Author Topic: Dark Emotions  (Read 63374 times)

sevenofwands

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Dark Emotions
« on: October 06, 2008, 12:40:06 PM »
Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair (Hardcover)
by Miriam Greenspan

Here's a book that offers a new prescription for coping with depression and anxiety, as well as other painful emotional states: don't try to escape them. In Healing through the Dark Emotions Miriam Greenspan shows us that there's something good in so-called "bad" feelings, if we would only stop and listen to them. In a down-to-earth and engaging style, Greenspan explains why learning to attend, befriend, and surrender to emotional pain actually leads to lasting relief, as well as to greater wisdom, compassion, and a deep sense of fulfillment. Most of us don't know how to listen very well to emotional pain. This is because we have never been taught that doing so is a good thing, or how to do it. Greenspan offers a step-by-step process for opening ourselves to the wisdom of painful feelings that she calls "the alchemy of dark emotions." She focuses on three of the most common forms of emotional distress: grief, despair (a.k.a. depression), and fear. Surprisingly, when we find the courage to move toward our pain and inhabit it fully, something magical happens. Grief leads us into a state of gratitude. Despair is a doorway to faith. And fear delivers us to joy. Drawing on inspiring examples from her private practice, and integrating some unforgettable stories from her personal life, Greenspan teaches us the art and magic of keeping your heart open in the presence of pain. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in any one year more than 18 million Americans suffer from depression. More than 19 million are diagnosed with anxiety disorders. In the midst of this alarming epidemic of emotional distress, Greenspan offers a much-needed, penetrating exploration of the causes of our suffering—and practical advice on how to cure it. The culprit, she says, is our cultural intolerance for feeling bad. The biochemical view of emotions and other trends in our society have encouraged us to dismiss, deny, and pathologize the dark emotions. But to find peace and healing, she says, we need to cultivate a more open and trusting relationship to these feelings. We need to learn that the darkness has its own light.


Luvinmike

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2008, 01:10:44 PM »
Hi Seven- I read this book and even emailed the author and she wrote me back! I couldn't believe I wrote her and said,"Everytime I can't sleep in the middle of the night I read your book to go back to sleep." ha ha- just a tendency I have to put the foot in the mouth etc.
 Anyways, i really liked this book I found it very helpful and I highly recommended it to my friend who lost her newborn daughter at birth- she liked it too. Terri

kevinjj

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2009, 07:34:17 AM »
"our cultural intolerance for feeling bad" - that's it in a nutshell, it says it all. Corporate America generally allows 3 days off over a death in the family. Can you imagine that? How can a person function properly on a job 3 days after losing a child, spouse, parent, etc.?

Where does this absurd notion come from, that there is something wrong with a person for feeling bad? To me, it comes from materialism, when a person(s) defines themselves by their possessions and status in life. We all know such shallow, intellectually sterile people who go into a minor state of crisis when something isn't working properly or gets broken - it becomes a loss of control for them, something beyond their reach and power to manipulate and own. To me, this is neurosis, very much so and intolerance quickly circumvents feelings of helplessness when such people are faced with death and serious loss of any kind. That's why we hear such absurd things as, " Get over it - just move on - you'll find someone else - God wanted her/him more than you - at least you still have the other children - be strong" ad nauseum.

sevenofwands

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2009, 04:58:13 AM »
What you say is very true, Kevin.  Bereavement leave needs to be a lot longer, even if only for the time needed to deal with practicalities, not to mention the grieving. 

Basically, I think there is some sort of fear at work, not to say a denial, in society.  Death is a sort of taboo subject, and I think there is an idea that "the less said about it the better".  Maybe if we don't talk about it, it won't happen. 

Seven

sevenofwands

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2009, 08:22:24 AM »
Was reading this today.  Perhaps some of it is pertinent.

http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/enlightened-living/200811/joy-and-pain-a-crucible-the-spirit


"""So, we live with one foot in and one foot out - one foot firmly grounded in the here and now and the other resting in the realm of soul and spirit. For a wo/man to walk - to move forward -- s/he must have two legs, and for the seeker of self and spirit, that means living in these two worlds simultaneously. It means staying grounded in the here and now and taking advantage of the opportunities presented by that here and now to forge the spirit, coming closer, then, to the Source.

If we lose a great love, for example, or if it is taken from us, this is a cause to mourn. But it is also an opportunity in that our grief, rather than irrevocably binding us to our human sadness, can be an engine of evolution because it brings to us the lessons of impermanence and the constancy of change.

