We have all learned many ways of trying to avoid or get rid of our painful feelings. Many of these ways are fairly obvious: addictions to substances and activities, staying in your mind rather than in your body, or judging yourself.
Another major way we avoid or try to get rid of our painful feelings is by making others responsible for them in various ways. When we are filled with painful feelings and are not open to our spiritual guidance to help us learn from them and release them, we might dump them on others in various ways, in an effort to release them. How do you dump your feelings onto another?
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• I yell at, judge and/or blame someone, hoping they will understand how much I’m hurting and change what they are doing. Or I hope they will be compassionate, caring and approving, or give me permission to do something I want to do, but am not allowing myself to do.
• I calmly and relentlessly complain about something over and over, badgering the other person, with the hope that they will say just the right thing to release the painful feelings in me. I believe that if they agree, change or acknowledge what they are doing, I will feel better. Even if they do say the “right” thing, I keep at it, because it’s never right enough.
• I cry as a pathetic victim, hoping the other person will feel badly enough to give me the compassion I’m not giving to myself, or that they will stop doing what they are doing that is hurting me, so that I don’t have to take loving action for myself.
• I talk on and on addictively, hoping that if I talk enough and get enough attention from the other person, my pain will release.
• I shut down and withdraw my love from the other person, hoping they will feel badly enough to change and give me the understanding and compassion I’m not giving to myself.
• I try to have sex with my partner to release my stress and feel better about myself.
What happens in your relationships when you do any of these addictive things? While these wounded, self-abandoning behaviors may work temporarily to distract you from your pain, they all result in more disconnection and loneliness between you and those important to you. While it might seem as if the pain subsides when you dump your feelings onto others, all that really happens is that the feelings go deeper within and get stuck in your body, causing many physical and emotional problems.