One of the biggest challenges we face as clinicians is getting people to understand emotions are very real but not always reality in regards to what is going on. This is such a challenge, because we live in a culture that teaches: “Have it your way.” “If it feels good, do it.” “If it does not feel good, don’t do it.” We even use it in our daily language, “I don’t feel like going to the gym today.” “I feel like taking a day off.” It is so ingrained in our language we are not aware of it.
I see that addicts and non-addicts, adults, children, male and female all struggle with what I call “emotional addiction.” Emotional Addiction: an individual who chronically allows their negative or positive emotions to dictate and control their actions or behaviors, which may be caused but are not limited to previous life experiences or traumas; while disregarding or discrediting factual information around them.
Words have power and meaning, so we need to be very careful to say what we mean and mean what we say. I have noticed this trend over the last few years with male and female clients as well as group members using the phrase “emotional abuse” in context to what they believe to have suffered as emotional abuse from their partner. I understand emotional trauma, which is real, but when we use the word abuse, I think it immediately inflames and puts it in the ranks of physical or sexual abuse which ca