We are all emotion
Emotions are the stuff of us.
Humans are emotions. We are subject to plenty of wonderful stuff and some pretty awful things running in and out of us at the same time; criss-crossing. I write this as I prepare to go to a Sibelius Symphony No. 2 symphony concert and Jean-Yves Thibaudet playing the Saint-Saëns’ Egyptian Concerto… just as I hear Donald Trump extol his love affair, “We fell in love’” (direct quote) with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. From the sublime to the ridiculous; (actually to the
“He wrote me beautiful letters, we fell in love.” Donald Trump of Kim
frighteningly nightmarish). (For some it’s a Cher concert and Ye – (the being formerly know as Kayne West) falling in love with Trump. “I just love Trump. That’s my boy,” West said as Kim pipes up with the clincher, of Ye: “He’s not political, so he doesn’t really dig deep into what’s going on.”)
How are we to reconcile these divergent aspects of our everyday life? For some its easy. For others it is so anxiety-provoking that they act out in front of their friends or family or complete strangers; more than likely the bad behaviour is played out with the people they are closest to, as they are sure they will be forgiven; even at these worst moments we seek to be connected.
These reactions are not dissimilar to the effects on people who have witnessed or played an active part in a traumatic experience. Post-traumatic-stress disrupts many people for a lifetime. Some shut-down and withdraw. They minimise their emotional output and often will play down any fears others experience and express. Others react as described above.
How to Grow the fuck up
Much of the “playing out” example is seen in the recent revelations of the institutionalised abuse from church and community groups where children were horribly abused. All of the abusers are suffering from horrible childhoods themselves; “fucked up by…” and heads filled with warped ideas of love and attachment. Most of those abused carry the effects forever. Their careers and relationships are usually greatly harmed. All kinds of psychological and emotional harm has been inflicted.
Many say they cannot have a relationship. Many in relationship report the dysfunction which ruins whatever intimacy and closeness they attempt. The best that can be said is that many people did not know what was happening; the worst, that many people in positions of power and responsibility did know what was happening and did nothing about it or facilitated the abusers to escape discovery. The adult position is being aware, to actively influence events from a differentiated place.
Although it is very difficult to come out of the abused childhood without some form of dysfunction, operating with the individual, there are ways to minimise the harm. Long, hard and compassionate care administered lovingly can be tremendously helpful. Shocking and beautiful events will affect people, their family and friends, all reacting/responding differently. Be curious as to why these crazy/fabulous events occur and can they be enjoyed/avoided or their effects limited where necessary. Do not panic. Careful consideration. Mindful practice living in the world.