by Cynthia M. Braden, MFT
"The only emotions you can heal are those you let yourself feel and fully express."
When we perceive that we have been insulted, threatened, disrespected or lied to, the person who hurt us may accept the blame, apologize and say, “I’m sorry.”
You want to accept their apology… you want to move on. There’s no point in holding on to a grudge. You don’t think you’re holding a grudge. You’re trying not to.
But you don’t feel resolved. It seems like you never feel fully resolved after a conflict. And maybe you still feel hurt… or manipulated… again. Maybe you’re carrying around a lot of unresolved hurt in your relationship.
It’s not that you want the person to grovel necessarily, but you want to feel resolved. Like the other person understands how you feel – and loves and respects you.
You want to accept his or her apology, but you are still angry, hurt or worried… and you don’t have the love and trust you used to… and that sucks.
Your biochemistry has changed too. Love hormones have stopped surging. Now, the fight-or-flight hormone is pumping. You feel on-edge, frantic… ready to fight… figure out a strategy… run away. All you can see are your partner’s faults and mad faces, and you’re nitpicking and bickering at each other at the drop of a hat. You feel resentful that your life has turned out like this.
Your relationship is starting to feel like the Leaning Tower of Pisa… precariously in danger of tilting an inch too far.
You want to feel better.
When you suppress your emotions, a few things may happen. See if any of these sound familiar.
•Aches and pains, feel sick or drained
•Angry outbursts that don’t seem connected to anything equal to the outburst
•Tossing and turning in the night, not sleeping well
The reason we’re experiencing these and other symptoms is often because of emotions that have not been expressed. Emotional energy has to go somewhere. When we suppress that energy and don’t express it, it stays in the body.
This is where we get many somatic expressions (symptoms in the body) such as headaches; digestive discomforts… all kinds of aches and pains, high blood pressure. Sometimes serious illnesses appear. Or, emotions may erupt in unprovoked, deflected or excessive bursts causing confusion and stress to everyone.
What do we do with our emotions? We all have them as surely as we all eat and sleep. And we’re all trying to control our emotions, too…. to do something with them. To stuff them down, or to feel them, or channel them in a way we believe is appropriate.
The next post gives the process.
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