I want to talk to those people who are Emotional Processors, but you probably do not know who you are. How can you know who you are when you have never had someone reflect it to you in a loving and accepting way? And why would you want to know that you are something the world thinks of as something bad, weak, unstable or insane, and maybe even dangerous?
I don't ask you to come out of hiding to the world. But I ask you to come out of hiding to yourself, so you can stop being crazy, so you can create a space for your natural processes to take place, so you can begin to be the wonderful person that you are.
How can you know if you are an EP?
If your goal in life is to figure out how to keep your emotions under control, you are probably an EP.
If you are constantly trying to overcome depression and fight off all heavy or sad emotions that creep up on you when you're not vigilant, you're probably an EP.
Mental Processors usually don't have these same kinds of problems, or not to the same degree that Emotional Processors do. A person who is primarily a Mental Processor can much more easily dismiss their painful emotions, rationalize themselves out of depression, or meditate away their fears. A true EP cannot. I have tried to explain this basic difference to many Mental Processor people, and frequently hit the same brick wall. I'm just not trying hard enough, they say. If I work harder, think harder, focus more, I'll be able to do what they do (dismiss their feelings). And no amount of explanation on my part helps them to see that there is a basic difference between them and myself. A legitimate difference, not a weakness or a failing.
I don't see being an EP as a weakness. On the contrary, it has become a source of great strength. But it wasn't always so. As a child, it was extremely embarassing how sensitive I was, and how easily hurt, how easily frightened, or enraged. I longed to be "under control" and "mature" and "calm" like so many other people seemed to be. I was forever measuring myself against standards that were not only unfair, but unrealistic. I have come to accept my nature, and with much healing of old wounds, have brought much of my emotional self into the present where it should be, where it can help me live a good life.
Let me describe the healthy Emotional Processor to you:
- We are strong, but our strength lies in the strength of our feelings and perceptions. If we are not allowed to feel, or process our feelings naturally, THEN we become weak.
- We are beautiful, but if we are not allowed to express our feelings to healing, we become filled with emotional waste, and THEN we become ugly and sick, and sometimes violent.
- We have purpose, but our purpose is in the reflection of feelings, and if our purpose is not valued, we become unimportant, superfluous, in the way, and ultimately diminished.
- We are powerful, but our power must be guided by our purpose and awareness. When we deny our power or when our power is given away, it becomes destructive, to ourselves, and to others.
- We are capable of great love, but when we are not allowed to be who we are, our loving becomes lost in the maze of the subconscious, buried under piles of unhealed pain.
- We are capable of feeling every emotion known to mankind, and we are passionate in all that we feel, because our very life is to FEEL. And this is good!!
We have largely not been accepted in our society. We behave in ways that we think will get us acceptance, we try to twist ourselves into pretzels, hoping to succeed in finding a place and a purpose in our culture. But we almost always eventually do something that gets us into trouble with those around us. It's inevitable. One can only twist into a pretzel for so long, and then ... it all unravels. But it's not always "negative" behaviors that get us into trouble. Sometimes it's positive behaviors, that are unfortunately judged by the world as unacceptable in some way. For instance:
I know a woman who was very sympathetic, a good "ear". She seemed to really feel other people's pain and understood at an intuitive level what needed to be done. Other employees in her work arena often came to her for understanding and guidance. The management, however, didn't like her to do this. It wasn't her official job, she was overstepping her abilities (in their opinion) and was seen as undermining the authority of those in management positions, even though she was not talking badly about them or their abilities. Her employer asked her to stop having contact with other employees. Her job was no longer satsifying to her, and so she left.
Here are some things most EP's do and feel:
- Our first response to any situation is always emotional (although we usually deny this).
- If a situation does not feel good, no amount of money, status or social recognition can make it tolerable (although we keep trying and trying to be happy, and usually assume our unhappiness is our own fault or failing).
- We feel guilty a lot and can be pretty easily kept in our place and role by others using guilt as a weapon against us.
- We assume guilt for those who are unable or unwilling to assume their own.
- We often feel everyone else's feelings, and often take responsibility for everyone's feelings.
- We feel the truth of what is going on in a situation where there are intense feelings, although often those around us deny the truth. Then we doubt ourselves and think we are crazy or mentally incompetent. Often EP's are "put away" by people who do not want to know the truth.
- We feel passionately - but we are constantly suppressing our feelings, which leaves us depressed, bored, and without energy.
- We can be triggered into "acting out" our emotions (which is usually destructive) unless we hold down our feelings with an iron fist. When we have ourselves in control so that we cannot be triggered, we feel numb and lifeless.
- How we feel about something is more important than anything else, although we usually deny this and try to use our logic to "decide" how we're going to feel. Decisions made from our heads, however, are invariably disappointing and unfulfilling.
- There is an underlying sadness most EP's have in our culture, that we try to hide and never acknowledge and do not understand.
- We often feel out of place in the regular world and do everything we can to be "right". Most of us have had feelings and thoughts of being adopted, different, an alien, crazy, and that there is something wrong with us.
- We are usually dissatisfied with our jobs, our relationships, our appearance, our lives, but don't know what to do about it. We try to fix it by changing our careers, our relationships, etc., but what happens is that nothing is fixed, we don't feel any better, we're no more accepted than before, and others begin to see us as flighty and irresponsible.
- We get angry at something or someone, but suppress this anger and often don't do anything about it until it boils over and becomes a huge issue, usually at something or somebody else entirely. And we often are so disconnected from the anger, that we don't even realize what's happened.
- We are often victimized regularly without even realizing it, because our very existence is a kind of abuse - the abuse of not being able to be one's self, and be accepted/loved.
- We keep trying desperately to do something about our emotions - we try all the intellectual tools and often feel like a failure because we can't succeed within the mental framework.
- We have stress-related physical pains.
- We have a stream-of-consciousness self-talk about how wrong we are, how stupid we have been, and a constant inner voice reminding us how bad we are.
These aren't all the behaviors and images we present to the world; some are extremely more violent and deviant. But people who are not allowed to feel and process their feelings as they should ... get crazy.
If fully accepted and allowed to behave naturally, the EP would probably:
2. Feel a response
3. Process the feeling
4. Evaluate after processing
5. Feel again
6. Think about how to proceed/change
7. Feel a response to the possibilities
8. Make a decision to act
Instead what usually happens is we are pressured to:
2. Judge and cut off our feeling response
3. Evaluate the facts and think about what to do
4. Make a decision based on logic
The life we live, based on a gross misunderstanding of who we are and how we need to process, is either constricting and dull, leading to boredom, depression, and lifelessness, or it's a life lived outside the mainstream, outside society's rules. Many people choose this kind of radical life, alone or banded together in small groups, and they often tell themselves that they are perfectly happy. But the truth is, large parts of themselves are still yearning for acceptance, and are angry at the society that shuns them. And staying away from the Mental Processors is not a final solution. We all need each other, we each have gifts to offer each other, the MP and the EP, as well as the Heart people and Body people. Isolation due to lack of acceptance heals nothing. We need to find acceptance for all the ways of processing, for all types of people.