Emotions and Self-Sabotage

Depression and anxiety overwhelm Linda. Pounding heart. Sweaty palms. Shortness of breath. Crying spells. Stays in bed too long. Obsessed about her appearance and weight.

She feels blown off course, much like a small bird coming against big winds.

The normally difficult challenges of life, such as losses in relationships or finances, easily knock Linda flat. Her depressed and anxious feelings then make her feel inferior to and withdrawn from others. Such responses feed her cycle of feeling hopeless or helpless.

Depressed and anxious feelings, in and of themselves, are generally not harmful. These emotions are a natural part of our humanity. It's what makes us unique as persons. It's actually better that we experience these temporary emotions than pushing them away.

But for some people, natural emotions such as these lead to self-sabotage. The emotions become a constant disabling presence in their lives rather than momentary. As a result, they sabotage their own selves and energies for success, love, and happiness.

Linda did go through a rough year in therapy. But, along the way, she has learned to come out of it. Her darkness begins to brighten. She recognizes her childhood and attachment roots. She becomes more deeply aware of the nature and dynamic of her thoughts, and acquired skills to reframe them.

She manages to understand her feelings and control them. She nurtures her passions at work. She goes to the gym and works out or takes brisk walks outdoors when she feels down. She reassures her self that her family is just waiting if she wants to talk about problems.

I'm reminded of Dr. Karen Horney, a psychoanalyst, who once wrote: "Concern should drive us to action and not into depression."

Fortunately for Linda, taking the appropriate action steps leads her to win over her emotional self-sabotage.

She remains an emotionally sensitive person though and that's good. It's now an asset, not a liability, since her emotions no longer rule over her.