When you experience a physical wound on a part of your body, the first reaction is to clean the wound to determine the damage and prevent infection. Depending on the type of injury, you may still feel some pain or discomfort as the healing process takes place. According to Shield Healthcare, when the skin is injured, our body sets into motion an automatic series of events, often referred to as the “cascade of healing,” to repair the injured tissues.
On the other hand, people who suffer from emotional wounds may not react as quickly when it comes to seeking treatment. A person may experience emotional wounds from relationships, childhood events, and dramatic experiences or the wounds may even be self-inflicted. Since emotional wounds are not visible to the naked eye, it can be tough to recognize someone who is hurting on the inside. So how does the healing process work for such wounds? Can you help someone who is suffering from an emotional wound?
The healing process for an emotional wound will vary from individual to individual. Some people pursue activities that keep their mind occupied with other things. On the other hand, some people use alcohol or other substances as a way of dealing with their inner pain. Neither of these options is recommended for anyone seeking emotional healing. The use of alcohol or other substances will give you a false sense of relief, which may result in additional problems. Increasing your activities may take your mind off the emotional pain you are feeling, but at some point, you must deal with your emotional wounds.
Often, people will bury their inner pain within their hearts and minds, creating an internal graveyard of hurt. Unknowingly, they build a psychological graveyard filled with tombstones marking every painful moment from their past. These graveyards become places of remembrance, which delay the process of emotional healing.
Life is filled with heartaches, poor decisions, childhood struggles, and disappointments. In 2009, my life was consumed with pandemonium. During these dark times, the people closest to me turned away. I have also experienced the emotional hurt from someone cheating on me in a relationship.
Rather than becoming trapped in a negative mindset, let’s look at some of the steps that I have taken to heal my emotional wounds.
The Wound (Infection)
Emotional wounds are the lingering effect of unresolved emotions. Recognizing the pain and the cause of the wound in its preliminary stages can help start the healing process and prevent the possibility of you becoming pessimistic towards life. Contracting a pessimistic attitude from your emotional wound is akin to an individual who has an infection in their body. When a wound on the physical body becomes infected, the bacteria and their toxins can be carried through the bloodstream to the rest of your body. Similarly, the pain from unresolved emotions can create a psychological infection. This will influence how you feel and react in various areas of your life. For example, if Larry’s best friend has had a relationship with his spouse, this situation may cause him to distrust others and question the intentions of every person around him. For instance, Larry has met someone new and they are attending a company picnic. Larry introduces her to some of his co-workers and they respond by saying, “She is a beautiful woman; Larry, you’re a lucky guy.” This comment is meant to be a compliment, but because Larry has not resolved his emotional hurt, he may struggle to accept his co-workers’ words as a compliment and may even assume that they have a hidden agenda. Larry is now feeling the effects of a psychological infection.
Whether it’s lost friendships, breakups, disappointments, being neglected or abandoned, I would highly recommend taking the time to acknowledge your pain. Face the facts about what has happened, but don’t let yourself just ignore the problem. If you have someone close whom you can trust, then set aside some time to share your feelings with them. During the time of my pain, I wrote a letter to myself expressing all my feelings from the beginning of the situation to the final moment when I wrote the letter. Someone taking the time to write a letter to themselves may come across as doing something meaningless, but the visual aspect of seeing my feelings on paper was comforting. Two days later, I read the letter and it gave me a rare chance to reflect back on the events that had led me to that moment. From the letter, I could determine where I could better myself as a person. Also, I identified my expectations for people whom I partner with in business or in relationships.
Root of the Problem (Emotional Wound Surgery)
Repeatedly dredging up the foundation of your emotional pain – whether real or fictitious – can be unpleasant and discouraging. It takes its toll on your overall well-being. When it comes to emotional wounds, some people treat one area and not the others. Have you ever experienced a period of indecisiveness in the midst of emotional pain? The human heart will interpret things one way, while the mind may have an entirely different view of the situation. In this case, you must undergo psychological open-heart surgery to analyze the feelings of your heart. Psychological brain surgery may be required to analyze and critically evaluate your thoughts.
Previously, we talked about the danger of an infection spreading throughout the body. Analyzing the heart and mind in the initial stages can reduce the possibility of such psychological infection. Getting to the root of your emotional pain will require honest answers to some tough questions. Here are some examples of the questions you may ask yourself:
- Am I a difficult person to be with?
