Emotional See Saw – The ‘Other’ Side That We Often Overlook

All emotional ups involve indulgence, identification with the emotion...
All emotional ups involve indulgence, identification with the emotion…

Anger and frustration are emotions of high energy. Unlike states like depression, these high energy emotions need immediate venting and they are hard to keep suppressed for long. We want to do something when we identify ourselves with those emotions. We become very impulsive and often do things that we regret later on.

In our attempts to healing them we usually overlook the intimate connection between a negative high and a positive high in an emotional cycle and the underlying principles that dictate both. And this ignorance, unfortunately, keeps us from healing ourselves. Let us look at what happens when we experience high-energy negative emotions like anger and compare them with certain, what we call, ‘positive’ emotions.

When we are angry or frustrated, we lend our whole being and identity to that particular emotion, which means there is a high degree of self-indulgence. We tend to become impulsive. We let the emotion dictate how we react to the circumstances and to the people around us, as well as with ourselves. Our actions and words are influenced by the emotion.

When we look at our ‘positive’ high-spirited behavior (which is our idea of having fun or being happy) the same principles that govern the negative emotions are being applied here too. We lend our identity to that mood or emotion, we indulge ourselves, we become impulsive, and we speak and behave under the influence of the emotion. Think of any activity that is fun for you. It could be hanging out with friends, becoming impish, eating, dancing, singing, sexual indulgence, etc. The external activity varies from person to person.

The reason why we fail to identify this is because we mistake positive high-spirited activity for happiness. Unfortunately it is not. More often than not, the ‘positive’ high-spirited activity is largely our desperate attempt at ‘filling’ our life with seeming happiness rather than actually happiness and contentment itself.

Please note that some of the same activities may be performed without it becoming your illusory positive high. You could involve yourself into dancing and reach a calm state of mind. That is not the illusory positive high that I am talking of. So how do we identify that illusory positive high emotion that leads to indulgence?

Caution: Emotional Ups and Downs Ahead
Caution: Emotional Ups and Downs Ahead

Look for exhaustion, tiredness, and a lingering unease and boredom. When we are engaged in indulgence that gives us an illusion of happiness and joy, we will also find it exhausting and draining – especially towards the end of the activity you will find yourself desperately and mechanically clinging to the activity but you are not really involved in it really. There sometimes is a sense of uneasiness and boredom towards the end. None of these side effects are seen when we are really content with lives – when we are truly happy.

Our body always looks to balance our energy levels. So a bout of high-energy activity will be followed by a period of low energy levels. Emotionally it could be a period of depression, lack of interest, and a sense of despair. It may not necessarily occur right after a bout of high energy activity. The duration of the period could even be weeks. So there could days or weeks of high activity followed by a few weeks of depression and despair.

Expecting to heal our anger while we continue to indulge ourselves in ‘fun’ is unrealistic. So does that mean we must cut down upon our ‘fun’ activities? Cutting down will not lead to healing; it will only cause a future outburst of excess indulgence. Unfortunately our culture tries to teach us self-control and suppression. Control and suppression is not a path of healing.

The only path to healing is by understanding the emotions and their underlying causes completely. For in deep observation and understanding the conditions for pain dissolve and we discover ourselves.

Hypnotherapy is one therapy that can help identify our habits of emotional highs and lows through regression techniques. Many a time, ‘seeing’ the whole of our past patterns alone helps us dissolve a large part of that habit subconsciously.

Recommended Readings:
Emotional Drama
Mind Drama
Eternal Human Conflict

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Sometimes separation is the way to heal a marital issue!

A decision as huge as separation in a marriage is not to be made without sound judgement and due consideration. But at the same time do not let guilt, social pressure, and insecurity hold you in a bad marriage!

In India, divorce is a taboo and a social burden that the divorcee is forced to carry the brunt of all through their life. The pressure is definitely higher on women. As a consequence many couples would rather suffer together, living lives with constant fights, bickering, and ill health than opt for separation. This also affects the way their children’s lives are shaped.

Most relationship issues can be resolved through a committed effort and a short course of therapy. But in some cases, the solution lies in separation. The couple’s core values are clashing and none of them is happy to give them up. These usually are values that were inculcated into them as kids – like religion, morality, ethics, gender bias, etc. In some other cases, the expectations about their partners are not met and neither is willing to give them up too.

In some of these cases what really keeps them going is not their commitment to each other or any tiny bit of affection they have left for one another, rather, it is guilt, social pressure, insecurity.

As a therapist, my goal is not to keep them together; my goal is to heal each of them. And in the process of healing the couples either bond closer or choose their separate paths. But in any case, healing would have been done. It is not surprising that in some cases healing happens only by couples moving away from each other.

It is not an easy decision to make for either of the couple. The usual major reasons (as I mentioned earlier) that keeps them wavering is guilt, social pressure, and insecurity.

I have seen, in some cases, separation helps them heal tremendously and move on in life. It is however, very important that during the early weeks or months of separation each of them receives healing and proper advice from a good therapist because the social setup of our country is such that divorcees are mostly disapproved of. Of course, family support is of paramount importance but divorcees often tend to disregard motivation from family and friends.

Guilt is the first issue that needs to be addressed. And the second is sensitivity to social opinion. One needs to understand that as humans we always look forward to pronounce judgements about others’ lives and feel better about ourselves. So society always talks. We are a part of that society and have spoken hastily in the past too. A divorcee needs to understand that the world is not the judge of her/his issues.

I need to emphasize that it is only in some cases that separation is the solution for a relationship issue. In most cases, it is simple behavioural changes, understanding of personality types and expectations, and correction of communication issues that are enough to resolve relationship issues. A decision as huge as separation must only be made with sound judgement and due consideration.