Emotional maturity

Most of us are the same age emotionally, mentally and chronologically.  Some of us are not.  The reasons can vary.  Most, however are a result of trauma.  It can be an emotional, physical, verbal, sexual or mental trauma event.  Trauma can be anything that our minds are not prepared to comprehend,  do not understand,  are not old enough or mature enough to understand at the time the event (s) occurred.   If we have had one of these events, we will be stuck at whatever age we were at the time of the event.  Our emotional maturity will stop at that age.  We will continue to grow physically and mentally but we will emotionally be stuck at that age until we deal with the emotions attached to that event.  I have spoken a lot about this in my blog.  That is because I often speak to people who emotional are immature.  Those are the people who are in their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s and are still acting like they are children.  I am not talking about being able to have fun.  All of us should never give up the ability to have fun, find fun in what we are doing.  I am talking about those that are still acting like they are adolescent.  Taking no responsibility, cannot hold a job, angry at everything, fighting all of the time, may have an arrest record, drinking, drugging, manipulative, drama queens and generally  unreliable.  We probable all have at least one in our family.  These people did not get this way by themselves.  They will be responsible for getting themselves the help they need to mature emotionally.  If they are drinking or drugging they will have a greater difficulty because they will have to overcome the drinking and drugging before they can deal with the underlying causal factor.  Under every drinker or drug addict is a causal factor, but that is for another blog.  If the drinker or addict tries to deal with the trauma while still drinking, it will not work.  They will still be running away from the emotions by drinking or drugging, they have to feel them and neutralize them.  The addictive behavior will only add to the existing problem.

Trust and forgiveness are essential to recovery.  Trusting the therapist and themselves, and forgiveness.  The most important person to forgive is themselves.  Most trauma victims think they should have been able to stop whatever happened, especially if they are male and have been molested, again for another blog.  You will have to again be relaxed enough with your therapist to tell them things you have probable never told anyone before.  All of that takes time.  Be patient and relax.  This will help.   Click here for the videos  Enjoy!

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Trauma and your emotional brain

You have two sides of one brain.  The emotional one and the analytical one.  For the most part the analytical brain works well with the emotional brain.  During trauma the analytical brain takes over and does not allow the emotions to override what is happening. You need to be logical at that time, not emotional.  So the emotions are squashed and the logical brain tries to get you out of whatever situation you find yourself in, alive.  This is the way it work for men and women, even though women are allowed to be emotional in public more often then men.  We are getting better at that.  Whether man or woman, you have attached an emotion to this memory and it will stay there until you deal with the emotion you squashed.  There are usually more then one emotion that was felt at the time of the event.  Yesterday I spoke about how trauma therapy works and how to detach the emotion from the memory.  You will probable never forget the event.  You do not always have to have the emotional response that is attached to the memory.  It does not always have to send you into the same emotions that you were having at the time of the event, but squashed.  You will be stuck there, however until you deal with it.  You will respond with the emotions that you had with the same intensity and duration.  You will behave in the same way, at the same age you were at the time of the event.  You may be 25 years old now, but, if you were 3 at the time of the event you will be responding at the emotional age of a 3 year old.  The emotions are still with that 3 year old you, not with the 25 year old you.  Your emotional maturity is based on this 3 year old, you have not grown emotionally much past this 3 year old if you have not dealt with this event.  Even though the 25 year old you is trying to deal with these emotions and quite often not knowing where they are coming from in the present. The 3 year old is running the show and controlling your emotions for you.  Not a good thing to allow to happen. Your emotional maturity is important for your growth as a person and needs as much respect as the analytical brain.  If it does not you will not be able to grow as a person.  The balance of emotions and logic is essential to human growth and being a better person.  To start any change in your life you must be relaxed enough to make it work. You also have to get rid of all of those things you have no control over.  This will help.  Click here for the videos    Enjoy!

Releasing anxiety

Releasing anxiety has many steps to it.  It is another one of those things that are not easily done.  You first must identify what provokes the anxiety and this is the most difficult step.  You may superficially identify what causes the anxiety but often times the anxiety is another one one those things that just comes up for no apparent reason.   There is always a reason.  There is always an underlying causal factor that needs to surface and be dealt with before the anxiety and sometimes panic attacks will stop.  This again requires relaxing enough with the therapist to trust them not to hurt you.  If your experience with therapists or people in general is not a good one, again this is not easily done.  The therapist will not be able to rush you into dealing with something this difficult if you do not trust them.  That can be because you have had a bad experience with  a therapist or because you are not ready to deal with whatever is underneath the anxiety and panic attacks.  Chances are it is a little of both.  If you are not ready to deal with the underlying causal factor, it will not work, no matter how good your therapist.  When doing trauma therapy the person must be relaxed enough with the therapist to talk about what is causing the anxiety or panic.  It is usually trauma related and is the most difficult thing this person will ever do.  The first many sessions must be about relaxation and building trust.  It will never be about talking about what happened to them that has caused the anxiety or panic.  A good therapist will work at the persons pace and not rush them into anything they are not ready to have happen.  Doing so is re-traumatizing them.  The second step is to tell your story over and over until it is neutralized and you no longer feel anxiety or panic when you tell it.  There are many ways to tell your story.  Talking about it, writing about it, drawing about it and tapping.  All are very good ways to get it out of your head and heart and somewhere you can see it objectively.  Anything that stays in your head and heart remains subjective and can and does take on a life of its own.  The third step is to do what you can about those things you have control over and let go of those things you do not.  Hanging on to them is only hurting yourself and carrying a burden that is not yours to carry.

