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Further Journeys to the Emotional Frontier Within - emotional defenses

"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."

"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."

"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."

On this page is a column by Spiritual teacher/codependence therapist about a very prevalent emotional defense mechanism - story telling.
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Codependence:
The Dance of Wounded Souls
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This is a column by Robert Burney.
 

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 Wounded Souls


 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 content. 

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.

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Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney is copyright 1995.  Material on Joy2MeU web site (except where otherwise noted) is copyright 1996 thru 2015 by Robert Burney  PO Box 98 Fallbrook CA 92088.

(The Column "Further Journeys to the Emotional Frontier Within" by Robert Burney originally appeared in the Information Press of San Luis Obispo California)