• James DeMile

DEALING WITH DARKSIDE EMOTIONS

Question was asked to expand on how I deal with dark emotions. Every event has a broad range of emotional reactions, from simple awareness to happy to traumatic. From a child being born, a marriage ceremony, to winning the lottery….. to standing next to death on the battlefield as he takes the life of a friend….or every day stress of law enforcement or being a fireman…or being brought up in an abusive environment….or even the spouse who is being over-whelmed with family responsibilities. Emotions are the roller coaster of life. Happy feelings need to be enjoyed, since they quickly dissolve as new events take place. Traumatic events are like a dark storm that sweeps through your mind and body and often turns into a destructive tornado, that affect your everyday thoughts and/or feelings, hence, PTSD or a nervous breakdown. Actually, even low levels of accumulated dark emotions, anger, fear, resentment, guilt, frustration and depression can erode youth and make one old before their time. That’s life, that’s reality………or is it. My wife, Irene, thinks I had a very traumatic up- bringing, I didn’t. Depends on how you look at it. She was brought up in a traditional family household, where there was a mother, father and siblings. Her emotional references are all based on, what I see, as a normal up-bringing. I have no early memory of a mother or father. I was a baby when I went into the orphanage and therefore the orphanage became my family, the kids my siblings and the Christian Brothers of Ireland my parents. Everything that took place, in my mind was normal and part of life. The Christian Brothers were like parents who believed in harsh corporal punishment. When I got caught for throwing a number of 22 bullets into a camp fire, because the older kids would not let me join them, I got a beating, when I broke into the canteen and stole some candy bars, I got a beating, when I got caught stealing cigarettes from the cooks, I got a beating, I got a beating for sneaking into the main office and putting my name on a bunch of other kids Christmas presents. Needles to say, I got a lot of beatings over the years, but to me, it was not traumatic, only the penalty for being caught. Even in class I thought the leather strap was part of the learning process. I remember, in learning the alphabet, while reciting them, you would hold both hands out in front of you, palms up, and if you missed a letter, smack went the strap on one of your hands. Facing going to prison and divorce were traumatic. Saved from trauma, because of the ignorance of youth while in the orphanage, these experience, as an adult, were like getting a beating with a strap with nails in it.. But they were both very beneficial. Sitting in jail, waiting to be sentenced gave me time to reflect on my direction in life and recognize it was spinning out of control. My dark emotions were dominating my life and needed to be confronted. My divorce made me do deeper introspection and change a lot of my social behavior. I had become too emotionally isolated, as a defense, from my orphanage experiences. The orphanage affected my emotional viewpoint about family and my social relationships. I will leave those thoughts for another post. One thing I have learned, from examining my own emotional experiences , that I cannot change the event, but I can change my past and present emotional reactions to it. After many years of dealing with dynamic internalizing techniques, I have come to accept as fact, that how you think and feel, can be manipulated. No dis-respect to the behavioral sciences, but they make dealing with emotional conflict to complicated. To me, self therapy, if possible, is the way to go. You just need rules to follow. I follow specific steps when dealing with personal emotional conflicts. A primary rule when dealing with my emotions, is honesty. I try and be objective, since I may be responsible for the problem. I see dark emotions as being stumbling blocks in my efforts to become a well balanced happy person. When I was younger, time was not my enemy......it is now. I am highly motivated to use my life’s knowledge and experiences to make each day as full and happy as possible. I am not as concerned about the length of my life as much as the quality of life. I want to have purpose for living, rather than to exist without purpose. I see many of those, my age, who have died and do not know it yet. They have let their physical problems become an emotional burden that has dropped them to their knees, they exist, yet they no longer have a vision or purpose. I have major back and walking problems, but see them as obstacles to confront, not make me fall down. Adapt, adapt, adapt is my attitude. Dark emotions or physical problems are part of the maze of life, with dead ends that require you to stop, reflect and discover new paths to follow. Aloha

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