This woman had a tough childhood as she was abused, thus ran into alcohol and Valium addiction, promiscuity, and eating disorder. All this lead her to be diagnosed with cancer in her mid-twenties. However, the intense work and a 12-step program involving counseling, meditation, journaling, and seeking for help assisted her find the connection between her emotions and physical health, repaired her marriage, and led to cancer remission. She also switched job from stressed-out attorney to a teacher of health and wellness and a master healer.
She is aware that maintaining an eagle eye to the inner truth and releasing stress and negativity daily can make you happy, thus she continued the practices to this day.
No one needs a dramatic life to heal the emotional wounds, we all have them and it is what you do with them that counts.
Victim Mentality vs. Self-Responsibility
As a victim of sexual abuse, the woman had a great opportunity to believe that life was against her. After all, being sexually assaulted for years by her father and also by a Catholic priest gave her multiple reasons to stay in victim hood. There was ample justification for her to blame her family and the Catholic church for everything that went wrong in my life. It’s easy to get stuck in victim mentality—where the most people blame all their problems on others.
There are many people who are victims of terrible ordeals and traumas like physical, sexual, emotional abuse, assault, or violence. Even though this is terrible, the thing that matters is the way we respond to such situations and process our feelings which determine if we stay victims during our lives.
Bad things happen to good people and the victim mentality sees everything bad that happened to them as an insurmountable obstacle in life instead of seeing it as a challenge to be overcome.
Staying victim mentally provides the person a feeling of power. Instead of feeling dis-empowered completely by those bad experiences, there is a hidden benefit of capturing other people’s attention, thus the victim gets stuck in a cycle of negative pleasure. The victim subconsciously says that this is their way of controlling you and feeling a sense of personal power.
Susie is a great example of this. Her husband verbally abused her, thus her self-esteem was in shreds. Suddenly, he left her for another woman, but she did not feel any relief. Instead she kept telling her story to each person who would listen. In some way she is deriving a perverse sense of pleasure from attention it brings her. No matter what happens, there’s always a choice. She has to leave all behind, do some martial arts and release her anger in a healthy way, taking responsibility of how she feels. She will have yo stop telling her sad story to each person she meets and learn to greet the world with a more positive attitude. She will have to forgive her husband, but for her sake, and forgive herself for having stayed abusive for a long period of time and not bring the one who stood up. Facing the truth, admitting to being human being, and making mistake, and getting on with her life is what she has to do.
If you live in victim mentality the power it gives you is keeping you from expressing your full potential, thus stop feeling sorry for yourself, and stop making other people feel sorry for you as this won’t make the emotional pain go away. When people feel sorry for you it will only strengthen your victim mentality, making you wallow in resentment and feeling helpless.
There are people who rise above the traumas in their lives because they take responsibility for themselves, instead of succumbing to victim mentality.
Louise L. Hay could have been stuck to be a victim mentally. She had a violent stepfather, her neighbor raped her when she was 5, got pregnant when she was 15, and gave up her child at 16. Her husband left her for another woman after 14 years of marriage. She heard someone say – if you are willing to change the way you think, you will be able to change your life. And she did so. She became one of the best-selling authors in the history. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer, but used forgiveness, therapy, nutrition, and some alternative methods that included giving up resentment over her childhood abuse and rape.
If you don’t deal with your feelings and release them, you will always be a victim. Even though you have moved forward, it does not mean that you have forgotten what happened, but t means that we know that there is a power in us to help us heal. Our lives are in our hands, thus we have to recognize the emotions, and have to process and release them.
Identify how we feel
What we feel is an important step and every transformation in life starts with greater awareness. These are some mighty ways which will help you identify your feelings:
1. One of the best ways to start recognizing your emotions is by answering the question: What do I feel right now?Are you lonely, jealous, resentful, stressed, angry? Pick a word that describes what you are feeling in the moment and write it in a little notebook. When I was a young attorney starting to connect with my emotions, I used to write in the margins of my briefs. Most of the time I was writing jealous, jealous, jealous because that’s how I felt. All the other lawyers around me seemed so competent and self-assured! (By the way, a really handy place to keep a notebook is in the kitchen if you want to identify your triggers for overeating.) If you can’t seem to find the words for what you’re feeling, Google “list of emotions” online and you’ll find plenty.
2. Our bodies provide great clues to our emotions. What is going on when we walk around with tension in our shoulders and backs? What are we feeling when we feel tightness in our chests or are short of breath? Try this: The next time you are experiencing an uncomfortable sensation in your body, don’t distract yourself by heading directly to that pint of Ben and Jerry’s. See if you can identify the emotion behind the signal your body is giving you. Did you just have a fight with your husband before you devoured that bag of chips? Did you get off the phone with your mother and immediately have a stomachache? What in that commercial on TV made your eyes well up with tears?
3. Don’t suppress what you are feeling. Find a place where you can be alone and quiet. Breathe deeply and become aware of your body. Gently bring your attention to each area of your body in which you feel tense or uncomfortable. See if you can consciously relax that area, and let yourself experience the feelings that come up. Keep in mind that you may need some practice at this before you arrive at any deep insights. Above all, just let the feelings be and don’t try to change them.
