The False Bravado Trap
I have a friend who has been brought up with “the show must go on” attitude. She seems to pride herself in being staunch. She continually insists that she is either not under stress or that stress does not affect her. And yet it is very obvious to those who know her well that she is indeed very affected by stress. She has gotten so used to bottling everything up inside, that she doesn’t even realize what she is doing.
It is my belief that this sort of attitude stemmed from crisis such as the wars, or the great (economic) depression. It was probably very necessary in such times of crisis, to relentlessly carry on and try not to think about the bad things that have happened. But somehow, this attitude seems to have become a tradition with many families who continue to deny feelings and admonish those who do, even when times are not tough.
It is a real case of false bravado. My friend seems to go out of her way to put herself in awkward situations – and even throws her children into the mix to try to encourage them to be strong. “Don’t let them see that they are getting to you”. Emotions seem to be the enemy. But she doesn’t seem to realize that she is not defeating anyone or anything – she has just put on blinkers and denying the existence of situations or feelings that she would never admit (even to herself) to feeling incapable of controlling. Power and control seem to be at the core of this belief system.
My friend’s family members often say the most hurtful things to one another, thinly veiled as jokes. There seems to be a competition as to who can be the smartest and show arrogance towards people who are not outspoken.
It is dangerous to deny feelings. Yet it is often the academic types that are predisposed to doing this – it is as if it can’t be seen or heard, that they can justify ignoring its existence. Admitting to emotions is seen at weak.
But what many people don’t realize is that these unwanted emotions that are largely based on fear, live on inside us. They manifest as illnesses that eat away at us inside, often literally as cancers and stomach problems.
Often cancer stems from deep hurt and longstanding resentment and bitterness. It can be associated with a deep secret or grief eating away at the self. It can also affect those people carrying hatreds. The calm face they present to the world is just an act, the years or decades of denial takes its toll unseen and unheard (just like the feelings and emotions that caused them) but very physically.
For me, I know that fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis has stemmed from emotional trauma. Every person reacts physically in a different way to internal challenges. Just as we each have different personalities, our fears and sorrows are expressed verbally and physically in different ways.
You need to discuss and address issues and feelings that affect you in order to remain healthy. If you feel that your traditional support network such as family will not understand and treat you with sensitivity, then look elsewhere for support. Maybe consult a professional such as a psychologist who will be able to look at your situation with you from a non-biased perspective. You would be able to feel secure in the knowledge that your conversations remain confidential.
Once you have addressed emotional hurts, it is good to write a “wish list” of how you would like your life to continue. Positive thinking and affirmations are good – you just need to have a balanced viewpoint to acknowledge the past first, (but not dwelling on it) before moving on.
I wish you success in living happily in defiance of illness, Linley Duncan 🙂
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I am a survivor from a number of illnesses, including Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I live happily in defiance of illness with my family on a kiwifruit orchard near Tauranga, New Zealand, living the life I love and doing the things I enjoy and believe are important.
I am the author of “The Crystal Diary” written about my late daughter, published in April 2012. “Living Happily in Defiance of Illness” was published in August 2012, it is healing guidebook for people affected by chronic illness. Both books are available in printed format and the Defiance book is available in EBook format for instant download.