We have all learned many ways of trying to avoid or get rid of our painful feelings. Many of these ways are fairly obvious: addictions to substances and activities, staying in your mind rather than in your body, or judging yourself.
Another major way we avoid or try to get rid of our painful feelings is making others responsible for them in various ways. When we are filled with painful feelings and are not open to our Guidance to help us learn from them and release them, we might dump them on others in various ways, in an effort to release them. How do you dump your feelings onto another?
- I yell at, judge and/or blame someone, hoping they will understand how much I’m hurting and change what they are doing; or be compassionate, caring and approving; or give me permission to do something I want to do, but am not allowing myself to do.
- I calmly and relentlessly complain about something over and over, badgering the other person, with the hope that they will say just the right thing to release the painful feelings in me. I believe that if they agree, change, or acknowledge what they are doing, I will feel better. Even if they do say the “right” thing, I keep at it, because it’s never right enough.
- I cry as a pathetic victim, hoping the other person will feel badly enough to give me the compassion I’m not giving myself, or that they will stop doing what they are doing that is hurting me, so that I don’t have to take loving action for myself.
- I talk on and on, addictively, hoping that if I talk enough and get enough attention from the other person, my pain will release.
- I shut down and withdraw my love from the other person, hoping they will feel badly enough to change and give me the understanding and compassion I’m not giving to myself.
- I try to have sex with my partner to release my stress and feel better about myself.
What happens in your relationships when you do any of these addictive things? While these wounded, self-abandoning behaviors may work temporarily to distract you from your pain, they all result in more disconnection and loneliness between you and those important to you. While it might seem as if the pain subsides when you dump your feelings onto others, all that really happens is that the feelings go deeper within and get stuck in your body, causing many physical and emotional problems.
The alternative is to do Inner Bonding: opening to learning about how you are causing your wounded feelings, learning about what your core feelings are telling you about a person or a situation, bringing love and comfort inside from your spiritual Guidance, and releasing the feelings in ways that don’t hurt you or others – crying while holding your inner child, doing an anger process or being willing to release your feelings to Spirit. All of these ways of managing your feelings will create much more release then dumping them out on another.
When you take 100% responsibility for learning to manage your own painful feelings, learning from them and releasing them in healthy ways, then you can be present with others with an open heart. You no longer need to use others to get rid of your painful feelings. When two people in a relationship are each taking responsibility for their own feelings in healthy ways, their relationship flourishes in love, passion, fun, learning, growth and joy.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process – featured on Oprah.