- Have I been completely honest with myself or the other person?
- Did I honestly give it my best effort?
- Were my intentions honorable?
- Do I communicate well with others?
- Did/Do I settle for things in life for convenience?
- Do I allow my emotional hurt from the past to affect my reactions to present-day situations?
- Am I holding on to something I need to let go of?
- Why am I feeling this way?
Identifying legitimate solutions to a problem means knowing what the real causes of the problem are. Acting without identifying what circumstances contribute to the problem can result in misguided efforts and waste of time and energy. However, by thoroughly analyzing the cause of the problem, you can accept ownership, that is, by experiencing the problem, you will understand it better and be inspired to deal with it.
Men and women are fully capable of withdrawing emotionally, from each other, from other people, from their environments, and even from their own selves. The reasons for this behavior will depend on the individual and their circumstances.
When a person elects to isolate themselves or withdraw from their environment, it may indicate a lack of trust when it comes to exposing their emotions. When it happens in any relationship, the result is often confusing and painful for every person involved. It doesn’t matter if it’s an intimate sexual relationship, a friendship or a work relationship. Allowing someone into your innermost thoughts, dreams, and fears is not just scary, but intimidating.
If you are experiencing emotional pain, you need someone who can provide you with honest feedback. Friends and family members will have your best interest at heart, but sometimes the confidential conversations you have with them may still be shared with others. Disclosure of another person’s emotional pain or fears can have a dramatic effect on them. For this reason, seeking guidance/counseling from a minister or a counselor may be your best option. The objective here is to communicate your emotions without the fear of being condemned. Having the opportunity to express your feelings will decrease the likelihood of you holding these feelings in for years.
Some people may find it difficult to share their personal life with strangers. In such cases, the Internet may offer some assistance to help you find your comfort zone. I would recommend doing your research to locate reputable counseling services in your area or churches that provide these services. I started watching videos from TD Jakes and Joel Osteen on topics related to my situation. This was extremely helpful and provided the spiritual encouragement I desperately needed.
Environment with Triggers
When your environment is filled with physical reminders of your emotional pain, such as memorabilia, people, and negative distractions, it’s understandable if you feel stressed and irritable all day. After all, it’s hard to find moments for self-awareness and self-reflection when the environment is not conducive to your personal growth and development.
Before we move forward, we must understand that if a trigger keeps coming up in your life, there’s a reason for it. This is a clear sign that you may still have some unresolved emotions that require your attention. Triggers represent the emotional response that occurs when we hear a certain song, see a certain picture or movie, or smell a particular cologne/perfume. When something is triggered by your senses, you may have a feeling of either emotional joy or pain.
Now is an appropriate time to create a new perspective on the things that trigger your emotional pain. The key to creating a new perspective is changing what you mentally associate with the triggers in your life. Are you willing to punish yourself for the rest of your life each time a specific love song plays on the radio? Suppose you meet someone new and you’re enjoying a nice dinner when that love song begins to play. Do you want to ruin the date over a bad memory? While you are wasting your thoughts on your past pain, the person who hurt you is enjoying their life. The first person I loved was Lana Larry, my song for her was “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins. I was heartbroken when we went our separate ways to the point that I was physically sick. Ultimately, I came to the realization that our time together had passed. I left the hurt behind, but I took the positive aspects such as those of her qualities that I had liked and that I would seek in someone else and the ways in which I could better myself for the arrival of my true love. I want to emphasize the fact that I took only some of her qualities and that I did not attempt to make someone else into her. So, when I hear the song “Against All Odds” now, I no longer feel sad. As of now, it’s just a song from one of my favorite singers. Mentally, I changed how I associated the song with my life.
Appreciation is the act of recognizing or understanding that something is valuable. This is exactly how you should think of yourself every second of the day. As a matter of fact, talk to yourself like you would to someone you are madly in love with.
I realize that most people only see you during the day when you’re wearing a smile and when, like an actor, you’re prepared to give the impression that life is grand. Consider everything that you have been through or are enduring now, yet you are still here looking for a way to make things better. This behavior represents not only the greatness within you, but also the reality that you are a fighter with a warrior’s spirit.
We should always strive to encourage and inspire others to be their best. Emotional wounds can have a dramatic effect on a person’s life. In some cases, it can lead to chemical addiction or even worse, to suicide.
If you haven’t talked to someone in a long time or if you just need to call someone and ask for forgiveness, why not make the call now?