Tony Soprano’s quote works beautifully here as he vents his frustrations about emotional recovery at his therapist. His character in the television series “The Sopranos” was a Mafiosi master at hit and runs, but like many of us, did not know how to emotionally STAY.
Ever been to a therapist?
Psychiatrists, psychologists, exorcists, healers and recovery sponsors, you name it, I have listened long and hard to them all.
If we have a toothache we go to a dentist, if we have emotional trauma it is wise to go to a therapist.
My first visit to a shrink was an involuntary one as I was in hospital at age 16. I had overdosed and awoke really pissed off that it had not worked. I did not want to STAY on this planet any more after I had my first sexual experience with a male my own age. In that moment of becoming a “consenting adult” it unplugged the sewage of violent sexual abuse that had occurred during the first nine years of my life on this planet at the hands of two male predators in my childhood. Yep, I was a mess from age 16 to age 33, and tried to get off the planet to escape ever having to face this big emotional clean-up job.
I did not want to STAY here, let alone deal with my past and my truth. That is until I discovered how to efficiently use booze and drugs. I believed I had discovered the perfect anesthetic! The solution to all my problems was a smorgasbord of socially acceptable weapons of mass distraction.
Many of us don’t enjoy feeling our core truth so we do our best to avoid STAYING true to ourselves. We protect our vulnerability and bandage it up with distracting dramas to throw anyone trying to get close to us off course.
If we don’t want to STAY with our truth, sit with it, own it, heal it and recover we won’t believe anyone else really, truly will want to STAY with us either. So we ensure we create self-fulfilling prophesies, choosing emotionally unavailable partners who do not know how to STAY true to themselves for they are most definitely guaranteed to let us down. We eventually leave the relationship, or they do.
If we let ourselves down by self-abandoning when our emotional mess leaks out and rises to the surface in our relationships, we will let others down too. If we keep pushing our pain back down, suppressing our truth rather than releasing it, we become suppressed, depressed and eventually feel dead inside. We get bored with love and life, living a superficial shallow existence.
The only way to not hit overwhelm or emotional fatigue in our relationships is to stop running from our wounds, STAY, go deep and do the work.
Often the superficial feelings we complain about in ourselves and others are just referred pain. You know, like when we go to a masseuse because our neck feels “out”, but the problem is not our neck at all. It is our lower back that is throwing our neck out. Too often clients come to me complaining that their partner, their weight, their booze or drug issues are their biggest problem. Others are giving them a pain in the neck. However, often drama and social anesthetics like work, food, booze and drugs, “weapons of mass distraction”, are not the deeper cause, just a superficial, convenient decoy. Our ego much prefers to blame people, places and things as the cause of our pain in the neck. None of us want to face the fact that we may actually be the cause ourselves through emotional negligence and self-avoidance.
I so relate to the character Tony Soprano in his therapy sessions. Every time my psychiatrist diverted me from the superficial feeling or drama I was trying to “sell” him on as my real problem I wanted to get up and punch him. He would not let me control the session. He would refuse to buy my bullshit and just emotionally massage my neck like I asked him to. Instead he would put pressure on my heart’s unprotected areas causing me immense pain and then he would say firmly …
“STAY, Cynthia, STAY with this feeling. I want you to sit with this emotion” Oh my god, I hated hearing those words.
I had become an expert from the age of four in leaving my heart, not STAYING with its immobilising feelings of betrayal and devastation.
It would be excruciatingly painful, ego-deflating and awkward for me to allow him to see how crippled and ugly my past had been. I was embarrassed and ashamed to STAY and sit with my truth. That was the truth I needed to STAY with, own and work on healing. Even as I type these words now it’s a discipline to STAY true to this subject and not sugarcoat this Word Vitamin to make it more palatable,
So if there is any betrayal, devastation and deep pain that has been left unattended in your life recently or even decades ago, you deserve to heal it. It is not about wallowing in the past, but going back (with professional support) and retrieving the beautiful parts of ourselves we left behind when that emotional tsunami hit.
Most of us leave behind our innocence, trust and self-worth. We gotta go back and get it as an act of self-love. It is our heart’s most sacred treasure. We are the safe elders we have been waiting for all our lives. This is what Gandhi means when he suggests we become the change we wish to see in our world.
If we will not STAY and clean up our own mess, make changes for the better and tend to our wounds, we cannot expect anyone else to.
We have to ask for help though from a safe, independent healer. It is not the job of our lovers, children, family or friends to consistently STAY present to all our messy pain and work through it with us. It is our job as adults to become willing to STAY not stray from our truth and heal it once and for all.
Being patient with ourselves as we earn our own trust back after we self-abandoned all those years ago is so worth the work. A new and beautiful love affair will eventually blossom. The only one we can rely on and live happily ever after with. The love affair we have with ourselves.
So I offer this sentence to you to consider as a tool to help you come home to yourself and STAY a while if things get rough. I still quietly say it to myself whenever an awkward or unpleasant feeling arises. It now offers me a sense of safety and comfort rather than making me want to punch myself or someone else. Try gently suggesting to yourself next time you feel upset …
“STAY, Cynthia (put your name here), STAY with this feeling. I can and will sit with this feeling until it passes”
So many of my clients ask me how they can avoid, delete, distract or escape feelings of anger, jealousy, shame, resentment, guilt and sadness. Until we own them and STAY with them, taking full responsibility for them, they will own us.
Sitting, STAYING and respecting our truth when we face challenging feelings is the only way we learn to massage the fear blocking us away. Sometimes we need to cry, yell or just sit in silence. Home is where our heart is and it is now time to learn how to come home when the going gets tough and STAY.
We are the person we have been waiting and looking for all our lives.
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™