By Javinne J. McCoy
For Part 2 Click Here.
If you want to get off the Pity Pot of your emotional Pain, the first step entails being able to identify the symptoms of your pain.
Ask yourself “How does my emotional pain manifest itself in my life?” In order to heal, you must know what your pain looks like, feels like, thinks like, behaves like, speak and sounds like. Identifying the symptoms of your emotional pain is easiest for most and shouldn’t be difficult. Most of us can identify (and even over-identify) what our pain source is (or at least what we initially think our emotional and pain is about- the symptoms are often the surface problems. The real pain may be too hard to face-that’s why many bounce when faced with the Real T).
However, often times we are just identifying the symptoms of our pain and never getting to the real issues and the real fears. The symptoms of emotional pain are exhaustive. After you identify the symptoms of your emotional pain you have to dig deep and get to the real deal causes of it (but for now let’s focus on a list of 20 symptoms of emotional pain that I have commonly seen people experience when currently dealing with an EUP (or when the relationship with their EUP ends).
The symptoms of chronic emotional pain resulting from dealing with emotionally unavailable folk often have behavioral (things we do), cognitive (things we think), relational (how we interact with others), and emotional (things we feel) dimensions. So the questions beg, “What is frickin’ bugging you? What does it look like when you are stuck in chronic emotional pain?” Here are common symptoms and themes I have seen in people (this list is not exhaustive):
20 Things That May keep You Stuck on the Pity Pot of Your Pain
1. You refuse to allow yourself to be comforted and to find relief from the drama.
Instead for example, you would rather talk endlessly and complain with your gals, or homies, about all of the crappy things he/she is doing to break your heart (or maybe they caused you pain years ago and you are still yipping and yapping about it). You are caught in the details of the drama and trauma. You possibly have enough material to start a spin off your own version of “Sex and the City”.
2. You have convinced yourself that your painful experiences are “as good as it gets”.
You have given up on yourself and life because you feel that life has been unfair and you keep getting a bad “hand”.
3. You are unable to handle even the slightest disappointment and succumb to despair if life or a relationship is not going your way.
You define yourself through these disappointments.
4. You still continue to try to have endless discussions with your EUP (Emotionally Unavailable Partner) that lead NOWHERE.
You’re hoping that they will somehow understand your pain. In fact, you will talk to them for hours on the phone until they do! Even if the relationship is as dead as an animal carcass, you keep trying to breathe life into it and revive it. You hope that your pain source will understand your pain and help heal the pain they caused (read: you are giving them the responsibility to heal your heart and giving up your power)
5. You are unusually cynical about things and your thoughts about life and relationships are negatively skewed.
You have convinced yourself that “All men or the same”, “All women are the same”, “There are no good men”, “There are no good women”. You have essentially given up on love.
6. You are always discontented.
Nothing ever makes you happy. You refuse to allow yourself to be happy without someone or something having to define you.
7. You attempt to hold hostage the man or woman who won’t love you back.
Instead of learning to let go, you decide you are going to make them love and treat you right.
You want them to respect your feelings, yet you can’t respect theirs. You are mad because their behaviors indicate that they don’t really value you. You can’t accept this. You are unhappy if they are not validating you and want to ring their neck.
8. Your desire to be “right” about all the pain they caused you is greater than your desire to heal your own heart.
Yea you may be “right”-they caused you pain. Yea you may be “right”-they are a selfish dipstick. Yea you may be “right”-they may be emotionally unavailable. Yea you may be “right”-they never will find someone like you (but this really doesn’t matter if they did not value you to begin with. If they didn’t value you, (from their perspective) they really did not lose anything-tough pill). Yea you may be “right”-they treated you like dog poo. However, you are “right”. That is it. You are “right”, in pain, and still unhappy after being “right” about them and their crap. Instead, you need to focus on YOU and why you allow people to treat you like dog poo.
9. You become hyper-sensitive about everything.
You can’t watch a romantic movie without seeing yourself in the characters. You can’t go certain places because they remind you of him/her or the loss of your relationship. Everything triggers you to want to revisit your unhealthy relationship. You figure that the pain with them is better than the pain you feel without them (that’s why you keep going back. Keep in mind that you only feel this way because you haven’t learned to love yourself yet).
10. You have a secret life and pretend everything is okay when you are your friends, but when you go home at night, and sit alone, you are in reality miserable.
You convince yourself that you must “fake it till you make it” until your pain magically disappears. You may actually feel like an emotional mess on the inside. You don’t want to do the real emotional and spiritual soul work to heal your heart-you get overwhelmed by thinking about it. So you avoid and pretend that it’s all good (meanwhile, you are dying on the inside). Notice how pretending that it is all good only masks your pain and never really deals with it or heals it.
11. You lose yourself too easily when becoming involved romantically.
Remember that one of the hallmarks of emotional unavailability is giving away your power to the other party. Everything becomes about him or her. You become enmeshed in the details of the relationship-its ups, its downs, the good times, the bad times, and it is all you can talk or think about. You have essentially given up your power to them. Giving up your power sets you up to become victimized in life.
12. You have decided that you cannot trust any man or woman.
You have resigned yourself to a life of suspicion and cynicism. Your relationship with him or her failed, they broke your heart, and you convince yourself that ALL people are the same-untrustworthy.
13. You constantly seek validation from outside sources (i.e. dysfunctional romantic relationships) and are unhappy if you are not in a relationship or dating someone.
In your mind you have convinced yourself that romantic love is a “cure-all” and “fix-all”.
You give it a lot of power to make you happy or unhappy. If you don’t have “love”, you feel something is deeply flawed with you.
14. You play the victim and martyr in your life experience.
15. You find that you are stuck.
You are still stuck in negative thoughts, actions, and become addicted to negative feelings.
16. Your EUP has moved on but you haven’t.
Be careful here. “Moving on” doesn’t mean hoping in to another effed up relationship or dating before you have the chance to heal. However, you may notice that they continue to live their life yet you are so entrenched in pain that you make the decision to stop living yours. While they go on, you are still focused on the pain they caused.
17. You don’t know how to self-soothe in healthy ways.
Instead when you are feeling bad you keep doing things that add to that and make you more miserable. (i.e. texting them when you know you shouldn’t, calling them when you know you shouldn’t, taking them back for the millionth time).
18. You refuse to accept reality.
For example, your mind is still not connecting that you shouldn’t be with him or her even after 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 breakups.
19. You confuse the amount of hurt and pain you feel for the magnitude of love you have for him or her.
20. You have yet to do anything productive to heal your pain and change your life.
Chronic emotional pain leaves you stuck and you will stay there until you decided to do something about it.
Again, this list is not exhaustive. There are many things which may keep you on the Pity Pot of Pain. Only you can make the decision that you want to truly deal with your pain and heal it.
Please share your thoughts, comments, and stories. Do you have a topic or a question on emotionally unavailable relationships that you would like addressed on the L.A. Blog? Please feel free to email: [email protected] or comment directly on a post that has inspired and empowered you.
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