Emotional Discernment

Disarming the Emotional Mine Field Within

"What we feel is our "emotional truth" and it does not necessarily have anything to do with either facts or the emotional energy that is Truth with a capital "T" - especially when we our reacting out of an age of our inner child.

If we are reacting out of what our emotional truth was when we were five or nine or fourteen, then we are not capable of responding appropriately to what is happening in the moment; we are not being in the now.

When we are reacting out of old tapes based on attitudes and beliefs that are false or distorted, then our feelings cannot be trusted.

When we are reacting out of our childhood emotional wounds, then what we are feeling may have very little to do with the situation we are in or with the people with whom we are dealing in the moment.

In order to start be-ing in the moment in a healthy, age-appropriate way it is necessary to heal our "inner child." The inner child we need to heal is actually our "inner children" who have been running our lives because we have been unconsciously reacting to life out of the emotional wounds and attitudes, the old tapes, of our childhoods."

Quote from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

In my September article here, Emotional Discernment - taking power away from the fear, I talked about learning to take power away from the emotional minefield within.

"By starting to use some emotional discernment to recognize that the feeling of life and death urgency is not reality - it is just a feeling - we can start to take some power away from the fear. As we start taking power away from this mutant variety of fear, we can start to see ourselves and the situation with more clarity so that we can begin to disarm the emotional minefield within. We can start taking power away from those "buttons."

And promised:

"I will talk about the emotional discernment that is involved in disarming those buttons in my November article."

As things unfolded I ended up doing something a little different for the last two articles, so this is the one I promised - better late than never.

The emotional buttons / mines within us are what I refer to as the inner child places.

What is so important in doing the inner work is to start learning to have some discernment at how we relate to our own inner process. To start realizing that these inner child buttons - like the critical parent voice - are just parts of our psyche, they do not define who we are.

When one of our inner child wounds is activated, it feels like our total being - our total reality. It feels like the feeling we are experiencing is our total truth. It is not. It is a part of us reacting to a wound from the past that we have not known how to heal. In order to take power away from that wound it is necessary to bring it to consciousness and own the feelings involved.

We all have a set of basic, core wounds attached to certain issues, such as: abandonment; betrayal; rejection; feeling discounted and invalidated - not heard or respected; feeling unlovable and unworthy; etc. The nature of codependency causes us to repeat patterns - to be attracted to, and attract to us, people who will recreate our core wounding.

So, we have the core wounds and then a bunch of similar wounds piled on top of those initial buttons because of our history. When a wound is triggered, that feeling of being rejected or abandoned has a great deal of power because we have experienced it so many times in our life. There is nothing shameful about being wounded. It is not because something is wrong with our being - it is because we learned to how to relate to our self in childhood from people who were wounded in their childhood.

In our codependency, we reacted to extremes. The overreact or underreact, blame them or blame me, dynamics of the disease. Thus when a wound is triggered, when someone steps on one of our internal emotional mines, we either explode at the person whose behavior has recreated that wounding - or we stuff it to keep from overreacting. Either way, we are not doing anything to heal those wounds - and we are being emotionally dishonest in the situation.

Once we develop some detachment so we can observe our reactions with some objectivity, we can start practicing some discernment. We can start to get in touch with the five year old or the thirteen year old or whatever, that is the key to disarming that particular mine.

By accessing the wisdom to see that our reaction is coming from that inner child place, we can start building a relationship with that part of us that is based upon love instead of fear and shame. We can start owning how painful our childhood was, and begin doing the grief process work that we need to do to release some of the stored emotional energy relating to that wound.

We can start owning those different parts of us by: taking a conscious look at what our experience was and validating that we had reason to feel the way we did; consciously owning and affirming that we were wounded then because our parents were wounded - not because of any inherent defect in our being; allowing ourselves to cry for that child that we were, and/or do anger work if that is what is appropriate; and start making amends to that part of ourselves by developing a loving, nurturing relationship with the child within us who is still trapped in the feelings from that time.

We can start being our own loving parent, by owning those inner child places within us. By stopping the abuse and criticism from critical parent voice, and learning to relate to our emotional wounds from a place of compassion and love, we can become an empowered adult who has choices in life. We can stop reacting and start having the ability to choose how to respond - response ability - to life situations and other people from a mature, spiritually aligned, empowered, recovering adult perspective.

It is possible to take responsibility for the things we do have the power to change - our own attitudes, behaviors, and feelings - and change our relationship with the things we do not have the power to change. That is the key to developing some serenity, some inner peace, in our lives.

Go to Intellectual Discernment - Choices, not "shoulds"