Bear the conflict. Eventually, if you follow step 1 and step 2 you will feel uncomfortable. You will feel afraid or mad or so angry and depressed you want to blame something or someone or many people or conditions for your emotional pain.
You can get through this stage without understanding, relying on a devil may care act of desperation. But that often does not work. If you try to break the conflict in yourself through dangerous activities you are not trying to die, although you may. You are trying to stop the pain by taking extreme distracting action.
Your hope is that you will break into a new way of being alive, and if you don’t then you are willing to die rather than live with the pain.
Your situation doesn’t have to get this extreme. You don’t have to put yourself in danger, either through risky behaviors or through numbing your soul till you rot away.
With a willingness to look within, it’s at this stage, people often seek psychotherapy or spiritual guidance or philosophical change.
Without a willingness to look within, at this stage when people often look to drugs, alcohol, sexual excess, self-harm or “pull a geographic” as AA describes. It’s also at this stage when people often are vulnerable to cults and manipulative and exploitive people because putting someone else in charge and surrendering personal autonomy seems better than overseeing yourself since you don’t like where that has led.
So, what is the best choice, or at least a better choice? What holds opportunity for you to move through this painful impasse within your mind, heart and soul?
Understanding and a stable base from which to work on and with your inner self in order to grow is essential. This is available in many ways, but in your emotional crisis your vision of your possibilities may be narrow.
What’s going on? Deep in your psyche is a world, your world, of possibilities, dreams, identities, goals, desires. What is true to your heart and soul is there, some of it refined and some of it raw. All of it is powerful.
Just a bit higher up in your psyche is a controlling Judge that enforces the way you believe you are supposed to act, think and behave. This is powerful too and keeps you living the same way, thinking and responding the same way. It pressures you to maintain the equilibrium of your existence, good or bad, based on family, culture, religious, and gender laws you follow regardless of your deep knowing of yourself.
What you have is pressure coming up from below saying, “This is who I am. This is what I want. This is the path I choose to follow.” And the pressure from above pressing down says, “Behave yourself. Follow the rules. Don’t hurt people. Don’t damage the system. Don’t let people down. Don’t hurt yourself by opposing forces stronger than you. Stay with your established routine.”
Yes/No/Yes/No/Yes/No forces within your divided self grow and can lead to anxiety attacks, self doubt, guilt, fear, isolation, people pleasing, confused thinking and rage as well as risky behaviors.
But there’s more within your psyche than these two poles. You also have within you a force pushing you to grow, evolve, heal, develop into who you already authentically are. I like to think of it as your natural life force. You see it in action when you see a blade of grass growing through a cement sidewalk. You see it when a rose comes twisting and turning out of a dark thick bush to expose its bud to the sun and blossom. A force within pushes the life through incredible obstacles so that life can be what is truly is.
You also see it clearly when you witness an actual developmental change, like birds or reptiles emerging from eggs, or insects coming out of the chrysalis. They are all moving from one defined way of living into another, and they must exert themselves to come forth.
Steps One and Two
Psychotherapy with Joanna
Joanna Poppink, depth psychotherapist, Los Angeles, (310) 474-4165
*pix credit: Image by Iván Tamás from Pixabay