Tag Archives: emotionally

Showing Your Emotions

It seems to me that many people consider people who are free with showing their emotions weak, “drama queens or kings” or even crazy.  Not showing emotions is often looked on as a sign of strength.  I really disagree with this thinking.  There really is nothing wrong or bad about showing what you feel inside.

Years ago, I remember my mother telling me about her mail carrier.  She hadn’t seen her for a while, then finally saw her one day.  She asked how she was doing & where she had been.  Turned out the lady’s husband committed suicide.  My mother thought her composure in discussing this topic was admirable.  I disagreed!  This lady could have been in a state of shock & was unable to show emotions due to that.  But, she also could have been glad he was gone & didn’t miss him.  Her lack of emotions gave no clue which was how she was feeling about her loss.

Showing emotions is a healthy thing to do.  It helps you to process them in healthy ways.  Did you know many people who don’t process anger often end up with health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease & digestive issues?  They also can suffer from depression since sometimes repressed anger manifests as depression.

Showing emotions also helps people to know where they stand with you.  If you weren’t obviously happy that your spouse brought you your favorite coffee as a surprise sometimes, how would he or she know how much you appreciated it?  Or, if you held in disappointment, how would your child know that he or she needed to work harder to get better grades?

The Bible even describes times when Jesus showed His emotions.  When Lazarus died, Jesus knew He would raise him from the dead, but even so, He was emotional & let that show.  John 11: 32-35 says,  32 When Mary came [to the place] where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who had come with her also sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit [to the point of anger at the sorrow caused by death] and was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.”  The Gospels also tell the story of Jesus becoming enraged when He saw people buying & selling in the temple.  He drove animals & people out & flipped over tables.  Hardly the actions of someone afraid of showing their emotions.

Showing emotions is truly a courageous thing to do.  It shows you aren’t afraid of the opinions or judgment of other people.  It shows you are brave enough to be vulnerable.  It shows you are in touch with your emotions, which is a very healthy way to be.

What is not courageous is hiding all emotions behind a mask of stoicism.  This often is a trauma response created by those who have been exposed to cruel people who criticize them for how they feel & invalidate their feelings.  If this describes you, please know that you don’t need to be that way anymore.  You are an adult & allowed to feel your feelings & yes, even show them!  That doesn’t make you oversensitive, overreacting, stupid or even crazy.  It makes you human. 

If you’re struggling to get in touch with your emotions, I suggest praying, paying attention to how you feel about everything & journaling about your experiences.  Read over your journal entries periodically too, don’t simply write them & forget them.  They can help you to have insight. 

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Enjoying Life, Mental Health

The Value Of Detoxing From Emotionally Incestuous (Enmeshed) Family

When someone grows up in an enmeshed, emotionally incestuous family, they naturally have many issues stemming from this.  One of those many issues is that they need time away from their toxic family to detox.

One example of this that comes to mind is a good friend of mine.  Around me, he’s usually kind, caring, fun loving & laid back.  I always can tell when he has dealt with his toxic immediate family in the recent past however, because that great guy disappears.  The person who replaces him is impatient, irritable, & quick to judge & criticize.  In other words, nothing like who he usually is.  It takes some time away from them for the hard to deal with person to go away & the good guy he usually is to come back.  I’ve started referring to this as his detox.

Sadly, this need to detox after being around an emotionally incestuous family is normal for the adult who grew up in this situation.  Also sadly, it makes sense if you think about it.

Someone who doesn’t understand the extreme toxicity that is emotional incest wants to fit in with their family, even if they hate the dynamic.  They will behave however they need to in order to fit in.  On some level however, they know this isn’t normal so they are dealing with cognitive dissonance.  In other words, they grew up thinking this is normal & anything that threatens that belief makes them extremely uncomfortable & confused.  Time away from their toxic family is their detox, & it relieves them of that uncomfortable feeling, at least until the next time they deal with their family.

Even if someone is aware of what is happening & just how dysfunctional their family is, being around such people can bring old habits back to the surface disturbingly easily.  It’s a lot like drug addicts.  They can stay clean much easier when they avoid people who are still addicts & are around people who don’t do drugs.  Getting around those who are still actively addicted makes it very hard for them to stay on their healthier path.  When they backslide, they may get clean again but they are NOT going to be happy with themselves for backsliding.  The same goes for those with emotionally incestuous families.  If a person has worked hard to get healthier, then slides back into old habits, they are going to be pretty upset with themselves when they recognize their bad behavior.  They need time away from their family so they can detox to get back on the right path.

Another problem is the emotionally incestuous family encourages the dysfunctional behavior.  They reward bad behavior, throwing some breadcrumbs of affection or praise to their family members who follow the rules of the family & don’t try to make any healthy changes.  No matter how much someone may want to break free of this to live in a healthier way, the pressure to “behave” & get those crumbs of affection can be very great, which also can account for the need to detox after leaving.  Distance from these highly dysfunctional people helps them to recognize what is happening, & to get back on the right path.

