Further Journeys to the Emotional Frontier Within
By Robert Burney M.A.
"The way to stop reacting out of our inner
children is to release the stored emotional energy from our childhoods by
doing the grief work that will heal our wounds. The only effective,
long term way to clear our emotional process - to clear the inner channel
to Truth which exists in all of us - is to grieve the wounds which we suffered
as children. The most important single tool, the tool which is vital
to changing behavior patterns and attitudes in this healing transformation,
is the grief process. The process of grieving.
We are all carrying around repressed pain,
terror, shame, and rage energy from our childhoods, whether it was twenty
years ago or fifty years ago. We have this grief energy within us even
if we came from a relatively healthy family, because this society is emotionally
dishonest and dysfunctional."
Codependence: The Dance of
Last month I mentioned two of the ways that many of us learned to
distance ourselves from our feelings - 'talking in the third person' and
'avoiding owning our feelings verbally,' - a third very prevalent technique
is story telling.
This is a very common method of avoiding our feelings. Some
people tell entertaining stories to avoid feelings. They may respond to a
feeling statement by saying something like 'I remember back in `85 when I.
. .' Their stories might be very entertaining but they have no emotional
Some people tell stories about other people. This is the
stereotypical Codependent of the joke about when a Codependent dies someone
else's life passes before their eyes. They will respond to an emotional
moment by telling an emotional story about some friend, acquaintance, or even
a person they read about. They may exhibit some emotion in telling
the story but it is emotion for the other person, not for self. They
keep a distance from their emotions by attributing the emotional content
to others. If this type of stereotypical Codependent is in a relationship
everything they say will be about the other person. Direct questions
about self will be answered with stories about the significant other.
This is a completely unconscious result of the reality that they have no
relationship with, or identity as, self as an individual.
Perhaps the most common story telling diversion is to get very
involved in the details of the story 'she said. . . . . then I
said. . . . then she did. . . . .' The details are ultimately
insignificant in relationship to the emotions involved but because we do not
know how to handle the emotions we get caught up in the details. Often
we are relating the details in order to show the listener how we were wronged
in the interaction. Often we focus on how others are wrong in reaction
to the situation as a way of avoiding our feelings.
Here are two very typical examples of this type of emotional distancing
I witnessed recently. A person in obvious pain spoke for twenty minutes
about a loved one who was dying. For 19 and 1/2 minutes of that twenty
the person talked of what the doctor and nurses were doing wrong, of the
details of incidents which happened. For a few brief seconds the person
touched on their own feelings and then very quickly jumped back to the details
of what was happening. The other example is the woman who is terrified
of having a stroke and being partially paralyzed for several years like her
mother was. Recently her older sister had a stroke. This woman,
in talking about what is happening, cannot talk about her fear or pain, instead
she talks about how her sister's children are behaving incorrectly.
I am very sad to see people in this kind of emotional pain. I am
sad that they do not know how to be emotionally honest about what they are
feeling. This is very typical and common in this emotionally dishonest
society. We have been trained to be emotionally dishonest and need
to go through a learning process in order to retrain ourselves to allow ourselves
to own the feelings.
An integral part of that learning process is grieving the wounds
from our childhood and earlier life. By not grieving earlier losses
there may be so much suppressed energy that any current loss threatens to
burst the whole dam of emotions. This literally feels life-threatening.
When I started to do my own emotional healing it felt like if I
ever really started crying that I wouldn't be able to stop - that I would
end up crying in a padded room someplace. It felt as if I ever really
let myself feel the rage that I would just go up and down the street shooting
people. It was terrifying.
When I first became willing to start dealing with the emotions
it felt as if I had opened Pandora's Box and that it would destroy me.
But I was led by my Spiritual guidance to safe places to start learning how
to do the grieving and safe people to do it with.
Doing that grieving is overwhelming terrifying and painful.
It is also the gateway to Spiritual Awakening. It leads to empowerment,
freedom, and inner peace. Releasing that grief energy allows us to
start being able to be emotionally honest in the moment in an age-appropriate
way. It is, in my understanding, the path that the Old Souls who are doing
their healing in this Age of Healing and Joy need to travel to get clearer
about their path and accomplish their mission in this lifetime.