Emotion Sickness

All my life, I’ve struggled with what I like to call “feeling attacks.”

Something will provoke overwhelming emotion inside of me, and in turn I must choose how to respond while brewing with said emotion.

This made for a chaotic, insecure, controlling teenager. Couple this with the fact that I was raised in a household that taught me to either stifle your emotions or let them explode, and I didn’t have a healthy model for display of emotions.

However, this fact about myself has made it extremely easy for people to dismiss my emotions or use them against me. I made the mistake of attracting saviors for friends, constantly unloading that I wished I wasn’t so emotional, that it was a problem, that I knew I was irrational, etc. If I could beat them to the punch, I would see the hit to my ego coming. I could provide a controlled environment for sharing this vulnerability.

My sensitivity was always viewed as a negative: 

“You’re too sensitive.”

“I was just teasing.”

“Why do you take things so seriously?”

“Wow, you must be pmsing.”

“Lighten up.”

….and so it goes.

I learned that my gift of empathy was a burden. That me feeling the energy of others and subsequently experiencing that same emotion was erratic. The fact that I was a healer, empath, and highly sensitive person left me feeling alone and immature.

But this wasn’t the worst of it.

Subconsciously, and without warning, I invited assholes into my life.

These were the people that would make me second-guess my rational emotions. They would manipulate me into admitting fault, while their wrongs were carefully covered up. My mistake was immediately explaining my emotions as if they were a burden; a silly, childish trait. The wrong type of people latched on to this, shifting the blame to me. After all, I’m overreacting, right?

Not always.

So how does one break the cycle?

1) Recognize and understand that your emotions aren’t a burden.

2) If you consciously try and avoid being irrational, that is what you will do. Don’t let anyone make you doubt your own self-control.

3) Stand up for yourself and your emotions. Rein them in, but also know that they are allowed to be released, given the right context.They are a gift in a jaded world.

4) Never allow someone to reduce you to your emotions. Never allow someone to make you feel disgusted or juvenile for how you feel.

5) We usually attract shift-blamers who will comment on our feelings instead of taking responsibility for their actions. Don’t let them do that to you.

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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2 thoughts on “Emotion Sickness

  1. I relate very much to what you wrote about “providing a controlled environment for sharing vulnerability.” I’m glad you’re standing up for yourself. I finally learned to do that, too. I had a conversation with someone around 2009 that was life-shaping for me, though they probably didn’t realize it. This person attacked my character, questioned my integrity, etc. — all with a smile on her face. I was shocked that I actually stood up for myself, because I had never really stood up for myself before that point in my life. I told her that some of her accusations were true — that I hadn’t been perfect in my life — but that I chose not to dwell on my mistakes because I knew God had forgiven me, so who was I to withhold forgiveness from myself when I was forgiven by the Creator of the universe? And that if she wanted to be bothered by my past, that that was her choice, but that I wasn’t going to waste time talking about it or thinking about it personally. Ever since that conversation, I’ve really tried to approach those types of situations honestly but dismissively. Dismissiveness is sometimes viewed as a bad thing, but for me, it’s been a very good thing when it comes to someone who is attacking my character. I let them know that *I’m* not bothered and it’s their choice if they want to be bothered. I think the biggest part of growing up for me has been realizing that I don’t, and never will, control anyone else’s perception of me, so why try?

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