Yesterday I wrote about coping. I see coping as my means of dealing with feelings after they have arrived.
I often feel like my coping methods took a rather elaborate route over time. In reality they are due to lack of emotional control.
Emotional response is fascinating because what I have found is that while we are able to control where we direct the emotions, I feel like I have very little control over the intensity of said emotions.
To illustrate what I am talking about with an easy example you can think about an experience where someone deeply hurts your feelings. People have varying routes on how to channel this.
-Defensive. You can get angry. Rage. Put up the emotional barriers and lash out. No one will hurt me.
-Internalize. You can be stoic. Put on a neutral or even happy face. Keep your guard up. Show nothing. The pain stays inside slowly eating away at you. If left unchecked/unvented it will eventually become a major problem.
-Time-release. At the twinge of reaction you can attempt to process this. Do it slowly and rationally. Put out feelers to make sure you interpreted it correctly. The magnitude of the hurt sets in bit by bit over a period of time. At the end it feels just as bad but there was no monster KO punch... you got taken down by a series of jabs.
-Sadness. It hurts. You feel it, you express it. Pain in its natural form. This is often the hardest to do because it involves those present to see your vulnerability.
-Self-Defeat. This is probably the worst possible way I can think of dealing with hurt but it is my default when it relates to my demons. It feels deserved. I claim responsibility for it. It's my fault. I always seem to make this mistake. I bury myself in a spiral of the original pain and the secondary pain caused by heaping the blame upon myself. This is reserved for those special kind of hurts that rattle the deepest insecurities of my being.
-Detachment. To me this is the least desirable method to choose... but also the one most strongly rooted in survival. Shut down... distract... feel nothing... feel numb... look at everything but that. This is my natural choice when I will have to deal with people and care about what they think of me. Similar to internalizing, this has a tendency to eventually fill up and boil over, causing the full weight of the stored feelings to hit all at once.
-Rely on confidence. This is the method I am worst at because there are limited situations where I actually feel like I can use this. This requires a strong sense of self and an understanding of what is important. If hurt is brought on by people that are unimportant and/or words that I know aren't true, they can eat a dick because their words don't matter. This is mostly applicable with strangers and less so with people who we actually care about.
There are probably more ways to deal with this. Every time something affects my heart I seem to see myself at a cross-roads where a handful of these methods are my choices. I have a split second to decide how and in what way this will hurt. I would say that I try to make a "wise choice that I won't regret" when faced with it... but that would be a lie. It's like ordering a shit sandwich and getting hung up on what type of bread I want to eat it on. I suppose I usually choose the path that I think I am most likely to be able to handle at that given time.
I've never really considered myself to be the most emotionally stable person even though many people have leaned on me for support over the years. I have to wonder if other people have discovered an actual method of emotional control instead of just flipping a switch and deciding which track you want to send it down. Another observation that I have developed over time is that I don't think that the majority of people are aware that there is a miniscule time-frame in which they can choose how to react. I know that most people who explode with rage never seem to teeter between rage vs. crying before they fly off the handle. Is this just a myth that I wish to actually be able to control my emotions as they come in instead of merely controlling how I allow myself to feel them?
I am still wanting to finalize my The ____________ submissive archetype. I know that this type in particular (as well as some others that experience very deep levels of subspace) tend to react with self-defeat when they experience hurt in a D/s environment. Unfortunately self-defeat has such a way of looping upon itself that an actual punishment and atonement are often needed to free the sub from this cycle. Odd stuff.