Emotionally hurt – counterproductive protection

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By Dave Henning / June 20, 2020

“When we are emotionally hurt or have experienced trauma, our subconscious minds often work to protect us in ways that are counterproductive.  Shame and vulnerability are so toxic to our identities that our subconscious mind does everything it can to avoid them.”- Phil Waldrep

Phil Waldrep continues Chapter 5 of Beyond Betrayal as he observes that blaming your betrayal on something else fails as a way to help you process your pain.  Because once you think the blame falls elsewhere, you believe you shouldn’t feel hurt – since you blame someone other than your betrayer.  So, you wonder what’s wrong with you.  You still feel hurt.  As a result, you spiral into a vicious downward cycle.

Hence, blame simply functions to deflect your pain – yet another form of denial.  And turning your shame and humiliation into something else only delays your healing.  Furthermore, Phil notes, that’s why it’s common to blame God.  Blame allows you to avoid feeling the pain and shame for yourself.

Above all, the author underscores, almost all people who experience deep betrayal, at some point, shift the blame to God.  In addition, all forms of blaming God center on the same question.  People who blame God ask, “Lord, how could you allow this to happen to me?”

In other words, people fault God for failing to intervene or expose the betrayer’s deceit.  Therefore, Phil believes, at some level each betrayed person asks that type of question.  But, there’s one problem.  It’s not very helpful to ask such questions.

Our internal instincts look for a way to deflect our feeling of shame via placing that blame on someone or something.  Or, tidy things up and sweep the incident under the rug.  Also, we hardly realize we’re doing this because our responses happen so naturally.

In conclusion, Phil extends this thought:

“In the short term, protecting ourselves from immediate shame can keep us from being completely incapacitated.  But in the long run, the quick way to getting our lives back is to face the shame and recognize our vulnerabilities and not let them define us.”

Today’s question: What’s your default mode when you feel emotionally hurt?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Conscious choices to get your life back”

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Dave Henning

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