The Tragedy of Emotional Scars
An article touching on the impact that emotional wounds have on the individual and the people with whom they interact.
_What Do You Need To Let Go Of?
Two Buddhist monks return to their monastery after the rains. They reach a swollen river and in front of them is an extremely beautiful lady in a delicate silk kimono, distressed because she is unable to cross the river by herself. So, the older monk scoops her up, carries her safely to the other side and the two monks continue on their way in silence.
Five hours later, as the two monks reach their destination, the younger monk, literally fuming, bursts out, "How could you do it? You touched a woman; you know we’re not allowed to do that!”
The older monk replies, “I put her down 5 hours ago, but you are still carrying her with you.”
Many of us hold on to events, thoughts, mindsets, and trauma long after it has become evident we are being still being damaged long after the event has occurred. Last month I posted an article called, “The Significance of Scars”, that focused on the positive lessons we can glean from physical trauma. This month, I will speak briefly on emotional trauma and ways to identify and address it.
It has been said that time heals all wounds. I feel that statement is false when the wound is emotional. Your wounds never completely heal. With a physical wound; your body forms a scar tissue that protects it from future damage. Just like a physical wound, your mind forms mental scar tissue that minimizes the hurt and pain which enables you to move on with your life.
Recognition of emotional scars and wounds is necessary and sometimes difficult. Some people who have experienced a great loss, or have gotten out of an abusive or dysfunctional relationship may focus on stabilizing their external environment by acting as if nothing ever happened. Emotional wounds lie dormant in the darkest rooms of your heart but they never completely go away. With the right trigger, however, it can resurface. We don’t have to be controlled by our pain, though. We need to know what our enemy is in order to effectively neutralize its damaged inflicted upon our lives, family, and general development.
The next step after recognition of an emotional hurt is to find out what are the root causes of the emotional scars. There are many reasons that people can be emotionally hurt. Many stem from bad situations or living in dysfunctional environments during childhood, some type of traumatic incident such as a disaster, a divorce, death of a loved one, rape, abuse, loss of a child, job or house, or being neglected. Ask yourself what bothers you the most about the situation or incident.
One of the demons all individuals battle is fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 assures us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Fear is best used as a gauge of what our spiritual, mental, or emotional condition is, and should be a motivational tool toward positive change. It is when we allow fear to overpower and control us that we run into big problems. Emotional pain can be defined as feeling hopeless, lacking trust, guilt, resentment, anger, sadness or feeling nothing at all. It can also mean feeling unlike yourself or feeling as if you don’t know who you are anymore with loss of self esteem, passion and confidence.
In an attempt to keep from being rejected or abandoned, someone suffering from fear of abandonment may bounce from relationship to relationship, so that he or she is the one who is doing the rejecting. Even if the relationship is going well, the suffering individual may be compelled to leave the relationship, feeling as if it is only a matter of time before something goes wrong. They, in effect, do the one thing they fear those individuals will eventually do to them. This impedes a relationship based on love and trust, since both were insufficient or nonexistent from the very beginning.
Many people who suffer from abandonment fears are always in need of constant reassurance of affection or love. They will ask a partner or loved one, “Do you really love me?” repeatedly, or exhibit other compulsive behavior to prove that the person they are involved with still loves them and will not leave.
Overcoming fear of abandonment is not an easy thing to do. It takes not only the will to do so, but the support of someone close to that person who will be able to set boundaries and limits. Fear of abandonment is not something that a person can get over on his or her own. It requires the help of mental health professionals, as well as the support of good friends and loved ones to help the individual overcome his or her problems. If the person suffering from abandonment issues is willing to get help, fear of abandonment will begin to have very little effect on his or her life.
Some of the signs that an individual may display are can include anxiety attacks, difficulty concentrating, difficulty falling or staying asleep, exaggerated startle responses, irritability, outbursts of anger or rage, or aggressive behavior. They may seem to be on constant watch for any threats of danger (hyper vigilance), or react unusually when exposed to situations that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic experience.
Reliving the traumatic event at unwanted and unexpected times may also happen. Flashbacks, in which the individual momentarily experiences an aspect of the traumatic experience, nightmares, or reactions of intense grief or depression on the anniversary date of the traumatic event, are all common.
Numbing emotions or developing patterns of behavior in order to avoid stimuli associated with the trauma is known as Constriction. It is avoidance behavior; an attempt to deny and avoid negative feelings or people, places, or things which aggravate the negative feelings associated with the trauma. Continuing to develop these negative patterns can result in withdrawal from relationships, avoidance of children; efforts to avoid or deny thoughts or feelings about the trauma; restricted range of loving or tender feelings; a sense of a foreshortened future; reduced interest in previously enjoyed activities; drug or alcohol abuse; suicidal thoughts or acts; and other self-destructive tendencies.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, talk with a professional counselor, psychologist or therapist. I encourage everyone to give feedback. This was written by request of many individuals I speak with. The purpose is that anyone that is suffering unnecessarily, “victim” or “significant other,” will become more informed of their situation and empowered as to how to seek help. My prayer is that God will do miraculous things in your life.