In recent weeks 'Getting Naked With Your Feelings' has been the key theme of my blog posts. Sadness is a natural part of life. We can either let the emotion of sadness work for us or against us.
We have many kinds of relationships and experiences which may cause sadness and although this post features predominantly the relationship between mothers and daughters the information shared can be applied to all relationships.
Sadness often lies hidden beneath other emotions such as anger and love. In order to avoid feeling sad, we bury the emotion of sadness in the same way we might also bury our anger and the love for our mothers or significant others when relationships don't pan out the way we hope they will.
We may be sad about our childhood, sad to have left different family homes, sad not to have had quality time with our mother and feel sad for ourselves or for the parent who has left us through circumstance or death. This impacts all relationships unless resolved and our unmet childhood needs spill over into our adult relationships. We operate from a place of sadness which keeps us trapped in the past, self perpetuating and projecting the aftermath of sadness into our relationships which don't stand a chance of working unless we can get past the past and make the now a happier place to be.
If we have been taught not to show our feelings we may find ourselves unable to communicate, express opinion or concern - the sadness stays inside us just waiting to be triggered by other events, experiences and people. We might find ourselves going into fits of rage, bursting into tears or simply turning within and wanting to hide from life and the world and people around us when our sadness is triggered by some unrelated event. Like a bomb waiting to go off, it's only a matter of time before we can no longer contain what we are trying to keep inside.
In my opinion sadness is always better out than in whether that's having a good cry, speaking with a friend or therapist and using Modern Energy Healing as a means to release unwanted emotions. Finding healthy ways to release sadness such as use of Energy EFT or EMO (Energy-in-Motion) will serve you well.
We may feel sad when a relationship ends or a parent dies at whatever age we are and wonder ‘who will look after me’ now'.' Whether we are speaking metaphorically or factually, knowing a parent or significant other is there in whatever capacity gives us a sense of security, when it’s taken from us we can feel unsafe and adrift in the world. Some mothers and daughters have shared how much they have taken each other for granted and it’s only when a relationship ends they realise how much their mothers or daughters gave them. This can apply to love relationships, friendships and even working relationships. Just like the saying goes 'you never know what you've lost until it's gone'.
It is worth reflecting on why you may previously have hidden your sadness and the meaning you place on being able to express your sorrow. Sadness as well as anger can be deemed as a negative emotion and one society says we should not display. In truth, healthy expression of anger and sadness would serve us all far better than keeping it inside.
Author’s Note and Self reflection
‘‘I can remember as a teenager laying in my bed banging my head against the wall over and over; I just wanted to stop what I was hearing. I had no knowledge of how to move beyond the confused feelings in my mind. I hated living with my mum and step-dad listening to their fights, tears and then apologies. I felt sad for my mum because I didn’t know how to stop what was happening and sad because she was afraid of leaving him. If I had to describe that time I’d have to say it was like living in my worst nightmare, I just wanted to wake up from it all and find I’d been dreaming. If I knew of a way to save my mum from the verbal and physical abuse she suffered I would have done something about it. Trying to stop their fights was useless as my mum would take my step-dads side and say - he doesn't know what he's doing, he is drunk’'
Owning up to, accepting and acknowledging your sadness, anger, guilt and frustration and realising you had no strategies of being able to change circumstances for those you care about or for yourself is one of the most difficult human experiences you may ever face. If you have been taught not to express your feelings, the sadness, grief and loss you experience deep within may never be processed - leaving you with a sense of melancholy and despondency or worse still angry at the opposite sex or the world around you as you go through life. It may be difficult to trust or form long-lasting relationships with others, if you have a deep, ingrained, fear and the belief that the person you love will turn against you, withhold their love, hurt you emotionally or physically, die or seem dead to you.
Many daughters I have spoken with, regret that they never knew their birth mothers and those who have say their relationships are in tatters dues to past events, misunderstandings or events which happened in childhood which they have never understood or overcome. Some share there is an overwhelming disappointment and that the relationship with their mother is beyond repair. For other daughters’ - sadness is present every day, as they have not yet been able to separate from their mothers and truly live their lives on their own terms. They could be in their forties and still operating and responding from their five year old aspects who are searching for their mothers love, acceptance and approval thus feeding an unhealthy relationship dynamic.
Children do not always know how to process and release the emotion of sadness, we learn from our parents and caregivers how to do so - or not. By addressing our emotions as adults and acknowledging what made us sad in childhood and in later years, we are able to heal old hurts. With this awareness we can move on from feeling resentful and holding onto memories which are painful and keep us feeling small.
Now, as adult daughters because we recognise the childhood patterns of seeking the love, approval and acceptance from our mothers, we no longer have to try to mould and shape ourselves into being perfect to be loved.
If your mother had problems of her own and was not able to give to you what you needed, healthy expression of sadness, anger, frustration or regret will provide a catharsis and opportunity to heal at a deeper level. Mourning the loss of your ideal mother and/or relationships gives you freedom from the heartache you feel inside. It is time to acknowledge the part of you at the age when you first experienced sadness, for not being honoured, loved, accepted or approved of as who you are and what contributed to your personal experience of sadness.
In Chapters Five and Six of Mothers and Daughters: The guide to understanding and transforming the relationship with your mother, my second book on relationships, we explore the opportunity for inner work which will give relief to the hurt part of your younger self, the part of you which you may have never allowed the freedom to express her sadness.
Alison’s Words of Wisdom - Case Study
‘‘I’m sad I never had the opportunity to have a happier relationship with my mum before she died. She continued to treat me as a subservient child and fearing upsetting her, I continued to respond in the way she moulded me. She remained the needy and narcissistic parent right to the end of her life and I continued to be the needy child seeking her love, approval and acceptance. I never knew my mum as a friend or a person in her own right, I only knew her as my mother and this makes me very sad.’’
To gain perspective on your own emotions of sadness you may like to work through and explore the following questions
· What do you feel most sad about?
· What unmet childhood needs bring up sadness for you?
· What did you learn about the emotion of sadness growing up?
· How often have you been soothed by your mother or caregiver when you were sad?
· When you cried or showed emotion for whatever reason, how did your mother or caregiver respond to you?
· How often was it acceptable for you to show sadness in front of your mother or others who you grew up with?
· How did/does your mother express her own sadness?
· When do you deny your own sadness?
· When others show sadness through crying and communicating how they feel, how do you respond?
What influences may have shaped your mother’s ability to express her sadness?
Disassociation from her emotions?
Inability to be emotionally or physically available when you needed emotional support?
Not having the opportunity to show sadness as she believed it to be wrong?
Your sadness bringing up unhealed or denied parts of herself?
Dealing with sadness is a natural part of grief and relationship work. Even if your mother is still alive, there may be aspects of the relationship you had (or indeed wish you’d experienced) which need to be mourned. We grieve not only for the absence of our mothers or significant others love but also the relationship we hoped for.
If you need some support in working through unresolved sadness please do make contact to discuss best support options. You may also like to download completely free of charge a beautiful guided meditation I have recorded for you called 'Negative Memory Release'
It's been my pleasure as always to connect with you today, thank you for reading and giving yourself the opportunity for further reflection, learning and the opportunity to heal
If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days - Kris Carr