Why do we Need Emotions?
I first became aware of the power and the gift of my emotions when I decided to take action to get myself away from an unhealthy romantic relationship.
This relationship acted as an addiction. I felt compelled to keep returning to it, even though I knew cognitively that it was having a negative impact on my life. (Studies have shown that our emotions have a stronger influence on our behaviours, actions and decision making than our thoughts do. In fact our thoughts contribute 5% to our behaviours, whereas our feelings are responsible for 95%).
I became aware that I had been using the relationship as a way to dissociate and to numb out from some painful feelings. Once the relationship had finished, I continued to obsess about it as an unconscious way to numb the emotional pain in my inner being. For example, I would check his Facebook page to see whether he had put anything on there. I would also go on Whatsapp to see when he was last online – ANYTHING to feel some sort of connection. Dr. Gabor Mate says that addiction is not a problem, it is an attempt to SOLVE a problem. This was a great example of this phenomenon playing out.
One day I reached such a low point that I decided I needed to commit myself getting my life back on track. I blocked the ex on social media and my phone so that I could no longer use these things as a crutch.
Soon after doing this, a particular person came round to my house. This person had been to my house many times before. However this time I became curious about my feelings around this person. Previously I would have tried to suppress my feelings and I would have told myself there was something “wrong with me” for feeling the way I did. I would have subconsciously looked for a distraction, such as my ex.
After this person had left, I noticed that I felt extreme discomfort. I journaling about it and realised that I had the feeling that I was being punished, as though I had done something wrong. I was able to logically assess the situation. Had I ACTUALLY done anything wrong? No. This led me to be able to discern that this was an emotionally abusive relationship.
I have since been able to set appropriate boundaries in order to protect myself and keep myself safe from this person. Had I not been able to do this, the abuse would still be continuing and more and more trauma would be building up in my body, with devastating consequences.
By getting support to put down the addictive behaviour, we are then able to start to acknowledge and process our emotions. We are on the path to healing.