Crying...Screaming...Or Something

19 June 2013

This is me.

When I get upset or something really just hits too close to home, I close up.
I turn myself off emotionally and almost completely mentally as well.
I put up walls to keep people out because it hurts too much to talk about all of it.
So I just sit there and think through it all.
I process it slowly and in my own time.
In some cases I even find myself dwelling in something because I get so lost in thought I can't get out.

People always make it seem like I should be having an emotional breakdown or something. Yet I don't think that that is the right way for me to handle any of it. This whole thing with putting up walls and shutting down is something that has been a survival mechanism for me. I started using it during 5th & 6th grade and I have just perfected it over the years. Sometimes I am able to use it more effectively than others and some people (although only a few) have gotten to know me enough that they can see through it. Yet despite these factors, I often find that this is my best survival skill. This often includes putting on a smile and saying things like "I'm fine" or "Everything is good" in order to make people believe me. Sad thing is...people rarely see through the smile and semi-false statements. It can make things difficult, but I have to remind myself that it is only difficult because I make it that way.

While this has been an easy way to get by without having to deal with emotions in the presence of others, it has also become a hindrance to my roles in my church and in ministry in general. So much of what we do as a church is relational and that means that we are sharing our lives with others, both the good and the bad. That whole shutting down thing can kinda put a dent in that whole relational part of everything. I am good with talking with them through their issues and problems, but I don't find it easy to share anything beyond the surface of my issues and problems. I try not to deal with the emotions around others, but building relationships often times means that I need to share emotions with others even if it is hard for me.

And let's not sugar coat it....It is very hard for me to deal with emotions around others. VERY hard.

It always has been. I won't say that it always will be because with some help from family, friends, and God I can learn how to share those emotions with others in a positive way. It is something that I have been working on in the last year or so and something that I will definitely be continuing to work on this summer. The fact that this particular issue of shutting down has been pointed out a couple times now is what really has the whole issue on my mind. It is a very prevalent issue right now in my life and I am trying to figure out how to fix this habit.

I know that God will help me get to where I need to be in this area and while it is most likely going to be a rough road & a struggle, it will be worth it in the end. His plans are always better than our own. I know His plan likely does not include room for me to shut down and hold all emotions inside of myself. He wants me to build those relationships with people and that means that I have to be real with people. This includes being real about how I feel about different things and situations.

Have any of you dealt with this issue? What helped you get past it? How have your relationships with others changed since you became more open? In what ways has God helped you in this area or how has He worked through you despite this issue?

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