Beginning this process is the most difficult step and will take the longest to accomplish.  Be patient with yourself it will be worth it in the long run to be able to be free of anxiety when certain situations crop up in your life.  You can use this video to begin your relaxation and explore the possibility of finding a trauma therapist to help you with this process. The guided imagery will also help you in getting rid of the old and replacing it with the new.   Click here for the videos   Enjoy!

Emotional Memories

Emotional memories are those memories that have one or more emotion attached to them.  The memories will put you back into the place that you were when the event first happened.  This is most commonly know as a flashback.  It is trauma related and it is not easy to deal with emotional memories.  Until you do, however, they will run your life for you.  The important thing is to have control over those emotions and not have them controlling you.  There are several way you can handle this.  Not doing anything is one way, allowing those memories to be triggered unexpectedly, without warning and invade your life without your being able to stop them is one way.  Most people do not like that idea, but have no idea how to stop it.  The more efficient way is to do trauma therapy.  The way trauma therapy works is to talk about it, write about it or draw about it until it becomes neutralized.  It becomes just another memories without the emotion attached.  Often times during the trauma event we are so focused on surviving that we do not deal with what we are feeling at the time.  The brain needs to file things away and it will continue to remind you about the trauma until it is able to file it away.  The premise for trauma therapy works much like  a person who enjoys watching horror films or is a thrill seeker.  In the beginning you are turning your eyes away at the slightest scary thing that is on the screen.  After a while that same film will be laughed at because it does not have the same effect, your brain has neutralized it for you. You need something scarier to get the same feeling.  The thrill seeker starts out getting a rush from small adventures and months or years into it they need more and more dangerous adventures to get the same rush.  They  have neutralized the thrill.  Neutralizing the trauma means that you have detached the emotion from the memory and now when the memory is triggered you have only the memory and the unattached emotion.  You may remember that you were afraid, angry and/or crying but you will not feel those emotions again.  You will only remember that you were feeling them at the time.

In order to begin trauma therapy you will have to be relaxed enough to trust the person to whom you are confiding .  That is not easy when you have been traumatized.  Trust can be illusive.  Take your time, you will regain the trust you need with time.  It is not something that can easily fixed, be patient with yourself and the therapist.  It is important that you are able to trust again and disengage the emotion from the memory.  All of that takes time.  Relaxing and letting go of those things you have no control over are important in order to begin the process.   This will help.  Click here for the link to the videos    Enjoy!

The emotional brain

The emotional brain is where  we store all of the emotions attached to any experience we have had that is still unresolved.  The brain will continue to bring it up in an attempt to resolve the issue so it can file it away only to be retrieved when we  choose to do so.  If it is unresolved, it will come up unexpectedly when something similar happens in our present day life, that is the emotional brains way of saying, lets file this away, this is our chance.  .  The memory is also attached to the emotions we were feeling at the time of the event.  We will also respond with those emotions until the original event is resolved.  If we were 5 years old at the time of the original event, we will respond with whatever emotions that 5 year old was feeling at the time.  If it was a traumatizing event, then emotionally we will be stuck at 5 years old, emotionally. Even though chronologically we may be 55 years old.  It also usually means that we are using substances to deal with the emotions and pain from that original event, no one has taught us to do anything different.  It also seems easier then dealing with the past that is keeping us stuck.  We are allowing a 5 year old to run our emotional lives, or however old you were at the time of the original event.  The child needs it resolved so it can feel safe, it needs whatever reassurances it did not get when you were 5 years old.    It will leave you alone then to act maturely and not wonder :”where the heck did that come from”.    You can resolve these issues through the drawing or writing exercises.  First your dominant  hand and then your non-dominant hand.  Remember your non-dominant hand is your emotional brain and will respond as the frightened child.  Give them what you did not get, but needed way back then.  Tapping is also a proven way to reprogram your brain and develop new patterns.  Resolving the issues with the people involved with the original event is not the end and often times cannot be done for various reasons.  The person{s} involved may be dead or unwilling to cooperate in resolving your issues with them.  You can resolve it anyway.  You will need to let go of what you cannot resolve and resolve what you can.  Healing the little kid inside, the one holding on to the emotions, can be resolved.  If you will use the writing or drawing exercises and tapping  you can resolve those events that are still causing you pain.  You will need to stop drinking and drugging first, however,  so your brain can actually function as it is suppose to function and remember what you have healed.   This relaxation exercise and guided imagery video will help.   Click here for the link to the videos.    Enjoy!

