"Look at what you bring to the world, not what you lack." - Miranda Kate

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Negative Emotion Addiction: How to Recognise & Release it

Image of the sky and clouds reflected in water with text: Feel your emotions, then put them on the canvas of sky and let them float awayDo you ever feel anxious suddenly, and without reason?

Do you ever get a bad feeling come on, but you don't know why?

Do you get stuck feeling bad all the time, but don't really know why?

Much like any addiction, Negative Emotion Addiction can be both physical and mental. If we repeatedly experience a negative emotion, it can become habit forming, and our bodies can reflect it as much as our minds.

Through some personal work I was doing I discovered that I have a negative emotion addiction to emotions like Dread, Envy, and Inadequacy. These come up for me both consciously and unconsciously.

The one that I notice the most is Dread, as it manifests physically. On any given day it will appear out of nowhere showing up as a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, as though something has gone wrong - or is about to.

I check myself: Am I missing something? Have I forgotten to do something?
I check the clock: Am I meant to be somewhere? Am I supposed to be fetching one of my children?
I check the calendar: Is there an appointment I should be attending, or a phone call I should be making?

I run through it all, making sure I haven’t forgotten something that will cause a problem later. When I realise I haven’t missed anything and I have no reason for feeling this way, I release it, letting the feeling go, reassuring myself that all is well. 

This is an emotion I felt as a child on a daily basis throughout my entire childhood until I left home. Being a child of domestic violence this emotion was present several times a day, or all day long. It is an emotion formed round a fear of knowing something dreadful is about to happen, coupled with a feeling of insecurity about the unpredictability of it - what will happen exactly, and when?

In my current life there is no reason for me to be experiencing this emotion any more, so I recognise it as being a sort of 'residual' emotion, like part of a withdrawal symptom, now I am no longer experiencing it daily. Each time the feeling arises I consciously undo it and let it go, and in doing that I work to end the recurrence of it.  

“If negative emotions arise you can watch them fly over you like debris floating in the wind.” – Unknown 

Some might say it is a form of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and it may be, but as it is only a feeling and not brought on by a flashback or memory, I recognise it as something my body is so used to feeling it simply reproduces it without a trigger. 

However, when I experience Envy it’s more conscious. A steam of thoughts will fill my head: wishing that I had what others had, wishing I was doing what others were doing. It can be about a friendship, a personality trait, a job, but always comparing myself to others, either personally or their living situation. These thoughts can bring about a physical reaction too, again a sick feeling in the stomach much like dread. But I have to consciously stop the spiral of these thoughts otherwise they can grow into larger more negative emotions, like paranoia, anger, or sadness. 

To stop these thoughts I focus on what I do have, and how much I have. I think about all the things I like about my life, and about myself, and what I have to offer in any friendship, relationship, or job. And to continue moving away from these feelings I remind myself that what I believe others have is an assumption and not a reality.  

“Everything we see is a perspective, not a truth.” – Marcus Aurelius  

For me, envy is an emotion born out of a childhood of lack where I felt like I was the only person suffering, and others had much more than me – often not in the material sense, but in the emotional sense: love, happiness, security, sense of belonging, and stability. These were missing from my life as I was growing up and they led me into feelings of inadequacy: I felt I didn’t deserve these things, that I wasn’t good enough, that I was doing something wrong, or being punished. 

I spent a lot of time feeling this way as a child, and it caused a great deal of sadness, and anxiety for me. I got used to feeling that way too; it became my constant, and sometimes my comfort. I would fall into a victim mindset, and find it hard to see what a negative effect these feelings had on the rest of my life. I struggled to sustain friendships and relationships and didn’t understand why people didn’t want to be in my company. I had become toxic to them – and to myself – much like an addict.

But like any addiction it is possible to break the habit: there is a process. Although for a Negative Emotion Addiction it is not so much giving up something as becoming aware of it and letting it go.
Over the years I have changed my thought process and perspective, so now when I experience these negative emotions I follow these steps:

- Become conscious of them;
- Recognise what they are;
- Check they no longer apply;
- Release them, and let them go.

We must learn to question the validity of our recurring negative emotions. We need to ask ourselves: Are these emotions something I am simply used to feeling? Do I need to still be feeling this? Is it still relevant in my life now?

In doing this we can slowly recover from their effects and make room for more positive thoughts and feelings - ones we want to become addicted to.

I discovered NEA through my work with Norval Rhodes doing Energy Healing


  1. It's a tough one, I've talked before about my 'learned behaviour', which is parallel to residual emotions I'd imagine... When you get stuck in a pattern it's hard to let it go. I'm working on releasing my negative patterns and behaviours. A slow process, but I'll get there!

    1. It's a very slow process indeed. But the more aware you become, the easier it gets. As mine manifest in a physical way I become more aware of them, and question then. Thanks for reading.