It is important because His resurrection proved that while you can kill and bury a physical body, you can never kill the spirit that resides within it. We are eternal spiritual beings, death does not exist, it is just a transformation our spirit goes through to transition from the physical realm to the spiritual realm.

It is important because His resurrection proved you cannot kill the message of love by killing the messenger, the message of love is eternal and will always rise and reappear in a stronger form than it was when you tried to kill it.

It is important because His resurrection reminds us that in the fear-based world in which we live, we can choose to crucify our fears and rise above them and live from a place of LOVE.

 

Good Friday Revisited

Good Friday is the day Jesus was crucified on the cross. I was taught that this was necessary, that Jesus became the sacrifice for our sin so that we could have forgiveness and go to heaven instead of hell when we die. This was the reason for his death.

However, in recent years I discovered that nowhere in the four gospels does Jesus tell us this is the reason for his death. He talks about knowing he will die, that it will be painful and that he will rise again, but never gives a reason for his death. However, there are many other references in the gospels that explain why he died which all point to the same reason. He died because he was preaching a message of love, telling people He and God were one, was attracting a lot of attention with his miracles, and the religious and political leaders of his day felt threatened by this and knew the only way to stop the influence of Jesus on the people was to kill him. For this reason, Jesus died. This I can live with.

It never made any sense to me that a God who was opposed to human sacrifice would turn around and sacrifice his son. This idea came later when people were trying to make sense of his death and looked to the sacrificial system of animals and the fear of an angry, punitive God which were their beliefs back in those days. The forgiveness part never made sense either since Jesus was already forgiving people when he was alive.

Next time you see a picture of Jesus hanging on a cross, may it remind you of the great love your Creator God has for you, that he sent Jesus to earth to become the embodiment of love, so that you may understand what love looks and feels like through his teachings and life example. But the ego, fear-based mankind felt threatened by this love, could not receive it so they did the only thing they could, they attempted to kill the messenger of love. The message of the resurrection is that Love Never Dies!

How did I end up with You?

I have been blogging on the challenging people you sometimes find yourself in relationships with: manipulative, victim, co-dependent and addict. Below are some reasons why you sometimes get together with these types of people:

  1. It feels familiar, when you were growing up, most likely one of your parents acted this way, so while you did not like it, you knew what to expect and the fear of having a relationship with a “healthy” person was scary, you don’t know how to navigate that. So, you put up with the behaviors and find ways to justify them.
  2. When you first met this person, they made you feel wonderful. They were the most kind, giving, caring person you had ever been around and they lavished you with attention. Then once you committed to the relationship, they turned into a different person, but it was too difficult to leave the relationship at that point, so you stayed with them.
  3. You may have low self-esteem, so you attract people who affirm this to you by their actions, proving your belief that you really are not worth loving or being treated well.
  4. This person has something you really want/need like financial security or social status, so you put up with the things you don’t like about them to get what you think you really want/need.
  5. You like to feel needed and confuse this with being loved.

When you find yourselves in any of these situations you have a choice to remain in the relationship or leave. I always suggest counseling first, as many of these relationships can be turned into healthy relationships if both people are willing to work through their issues. However, often times one person is unwilling to change and you either have to put healthy boundaries in place to keep yourself safe from the abuse, manipulation, enabling or control, or you have to choose to leave the relationship and receive some healing for yourself so you don’t attract the same type of person in your next relationship.

