Sunday, August 2, 2015

I did an online quiz this morning, because we all know how accurate and legitimate these quizzes are.  Except this one seemed to hit the nail on the head.  It was about emotional pain. 

"By ‘Pain-Body’, Tolle means emotional pain. Apprehension, hatred, self-pity, remorse, rage, depression, envy etc. are all manifestations of the Pain-Body. All emotional pains suffered by the individual during their life, remain a part of the unconscious of the individual for the rest of their life. All negative emotions, emotional suffering that the individual refuses to face, leave a mark in their unconscious. It is particularly difficult to face with, and to treat powerful negative emotions in childhood. Such unprocessed emotional pains constitute the foundations of Pain-Body. In the collective unconscious, every individual carries their own share of collective human pain that also belongs to the Pain-Body." Frank M. Wanderer

I took the quiz and it didn't surprise me but it did make me think about my childhood.  I have a lot of fears and I am what some people call "too emotional".  Sometimes it feels like I'm just along for the ride and my emotions just drag me along behind them.  I don't want to be a cold person but I do want to be able to speak my mind and deal with conflict without my heart pounding and the pricking of tears in my eyes and nose.  Even as I write this sentence I can feel the tears forming in my eyes.  Fuck.

My childhood was not awful but it was for me.  I could always feel the tension in our house.  We all walked on eggshells, trying not to upset my father because he was often angry.  When he was angry he would yell and stomp and threaten to leave and grab his car keys and drive away in a spray of gravel as he pulled out of the driveway.  Which left my mother, my brother and me shocked and wondering what had just happened.  My mother would cry and start wringing her hands.  What will become of us?  Who will take care of us?  What if he really leaves this time?  What if he doesn't?  It was awful and this is what I remember of growing up.  I don't remember kindness from my father, although I'm sure there must have been, I'm hoping, nor do I remember having a conversation with him.  He was a tyrant, a furious, shaking tyrant.

And today when faced with anger or conflict, all of the emotions I felt as a child come flooding back and it does feel like flash flood.  I am overwhelmed and drowning in emotions of fear.  My breathing increases, my heart starts pounding and I become unable to think rationally.  I am only feeling.  I am five years old again.

I don't want to be five years old still. 


  1. I have a similar thing. I always expect people to be critical or impatient with me. I'm always surprised when that doesn't happen. I'm not an outwardly shy or retiring person. People would be surprised about this. No doubt comes from my childhood. Some issues there.

  2. As with so many of your posts I get this. My biological father was not a nice person to put it mildly. His moods turned in a moment and he would fly into a rage, yelling and cursing and breaking things. He was very violent and took it out on us. My mom frequently had black eyes. My brother and I got beating with the belt. When he was at work all was well. My stomach would be in knots knowing that he would be coming home from work. And god forbid the weekends when he was home. I wet my pants and bed for years because I would freeze in total terror and not be able to move.
    You know what is strange. He did leave and abandon us but I have no memory of him leaving. I just remember him being gone. It was heaven but the damage was done. Living with him and his tyranny had done its job. I often wonder what it would have been like if he stayed and my mom didn't remarry the kindest man I have ever known.
    Anyway, I know how you feel about your emotions controling you. When I am about to cry there is no way I can't stop it. It is a horrible feeling to feel so out of control.
    A few weeks ago I was sent to a patient that started yelling at me the moment I walked through the door. He reminded me so much of my father. I was not at all surprised when he started drinking brandy at 8:00 am after his breakfast. I spoke to my nurse leader and requested I not be sent back.
    Where did you find that quiz?

  3. I imagine you have PTSD -- even as you diminish your childhood as "not awful." I think those tracks in the brain are embedded, have been trained to respond as you do when triggered. I also think that your attention and self-awareness must be "good" things -- that by acknowledging them, even if it's over and over, and being gentle with yourself -- perhaps even insistent with yourself! -- these feelings will lessen or at least only visit, be noted and then let go. I wonder if when you become five years old again, you just stopped what you were doing and gathered that five year old to yourself and spoke to her, reassured her that all is well, that she was loved.

    1. I did do this with my three year old self. I was working with a psychologist. One of my earliest memories is being three, in a diaper, listening to my mum crying and saying "I wish I could just leave". I spent a lot of time with that three year old, holding her and telling her over and over that she was okay, that she was safe. I need more work obviously.

    2. We all need more work but I think this is a lovely way to work through the trauma. I have done that myself.

  4. You would be shocked to know how many people are damaged like this in childhood (including myself, who was raised with a severely violent brother). I was a psych nurse for over a decade and heard many stories from suffering people, and all but most severely abused always said "it wasn't that bad"...but they carry deep scars anyway. Being a child is such a vulnerable experience, and so few of us escape without some form of trauma. I say this not to depress you further, but to let you know this is a normal human experience. People who look like they have their shit together are just good fakers.

  5. I remember a button from the late 60's (women's movement) that said "Refuse to be Abused." I loved that button! I know that I have issues and that I have been victimized by crummy parenting (like so many others); but it is not something I want to be defined by. I think we have to look for whatever positive influence we can find to be happy in spite of a hard childhood. It wasn't our fault. Be that therapy, anti-depressants, friends, love, music, art, dance, writing, whatever works. It is the good fight.