Should we mourn our loss? Yes, because we are human and we feel our feelings; and the sadness of loss is likely the most human of feelings. But, in setting aside our ego - our attachment, rather than our commitment, to the here and now - we can move into a space of soul-evolution by seizing the opportunity to explore these elements of impermanence, change constancy, our own fear and denial of death, and so on

sevenofwands

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2009, 11:12:34 AM »
Unfinished Business

http://thegriefblog.com/grief/bereavement/grief/finishing-unfinished-business-when-mourning/

""Was there something that was left unsaid before your loved one died? Or was there some act that was never apologized for, perhaps an argument, an old grudge, or an outright abuse? It is difficult in most human relationships not to look back and feel sorry for something that was said or left unsaid. And, if one person is no longer there to hear that you are sorry, your grief can grind to an unbearable halt. You feel as though weighed down by an anchor.

Getting unfinished business with a deceased loved one out in the open is often not an easy thing to do. However, achieving peace of mind and heart is always possible. It is essential to find ways to finish the unfinished—or that emotional baggage will prolong your suffering. It can also interfere with your present relationships that are extremely important as you cope with your loss.

Here is what you need to know to begin your journey to resolution.

1. Clarify exactly what you are feeling concerned about (or angry) with regard to the deceased. Write it down in detail for three reasons. First, it can help you more fully understand and think more deeply about the difficulty once it’s on paper. Second, it can be useful if you decide to see a counselor to help you. Third, you can look back on it as the weeks and months go by, and you may well look at it from an altogether different perspective.

2. Decide if you are giving the problem more attention than it deserves. Try sharing your concern first with a close friend, one you trust and respect. Sometimes we feel bad about what might be a minor omission or really not an omission at all.


sevenofwands

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2009, 02:35:22 PM »
http://forum.psychlinks.ca/showthread.php?t=9345

""Researchers are beginning to pay more attention to complicated grief because of the serious toll it can exact — possibly leading to depression and thoughts of suicide. Researchers have even developed a new treatment that may help people with complicated grief come to terms with their loss and reclaim a sense of joy and peace.

Signs and symptoms
Mental health experts are still analyzing how complicated grief symptoms differ from those of normal grief or other bereavement reactions. During the first few months after a loss, many signs and symptoms of normal grief are the same as those of complicated grief. However, while normal grief symptoms gradually start to fade within six months or so, those of complicated grief get worse or linger for months or even years. Complicated grief is like being in a chronic, heightened state of mourning.

Signs and symptoms of complicated grief can include:

Extreme focus on the loss and reminders of the loved one
Intense longing or pining for the deceased
Problems accepting the death
Numbness or detachment
Preoccupation with your sorrow
Bitterness about your loss
Inability to enjoy life
Depression or deep sadness
Difficulty moving on with life
Trouble carrying out normal routines
Withdrawing from social activities
Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose
Irritability or agitation
Lack of trust in others
Causes
It's not known what causes complicated grief. As with many mental health disorders, it may involve a complex interaction between your genes, environment, your body's natural chemical makeup and your personality.

While it's not known specifically what causes complicated grief, researchers continue to learn more about the factors that may increase the risk of developing it. These risk factors may include:

An unexpected or violent death
Suicide of a loved one
Lack of a support system or friendships
Traumatic childhood experiences, such as abuse or neglect
Childhood separation anxiety
Close or dependent relationship to the deceased person
Being unprepared for the death
In the case of a child's death, the number of remaining children
Lack of resilience or adaptability to life changes



sevenofwands

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2009, 04:45:25 AM »
A book:

 The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker

""The terror of mortality and the avoidance of this reality is an unconscious and, until recently, largely unexamined element of human psychology and cultural meaning. This knowledge does not necessarily correspond to a belief in personal oblivion; but despite belief that "death is not the end" direct confrontation with death is avoided by many people - death is taboo.

this denial of death is mainly informed by the symbolization of our childhood fears. These fears become any number of representations that mask their origins. Symbolization is a mystifying process: one thing - unconsciously - comes to stand for another thing, but we take the second thing as the true object and have no idea we have fooled ourselves. Those infantile fears become components of transference: they are disguised and projected upon the present, which means people do not understand what or why they really fear.

In DoD, Becker describes the existential anxieties that mask deeper psychological phenomena, undermining any conscious and subjective knowledge of what we fear. Part of this symbolizing process involves the "self" that forms and is formed to (unconsciously) deny physical weakness, decay, horror of creatureliness, and death. For Becker, fear of death is more than the loss of the symbolic self – it is a fear of death-in-life, or being reduced in self-esteem, in ones own sense of power and meaningfulness. ""

http://www.epinions.com/review/The_Denial_of_Death_by_Ernest_Becker/content_217410801284


sevenofwands

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2009, 05:10:50 AM »
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g2699/is_0005/ai_2699000539



Extract:

""The symptoms of unresolved grief are numerous, including but not limited to: over-activity, having the symptoms of the deceased, psychosomatic (imagined and possibly created) illnesses, drastic changes in social network, hostility towards people connected with the death, self-sabotage, severe depression, suicidal tendencies, over-identification with the deceased, and/or phobias about illness or death. Unresolved grief can come about because of guilt, the new loss awakening an old loss, multiple losses, an inability to cope, or resistance to the process of mourning. Any unresolved grief holds up growth in life and can lead to serious mental or physical problems.

