Regulating Emotions And Behaviors: Recovery

A lack of regulating one's emotional reactions and behaviors is one of the main problems often found in those with untreated, unhealed childhood trauma.
Regulating emotions and reactions can be compared to a hose nozzle. When we need to water delicate plants, we turn on a trickle. If we want to water the lawn, we turn it onto a gentle spray. When we're washing the car, we turn the nozzle to a harder, stronger spray. We don't use the strong blast setting unless it's absolutely necessary, like to blast dirt off of something like the driveway.
Using an inappropriate nozzle setting will either not get the job done, or it will destroy what we're aiming at.

You would never blast a patch of garden with the hard stream, unless you intended to destroy it.

We respond to external events with appropriate levels of emotion and reaction when we have good emotional health, and we are able to control our behavior, including the things we say to other people, and how we say them.

The smaller the event, the smaller our emotional reaction. Someone stepping on my foot at the grocery store by accident does NOT give me some kind of "right" to blast them with anger and shame, that's ridiculous. If anything, I would assure them that it's "all good". Now if they stepped on my foot on purpose, or if they stepped on it and then acted like it was MY FAULT, I still wouldn't "blast" them,  I would still have control over my behavior and my words; I would probably say something like "Don't do that again."
(If they did it again, and they were over the age of 11, I would walk to the manager and get security, because the person is obviously unstable and apparently dangerous to others, that's not normal behavior.)

So while we might experience a feeling of intense anger when we walk in on our spouse cheating on us, and may lose our temper and yell, probably cry, probably leave, that is NOT the same as walking in on a person trying to HURT or KILL someone.
When someone didn't return an RSVP to an invitation, that is NOT the same as "betrayal".
When someone doesn't follow our lead, or do what we say, or agree with us completely, or praise us profusely, that's not the same thing as "disrespect".
When someone stands us up because they forgot, that is NOT the same as "backstabbing".

When someone is happy, or doing something they love or are good at, that is NOT AGAINST US in any way, it's not them trying to "outshine us" or "rub it in our face".

When someone is working or concentrating, that's not the same thing as them "ignoring us".
When someone says something that makes us feel uncomfortable, or hurts our feelings, that is NOT the same as them ATTACKING us, it's not appropriate to go into FULL DEFENSIVE MODE.
When our partner gets flirted WITH by someone else, that's NOT the same as our partner CHEATING or BETRAYING US, nor does it have anything to do with our partner doing something "wrong".
When our partner initiates flirting with someone else, it's still not appropriate to fly into some kind of RAGE (but annoyance or even some expression of anger may be appropriate, especially if it's not a part of our accepted and agreed upon relationship parameters).
When a child or young person behaves rebelliously or inappropriately, that is NOT the same as one of our PEERS behaving "disrespectfully" toward us.

And when ANY of these things happen, whether it was really something "against us" or not, we are completely accountable for our own actions and behaviors, no matter what we may be FEELING.
There is NO THING that another person can do that takes away our responsibility for our own behaviors.

So when someone else seems to be behaving badly, it's not suddenly "okay" for us to treat them badly or abusively in reaction to them.

It's not okay to open the hose valve all the way every time our feelings get hurt, or we feel upset, or we feel accused, embarrassed, or when we feel annoyed or angry.
Nor is it okay to retaliate against real or imagined things that others may (or may not) have done.
Retaliation is all about dominance and drama-addiction, it's not about "justice" or "fairness".
Further, those who don't govern their own behavior and do "retaliations" are KNOWN for making up fake or exaggerated 'reasons' in order to give themselves an EXCUSE to carry out retaliations, because they're getting an adrenaline RUSH from it. They are adrenaline addicts, trying to get their next fix.

What other people do is what they do, and what we do is what we do. One does not justify the other, no matter how much one wants it to be so.
If a person truly seeks peace, happiness, and/or "recovery", then the first thing they need to do is get used to looking at their own behaviors, actions, and emotional reactions on a regular basis, and let go of the desire to always be right, or always feel righteous and justified.

Recovery, Childhood Trauma, Neglect, Abuse~

Growing up in unstable conditions has a direct effect on a person, regardless of what caused the instability. When neglect or abuse was present, a child's perception of self and of others is directly affected. Therefore, those (male or female) who grew up in an unpredictable, chaotic environment, and those who were subject to abuse or neglect, or both, will be affected in more ways than they realize.

Reactionary behavior is common in adults who have lived through traumatic or chaotic childhoods, whether it was due to abuse or neglect, or if it was situational, outside of the control of adults, such as someone's chronic illness, having to move several times, work, community, other family, etc.

Instability during childhood, and childhood neglect and abuse affects the person's actual perceptions and emotional reactions. Recovery is not the same as it would be for an adult who had a very stable childhood and met with a traumatic experience later. It's not the same as a single event, or even a relationship that happened after one had reached maturity.

Recovery for a person who grew up with one or more abusive or neglectful adults (or older children) around them requires more than getting past traumatic events. It requires the healing of one's core beliefs, the restoration of one's original mental and emotional health that one was born with. It often requires relearning how to perceive the world, how to perceive others, and how to perceive one's self.

For example: Learning, or re-learning, not to react to one's emotions is part of this process. Emotions do not govern the actions or speech of a person who has recovered their emotional and mental health. It is not "stable behavior" to DO or SAY something in retaliation when a person feels a 'negative' feeling.
Our emotions do not represent actual objective reality.
When we feel hurt or offended, it doesn't mean that we actually know what really happened, what another person really did, or what their intentions were.

When we are "reactive", we FEEL something, and we immediately REACT according to that feeling.
We don't remove ourselves from the situation and THINK logically.
We assume that our emotions are telling us exactly what's going on.
It doesn't occur to us that we might be over-reacting, or even completely misinterpreting what is going on.
NOR does it occur to us to think about the way WE are behaving.

When we are emotionally reactive, we tend to JUSTIFY whatever we say and do, and avoid accountability, and we tend to place blame on others but not on ourselves.

Placing blame whenever we feel any 'negative' emotion is actually a form of Dominance behavior, and Dominance behaviors are common in people who are emotionally reactive.

When we have emotional reactiveness, we often have a tendency to react with hostility to ANY 'negative' feelings, and we tend to take things personally that aren't personal.
We may need to relearn the difference between our own emotions and the external world, and the difference between ourselves and others.

We often need to relearn about how much control we have a "right" to, and how much we actually even have.

We often need to relearn the difference between self-confidence and arrogance, the difference between healthy pride and false pride, and the difference between a legitimate position of authority or leadership and a superiority/inferiority complex.

Neutral feedback from neutral people is important for this process.
Many who experience childhood neglect or abuse picked up reactive behaviors and perceptions from those around them, so they often seek other reactive people to give them "feedback" and companionship, and may actually see neutral or positive feedback as "control", or "fake", or even as a "threat".
It's normal for a child to adapt the beliefs and behaviors of the adults around them, regardless of whether an adult is modeling maturity and groundedness, or emotional reactivity.
So learning what neutrality and objectivity look and feel like may be a new experience.

Recovery and healing is possible for those who have suffered trauma or even those who have developed "disorders" from neglect or abuse.