We all learned many way of avoiding our pain when we were growing up, because we could not manage feeling it when we were little. Now, as adults, most people continue to protect in the ways they learned, not knowing that they are now capable of managing their pain and moving back into their joy.
There are two kinds of painful feelings:
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The core painful feelings - of loneliness, heartbreak, sadness, grief, sorrow, terror and helplessness over others - that come from events or others' unloving, violent or disconnected behavior toward themselves or us.
- The wounded painful feelings - of anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, jealousy and anger - that come from our own thoughts and protective, controlling actions toward ourselves and others.
We all desire to be connected with those important to us, and we naturally feel core painful feelings, especially when someone important to us disconnects from us with their own protections - their anger, blame, withdrawal, and so on.
In many relationships this becomes a protective circle, each person's protections triggering the other's core pain, and each person protecting against feeling their core pain with their protections, which guarantees that you will remain disconnected - the very thing you are trying to protect against.
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How Do You Protect Against Feeling Your Core Pain?
(You might want to print this out and mark the ones that apply to you).
I judge myself, preferring to feel shame and inadequacy rather than loneliness, grief, sadness, heartbreak and powerlessness over others.
I get angry, annoyed, blaming, judgmental toward others, defensive, argumentative, explaining myself, withdrawn, resistant, and/or I give myself up rather than feel my authentic painful feelings.
I turn to addictions - food, alcohol, drugs, sugar, TV, sex, porno, buying things, working, and so on, to numb out my core painful feelings.
I stay in my head, not allowing myself to feel much, depressing my feelings. I prefer depression to my core painful feelings.
I make others responsible for my feelings with my neediness, crying, guilting or shaming others into connecting with me so that I can avoid connecting with myself and my painful core feelings.
I try to be perfect hoping that then no one will reject me and I don't have to feel the pain of another disconnecting from me.
I focus on the past and future rather than being in the moment with my feelings.
I read endless books, attend endless workshops, have endless therapy rather than develop my spiritual connection and learn how to take responsibility for managing my core painful feelings.
How Do You Feel When You Protect Against Your Core Pain?