sevenofwands

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2009, 10:42:02 AM »
Many if not most of the adversities of life, including grief and bereavement, can be faced with a great deal more equanimity where these problems have not adversely one's psychological make-up:



""A dysfunctional family is a family in which conflict, misbehaviour and even abuse on the part of individual members of the family occur continually, leading other members to accommodate such actions. ~ Children sometimes grow up in such families with the understanding that such an arrangement is normal. ~ Dsyfunctional familes are most often a result of the alcoholism, substance abuse, or other addictions of parents, parents' untreated mental illnesses/defects or personality disorders, or the parents emulating their own dysfunctional parents and dsyfunctional family experiences.
[edit] Behavior patterns

Dysfunctional family members have common symptoms and behavior patterns as a result of their common experiences within the family structure. ~ This tends to reinforce the dysfunctional behavior, either through enabling or perpetuation. ~ The family unit can be affected by a variety of factors.

According to Steven Farmer, the author of Adult Children of Abusive Parents, [1] there are several symptoms of family dysfunction:

* Denial (i.e. ~ a refusal to acknowledge the alcoholism of a parent; ignoring complaints of sexual abuse)

* Inconsistency and Unpredictability

* Lack of Empathy toward family members

* Lack of clear boundaries (i.e. ~ throwing away personal possessions that belong to others, inappropriate touching, etc.)

* Role reversals ("parentifying" children)

* "Closed family system" (a socially isolated family that discourages relationships with outsiders)

* Mixed Messages

* Extremes in Conflict (either too much or too little fighting between family members)

Dr. ~ Dan Neuharth, author of If You Had Controlling Parents also expounds on dysfunctional families. ~ (He uses the terms "controlling parents", "unhealthy control" and "over control" throughout his book.) He cites eight signs of unhealthy parenting: [2]

* Conditional love

* Disrespect

* Stifled speech (children not allowed to dissent or question authority)

* Emotional intolerance (family members not allowed to express the "wrong" emotions)

* Ridicule

* "Dogmatic or chaotic parenting" (harsh and inflexible discipline)

* "Denial of an Inner Life (children are not allowed to develop their own value system)

* Social dyfunction or isolation

Neuharth also lists eight diferent parenting styles which cause family dysfunction: [3]

* Smothering (parents do not allow their children to maintain a separate identity)

* Using (destructively narcissistic parents)

* Abusing (parents who use physical, verbal, or sexual violence to dominate their children)

* Chaotic (unstable parents who behave in a wildly inconsistent manner with their kids)

* Perfectionistic( parents who "fixate on order, prestige, power, and/or perfect appearances".)

* Cultlike (parents who feel uncertain and "raise their children according to rigid rules and roles".)

* Depriving (parents who control by withholding love, money, praise, attention, or anything else their child needs or wants.)

* Childlike (parents who parentify their children. ~ They tend to be needy and incompetent. ~ Usually allow the other parent to abuse children.)



http://www.buzzle.com/articles/dysfunctional-family-as-a-cause-of-difficult-childhood.html

sevenofwands

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2009, 12:31:33 PM »

sevenofwands

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2009, 02:00:20 PM »
A book:

People Pleasers: Helping Others Without Hurting Yourself (Hardcover)
by Les Carter (Author)

"this book was very heplful in explaining why people pleasers do what they do and how it gets started(childhood experiences for one). there are several questionaires to answer to discover where you are with people pleasing. There were lots of great tips on how to respond to the aggressive and difficult people in your life. I would definitely recommend this book to overcoming people pleasing. "

sevenofwands

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2009, 04:18:07 AM »
Grief, particularly extreme or complicated grief, can cause depression.  I thought this was a useful article.

http://www.drjoecarver.com/clients/49355/File/Chemical%20Imbalance.html

sevenofwands

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2009, 08:37:38 AM »
Complicated Grief


http://www.psychologytoday.com/rss/pto-20081208-000001.html

"They found that "complicated grief" occurs in about 10-20 percent of those who have lost a loved one. The symptoms, says Mary-Frances O'Connor, an assistant professor in psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA's medical center, are unique in their intensity. "They include an extreme yearning for the deceased, loneliness, even searching for the deceased in a crowd, and intrusive thoughts about the deceased."

Complicated grievers may feel that life has lost its meaning. "They will often say, 'I feel like part of myself died with the person,'" O'Connor says. People who were emotionally dependent on the person who passed away particularly at risk of developing complicated grief.
""

sevenofwands

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Re: Dark Emotions
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2009, 03:50:59 AM »
Thank You For Loving Me!: The Psychology of Abandonment, Healing, and Loving (Paperback)
by J. Ray Rice