Why are there so many adults out there today who are seeking therapy?
It is not easy to answer. But it becomes more comfortable when you take a step back.
This applies to you whether or not you are a parent.
When was the last time that you let your kid cry it out? Unless they are physically hurting or in some physiological distress, how do you train yourself not to intervene in their “feeling” process?
Do you know how kids fart without any sense of shame? They don’t know that it’s not looked upon nicely. But as they grow up, we tell them that, or we make them believe that it is distasteful. We start by saying, use the washroom when you want to fart. When in reality, it is a body function that one has no control over. And in all honesty, we were the ones who taught them to burp after every feed when they were tiny.
As they age, both fart and burp have societal meanings attached to them. By that, I mean that they are looked down upon. You can’t fart or burp in public.
As they grow, it becomes – you can’t cry, yell, be angry, have a meltdown – in public and then not at all.
So we are eventually sending them to the mental equivalent of a bathroom to express themselves the way they want to.
That’s pretty messed up, right?
And soon enough, all of the unfelt, unfinished emotions within them are all that they have. For every tear or meltdown that you’ve intercepted and stopped midway or yelled at for not behaving up to your expectations or for showing you up – you leave a big void within them. You tell them that they are not to feel that. But you don’t tell them what to feel. So in trying to feel nothing, they are digging themselves into a void.
If your kid felt jealous of another kid every time and you reasoned it out with them – here’s how it could go.
Friend A is better at sports because they eat well and have strong muscles.
Friend B can read faster because they read a lot more.
Friend C has a great relationship with their sibling because they learn to listen to each other and spend time with each other.
Then jealousy would probably never manifest itself as an inferiority complex. As long as you show the child that there is a way to achieving what they want to, they will always know to look for the way. In that sense, every time a child encountered a negative emotion, you are wiring them to understand that there is something that they can do to ensure that they rise from this.
Negative emotions – jealousy, hate, anger, sadness, tears, and such are probably the only things that ensure that you don’t stagnate in life. But given their anti-social branding of being negative – kids are scared to give in to those emotions. Of course, sometimes those emotions will backfire, and someone might say that your kid is selfish and insecure and rowdy – but you know what – that’s why they have a parent. Not to punish them for feeling that way, but to walk them through it and dig deep.
How does therapy help with emotional redemption?
At the heart of every “negative” emotion – is a child who has not been allowed to feel it all out.
In therapy nowadays, my therapist helps me talk to my child self. My job is to assure my child self that everything that she felt was real and authentic. It didn’t have to be good or bad. But it was a real thing that she should have been allowed to feel. With time, the hurt child stops hurting. She thinks that she’s being understood and loved. She feels validated, and she lets the hurt go. She moves on. And in doing so, so do you. Those same things no longer trigger you. You know that it doesn’t affect you anymore.
Moving on – every child who has been pushed not to feel is an adult who is a contender for therapy. Childhood and the coping mechanisms learned then are what keep us functioning as adults. Every once in a while, we are a train wreck when our emotions get too much to handle, and that’s when therapy comes to the rescue. The longer you are at it, the more intensely you work on yourself and with complete submission – the greater the chances that all your hurting parts will heal someday.
And one day, nothing in you will be at war with the world.