Quiet People

I  have always been a quiet person.  With my first abnormal psychology class I even explored the possibility of being a person with Aspergers, which is a high functioning autism.  It is not uncommon to identify with disorders found in an abnormal psychology book when you are beginning your trek through the world to being a therapist.  I also found myself diagnosing my family, because as a child I observed a lot of things and did not feel the need to comment. There was no need to compete, no need to comment, no need to prove people wrong about what they thought of me.  I am still that way.  The reason I came to the conclusion that I did not have Aspergers is because I have a filter in my frontal lobe.  Just because it comes into my mind does not mean I have to either say it or act on it.  I can sit quietly by and think a lot of things and not feel the need to express one of them.  This did not sit well with my family.  We are a family of talkers and anyone who does not have an expressed opinion is considered slow, stupid, mentally challenged. I was considered mentally challenged because I did not talk about anything unless I felt it was important enough to talk about. I saw my family as talking a lot about nothing.  There are a lot of things I do not consider important enough to talk about because I truly do not care about them or what happens with them.  The not talking also was brought into the classroom and I had few friends during my school years.  I did not feel a need for too many friends and found the giggling and the drama unnecessary and silly.  I was voted most unamiable at 8th grade graduation.   When I looked up what the word meant I was surprised because I did not consider myself unfriendly, just shy.  As I got older I began to show people a sense of humor and used the humor to get through a lot of situations and still do, especially stressful situations.  I am still quiet and do not feel a need to express an opinion even though I may have a differing opinion then yours I am able to sit and listen to yours, respect it without commenting and unless you directly ask me my opinion you may never hear it.  The teachers at school spoke to me as though I were slow, mentally challenged or deaf.  I knew it, but had no idea how to make it different.  I was often called on even though I did not raise my hand.  I knew the answer but could not get my mouth to work enough to say it because I had just been put on the spot and was unprepared to speak about anything.  This of course brought ridicule from my peers at the first opportunity.  I learned how to defend myself verbally and physically and reinforced the idea that people were untrustworthy and you were on your own to defend yourself against them.  That is how I came to defend my younger sisters as well.

I still do not have many friends and do not need many.  I am still quiet and use my sense of humor to get through a lot of things.  I have found a voice but still do not need to express feelings or thoughts about what you might be telling me or talking about,  I am able to stand up in front of crowds of people and teach or speak without anxiety.  I have learned that I am not stupid or unamiable. I am content with who and what I am and know that I will continue to grow and become fully who I might eventually become.   This is not always as easy as it sounds and often is a lot of hard work.  I have people in my life that I can rely upon to tell me the way it is and if I am just kidding myself.  They are valuable to me because they make me a better me.  I also use this video to help me put thing I have no control over into a box and relax about those thing I cannot change.   Click here for the link to the videos.   Enjoy!

Loving yourself

Loving yourself is not as easy as it might seem.  If you come from a dysfunctional family, like most of us do, it is not easily done.  The things you were told as a child will continue to come up if you don’t face them, and as we all know, facing them is hard.  Facing them you must do, however, if you want to move forward in your life without  repeating the patterns from your past.  Doing the work is not easy, it can be intense and emotional which is why people just want to forget it.  You may repress the memory(s) but it will crop up when you least expect it and again you will be wondering “where the heck did that come from?”.   It is because it was traumatizing for you to experience it the first time. There are emotions there that need to be dealt with in a mature manner and loved away because it wasn’t done when you were little.   You can do it for yourself.  Talk to that little kid that is still hurting.  Write or draw what that child is feeling.  If you are writing write to the child, do it with your dominant hand and give them permission to tell you what they are feeling.  Then switch to your non-dominant hand and write whatever comes.  Whatever comes is what the core issue is and you can then switch to your dominant hand and comfort that child by writing what it needs to hear in order to heal. Tell them it is okay to let go and you will protect them now.  Do this until it is healed and stops coming up.  The reason you use your non-dominant hand is because that is your emotional brain and that is where traumatized memories live.  Your little kid is holding on to them and controlling them for you until you deal with them.   If you are like most of us there will be more then one thing that continues to come up from your past.  If you are drawing you can do the same thing.  There is also something called Tapping that is effective for changing patterns in your brain and healing trauma.  The first thing in trauma therapy is to relax enough to be able to look at those things that are patterns in your life.  This will help you do that.   Click here for the link to the video.    Enjoy!