So far I have looked at my physical and intellectual aspects. I have found these understandable and, to an extent, controllable. My emotions, however, are less open to this kind of analysis and change.
My emotions come from deep inside me and deep inside my history. In many cases they are hangovers from events in the past when I internalised my reaction to what I perceived was happening to me. These were not reactions resulting from thought or decision but ones based on fear or defence. They are about protecting me and creating what I want, as a child, from life.
Early in my career as a technician in the theatre I took a job at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford. This was my second job and I was still innocent and unsure of myself. One of my roles was leader of the volunteer stage crew. I remember standing with them one day on stage talking about what we needed to do. They were messing about and being difficult. To gain their attention I hit one of them hard in the stomach.
This was a pure emotional response that had no logic to it other than to meet my selfish end. They were older and more experienced than me, but I was the one in charge. They were ignoring me and I felt I needed to do something about that.
Being ignored, being insignificant was one of my biggest fears. It terrified me.
Later, once I understood it, this proved to a route back, in my mind, to getting to the core of the issues with my childhood.
I felt ignored as a child, I felt that there was nothing I could do to get noticed without being told off. I remember my parents as distant, with their own lives to get on with. I realise now that I did not have a strong connection with them. It was not that they did not love me, they just let me get on with my life and thought that was alright.
I had two elder brothers who were not interested in paying me much attention. My eldest brother seemed to spend a lot of his time tormenting me and getting me into trouble with my mother. Nobody had any idea what was going on in my mind, or cared.
This has now become a story in my life. The truth of it I cannot be sure of. I have occasional memories, all of which are negative. I remember sitting in my room feeling lonely and unable to get on with my homework. The strongest part of the memory is not understanding why or knowing what was going on.
What I realise through looking at this is that I cannot trust my emotions, I cannot trust my emotional responses. They are the reactions of a young child who had no idea what was going on. There is no adult reaction here only the stamping of a child’s foot.
Emotional responses are often just the desire for fight or flight. For me this has been so true. I can list many occasions when I have done one or the other and not improved the situation. I have found the emotions flooding through me without wanting them. I only realise what has happened after I have reacted, after it is too late to go back.
In exploring my emotions over the next few days I want to explore what I have done to move beyond this type of response and how I can apply even more adult logic to the situation.
This week I was bringing my wife back from a hospital appointment. We were driving into Huercal-Overa looking for a Farmacia. I was trying to follow the directions we had been given and Urmila was pointing and giving confusing instructions. I blew up and reacted irrationally—why?
That is what I intend to find out.
- Do you know what your main emotional responses are?
- How much are you in control of them?
- Where do these responses come from?