“Freedom, well that’s someone talking. Your prison is walking through this life all alone”

I always loved that song that The Eagles sing called DESPERADO.

Every time I hear the lyrics it feels like they describe a hidden part of myself that truly believes life would be easier as a lone wolf. The only part that would be easy is getting out of emotional-growth homework.

The safety in remaining emotionally disconnected from people is something I too became addicted to in my younger years. The song by The Eagles talks about freedom, but DESPERADO becomes trapped by his need to run and live on the emotional edges of life. There is no freedom for him; for he doesn’t lovingly choose solitude, he is fearfully driven to a life of isolation.

The lifestyle DESPERADO is chained to in this song is also adopted by many who live as inner-city landscape cowboys. Instead of their horse as their vehicle of escape, modern-day cowboys and cowgirls that crave to live on the outer emotional edges of life, keeping their heart a safe distance from others, choose their careers, laptop and electronic devices instead of people, booze, drugs, heartless sex and food to become their connection points.

“You better let somebody love you, let somebody love you, let somebody love you before it’s tooooooo, late.”

The song continues on singing lyrics of warning to the lone emotional wolf DESPERADO has become.

Letting somebody love you can be the scariest, most challenging proposal in the world for those who have been abused, abandoned and traumatised in the name of love. Keeping on the move and travelling away from others can be done within the comfort of your own lounge room. As a recovering DESPERADO myself, I know the tricks of the “emotional disconnection” trade only too well.

Many of my clients looking to improve their levels of Emotional Fitness identify too with always being emotionally (too busy, busy, busy) and geographically on the move, never staying long enough in one place to be known well or to know the warmth in others. Relaxing with people is not an option for DESPERADO for they remain guarded and emotionally unavailable. But if they are unable to physically travel and leave their environment, they can emotionally remain unavailable often for a whole lifetime, while sharing a home, office, family and relationships with others.

Mastering the ability to be physically present but emotionally absent is a necessity for the city-dwelling DESPERADO to survive. Alcohol, drugs, pills, food, hectic social circles, obsessions with pets, always ensuring they have a house full of guest, visitors or family that demand they disperse their emotional energy giving small pockets of attention to many people keep relationships superficial.

Then there is secretive sex; computers, Ipads, mobile phones, obsessions and distractions all efficiently make it difficult to sustain meaningful emotional bonds with others. These are some of the most common weapons of mass distraction DESPERADO emotionally hides behind. Working in remote areas, choosing shift hours or evening hours that keep them out of mainstream life give them a legitimate excuse to not be emotionally available. Being on the move as a lifestyle choice works well for the DESPERADO, never staying long enough or being accessible enough to build intimate relationships.

When one feels emotionally wounded or traumatised, rather than being exposed as vulnerable, naïve, afraid, awkward and traumatised in relationships, they prefer to hide, or just not go there. Humans will only emotionally connect with others if we feel safe. We are hard-wired to self-preserve. If no emotional elders have been available to model how safe and respectful relationships look, sound, function and feel to be around, heart connection remains foreign and an unsafe prospect.

Sometimes extremely painful events occur in life like sexual, physical or emotional abuse, trauma, death of or separation from a loved one. When events like this happen to a human heart it simply becomes too painful to continue to invest in loving, intimate relationships until the wounding surrounding the distressing event is addressed.

The issue of concern is that when we shut ourselves off from our emotional pain we also shut ourselves off from heartfelt joy. Life becomes meaningless when humans are unable to connect, enjoy and sustain loving and supportive relationships.

Many DESPERADOS, including myself, at the beginning of their emotional recovery journey report feeling emotionally numb, apathetic and cynical about even trying to change. Disconnection from their pain over time has often minimalised their capacity to feel joy and ignite their passion to engage in life.

One of the lines in the song “Desperado” asks:

“Why don’t you come to your senses, you’ve been out riding fences for so long now.”

It has to make sense to want to reconnect to life again.

Recovering DESPERADOS need to take baby steps. Being able to sit still and be, rather than hectically doing and running is simple, but not easy.

To call someone DESPERADO in my past was always an insult in my mind. I never envisaged it would be a gift for me and help me get into emotional recovery so I could start to build the life of my dreams.

Desperation can be a gift without a doubt. I have heard many great sayings over the years about willingness, surrender and pain. The one I love the most that is often said is that

“Pain is the gift that nobody wants.”

To unashamedly acknowledge the DESPERADO within me was my turning point. Those who identify with being an emotionally disconnected DESPERADO like I have been, please take heart. With time and patience we are able to evolve and make that U-turn allowing ourselves safety in vulnerability, one of love’s greatest rewards. And this is only possible when we are gracious enough to accept the unlikely “gift of desperation.”

Jim Carrey’s words about DESPERADOS make my heart smile.

“Desperation is a necessary ingredient to learning anything, or creating anything. Period. If you ain’t desperate at some point, you ain’t interesting!”

Lotsa love Cynthia xxx

© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™

Cynthia Morton

Managing Director

Cynthia Morton is a bestselling Author, Blogger, Speaker and Founder of the multi award winning Emotional Fitness Program.