Updated: Oct 23, 2019
...Also known as psychic attacks.
Only, let's not use spiritual terms. Let's have an open, honest, accessible conversations about when we are emotionally responsible and when we are not.
I've seen a lot of people talking about the dangers of psychic attacks lately and how they're the focus of negative energy onto someone who is being positive. I've also read the comments and opinions that most people aren't aware that they are doing it and that if they are then it is focus intention.
I don't disagree with this.
Then I get to the bit that say, "how can anyone psychically attack someone else, I just can't believe someone would be so horrible!"
That right there is the bit that makes me shake my head.
Let's face it, everyone has been emotionally irresponsible in their lives. Hell, we were all children once. And we have all been angry adults at some stage too.
Let me break down what psychic attack aka emotional irresponsibility actually is:
It is the point where we intentionally or unintentionally project our less than loving feelings on to someone; everything from rudeness, sarcasm, anger, frustration, hurt, sadness, jealousy the list goes on. This does not have to be daggers lodged in their backs, or car accidents, or their cat dying. It can be as simple as undermining their self worth. Hurtful words that cause tears. Making someone feel ostracised.
Let me clarify - I do not believe there are such things as good and bad emotions. Nor do I consider there to be positive or negative emotions. Why? Every emotion has a place, has a purpose, and for example, anger which is often regarded as a bad and negative emotion, can be both a force for good or bad. It is totally dependent on how it is used.
Adolf Hitler, undoubtedly one of the worst dictators of our modern era used anger and fear to reign a terror down on the world that was one of the most horrific cases of genocide society had seen up until that point. His was a destructive expression of anger.
Joan of Arc, on the other hand, or the Suffragettes, or Jesus Christ even, were all just as angry. They saw what was happening to groups of people around them and decided to channel their anger to cause positive change. Theirs was a constructive expression of anger.
Both are the same but one is about causing harm and the other to enact change. The same examples can be created for all emotions and feelings. Please note that emotions and feelings are not interchangeable either. Feelings are what we experience in the moment they occur, where we allow them to pass through us. Emotions are when feelings are denied or ignored and they become ingrained responses in our physical body with both positive and/or negative impacts.
Back to emotional responsibility: In both cases of Hitler and Jesus they were angry, no denying that, but what changed was how responsible they were displaying it to those in the world around them. They both made a conscious choice on how they would act. How does this relate to us? I am a big believer in taking historical events and overlaying them on our daily lives. When something major happens on the wheel of history (history moves in a circle) it is showing to us, plainly and clearly, where smaller cases of the same thing are happening to each and every one of us. Hitler was not a phenomenon of his time. He did not come from nowhere. His view was one that insidiously lived in the psyche of many people at the time. He was merely reflecting the fear, lack of security, distain, and distrust that existed in the people. He rallied those needing someone to blame and became someone to follow. Jesus did the same thing but instead of being someone to follow out of fear, he taught people to look beyond what was different to see the similarities and humanity of each and every person. I will clarify here: I am not Christian, my belief system is pagan if anything but I do view Jesus as a man who enacted large and lasting change on the world. I have issues with the Church as it currently stands - that's something to write about at another time - but for the most part, he was a man trying to make a difference.
With both of their actions they caused changes to how we view the world. Let me ask you this: Do you truly believe that someone like Adolf Hitler could cause such widespread damage in such a short space of time to so many lives? We have the evidence to prove it. So if one man can rally so many people to hate so extensively, with no hard evidence against the Jews and all based on emotions is it so hard to believe we are ruled by such simple things as our feelings and emotions? I don't think so. Our emotions and feelings are powerful.
When we deny our feelings they become our emotional landscape; meaning if we believe everything is warm and fuzzy and nothing ever goes bad then we develop a deep-seated resentment or a frustration when things are less than rosy. I have always taken issue with people who preach that we only need love and positivity. This is an unrealistic sentiment and like I said, I don't believe in negative feelings and emotions. When we fail to give everything adequate expression we embed this deeply into our selves. It builds in a deep dark pit slowly filling up so that when we can't bury anymore we snap.
How many times have you had a bad day and snapped or been rude to someone in a customer service position? How many times have you not received the answer that you wish on a phone call only to make some back handed remark to the person taking your call? How many times have you sent virtual daggers into the back of the head of or tailgated the person driving slowly in front of you?
How many times have you continued an argument in your head after the person has left or made bitchy movements or gestures behind someone's back?
Think back to school - how many times did you say something mean about someone or engage in bullying type behaviours?
