Are You Guilty of Emotional Avoidance?
What is Emotional Avoidance?
It is amazing how situations and circumstances can be detrimental to the health of an individual. Something can be said on your job or while you are engaged in a meaningful conversation with a loved one. One word can be a catalyst, hurling you back to a situation in your past; revealing the thoughts you assumed were long buried. Yes, before you are aware of it—it’s being relived. You, my friend, have unfinished business!
There are times when a person doesn’t realize the magnitude of unfinished business, until the body reacts in ways that are unmistakable indications that something is definitely wrong. At that point, you realize that something needs to be done. Unfinished business can lead you down a devastating path of disaster!
There is a term I would like to introduce called Emotional Avoidance? Exactly just what is Emotional Avoidance? This is when you unconsciously avoid the likelihood of anything undesirable happening by either completely removing yourself from the situation or manipulating the circumstances where the least amount of damaged is sustained. Accordingly, you do everything in your power to erect an emotional wall of protection in order to avoid any presumed negative outcome based on past experiences. Instead of working hard toward achieve successful consequences, you focus on the easiest way of averting the situation entirely! When this is not possible, you can become sick either physiological or psychological.
What are some of the signs?
Physiological signs of Emotional Avoidance can take many forms. That unexplained headache that only happens when you begin a certain task can be an obvious indication that you are about to engage in an undesirable activity. It can start with just a slight amount of pressure to the temples and soon escalate to the point where you are searching frantically for a pain reliever.
A second intimation that signifies something amiss is the sudden overwhelming feeling of exhaustion that starts your day; then miraculously disappears when you leave your job heading for home. People have stated that they sit in their parked cars staring into space—dreading another day. You are a candidate for Emotional Avoidance.
These symptoms should never be ignored. What starts out as a simple psychological warning can manifest itself into a full blown problem such as:
- Migraine or tension headaches
- High blood pressure
- Drug Addiction
- Heart disease
- Anxiety Attacks
Let’s explore the following example. Take the case of an individual who is not suited for her job but needs to work. Yes, she knows how to do it and she may do it very well. However, her desirable skills are not being utilized. Instead, she has developed “killer skills.” These are the skills that can be performed by the individual but in doing it she is literally being “killed” by her lack of drive in performing those skills.
Sometimes, that person does physically die due to some complaint that could be traced to stress-related “killer skills.” Your mind has a strong influence on what the body does. After all, isn't it the control center? Every activity starts in the mind. The body responds to the positive and negative messages the control center sends out. If you tell yourself that you are going to have a rotten day; you will. High absenteeism can be traced to the imperfect fit of job and person. To avoid the negative situation, you desire to remove yourself from it!
Let's Investigate Further ...
Now, let’s investigate what’s going on with you at the present. I will present you with a series of statements. Answer them with how you feel about your situation at this present moment.
These questions are for the working woman single or married. They can also be applicable to a working man. If the question is not applicable to your situation, skip it.
It might be a good idea to write any additional comments you feel will help you discover why you responded in the way you did.
- I find the type of work that I do exciting and rewarding. True/False
- My daily commute to work is filled with frustration and anxiety. True/False
- My husband helps me with the children before we leave for our respective jobs. True/False
- I start each day with an attitude of gratitude. True/False
- I can’t function without a morning cup of coffee/tea/cola drink. True/False
- I arrive at my job early so that I can be relaxed and start my day with a refreshed attitude. True/False
- My husband just doesn’t understand me. True/False
- My children seem to do just the opposite of what I tell them to do. True/False
- Mondays are the worst days of the week. True/False
- I look for excuses not to go to work. True/False
If you find that over 50% of these statements are true but in a very negative sense; then it is time to carefully assess your situation. You may want to consider engaging the services of a good Counselor and/or checking with your physician to insure no permanent damage has been done. Having a good friend to confide in is also a good method of coming to grips with your problems. Make sure that this friend is truthful and not one who will only tell you what you want to hear.
Developing a hobby is another form of release. Flower arranging, crocheting or cooking can be profitable past-times. Just make sure that your hobby doesn't become another source of stress for you. A walk in the park with a good friend (either human or animal) is another area of consideration. It has been proven that having a pet to take care of is a great way of eliminating stress. Just make sure that your pet is not "high maintenance" or you may experience even greater stress. The smaller the dog the larger the need!
Don’t forget to take a break or mini-vacation whenever possible even if you only go outside and admire a bird cheerfully singing—he’s got the right attitude! Taking a relaxing drive in the country or going to the museum or art gallery is a great cultural way of taking it easy. Just remember: Emotional Avoidance doesn't have to happen unless you let it!
Job Satisfaction: Are Women Happier
Do you think that women are more selective and happier in their choices of jobs than men?
© 2013 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS