What’s this emotional toolbox?
This toolbox contains all the emotions you know (you recognize and be able to name them) and the reaction you usually give on them. The different techniques and methods are the tools you use, in order to go through certain emotions. If you do not give a reaction, you escape from an emotion that’s also a reaction.
What’s in the toolbox?
It depends mostly on your parents, what tools they were able to give you. If you come from an emotionally dysfunctional family, where your parents were not open even to their own feelings, they couldn’t recognize and handle them, your toolbox is deficient, and also you cannot use the tools properly. If you come from a functional family, where your parents were open to teach you to understand your emotions and helped and encouraged you to handle them, your toolbox is pretty well equipped.
Let me tell you that if you are/were involved in narcissistic relationships, your toolbox is deficient, and you come from an emotionally dysfunctional family.
What are the tools?
The tools are the reactions you give on certain emotions, basically what you do, when an emotion shows up, how you handle it. You can try to understand why you have this feeling, accept it, you can process it, you can nurture yourself, you can run away from the emotion, reject it, project it, annul it, get sick of it (literally and figuratively) you stay stuck with it and it dominates your life, or you can replace them with other emotions, or physical actions.
Let’s see just a couple of simple examples that prove the existence of a deficient toolbox.
- Rejecting: you get a compliment on your dress, but instead of saying, oh, thanks, I really love this dress, or thanks, you are so nice to say that, you say oh, just an old rag from the bottom of my closet, million years old and also torn. You cannot accept a compliment, because mostly you haven’t been complimented, and so you never received the tool of accepting compliments. Probably your parents acted exactly the same, so you simply followed the example that was shown, and now you think that you do not deserve compliments. Accepting compliments is not in your toolbox, but refusing and belittling a compliment are there.
- Getting sick of it: you have applied for a better position at your company. You din’t have high hopes to get the job, as all the other candidates seemed to be more suitable, confident and clever. You did win the job, but instead of being utterly happy and proud, you are insecure and afraid that you will screw everything up, and so you’ll prove that you are unworthy and useless. You are already beating yourself up in advance for something that hasn’t happened at all. You haven’t got a tool to celebrate your own successes, so when you successfully accomplish something, you do not ascribe too much value to it. Probably your parents haven’t valued your accomplishments, and they haven’t valued their own accomplishments too. Nurturing and calming yourself down are not tools in your toolbox.
- Escaping: you date with a woman, who is very nice, and you really like her. You have been dating for months, and you feel that she is ready to make the next step towards you. As you feel more and more comfortable with her, you also feel insecure at the same time. Your insecurity grows straight with your comfortable feelings, so altogether you feel uncomfortable. You initiate less and less meetings, shorter ones, and you have no idea how would you be able to go further without losing her. You haven’t been taught to give and accept love, and as the result, you do not have real love for yourself. When you do not have real love for yourself, you cannot give love, and also you are insecure to accept love. There is no such a tool in your toolbox that can handle love, so you have loveless relationships, where the mutual feeling is not love, but the absence of love. There you feel secure, but also uncomfortable.
- Replacing: you have bought a tummy control swimsuit for yourself and you are busy with washing it. Your husband steps behind you and asks what you are doing. You suddenly become ashamed of letting him know that you have bought this special swimwear to cover your tummy, so you shout at him that sneaking after you is not nice. Unlike controlling your tummy, you cannot control your emotions regarding your tummy. You become angry, because you want to cover your shame, and you fire at your husband. You cannot accept yourself the way you are, probably you have never been good enough, and/or your sister/brother/best friend was always better. Maybe you received negative comments on your hair, body when you were a teenager, but at the same time you didn’t receive a tool, to handle your shame. (Those who shame others are not very likely to give tool to process shame also.) You have built a massive complex towards your body, and you replace your shame with anger when it comes to your weight or figure.