Releasing Difficult Emotions
What we want to do after we identify our emotions is to acknowledge their power and then release them—to let them flow through and out of our body rather than boxing them away some place inside. You can feel anger, sadness, anxiety, and fear without succumbing to hopelessness and despair.
It isn’t necessary to revisit or remember the traumas we have forgotten or suppressed in order to heal. Simply learning to acknowledge and release the emotions we are experiencing in the present can effectively release old wounds.
These are the 3 main tools for identifying and releasing feelings:
– Once your subconscious takes over and your feelings pour out, start describing how you feel at the moment, or write something that happened to you that day, and then write whatever comes up. This can take practice as we are not used to give up the control of the emotions. Writing will help you process the emotions which is a more deep process. In this way you will find out that your feelings start to change. – Learn to sit in a quiet internal space pf peace in order to develop clarity and anchor yourself in the present moment. It will give you the spaciousness to view your emotional relations from different perspectives and release them safely.
– You can seek for professional help from a therapist if you have become fearful or anxious about the memories you may be facing.
Emotions connect with thought and beliefs
The emotions we experience are usually based on the perceptions and belies which we develop in childhood. In case you’ve been raised by parents who believed that money is hard to come by and that there is never enough to go around, you may also believe in this. If you become aware of the beliefs you have inherited you have more choices available instead of being at the mercy of your automatic knee-jerk emotional reactions.
Do not suppress the negative emotions and let yourself feel them, asking yourself: Why am I saying that to myself? This is the part where you become aware of the feelings, and is a very useful step towards the process of emotional healing.
Of we grow up with chaos or abuse we believe that we are incapable of love and success or are not deserving it. Drew Barrymore as a child was under intense pressure to bring money and was afraid that if she did not work she and her family would not eat and they will lose the house. She had that 40-year-old male mentality of needing to provide for her family. She was raised with the belief that she needs to bury her problems with alcohol, drugs, and sex, and this lead her become a “wild child” by the time when she was 12. She demonstrates that it is possible to change our misguided beliefs and thoughts and start a journey of healing.
Suppressed emotions can make us sick
If you bury the emotions without processing them in a healthy way you may cause many issues. Our body and mind are interrelated and there is more and more evidence showing that our emotions effect our bodies. Our energy systems can be shocked and impaired by life experiences, emotional upsets, surgeries, accidents, and traumas. If the experiences are not processed and released over time, a lack of energy flow in the body can manifest as illness, or some other issue.
It does not mean that everyone who has experienced trauma that becomes ill, it is not the anger, grief, or fear which causes illness, but it is when the feelings we generated by the traumatic event or abuse are buried or suppressed in our bodies and minds, unresolved and unreleased, that we develop emotional and/or physical issues.
Our Relationships Mirror Our Emotions
Another avenue to explore along the way to emotional healing is by becoming more conscious about our interpersonal relationships. Taking care of an aging parent, dealing with a rebellious child or a straying spouse or the boss from hell—all our relationships bring up our own issues. Not only can we learn what we’re feeling by how we react to others (where did that anger come from when you slammed down the phone on that poor telemarketer?), but we can also see how our emotions affect our relationships.
Often, people who have been abused as children unconsciously seek out abusive relationships as adults. Emotions that stem from the original abuse—shame, fear, anger, sadness, insecurity, low self-esteem—are normal and comfortable in the present relationship since they are familiar. People who suffer abuse sometimes become abusers themselves. Ninety-five percent of people who commit child abuse were abused as children. They take out their emotions of self-hate, worthlessness, anger, sadness, and confusion in their relationships.
In our day-to-day lives, it’s our nearest and dearest that hold up a mirror to our emotions. We tend to be attracted to someone who will mirror back to us our unresolved issues. You have a hunch that your husband is having an affair, so what do you do? Do you confront him outright and demand to know the truth, plot revenge scenarios, or do bury your anxiety and jealousy in a box of Oreos?
Here’s a tip on handling your relationships in a way that will help whenever you’re really upset with some else: Instead of pouncing on what they did or said that was hurtful, start every statement you make with how you feel. Instead of saying, “You always say [or do] …”, try saying, “I feel horrible [or whatever] when you say [or do] ….” Practice doing this with a friend so you learn how to change your standard response pattern into an “I feel…” response.
We’ve all had our hearts broke by betrayal, rejection, trust, or loss. If we put walls around our hearts, run from the pain, and shut our hearts down, we will lose our connection to the emotions. Let yourself feel the emotions and stop hiding them. You can go through the pain and come out the other side into strength and joy.
You have to learn to forgive. This however, does not imply forgetting, but it means we have become best friends with whoever made wrong to us. We might not see or speak to that person again, but once we hold hatred, resentment, and bitterness in our hearts, our well-being and health suffer. You do the forgiveness for yourself. You do not accept that thins, you are not executing it, don’t have to like that person or reestablish relationship with them, and you don’t have to tell them you have forgiven them. Forgiveness means letting the negative feelings go, meaning that you felt the emotions, processed them, and released them. In this way you are letting go of your victim mentally and the abuser has no longer the power to hurt you, neither do your emotions.
If you continue hanging onto your pain and fear, it will reduce you, keeping you a victim. Drop victim mentality for your sake and for your health and well-being.