Thursday, March 6, 2008

Debriding Emotional Wounds

debridement

surgical removal of foreign material and dead tissue from a wound in order to prevent infection and promote healing


One really neat aspect of blogging that I wasn't aware of when I started this Grief Recovery Tools project is that I would meet really neat people through my writing. By registering as a Spousal Bereavement Expert on SelfGrowth.com, a great website whose mission is "to provide informative, quality Self Improvement and Natural Health information to help people improve their lives," there have been many invitations to join other Expert networks. One such Expert is Elizabeth Bohorquez, and she has written some amazing articles that I'd like to share with you. Here's the first one. Enjoy!

Inside My Critical Nature & Being

"Blessed is the man who can take bricks thrown at him & build a sound foundation"....Tom Pryor

Related SpokenWords, Thoughts & Emotional MindState - captious, carping, caviling, cavillous, censorious, critic, faultfinding, hypercritical, overcritical, discerning, discriminating, penetrating; finicky, fussy, particular; belittling, demeaning, disparaging, humbling, lowering.

Over the past few days I found myself journaling about criticism that tend to initiate conflicts...self-delivered & delivered by others. I learned from one of my patients that Gemini was in retrograde or something like that, meaning that communication is off. Of course this made me feel better immediately, knowing I had little to do with all the criticism floating around me.

Automatic writing or journaling is very helpful for me personally & I often recommend it to my patients as well, even if they balk about writing. The balking is usually fear-related. Yes, writing is committing ink to paper....or at least it was in the past. I still journal with real paper & pen. It helps to slow the mind down, allowing the images or ideas to form.

After so many years of working in this field, I'm still amazed at how the subconscious mind will cooperate with emotional reframing & healing. Sometimes all I really need is a good metaphor to manage my heavy-air days.

As I broached the subject of critical words, here are some things that came off of my pen....delivered directly from my subconscious mind.

1. Criticism can be a good thing, even if the person delivering it does not mean it as such.....myself included. Of course we are our biggest critic. That's no secret. I'm also well aware of constructive vs destructive criticism. However, I often have a problem with accepting the term constructive criticism, especially when it is delivered in what appears to be a destructive way. Or, is this just a matter of Gemini in retrograde?

2. It doesn't really matter if the criticism is constructive or destructive, nor if Gemini is having a problem or not. I can benefit from all of it... & if there is plenty of it around, it follows that I would could have a wealth of benefits, if I just did what I needed to do. Hmmm....

3. The subconscious mind often connects things in strange ways in order to make it's point. I was brought back to my time of nursing in Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center & to the memory of debriding wounds. Wounds cannot heal properly until the dead or infected tissue is removed, often speck by speck. The job of the wound care nurse is to utilize different techniques to achieve this. However, it cannot be done all at once. It is a process, sometimes taking months, depending on the depth or complexity of the wound. The metaphor is forming....

4. Emotional wounds are similar to physical ones. They must also be debrided. Criticism is like pouring acid into certain emotional wounds. Anyone who has experienced this phenomena is certainly familiar with the combination of physical & emotional pain that results. I know that I am....

5. Many of us were born into a very critical environments, thus making us highly sensitive to critical words. Simple words, even if delivered in a constructive way, can be very frightening & debilitating. As a child I had no power & had to develop ways to survive this type of environment, but as an adult I do have power & so it is my responsibility to debride mywounds so I can heal & continue my self-growth.

6. Managing stress is not the same as debriding wounds. While it is very important to eat correctly, meditate, exercise & practice mindfulness, if I truly want to heal & manage my emotions at higher levels, I must be willing to cleanse & debride my wounds.

7. Emotional wounds are debrided through awareness & timely releasing. When criticism is painful, there is a wound that needs to be cleaned. The process is simple, but not always easy. I remember that when treating a patient's wound, I'd often tell them, Yes, it hurts & no, it won't hurt forever. I remember....the patient learns to bring his/her attention to the breath & to ride it, just like riding gentle waves in the sea. The physical pain begins to move to the side & then diminishes. The patient learns to see/sense the wound healing from the bottom up.

8. The same holds true for emotional healing. As the wound heals from the bottom up, the mind will often send fragments of the debris. These may be in the form of old memories or emotions that need to be released. Opening & healing is now in process...

More About Criticism & Connected Conflicts...

There are other things that are helpful for me to remember. First off the bat, conflicts & criticism are inevitable, as long as I'm willing or interested in standing up for what I believe are my rights or beliefs.

It does help to simply the actual word conflict or criticism. The subconscious meaning of words can be so powerful as to disallow any scrutiny because of the attached, automatic mind fear patterns. Conflicts are simply two sets of demands, goals or motives that appear to be incompatible. I must remind myself that I deal with conflicts all day long. Some might be small & I may not even label these as conflicts, but they are nevertheless. This is a very important awareness because as I view them under the conflict or criticism label, I'll come to know that I have been developing excellent resolution skills for a very long time, some actually from early childhood.

Conflicts & accompanying criticisms come in sizes including small, medium & large. Some are more uncomfortable than others. The more uncomfortable tend to be connected to deeper wounds or more sensitive areas in the subconscious mind. Keep in mind that these are very valuable as debriding tools.

The conflicts or critiques I play in the theater of my mind tend to be more frequent & often larger. It's important for me not to forget that these also effect my body physiology & bring more debris to old, deep wounds. Engaging the thought process in awfulizing is a very bad habit & one that can have serious physical & emotional consequences.

This happens to be one of my habits & so I've asked my own subconscious mind to wake me when I'm doing this, so I have the opportunity to break the habit & release the stress. At the same time, I'll take advantage of the self-criticism & do a very more steps to debride any old wounds.

Simple Metaphors for Managing Criticisms...

Here's one I utilize for myself quite often. When someone is critical of me, I change those words in my mind. They are critical of something I've done. This simply means that we have a difference of opinion about this something. That is easier for me to accept & curbs the production of stress chemicals. Remember, I was born into a very critical environment, so I am very sensitive.

Next, in the theater of my mind, I take the "something" & rinse it off under my very beautiful golden faucet. I want to remove the emotional component that was part of the delivery. This way, I am free to examine the "something" & decide if I want to change anything about my part or my beliefs. I may do this immediately, or decide to wait. Then, I might simply thank the other person for bringing this to my attention & to let them know that I'll think about it. This moves me out of a defensive position, into one of maturity & self-control.


Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht is a Clinical Medical Hypnotherapist, who works in the area of loss & healing. Her websites offer many articles & discussion on the subject, as well as complimentary mp3 downloads.

1 comment:

Monica said...

Hi Vic, I would like to thank you for your subconscious pouring out on the issue of criticism.. I was looking for some information today, as in order to deal with a suffering colleague at work..Whose problems arise from her being highly sensitive to any kind of critic and then the result is she suffering along with spreading a highly negative aura.. Thanks again ..