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Ask the Loveologist: Feeding Your Demons

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Ask the Loveologist: Feeding Your Demons

I have been out of my relationship almost as long as I was in it but I can’t seem to go on. I have dated a little, but am so afraid of being hurt again that I find some excuse to break it off before anything can happen–good or bad. I feel like I am just going through the motions in my life. Why can’t I just accept my husband leaving me and move on? Any ideas about how to re-start my life?

Thank you for sharing this very personal and challenging question that I believe is experienced by millions in one form or another. Perhaps the most normal and least helpful response that we humans have to our emotional pain and fear is the habit of looking away or trying to suppress our feelings. Most of us are not trained or adept at dealing with the fear, rejection and pain that life and relationships often present. Emotional injuries from childhood that were never processed become silent filters that impact how we perceive and understand our entire lives.

Our feelings can seem so large and overwhelming that they threaten to consume us whole. They grow into demons as we ignore and refuse our emotional experiences that are the life blood of our identity. The demons that run our lives come in an infinite number of manifestations–they are as unique as we are in personality, yet universal in the needs we all share. The problem you mentioned of broken-heartedness can include every thing from conflicts with people we love, to anxiety about communicating, discomfort with our appearance, the terror of being abandoned, or the shame of feeling worthless. We demonize our emotional experiences by our inability to attend to them. Anything that calls for our attention and is continuously rebuffed will become an active demon inside of you.

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

33 comments

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3:06AM PDT on Jul 20, 2010

This explains very well what I was not able to describe to a friend of mine. I have just sent them this article. I always seem to attract the articles I need here on Care2. :)

2:51PM PDT on May 3, 2010

very helpful-thank you

7:43PM PDT on Apr 13, 2010

By noticing that the mind is continually making commentary, one has the ability to carefully observe those thoughts, seeing them for what they are without aversion or judgment. Those practicing mindfulness realize that "thoughts are just thoughts."

6:18PM PDT on Apr 7, 2010

The advise to check out some Buddhist practices is spot on. It helped me a great deal. I learned how to let go of taking everything personal. I learned how to be alone and be ok or even happy about it. I haven't found who I want to be with yet but I am ok with experiencing the process and trust that when it is right, I will be ready. That is a very far place from the roller coaster ride I was on for ten years after the break up but I did lose a brother and that added to the process as well.

2:49AM PDT on Apr 4, 2010

Majority of us, at one time or another, suffer heartbreak, as I did recently. I gave myself one week to suffer, cry, mope, not eat, grow thin, not sleep, and work like a dog - basically I embraced my misery. But through it all, I used the very basic Buddhist precept: this too shall pass. Every time I suffered and thoroughly felt my anguish, I also reminded myself that in time, this pain would lessen, if not fully go away. I would move on. And yes, there is fear, fear of finding someone else who will treat me the same way, fear of never finding someone else, and so many other fears, but really there is nothing to be scared of. Everything falls into place, just live life for each moment, not for the past or for the future, and soon you will find that you are happy without depending on anyone else for your happiness :) Have an amazing life, you deserve it, we all do!

6:26AM PDT on Apr 3, 2010

Borrowing from the therapies that are taught to women who've suffered from miscarriages, I developed a therapeutic strategy called "mourning the loss." The hardest part is properly identifying what the loss actually is, because often it's not as simple or obvious as it seems.

If you can properly identify the loss you've suffered, embrace it, name it, admit that it happened, and maybe more importantly grieve over that loss, it will pass from you eventually.

If you don't begin to feel more relieved over time and still battle the same emotions, or still battle the same demons after this process, go back and examine if the loss you mourned was really the loss that occurred from the event. For many of us, there can be something deeper that it touched that we didn't realize or weren't able to admit -- often it's a loss that has been repeating itself and taking us further from experiencing true healing.

Trauma and stress can be productive events that force us to examine the fears and losses in life that we've never done before. Don't shy from a chance to heal yourself and better understand why you do the things you do and react the way you do. The only way to truly heal — if you really do want to — is to let many things about yourself fall away, so the true person you want to be underneath it all can emerge and claim happiness.

8:26AM PDT on Apr 1, 2010

I just read this article and I'm with Stephanie P -- there is not enough how to information to go on -- rather vague. Life does go on and we do adapt to new things and we can come out from under the ether and move on in our lives. It's a one day at a time process -- After my 1st husband walked off and left me with two of his kids to raise, I had no other choice but to continue to work and provide for them since he just flaked out on financial responsibility. After dating and not really intending to remarry, someone eventually came into the picture and I'm now remarried. So, you go through the pain as a process and pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get on with living.

4:03AM PDT on Apr 1, 2010

I never thought that I could recover but I have. So it goes and so it will continue to do so. Thanks for your help.

10:42PM PDT on Mar 31, 2010

I think the answer to your fears is to be in control of your relationships, not to just float along. Find out what type of man suits you, whether you like things in common or someone who is more opposite to you. Try reputable internet dating sites and go out with more than one man at a time until you feel ready to be exclusive with someone. This process should take up to five or six months. You will feel in control and it will lessen your fears.

6:45PM PDT on Mar 31, 2010

Everything in moderation has its place. Fear too, it makes us analyze our own past mistakes and keeps us vigilant of people likely to hurt us. It doesn't need to stop us from trying again, having had the hurtful experience and learnt the lesson, we are less likely to be hurt again. But it can happen. Life is a long chain of suffering and happiness, we can avoid both for a while but never have one without the other.

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