Unacknowledged Emotional Pain
By Shelley Klammer | Posted 6/3/12 | Updated 11/14/23
My experience of creative blocks is that usually a feeling is arising to be seen that will not allow me to move forward until I acknowledge it. I find when I am dealing with darker emotions, all of my creativity goes into this something that wants to be known.
If you are feeling blocked creatively, what stands between you and your most spontaneous and joyful creativity is your own unacknowledged emotional pain. There is no shame in this. This is our human condition. Most of us hold onto many layers of emotional pain that we can put no name to.
Many of us can recall no obvious trauma when we were children so as to pinpoint why we suffer so much. Yet we suffer as adults. We so feel often feel unnameable angst, depression, grief, fear and anger as we navigate through our daily life.
Difficult emotions arise frequently in our day-to-day to be accepted, loved and embraced, but often we ignore the signals. Any time you catch yourself holding your breath for example, you are repressing an emotion. Every time you feel any tightness in your body, you are holding back an uncomfortable feeling.
Every time you become lost in thinking about how you need to change your life, you are likely avoiding something difficult inside. In fear and recoil we can habitually and reflexively reject our uncomfortable feelings over and over again throughout our lives.
Before we can become free, joyful, and spontaneous creators in the world we have to allow our creative blocks take us where they want us to go and that is into our own acceptance and inclusion of our darker and more repressed feelings. When we are not integrated within, the creative process faithfully brings up unknown feelings to be seen, felt and integrated.
To not run away from these unruly feelings is a courageous and creative act. To turn towards our difficult feelings with love and curiosity is to live a powerful life. To include uncomfortable emotions into our conscious awareness is to free up new energy and a creative intelligence that has been stagnant and unused since childhood.
As children we emotionally imprint upon our parents and we take on the heaviness of their emotional world. We literally absorb the emotional struggles, and the disowned and repressed feelings of our caregivers. Until we integrate all that we could not feel and accept in childhood we will walk around emotionally as children in our adult bodies and most of us still do as David Hawkins writes:
"Physical appearance is a great deceiver. Most people look like adults but are not really adults at all. Emotionally, most people are children. The emotions and attitudes that prevail in kindergarten and on the playground continue on into adult life. Within most people is a child who is merely imitating being an adult. The 'inner child' is actually not inner at all, it is actually quite outer."
The simple reason why we stay at the emotional level of children is we rarely examine the childhood beliefs that we filter our perceptions of the world through. We most often stay patterned in the beliefs that we laid down as children, repeating the same kinds of feelings as we did when we were little.
Spiritual teacher Michael Brown explains this process of our inner child inside our adult body so eloquently:
"Experientially it is in the first seven years, any and all uncomfortable experience arising from our entry into the conditional world are imprinted into and affect the condition of our emotional body. Our emotional body is therefore where the record of these occurrences is kept."
Children literally soak up the emotional soup around them. I remember an instance many years ago of sitting on the sofa and noticing the synchronicity of my emotionality with my child's. My four-year-old daughter was in the next room, in our old claw foot tub taking a bath. The house was silent and suddenly I felt a sharp loneliness strike my heart. Just at that moment, my daughter in the next room cried out, "Mommy! My heart feels like it is falling out of my chest with loneliness!"
In my study of family system therapy I have come to understand that whatever our parents and ancestors cannot deal with emotionally falls upon the next generation's shoulders to feel, process and integrate. This is how we evolve as family groups. We are all an integral part of a larger whole of healing. We do not suffer alone. Everyone suffers in some way. We are not crazy. We are sensitive human beings. We are all part of a larger family group evolving and healing.
I have often felt the pain of my mother and father as if it were my own. We can also often feel the unhealed traumas, losses and disappointments of the previous generations in our family because we are all joined. So to try to pin our uncomfortable feelings on a specific trauma from childhood, or to always look for some kind of childhood story of abuse, is often much too simplistic. As human beings we suffer on a deep level for all of those who have come before us. We suffer for all those in our family who did not know how to handle their emotional pain.
Copyright ©2012 Shelley Klammer. All rights reserved.
Shelley Klammer is a Registered Professional Counselor and an Expressive Art Facilitator. …