Living with an Addict

When people experience emotional pain, trauma, or abuse they look for ways to cope with the strong and often overwhelming thoughts and feelings associated with what happened to them.  Due to this intense pain, they look for a “quick” fix which addictions provide by temporarily relieving the symptoms. If you are in a relationship with an addict, you know how challenging this can be. The addict will always choose their addiction over you. While anything can become an addiction, a state of being enslaved to something, the ones most likely to ruin relationships are drugs, alcohol, pornography and gambling. Addicts train their brain to neurochemically “depend” on the substance or behavior to raise moods when feeling depressed, sad, or lonely or to lower moods when feeling anxious or stressed. Addicts feel lonely and abandoned and long for genuine love, nurture and touch rather than the false substitute they get through their addiction. However, it takes hard work, accountability and commitment to overcome an addiction which is why they are so hard to break. Following are some things you can do to help someone caught in the bondage of addiction:

  • Use a tough love approach.  Do not give them what they want, give them what they need. Let them know you will always be there for them if they need someone to talk with, socialize with, or pray with, but you will not be available to help them continue living in their addiction.
  • Talk with them about the consequences of their choices and actions and hold them accountable by following through with pre-determined consequences.
  • Give them information about community resources where they can get help.
  • Keep them busy in activities that involve helping others, so their focus is not on themselves.
  • Encourage them with real life stories of people who have overcome what they are addicted to.
  • Encourage them to get help.  Let them know that your love for them is not conditional on whether they get treatment, but it is because of your love for them that you want to see them healed.

It is difficult to watch someone ruin their life through addiction and it is easy to become the enabler and desire their healing more than they do. Relapse is so common in treatment, it can be very discouraging and easy to give up on the addict. Ultimately, they must choose healing for themselves and you will need to put up healthy boundaries or choose to leave the relationship.

 

 

The Codependent Trap

This is a relationship type that many couples fall into. It looks like this: A person who did not get their emotional needs met growing up dreams of finding someone who will rescue them and meet their needs, so they can feel complete and loved. However, while they want someone to take care of them, they are also fearful of intimacy.

Another person when they were a child had an enmeshed relationship with a parent, where they were expected to meet the emotional needs of the parent while the other parent was emotionally unavailable or physically not there. They dream of finding a person they can take care of, someone who “needs” them as they equate this with love. But they also have a fear of intimacy. When these two people meet, a co-dependent relationship is created.

These two-people become “enmeshed.” This means they use each other for their identity, safety, security and sense of worth, purpose and completeness. They each struggle to understand who they are outside of the relationship, so they fear being alone. They often use phrases such as: I need you, I can’t imagine life without you, don’t ever leave me.  In a healthy relationship each person is confident in who they are as an individual. They can then freely give to each other without “needing, controlling or demanding” anything of the other person. Following are some common characteristics in a co-dependent relationship:

  • You feel overly responsible for the needs, actions and feelings of the other person, compulsively driven to help, please or rescue them. You feel angry and hurt when people do not acknowledge everything you do for them.
  • You sacrifice your own well-being to try and fix the problems of the other person, controlling them, stepping in when they are in a crisis, your whole life is focused on them.
  • You stay in a relationship with someone who is distant, unavailable or abusive, even though you know they may never meet your emotional needs because you fear being alone.
  • You rely on the other person to make decisions for you. When you do ask for things you need/want you feel guilty. You have difficulty receiving from others.
  • You would rather keep the peace than give your opinion or thoughts about something, other’s opinions are more important than yours.
  • You feel controlled, manipulated or taken advantage by the other person.

When you give or help others from a place of fear, hurt, emptiness or unhealed emotional pain, it is not a healthy form of giving. You are doing it in hopes of getting some need of yours met and then feel resentful and angry when this does not happen. If this blog reminds you of yourself or someone you are in a relationship with, seek counseling to help you heal of your past so you can learn how to have healthy, loving relationships with yourself and others.
 

