Revisiting Past Emotions: The Role of Meta-Feelings
Everyone has an emotional history which comes from the emotional climate past. Some were in a safe situation where feelings were respected and validated. They were allowed to get angry, cry and be sad. Others were placed in an unsafe home where expressions of feelings was discouraged. The positive emotional climate in the past helps people to develop a positive self-concept, positive relationships and a sense of well-being. Whereas, the negative emotional climate in the past damages people’s self-concept, relationships and sense of well-being. Every time someone experiences strong feelings, it gets immediately connected to the memories of past emotional experience. In “Meta-Feelings and the Past Emotional Experience” Essay will briefly and accessible consider how past emotional experience is interconnected with our present behavior.
Childhood Wounds and Meta-feelings
Experiencing security, physical bonding, empathic attunement, nurturing, attention, emotional support, guidance, listening, acceptance, and above all unconditional love from the primary caregiver, the true self of the child begins to bloom. However, most of the primary caregivers are not having the time, energy and resources to fulfil all these needs of their children. This may be intentional or unintentional and becomes acts of neglect and abuse. Here, the child neglect and abuse refer to any form of non-accidental act by parents, caregivers, or others that causes harm to a child. Child abuses (like physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse) cause wounds in children. The childhood wounds could cause long-lasting suffering in people. There is a correlation between child abuse and psycho-pathology. Many who survive childhood abuses continue to be haunted by painful memories -- thus causing dysfunctions later in life. Those who were victimised as children are at risk of re-victimisation all through their life. Childhood wounds evoke enormous impediments for the balanced and perfect growth and development of personality. The effects of child abuse and neglect can lead to the habit of rumination.
Faulty thinking, faulty feelings, faulty behaviours and being caught up in a faulty situation for a long time -- all have a common root at the subconscious level. Emotional distress is at the root of all the faulty aspects of the client -- the result of damage or injury to the psyche after living through distressing events. This results in dysfunctions or relationship problems. Distressing events can be caused by one single trauma, or from on-going, relentless stresses.
Examples of distressing events include:
- Natural disasters such as flood, tsunami, fires, earthquakes or storms.
- War, battle, combat, riots, violence, or aggressions.
- Interpersonal violence like rape, molestations,
- Abuses like physical, verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse.
- Neglect by the loved ones.
- Involvement in traumas like accident.
Causes of emotional and psychological distress can also include:
- Breakup in a significant relationship,
- Extremely humiliating experience,
- Injuries resulting from fall or fight,
- Unexpected death of a beloved person,
- Diagnosis of a terminal disease.
Distressing events can devastate a person if:
- The event occurred all of a sudden,
- The person was not prepared for the event,
- The person felt powerless at the time of the event,
- If the event involved extreme abuse,
- If the event happened early in life.
Metaphorical Example and Conclusion
Mouth ulcers are so painful and they interfere with eating, tasting and digestion. Those with mouth ulcers keep treating them. But these ulcers can keep erupting over and over again. What is the best way to treat the mouth ulcers? Doctors know that mouth ulcers are caused by stomach ulcer. People with stomach ulcer have excess acid produced in the stomach. The acid in the stomach spills over to mouth during sleep and caused mouth ulcer. The way to treat the mouth ulcers is to heal the stomach ulcer.
To conclude, in the same way everyone who is pained by the present hurt feelings and stress tries to heal themselves by releasing the pain. During counselling, most clients say that despite their release of emotions, they continue to suffer from the same pain over and over again. This is mainly due to the past hidden wounds that are in the subconscious mind. Moving from the present pain to the past hidden wounds and healing those wounds in the primary task in this step.