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Windsor Counselling For Negative Emotions
“It is a fact that if an impulse from one or the other sphere comes up and is not lived out, then it goes back down and tends to develop anti-human qualities. What should have been a human impulse becomes a tiger-like impulse. For instance, a man has a feeling impulse to say something positive to someone and he blocks it off through some inhibition. He might then dream that he had a spontaneous feeling impulse on the level of a child and his conscious purpose had smashed it. The human is still there, but as a hurt child. Should he do that habitually for five years, he would no longer dream of a child who had been hurt but of a zoo full of raging wild animals in a cage. An impulse which is driven back loads up with energy and becomes inhuman. This fact, according to Dr. Jung, demonstrates the independent existence of the unconscious.”
~ Marie-Louise von Franz
Where Do Negative Emotions Come From?
Negative emotions are difficult to navigate. As infants we have no capacity to regulate our emotions or even recognize them as such. The extant world outside the safety of the womb is as intriguing as it is strange and threatening, and it demands our attention. Our energies, or what we later come to know as feelings, are instinctive and impulsive and conscious self-reflection is still unthinkable. Therefore, adult caretakers must mediate our feelings for us as they show up in the form of emotions and behaviours. At this crucial stage, behaviours that are all too human and earnest, and thankfully harmless in our little bodies, can be corrected and modified so that those ‘little people’ will grow up into civilized adults. The whole operation is entirely necessary. We do this well as a society. Behaviour modification does not end when we graduate from kindergarten. Optimal performance seems to be a highly valued tenet in most forms of social stewardship – the bell curve is a universally accepted standard.
What is the Purpose of Negative Emotions?
At the level of individual psychological development, the internalized bell curve provides a compelling model for what we find acceptable, and unacceptable in ourselves and in others. Human instincts that are a little too primitive or animalistic, that we detached from in childhood, are now the negative outliers that trouble us in adulthood. With a certain amount of honesty, one can see that those human qualities we detached from in childhood did not cease to exist but sank back into a pre-conscious place in the psyche. Without our conscious attention to acknowledge, and in an acceptable way honor these parts of our human heritage, they can tend to take on an autonomous life of their own. No doubt you have had the experience of being seize by an unwanted and compulsive attitude and that seems to evade your attempts to control it. Whether it shows up as a latent behaviour in the form of a negative emotion, or whether it is acted out, it can be understood as a psychological phenomenon that with moral conscious effort and careful exploration can become a source of insight, creative energy, and renewal.
Negative emotions, for all their trouble, are perhaps the best starting place for Self exploration. They provide hints and clues about a part of ourselves that is trying to emerge, albeit in an objectionable way. If paid careful attention to and taken seriously, this part of oneself can often be exactly what was needed to heal. It is time to pay care and attention to yourself.
Windsor Counselling for Anger Management
Taken at the level of a feeling quality, anger is the name we give to the state of being vexed – alert to a disturbance in peace of mind. It is difficult to differentiate anger from its wayward cousin, violence – as in to violate or disturb this peace. But clearly anger is a reaction to the latter and they are distinct and not synonymous. (In fact, violence is closer to an expression of impotence, when energy is thwarted and erupts in a destructive form.) Perhaps the confusion can be understood at the roots. What is the root word of anger? According to vocabulary.com “Irascible comes from the Latin root ira, which means “anger” or “rage,” the same root that gives us the word ire, “anger.” The -sc in the middle of irascible, means “becoming,” so irascible doesn’t just mean you’re angry — it’s got action built into it.” So, anger carries a compulsion to act – but to do what? Anger can be the activating energy necessary to draw a line in the sand, to say don’t tread on me, to say I’m here (and I shall not be moved). Anger has a lot to do with boundaries, and personal boundaries are essential to a sense of personhood, autonomy, and earnest self-propulsion. Anger lets us know when something is hindering this process. Therefore, removing the ability to feel anger would be tantamount to unscrewing the engine light alert in a car instead of investigating under the hood.
Windsor Counselling for Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem, or inferiority can always be found at the roots of an affect of negative emotion. Fundamental to effectively adapting to the demands of outer necessity is a basic positive regard for oneself. Self esteem is not a measure of an individual’s worth as such, just a low self-esteem cannot be determined as a personal failure on the part of the individual. Self-esteem must be nurtured in the individual just as a strong plant has drawn from nutrient-rich soil through its roots.
Here are some clues that you may be struggling with shame or low self-esteem:
- Unprovoked and persistent feelings of guilt and/or shame
- A pervasive sense of incompetency or inferiority
- Determining that you are unlovable or “I will only be loved if I…”
- Constantly seeking others’ approval and opinions
- Frequent fear of rejection or abandonment
- Frequent avoidance due to fear of making mistakes
- Self-sabotaging, Self-destructive, Self-harming behaviors
- Avoiding responsibility and/or denying accountability
- Being overly critical of oneself or others
- Frequently comparing yourself to others
- Noticeably under-valuing or over-valuing the needs, feelings, and wants of yourself or others
- Being drawn to power-imbalanced relationships
- Staying in relationships where your investment or love isn’t reciprocated
- Unable to accept compliments
- Difficulty saying no and/or people pleasing
- Unyielding negative thoughts and emotions
- Inability to process criticism or negative feedback
- Inability to process acceptance or forgiveness
- An unhealthy fear of intimacy
Do I Have Low Self-Esteem?
Low self-esteem can be tricky to identify, especially because it can be masked by an inflation of the personality as an attempt at self-preservation, in other words, a defence mechanism. Thoughts of doubt and periods of indecision are a normal part of landscape of human emotions. In fact, they are desirable when they signify a shift out of our comfort zone during a period of growth. However, when attempts to adapt to change continuously fail, or produce continually disruptive defence mechanisms, then it is likely that low self-esteem is at the root of the issue.
The child’s environment in which self-esteem is developed is greatly affected by circumstances out of their control. These can include trauma, adversity, abuse, neglect, abandonment, or attachment issues. These issues are not causal in themselves, however, a young person who does not have a least one positive adult relationship offering unconditional positive regard can be ill-equipped during periods of adversity faced in adolescence and adulthood.
Personality Disorders & Mood Disorders
The family fulfils a dual function as a container for the psychological development of its members. On one hand it serves to develop a capacity for homeostasis – a state of inter-personal balance among all the members needed for the members to survive and function correctly. This balance is reflected within the intra-personal functioning of its members. On the other hand, the family serves to develop a healthy state of individual personhood among its members so they can have realistic ambitions and feel ambitious enough to strive for them. This is a concept known as adaptation. Wherever the family has too great a proclivity towards stasis, its functional capacity for adaptation will be limited. In such situations, energy that is necessary for the fulfilment of individual ambition, not having adequate means of expression will remain reserved and preconscious. At this preconscious level, energy will typically manifest into negative emotions when met with obstacles that seem insurmountable. If sustained by time and/or stress, negative emotions can manifest into a mood that disrupts the emotional functioning of the person. In a similar way, wherever individual ambition remains unnurtured or under-stewarded, then the individuals’ attempts to manifest itself will be unbalanced and unrealistic. If sustained by time and/or stress, unbalanced and unrealistic attempts at self-realization can manifest in ideas and behaviours that disturb the intrapersonal functioning of the personality.
Psychotherapy can be helpful in identifying and navigating obstacles that hinder personal development. It can also assist an individual in coming to terms with their external world in a way that recognizes and validates a person’s unique psychological characteristics.