 

The Victim Mentality

We all find ourselves in relationships where someone needs our help or advice. You may feel sorry for them and want to rescue them out of their situation. And it feels good to help them.  However, sometimes if they have a victim mentality, they really don’t want your help and every suggestion you give will be met by a but…or an excuse.  Below are some signs of a victim mentality:

  • They won’t take responsibility for anything
  • They always have an excuse for why they can’t improve their situation
  • They believe everyone/thing is always against them, taking advantage of them
  • They blame others for everything that goes wrong in their lives
  • They think others are purposely trying to hurt them
  • They repeatedly talk about their past and how they were victimized
  • When things are going well they are always looking for something to complain about
  • They blame, attack or accuse others for how they feel
  • They refuse to analyze or improve their life or consider other perspectives when you talk with them about their problems
  • They feel powerless to change their circumstances

So what causes people to develop a victim mentality? It is usually either a coping mechanism from childhood or they saw this behavior modeled by their parents. We all have bad things happen to us, and then we have a choice to react or respond. A responder will take responsibility for their part in it and asks how this experience can help them grow and become a better person.  A reactor immediately looks for someone to blame and becomes offended, taking everything as a personal attack on them. It becomes their primary way of perceiving the world around them. While we can’t always control what happened to us a child, as adults we can choose to change behaviors and beliefs that no longer serve us. Following are some of the benefits of remaining in this victim role:

  • You get lots of attention from other people
  • You don’t have to take responsibility for anything
  • Your more likely to get what you want
  • You don’t have to deal with your feelings, you can project them onto others
  • You feel powerful by manipulating others into doing what you don’t want to do
  • You can control others by eliciting their sympathies, attention and help through your stories of being victimized.

The best way to have a relationship with a victim, is to change the way you interact and communicate with them.

  • Set kind but firm limits in the relationship
  • Don’t become an enabler, don’t let them guilt you into perpetuating their victim role
  • Limit the amount of time you spend with them and let them know you are only going to listen to 10 minutes of complaining and then you will change the subject or leave.
  • Encourage them to take responsibility for their own lives
  • Encourage them to focus on things they can be grateful for
  • Encourage them to give and help others rather than feeling sorry for themselves
  • Encourage them to see themselves as a survivor, one who embraces life rather than argues with it, one who takes control rather than feel helpless
  • Encourage them to love themselves
  • Encourage them to seek counseling to heal from the root cause of their victim mentality

If you find none of this works for you, you may want to consider leaving the relationship. A healthy relationship has a balance of give and take and in this one, you may find yourself doing all the giving.

Are You Being Manipulated?

The month of February is all about love and relationships, so I thought I would do a blog series on those difficult relationships we all find ourselves in at times. I am sure you have experienced at least one of these as either the one doing it or the one receiving it:

  • The Manipulator
  • The Addict
  • The Co-dependent
  • The Abuser
  • The Entitled One
  • The All Talk no Action
  • The Victim
  • The Narcissist
  • The Drama Queen

And I’m sure there may be a few more I forgot about. Today I will blog about the manipulator.

Manipulative people have a strong need to be in control. When not in control, they feel threatened. This may derive from underlying feelings of insecurity on their part, although they often compensate for these feelings with a show of strong self-confidence. Even though they may deny it, their motives are self-serving, and they pursue their aims regardless of the cost to other people. They have a strong need to feel superior and powerful in their relationships – and they find people who will validate these feelings by going along with their attempts at manipulation. If you exert power over them, they retaliate to gain back the control they feel they lost. They cannot understand the idea that everyone can feel empowered or that everyone can gain. Here are some things you will experience with a manipulator:

  • They manipulate your words to make themselves look good and you look bad.
  • They tell you they want to do something to help you and then when they finally do it they whine and complain the whole time.
  • They tell you something and later deny they ever said it.
  • They guilt you into doing what they want
  • They say and do things to turn people against each other and then act like they had nothing to do with it
  • They blame others rather than admit when they are at fault.

If this sounds like someone you know, don’t tell them how their behavior is affecting you, most manipulators are not capable of empathy and may use this information against you in the future. The only effective method of changing manipulative behavior is to disable it by making a change within yourself, thereby changing the relationship dynamics. If you cease to cooperate with the manipulative tactics, you will alter the nature of the relationship. A good counselor can help you learn how to do this. When manipulators have to work hard to maintain control in the relationship, they usually give up – often by leaving the relationship and finding someone else to control.