We have all struggled to understand and manage our feelings at some point, for some of us who did not receive the ‘right type of parenting’ or experienced CEN (Childhood Emotional Neglect) in our formative years and growing up, the lessons in dealing with emotions were often absent from our valuable life lessons and can make ‘fixing childhood hurts’ a challenge.
How can we fix childhood hurts?
Identifying and accepting that our childhood emotional needs were un-met can be difficult and upsetting, even thinking that our parents did not do a good enough job feels dis-loyal and is a major obstacle to fixing childhood hurts and changing how we think, learn and become more emotionally intelligent or aware of our feelings.
We must wrestle with that sense of accepting that however hard our parents tried, it wasn’t quite what we needed then or now. It’s ok to tell ourselves that we need more now, and learn how to fix childhood hurts.
So what can we do to fix childhood hurts
1 Identify the Feeling
Naming a feeling can be difficult when its something we are unfamiliar with, asking ourselves ‘What am I feeling’ is a good start.
Keeping a daily Thought, Feeling and Behaviour therapeutic journal can be really effective at understanding and getting in touch with how we are effected by our thoughts and how they impact on our feelings and behaviours.
2 Accepting our Emotions
When we grew up with CEN, we generally judge ourselves harshly, we are more self critical, we think things like ‘I shouldn’t feel this or that’. This way of thinking and self criticising has become our normal, a way of not accepting that our early emotional needs we un-met.
A huge amount of emotional energy is used to constantly ignore our own needs and minimise our self worth. Accepting what we feel is the predecessor to managing and changing how we feel.
3 Understanding our Emotions
After labelling and accepting our emotions or feelings, we can then begin to understand them, the daily therapeutic journal, possibly shared with our therapist is a very effective tool to helping us make sense of our feelings and how we respond to old and new experiences.
Asking ourselves ‘are we reacting to something that has just happened or was it a trigger from the past, sometimes it can be a combination of both, understanding what triggers our feelings and emotions helps us to make subtle changes in our lives, changes that can end the hurt.
4 Dealing with our Emotions
Our emotions and feelings are a message from our minds, often a certain experience has a certain feeling attached to it, in therapy we call it a trigger. When we identify a feeling or an emotion, being aware of the thought which proceeded it can help us learn patterns, the daily therapeutic journal is very effective unto this point, however at this stage we need to learn what to do with the feeling and its link to thoughts and behaviours.
Knowing how to deal with thoughts which trigger emotions is very important in helping us to better manage our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. ‘Thought Filing’ another useful therapeutic tool is very effective at helping us to think, feel and do better, un-doing the years of unhelpful ways of living our lives and helping us to fix childhood hurts.
If you would like to know more about fixing childhood hurts and managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviours, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Paul Parkin – online therapist/counselor