You’re going about your day… say, opening your mail… when someone knocks on your front door and you instantly feel stress. They start knocking louder and more forcefully, so you pretend you’re not home and silently creep up the stairs, feeling anxious for no “real” reason. Or you’re driving in your car when someone cuts you off, then screams at you. You instantly feel overwhelmed. Perhaps you begin shaking. Deep down, you know there is no way this single incident could create this much emotion inside of you. What is going on? What are you experiencing?
Emotional Age expert, women’s advocate, and author of The Emotional Edge: Discover Your Inner Age, Ignite Your Hidden Strengths and Reroute Misdirected Fear to Live Your Fullest, Crystal Andrus Morissette, helps people to identify when they are having an emotional flashback and what to do about it. According to Morissette, “Emotional flashbacks take us into a timeless part of our psyche. In a flash, we are brought back to an old feeling, probably from childhood, of being helpless, hopeless or in danger.” Unprotected. Unsafe. Unseen. Unimportant. “When we were little girls—and little boys, too—we believed in ourselves,” explains Morissette. “We liked ourselves. It didn’t even occur to us not to like ourselves. But along the way, things happened—maybe some of them were even trajectory-changing moments—and we took a little piece of ourselves and said, ‘I don’t feel safe being that. I have to tuck that part of me away.’ And before we know it, we’re adults yet we’re feeling very fragmented, inauthentic and sometimes even broken and wounded.” Here are some tips that can help you when you are having an emotional flashback:
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