Emotionally incestuous family members also despise anyone who doesn’t enable & encourage their toxic behavior.  They will talk badly about anyone who encourages someone in the emotionally incestuous family to distance themselves from the toxicity.  If someone in such a family has a friend or spouse that speaks against this behavior, the family is not going to tolerate this quietly.  They will tell everyone just how awful that person is, how they’re trying to tear apart the family or even steal their family member away from the family.  If someone hears this enough from their family, they may believe it in time, & return to the dysfunctional fold.  Time away from them, time to detox from the dysfunction, can clear their head.

If your family is emotionally incestuous, then please, do yourself a huge favor & take the time to detox from them as frequently as you can!  It will be good for your mental health!  Or, if someone you know is in such a situation, encourage them to do the same.  Be willing to listen to them without judgment & speak the truth to them about what their family is really like (gently of course!). 

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When Children Aren’t Allowed To Say No

Narcissistic parents are notorious for not allowing their children to have any boundaries.  They have no problem going through their children’s personal belongings or even breaking or getting rid of things their child uses or loves.  Children are allowed no privacy, & some narcissistic parents go as far as removing their bedroom doors.  Possibly the worst thing narcissistic parents do is refusing to allow their children to say “no”.

Narcissistic parents are too self centered to realize or even care that by not allowing their children to say no, they are teaching their children some pretty terrible lessons.  When children learn that saying no is bad & not allowed, this teaches them that others can treat them however they wish.  This opens the door for other wicked people to abuse these children.  It also sets these children up for a life of misery because they don’t believe they have the right to say no to anyone, no matter what.  They also believe that they have to say yes to everyone & everything, & that obviously is a huge problem!

Children need to feel safe knowing that there won’t be any repercussions if they say things like, “No”, “Stop doing that,” “Don’t touch me”, “That hurts”, “I don’t agree with you” & “I won’t do that.” 

When a child doesn’t experience this ability to set reasonable boundaries, they can turn very submissive.  Their boundaries become very blurred.  They change their likes, dislikes, views, etc. depending on the company they keep.  They lose their individuality.  They do above & beyond what is reasonable for other people, even to the point of enabling terrible behavior.  They tolerate way too much, including abusive behavior, because they don’t believe they have the right to do otherwise.

When a person grows up not allowed to say no, the fear of what could happen can become paralyzing, & they literally can’t say the word no.  This fear happens because of many possible reasons.  Some of those reasons might be the fear of hurting other people’s feelings, fear of someone’s anger, fear of being punished, fear of abandonment or the fear of being seen as selfish, bad or even ungodly.  This fear also can happen because a person is too hard on themselves, & if they say no, they judge themselves very harshly.  They condemn themselves as horrible people, so they don’t say no in order to avoid feeling that way.

If you recognize this as your behavior, you’re not alone.  This is so common among children of narcissistic parents.  The good news though is that you can make healthy changes.

I always recommend starting with prayer in any situation, & this one is no different.  Asking God for help is never a mistake.  Also ask Him to show you the truth about where you end & others begin, what you should & shouldn’t tolerate, how to start setting healthy boundaries & anything else you need help with.

Also start paying attention to how you feel.  Does it bother you when someone expects something from you?  Why does it bother you?  If it feels unfair since they don’t ask others to do as much as you or they want you to do something they could do themselves, that is very reasonable!

Start small!  Start by not answering your phone if you don’t want to talk to the person calling or something like that.  The more you gain confidence in smaller boundaries, the more it will help you to go on to bigger ones.

Know people are going to be upset with you for your new boundaries.  Rather than being hurt by this, think of it this way.  Safe, good people will be happy for you & encourage you.  Only toxic people are offended by reasonable boundaries.  Seeing toxic people for who they are may be painful, but it’s also a good thing.  It shows you who you need to remove from your life.  And, removing them allows more time & energy for those who truly deserve that from you.

Having good boundaries won’t happen over night, but it will happen.  Just stay with it!  You can do this!

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People Who Say Those Who End Relationships Hate Or Are Unforgiving

Something I have come to learn about people is many times, when you end a relationship with someone, other people assume it’s because you hate that person.  I was reminded of this not long ago when someone made a comment on one of my old YouTube videos.  The video was made when I first learned my father was dying, & I mentioned how I wasn’t going to see him at the hospital.  The commenter said that I shouldn’t hate him, I should forgive him.  This frustrated me because I have heard similar comments before so many times, mostly from my intensely dysfunctional family.  In talking with people who read my work, I’ve learned this happens all the time.

Anyone who jumps to the conclusion that those of us who have ended relationships do so out of hatred & unforgiveness needs to know some things.

There are people who end relationships out of hatred & unforgiveness of course, but the vast majority of people have other valid reasons for ending relationships, even with their own family members. 

People change, & sometimes those changes mean people grow apart.  It’s natural.  Not every single relationship was meant to be a lifelong commitment. 

