A while ago I made a series of drawings that made me feel very uncomfortable. They reminded me of a painting that I had done many years before. In the painting was an image of a helpless woman with her legs and arms flailing in the air.
As with all spontaneous, unconscious imagery, the creating of it filled me with immediate aliveness as I witnessed what was appearing under my brush. Something dark was moving into the light.
As the darkness moves up from the recesses of our minds and bodies to be seen, the anxiety of our conscious minds come soon after. A sense of shame about my emotional neediness soon overwhelmed me. In a rush of embarrassment, I quickly painted over the image.
Later, I deeply regretted it. As I closed off a part of myself and painted back over it, I felt that emotionally hungry part of myself being relegated to the darkness once again. I rejected, and did not want to recognize the feelings of the helplessness that arose from my unmet emotional needs.
Healing Emotional Neediness
Spontaneous art often expresses the parts of ourselves that have been designated to the basement of our psyches. I sometimes draw the same things over and over for years - a part of me wanting to be emotionally tended to - and another part of myself wanting to close over the emerging imagery in fear of feeling the intensity of my emotional needs.
When I finally realized that this repeating image was a drawing of my inner victim, I became willing to consciously see my victim consciousness, and ask it what it emotionally needed from me. Once I could admit to, and hold the helpless part of me in my awareness - visually and emotionally, I was able to change the belief that I was helpless to overcome my circumstances - that I could not quite reach my goals - and that "something" outside of myself was always holding me back.
Wanting to Stay Small and Hurt
Victim consciousness is a universal archetype that we all carry within. The hurting parts of our psyche will always try to convince us that we are not quite up to the task of life. Most of us have profoundly persistent areas of stuck emotional pain from the past, and instead of simply recognizing this, it seems easier to blame and feel victimized by our outside circumstances. Instead of acknowledging where we hurt inside, we project our inner pain onto others.
When we are in emotional pain it can seem like the problems in our outer world are too much to handle. It is common to feel that our circumstances of life are hurting us and keeping us small instead of understanding that we are responsible for tending kindly to our own distressed emotional energy.
Emotional pain seems to come from the outside. It can take over our psychology, flooding us with hurt. We can find a million reasons for why we have to stay hurt and withdrawn, for why we do not have to give our fullest gifts, our finest humility and accountability to our troubled life circumstances. We can tell ourselves - when we are in pain - that we simply to not have the strength to offer our fullest contribution to others.
Victimization is always about inner hurt from the past that is unintegrated in our current life. Feelings of hopelessness and victimization represents an emotional need that was unfulfilled in our earlier years. The fear of our own pain forms the belief that our emotional pain is much more powerful than our ability to give our gifts to life.
Many of us are afraid of who we would have to be if w did not feel victimized. We fear the enormity of what we would have to give - if we no longer felt so held back by our past. If we could be willing to feel our inner hurt without outer blame, we could change into wanting our gift more than our wounds. By finding the strength to go through the sore and sticky emotional pain that continues to stop us, we find our giftedness.
Becoming Stronger Than Our Emotional Pain
Whenever we feel victimized by life, we are usually feeling the regressed helplessness of our inner child. From an inner child place, we will feel unsure that we have the needed muscle to handle and heal our emotional mire. We can, however, find the willing courage to learn how to be present for inner pain, so that we can learn its healing messages.
Pain always asks for personal change. There is always an opportunity to give through our pain rather than to withdraw away from life in hurt, vengeance and victimization. Whenever we feel emotionally triggered and victimized by life, we are always being benevolently pointed toward a buried hurt that must be felt and understood.
Giving Through Emotional Pain
In each situation we encounter, we can give and extend through our emotional pain, or we can choose to withdraw into our familiar cocoon of defense. Because we are closed when seek to "get" what we need from the world, the most creative way to move through feelings of victimization is to find the courage to give precisely and exactly what we most wish we could have received from our earliest caregivers - to other people.
Paradoxically, we do not heal by "getting" what we need. We heal by giving what we need. In truth, we will not even specifically know how to receive the exact composition of what we emotionally need until we learn how to give it to others first. Giving what we most need opens our energy fields to receive what we need. We receive the energy of what we most emotionally need by opening beyond our defense systems, and by willingly giving it to everyone.
When we find the strength to extend what we emotionally need to others, instead of collapsing in defense around old wounds, we prove to ourselves that we are larger than what has hurt us the past. We become "experts" at giving what once disabled us with emotional neediness. When we love others in the exact way that we need to be loved, we find our emotional maturity, and we find our true gifts.
"When we choose to totally give ourselves through any negative feelings, or to be in service, we create a breakthrough. Whether we are feeling ashamed, embarrassed, hurt, jealous, afraid, in despair, empty, useless, futile or lost, where we give ourselves, we create our birth. Where we give, we move out of deadness and into flow; we move out of self-consciousness and self-torture and into grace."
- Chuck Spezzano
Loving Through the Pain
When we love others beyond the love we have known in the past, we open up our own self-nurturing. We finally know what that love we need actually feels like through our giving of it. When we give though our own pain, we are immediately filled with the strength and jubilation of knowing that we can always and forever be able to give others what we are missing. This is a radical way of healing. What we learn to give others, helps us to understand how to ourselves.
We find out who we are through the power of extending love. Learning to give what we most need emotionally can save years of ponderous psychological work. In our victimization we are endlessly afraid to give. When we are determined to not be victimized by our own hurt feelings, we realize we have an opportunity and a choice to love from the particularity of our emotional needs, even when we are aching with pain inside.
We can spend a lifetime catharting, examining and expressing our fears and hurts. But at some point a choice needs to be made to give to life beyond our hurt feelings. Loving from our particular "tone" of emotional pain heals our victimization and provides our purpose. When we are determined to love beyond our feelings of emotional neediness, we jettison ourselves into a passionate life that understands itself through loving.
Excerpted from the journal writing E-Course 30 Days of Authentic Self- Expression. This course will inspire you to deeply process painful emotional states with self-love.
In this course, I share my own art and experiences of learning to stay compassionately present to emotional pain, to encourage you on your journey to honest self-expression and emotional release.