These are all examples of unintentional emotional irresponsibility. We are feeling whatever emotion and that manifests against someone else instead of us giving ourselves or being given the space to safely and fully express our current feeling state.
Let me let you in on a little secret - everyone has been emotionally irresponsible at some stage in their lives. Therefore everyone has launched an unintentional psychic attack on someone at some time. And you know what? It won't be your last. As humans we are flawed. It's the nature of things. We have these feelings and emotions that sometimes overwhelm us and we falter. It's a normal state of being.
Have you ever experienced an anger so powerful you feel you could tear down a building? Or a sadness that you feel will engulf you whole? Or a jealousy that would cause you to do something irrational? Have you ever held these feelings so passionately that you've narrowed your eyes and projected ill will on another? Have you ever heard that your perceived arch enemy has had something befall them and you've gone, good they deserve it?
That, dear reader, is what is knows as an intentional psychic attack or intentional emotional irresponsibility. When you project your emotional state so fiercely on another that you wish for harm to befall them or you can see yourself yelling, screaming, berating, or physically harming them, acting out the scene in your head.
I am the first to admit that I do not always have control over my feelings or emotional landscape. I don't think anyone truly does. Humans are unique and our makeup is to be expressive - in all aspects - we are not a perfectly steady line on a monitor. We are erratic, changeable, unpredictable, and chaotic. We ebb and flow. Our feelings are no different.
I recently had a situation in my life where I felt I was wronged and that the imposed consequences were far more severe than the deed itself. I was hurt, grief stricken and man, was I angry! Not your usual anger but the I'm ready to destroy the world anger that makes you 100 feet tall and ready to tear out new arseholes and sever limbs.
What I needed was for someone to hold space for me while I raged. I need an opportunity to allow my feelings safe passage without judgement or retribution. I needed a secure place to fall apart and drop everything that was sitting inside of me so that I could collapse exhausted and spent. Then and only then could I rebuild and move past my emotional landscape. Instead I pulled it together and pretended that everything would be okay and that I needed to "get on with life". I managed this for about a day then the pit could take no more and I snapped.
You'd think, as a Red Tent facilitator and educator I'd know better but we live in a society were we don't drop our bundle. We soldier on. We have ads on TV telling us to do just that because that is the way we are expected to live. To admit temporary defeat is to appear weak. To be at our most vulnerable is unacceptable.
I had arguments with a friend of mine in my head, where I was standing in her house and imagining myself screaming at the top of my lungs about how she couldn't know my agony, finger jabbing into her chest, "You can't possibly understand this so don't even try!" It was intense. I could feel the maliciousness of my words permeating the space between us. I knew I was launching against her. I knew I was trying to inflict some of my pain on to her so I could ease it from myself. I wanted someone else to carry it, just for a moment, so I didn't feel suffocated by my own torrent of overwhelming emotions. I was consciously bearing down on her in a harmful way because I knew she was strong enough to withstand me. To choose her was a decision I made. It was made knowing that she has the capacity to resist me and be safe while doing so.
It is in these times that I think it important to remember that someone who is launching so intentionally against someone else is coming from a place of hurt and it is our job, as part of a collective and human race to hold that space to give then the opportunity to process. That is not to say that these actions are acceptable. They aren't. Everyone has to be responsible for their own emotional landscape. It is more to point out that when we deny the safe and full expression of our true selves we damage those around us.
I have borne witness to many instances, both as the victim and the observer, where someone has been both intentionally and unintentionally injured by someone else's state of being. I strongly believe that in all of these circumstances our job is to stand tall and to honour each other during hard and good times but we need to call each other out when we act from a place of hurt. That is not to say, "hey you, stop it!" is acceptable, we need to come back to compassion and empathy and ask, "I feel you, what can I do to support you?"
We cannot, of course, support those that refuse to see their actions as nasty or vicious. Sometimes the only thing we can do is to protect ourselves and walk away, we do need to consider ourselves and everyone else accountable for their choices.
Regardless of whether you call it emotional irresponsibility or a psychic attack, the truth is that when this happens it is indicative of a deeper wound than any that may be inflicted on you as a victim.
It is my hope that people read this an understand that psychic attacks are not of a purely evil intent, they are from people who are currently hurting and that no matter how advanced and conscious we become they will always exist because we are flawed and sometimes we fail which is okay. As we evolve and increase our collective compassion and empathy we will start to recognise our inner turmoil before it gets to hurt others and that is all I ask.
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