Using Your Emotion To Find Your Best Solutions Empowers You

October 11, 2012 Kellie Jo Holly

I feel ornery today. Woe to anyone who crosses me. You've been warned!

During my marriage, I would have put on my boxing gloves on a day like today. I would check my s%*t-list, which always consisted of only my husband's crap, and remind myself of what he got away with that deserved retaliation. I'd figuratively position myself smack dab in the center of the door frame and wait for him to come home. POW! Sucker punch. And boy, would it feel good to see that look on his face. I always got the first verbal hit on these kinds of days.

The anger inside of me today is the same. Bubbling, festering, the color of sick yellow pus. It needs out, and baby, cleaning this darn house for release just isn't going to cut it. Honestly, I want to write my ex a scathing email. Stir things up, let him know how I feel. Problem is, I don't really feel anything when it comes to him anymore. My ex hasn't been on my list for months because my list doesn't exist anymore. This anxious, angry feeling is mine alone. In the absence of abuse, what in the heck am I supposed to do with all this frustration?

Some Things Never Change...

Whether you're in an abusive relationship currently or out of one and on your way to recovery, our emotions stay the same. Leaving abuse does not cure you of sadness forever, of course. However, when you're free of an abusive partner, there is no one there to intensify your difficult emotions or seek to dismantle your happier ones. Emotions come and go more smoothly without an abuser in the wings; "feeling" becomes more effective. In an abusive relationship, sometimes it does us no good to feel anything at all.

Emotions help us move forward to capitalize on our successes and work through our failures. Feeling itself is an adventure. Yes, I've left my abusive relationship, but you can start to feel your emotions again if you're with your abuser. In fact, getting back in touch with your feelings and re-training yourself to react to them in ways that are good for you will empower you. You'll feel stronger even if it means you must feel "bad".

So, how do we begin to feel again? How do we decide how to act our emotions?

The Name Your Emotion Game

The emotions of frustration, confusion and hate tend to cover up more basic emotions. Emotions like anger, guilt, sadness, shame, and helplessness (to name a few) build the umbrella emotions of frustration, confusion and hate. Today, I've named frustration as my emotion, but I know that dealing with frustration as its own emotion is fruitless. I need to break it down.

  • I feel sad because my son (19 years old) appears to have changed his mind about his decision to be drug free.
  • I feel angry because he ran into an old friend who is not coincidentally aligned with my son's currently dangerous choices.
  • I feel angry at my son for spiraling out of control on drugs (again).
  • I feel helpless because I cannot stop his spin.
  • I feel hostile toward my son for being unable to control his addiction(s).
  • I feel ashamed of my son's choices.
  • I feel guilty because I feel hostile and ashamed.
  • I feel fatigued from this cycle of his good intentions turning into failure.
  • I feel scared because my son could permanently hurt or kill himself with his drug abuse.

Believe it or not, simply breaking down the complexities of my frustration helped me to feel better. Now, taking the next step becomes easier because I am better able to focus on exactly what is wrong and decide how to deal with it.

Sense Meets Emotion

I look at my list of feelings and see sadness, anger, helplessness, hostility, shame, guilt, fatigue, and fear. Fear fuels bad choices, so I'll look at ways to deal with fear first.

I am afraid that my son will die because of his addiction. This is a very real fear that could happen. How can I prevent it from happening? I can refuse to allow his "friends" into my home. I can talk to my son and share my fear. I can check his room daily and throw out any substance/paraphernalia I find there. Otherwise, keeping my home a "safe place" for him to live is the best I can do. I cannot control what he chooses to do.

I do not want to become hostile toward my son. I think that after I tell him how I feel, my hostility level will diminish. If it doesn't, I'll have to revisit it. I am ashamed of his decisions primarily because I know my children are at risk for this behavior because I chose to stay in abuse with their father for so long. I am attempting to take the blame for his addiction. I can go back to my Al-Anon memories and re-read the literature on this issue. My son is 19 and responsible for his decisions; I will seek out people who have gone through this and talk to them. I will pray for guidance.

I am left with sadness and fatigue. I think the sadness results from logical emotions. I will not deny my sadness. I will live through it, feel it, and remember that it will pass. I will detach myself, once again, from my son's decisions to relieve stress and fatigue. I will take good care of myself so far as food and sleep. I will act on my plans, and that will help me to overcome my feelings of helplessness.

There is no quick fix. Some things never change, but knowing that I am doing what I can makes me feel stronger. I am regaining my sense of "wholeness" and peace. I think I'll take of my boxing gloves now.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2012, October 11). Using Your Emotion To Find Your Best Solutions Empowers You, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

linda brock
November, 28 2012 at 3:19 pm

so sorry i know that is so scarey and it is real my daughter lost her mind becuase of drugs she hears voices now and i have to take care of her i am angry if she just would have listen to me we all wouldnt be in this mess she needs help with every task and on top of all that i have my abuser that needs 24 hour attention i cant answer a message on the phone that im not accused of not paying attention to what hes talking about ,seems like he needs to feel so important he dont like to be alone a second i bet he says my name 50 times a day and dont let me evn sound aggravated then i have a attitude and, me and, my mental ill daughter gets picked on 24 7 the bread isant wrapped up right who put this here where is this im so tired of it and of course hes just rying to help i feel he looks for things to fuss at

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