- Staying stuck: you had a quarrel with your mother and she suggested – for the hundredth time – that your kids carry themselves badly, and you should ask for help from a psychologist, because they are difficult children. She added that she was a good mother, because you and your brother were almost like angels – hard distorting of the truth for her favor – so she did a good job. You cannot free yourself from what she said, you almost cannot focus on your own duties, her words keep coming back and control your mood. You cannot escape from what she said, even when you talk to others, her disturbing words keep ringing in your ears. You have planned the verbal revenge twenty different ways, than you decided to keep yourself away from your mother for a period of time. You are mixed up and disturbed, you don’t know what to do. You keep thinking on your next step towards your mother, but you are not thinking on stopping the emotional storm that rages in you. You never learnt to nurture yourself in case of such rude emotional attacks, yo sou keep torturing yourself. Self nurture and forgiveness are not in your toolbox.
- Replacing with action: we all know at least one kid at school who bullies the others. She replaces her inferiority complex by bullying other kids. She replaces her feeling of being microscopic with her physical strength. When she feels small and her artificially designed sense of superiority is threatened, she becomes brutal to restore the balance of power for her favor. She hasn’t got a tool to handle her inferiority, she has got only the feeling of inferiority itself. (Again, those who create the feeling of inferiority in others will not give tool to process the feeling.)
- Replacing with action: your father became frustrated when you behaved badly, so he beat you up. He solved his frustration with using his physical strength against you. He didn’t have another tool to handle his frustration, just to get physical.
In a well equipped tool box you can find a lot of different tools that aim at solving your emotional issues. They are useful when you want to understand and process the disturbing feelings, replace them with positive ones, accept the good feelings as you deserve them, nurture yourself when you are attacked emotionally. The useful tools aim at making your life better, and they help you to calm down, feel safe, be secure and balanced, be happy, under all possible circumstances. The useful tools are all those that do not make other people feel bad, because these are tools to process and deal with the person’s own emotions, not weapons to attack others. Those who cannot handle their emotions those are very likely to use weapons to attack others, and not tools to handle their own emotions.
In optimal cases people know how to use their tools properly, but in some cases they mix up the tools and use them falsely. When you receive compliment, you use the rejection tool. When you receive love you cannot accept it, you use the escape tool. But on the contrary, when you had a quarrel, you cannot escape the inconvenient feelings or cannot replace them, you use the accept tool, and you stay stuck with the feelings. It’s like when you need the hammer, but you get the pipe cutter in you hands, or when you need the saw, but you try to use the screwdriver. Things will not work out well, because certain work can be done only with the certain tool. The whole work will be a mess, useless and worthless, a quicky that no one wants, no one likes and no one needs.
Kids are born without tools to handle their emotions. They connect to their parents emotionally, they expect them to help to process their fear, negative thoughts and feelings, learn to accept compliments and let positive feelings in. They are little copycats, they learn what mom and dad do, or don’t do. If they never kiss or hug, the grown-up kids will not understand why their partner wants to hug them always, it’s so unnatural. As the most parents are like people who went under Botox treatment as far as emotions are concerned, they cannot help their children to build a useful toolbox to recognize and handle their feelings. So kids become adults and they will use their deficient toolboxes, and the wrong tools. You cannot fix a broken heart with a sledgehammer, you need superglue!
Emotional maturity is when you have a well equipped toolbox and you know how to use your tools properly. You use the perfect tools for the certain emotional jobs, and after using your tools you are happy, balanced and secure.
How can you build a well equipped toolbox and learn to use the tools properly when your emotionally Botox-treated parents haven’t been able to build you one? How can you become emotionally mature, when everything that you touch in your toolbox brings you a disastrous result? How do you learn to hammer, carve, glue and drill, and when to do them?
The I-mom is the perfect tool to build your own emotional toolbox, and she also teaches you to use these tools properly and effectively.
The I-mom is the tool to bring yourself up emotionally. As there is no ideal mother in reality, but the need to have one is huge, you can create your I-mom, with whom you can get in touch every time when you need it, and with whose help you can foster yourself. She is ideal, because she pays attention only to you, and your needs. You always get the answers to your questions, and she tells you those things you always wanted to hear, but your parents have never told you.
She helps you calm down when you need it, when you are afraid, or ashamed, or anxious, you earn absolution because she will forgive you. She strengthens you when and where you need it, with the words that you need. You can shift all your emotional pain and insecurity to her which is too much for you to face and process, she will take care of them and teach you to choose the perfect tool from your box every time in need.