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Category Archives: Emotions
Trauma is the unpleasant residual emotional charge left in our brain and central nervous system connected with memories of emotionally overwhelming events from the past.
Here's a video on how it works:
I'm a full time music student at the moment, and I'm loving learning how to write songs, perform in front of people and express myself through music. Music is great because it deals with both the analytical and emotional side of our brain.
However, the irrational nature of emotions means that they don't always arise just when we want them to. Most of us are still carrying unhealed emotional baggage from our past which can get triggered in what might otherwise seem fairly innocuous situations. This can make dealing with unexpected upsets challenging both in ourselves and in other people.
In yesterday's guitar class, I got triggered by my teacher's response to what I though was a fairly intelligent question about whether the best way to improvise over a chord sequence in a major key would be by using the associated relative minor scale. My engineering brain thought that this would lead to less potential dissonance; but for any other budding musicians out there the answer turns out to be No: you use the minor pentatonic scale of the same key.… Continue reading…
Anger is one of the emotions that I have found most difficult to deal with in the past. I grew up in a house where anger was handled in ways that I found very frightening, leading me to become very afraid of conflict. This meant that I made a decision fairly early on in life that anger was a "bad" emotion that I should suppress at all costs. I became very ashamed of anybody knowing when I was angry.
I ended up internalising a lot of rage and unhappiness. I just didn't know how to let anger go and how to get it out of my system. It wasn't until the last few years that I even realised just how angry I was deep down.
I now know that anger is not "bad" emotion; it's just a signal that our needs aren't getting met. Anger provides energy for us to act assertively in situations where people are treating us in ways we don't like. If we've learned to be passive in the face of our anger, that energy gets trapped in our nervous system.
Because I have many years of internalising my anger, the situations where I would have liked to act assertively have long passed.… Continue reading…
Let’s have a bit of a chat about a massive topic that undermines self-confidence and that is called shame. And in addition to just talking about it, I reckon that there’s a book you should read about it, which is this one: It’s called Healing The Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw, and it’s an absolute classic in the area of dealing with this nasty substance called toxic shame.
I had a lot of mixed feelings this morning after hearing of the executions in Indonesia of convicted drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran overnight. For readers outside Australia and not familiar with the case, they were sentenced to death in 2006 by an Indonesian court after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin to Australia via Bali. Their arrest in Bali came after a tip-off by an Australian lawyer to the Australian Federal Police was relayed to Indonesian authorities. The court found Andrew and Myuran to be the ringleaders of the group often described in the Australian press as "The Bali Nine". Their case had received a great deal of coverage during their trail and leading up to their impending executions, with many pleas for clemency being made on the basis that they appeared to have rehabilitated and been model inmates during nearly 10 years on death row.
I didn't know Andrew or Myuran; my only real association with them is via the media, and the fact that I grew up in the same city they did. Nevertheless I do feel a lot of conflicting emotions about what they did and their resulting execution; and since the healthiest way to deal with emotions is to express them, here they are:
Mostly, I feel a great sadness for their friends, family and loved ones left behind.… Continue reading…
I grew up in a home where anger wasn't handled well. Let me take you back there:
Now, don't get me wrong. My mother lets her anger flow freely, but she rarely uses the actual words "I am angry". Instead, her anger comes out as hurtful criticism, put-downs and emotional bullying.
My dad isn't any better. He bottles his anger up so badly that he often seethes with resentment so loud that I can hear him muttering under his breath when I'm playing in the next room. It's frightening.
All it takes is for mum to walk in and say, "What's wrong with you, you stupid creature?" and, bang, next round of World War III is back on again.
What I learned from all this was the idea that anger was somehow a bad thing, that it was a bad emotion that I should never feel, because it always seemed to be expressed destructively around me.
As a result, I learned to push down my anger very hard, to suppress it. In fact, I pushed it down so hard that in the end I barely even felt it.… Continue reading…