Sometimes people think someone is a certain way when the relationship begins, but as time passes, they realize that person is not like they thought.  Most people are on their best behavior at the beginning of any relationship, & as time passes, they stop trying so hard.  That can mean there are some ways people are incompatible that weren’t evident at the beginning, or it can mean that someone is dysfunctional or even abusive.  There is nothing wrong with ending such relationships.

While family should be a lifelong relationship, it isn’t always possible.  Sometimes family members seem to be good people until something happens that changes them.  Maybe the patriarch or matriarch of the family dies, & suddenly people change.  That happened in my family.  Once my grandparents died, people changed a great deal, & not necessarily for the better.  The patriarch & matriarch of a family often can keep the bad behavior to a minimum.  Once they pass away, the bad behavior is no longer restrained, & people feel free to behave however they like, including very badly.  When the bad behavior is toxic or even abusive, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ending those relationships.

People who are so quick to judge & criticize others who end relationships should consider such things before passing judgment.  There are other things they also should consider.

People who have been abused almost never exaggerate their experience.  If anything, they leave out plenty of details & even minimize it.  If someone claims another person abused them, chances are excellent it was much worse than what they said.

Abusers are excellent actors who portray themselves as good people to anyone who is not their victim.  Just because someone is nice to you doesn’t mean they are incapable of being abusive. 

Along those same lines, just because someone is active in their church, volunteers, is a teacher, doctor or in another helping type profession doesn’t mean they can’t be abusive.  Abusers can be found in all walks of life.  They exist in all religions, races, genders & careers.

Enduring toxic & abusive relationships doesn’t make you a good, Godly person.  It isn’t the “good Christian” thing to do.  There are plenty of Scriptures throughout the Bible where people are told to have nothing more to do with other people.  In Genesis 12:1, God told Abraham to leave his family.  2 Timothy 3:1-5 talks about people God wants His children to have nothing to do with.  Titus 3:10 warns to have nothing to do with divisive people.  Ephesians 5:6-7 says we are to have nothing to do with those who are deceptive.  Clearly this is a topic on which God has plenty to say, & people would be wise to take that seriously rather than judge those who end certain relationships.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

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Emotional Intelligence Shamers

The definition of emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of, express, & control one’s emotions.  It also includes the ability to handle relationships with empathy & fairness.  People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are often kind, fair, understanding & tolerant of the mistakes of others while not tolerant of abuse.

Narcissists hate emotionally intelligent people.  There are various reasons they can feel this way.  Possibly because narcissists are very emotionally unintelligent, & therefore can’t understand the emotionally intelligent they hate them.  Narcissists understanding the emotionally intelligent would be like the average person trying to understand how geniuses like Einstein thought.  It would be impossible… although the average person at least wouldn’t hate him for his intelligence. 

Another & even more likely scenario is because emotionally intelligent people aren’t easily fooled or manipulated.  Narcissists want to fool & manipulate their victims so they can get whatever they like from them.  Emotionally intelligent people have good boundaries & they understand people.  This makes it nearly impossible to fool & manipulate them.  It may happen briefly, but it won’t happen long.  This makes them terrible victims of narcissistic abuse.

For the emotionally intelligent person in this situation, the narcissist & their flying monkeys will be incredibly shaming.  They come up with all kinds of ridiculous things to say to the victim in order to shame them into compliance.   In Christian circles, often the Bible is twisted around for the purpose of shaming the victim: “If you remember, the Bible says to honor your parents!”  “Wives should submit to their husbands!”  “Love covers a multitude of sins!”  When Scripture isn’t used, the ridiculousness doesn’t get any better.  People try to shame the victim by saying equally stupid comments such as, “You need to forgive & forget!” “That’s in the past…”  “That’s just how he is.”  “You need to understand her better.”  “But he was abused by his parents!!”

Comments like these can create a great deal of conflict & confusion in someone victimized by a narcissist.  A person who is emotionally intelligent however, isn’t conflicted & confused.  They recognize the bad behavior for what it is, & have no problem calling out the people who say these things.  It can hurt though & can be rather hard not to take the shaming personally sometimes.

If this happens to you, a very helpful thing you can do is remember what type of person is saying these things.  You aren’t dealing with another emotionally intelligent person.  They don’t say such stupid, heartless comments.  Then ask God to tell you the truth & ask if they were right in what they said. 

It also helps to look objectively at your situation & ask yourself does what this person said to you make any sense?  If you can’t seem to look at the situation objectively, I know a trick to help.  Pretend a friend has come to you & told you of this same situation happening to them.  Doing this can help you feel disconnected enough to look more objectively at your situation. Please remember, Dear Reader, to be proud of being the emotionally intelligent person you are.  Narcissists & their flying monkeys only criticize it because it means you see through their abuse.  Don’t accept their shame!  The shame belongs to them & you have no reason to carry it!     

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism