The Consequences of Not Facing Emotional Difficulty Head On

A number of celebrities have come out of the closet confessing to some nasty behavior. And I’m not talking about coming out of the closet because you’re gay. That’s old hat already. It’s because of bullying behavior, non-consensual sexual behavior, rageful behavior when you don’t get what you want!

Why do some successful people act so inappropriately? Looking at them, you might think, “They’ve got it all! What’s their problem?” As we all know — but frequently forget — looks can be deceiving. Underneath the sweet smile of some lovely ladies and handsome men is a mood disorder. Indeed, some famous people have become famous precisely because of their strong drive for success and perfect performance. Yet, those very same assets work against them when things don’t go their way. Under stress, they may lose control, utter dreadful beliefs and even become dangerous — to themselves or others. 

You don’t have to be rich or famous, however, to be out of control. Here’s how some ordinary people have expressed their emotional difficulties:

  • “When I’m anxious, whoever’s in my way gets swallowed up.”
  • “Rage is a huge part of my life. When I go ballistic, it’s all about me, me, me.”
  • “I’ve been a bully. The cruel things I’ve said to people make me cringe.”
  • “There are times I’m so plagued with dark thoughts that I can’t get out of bed.”
  • “I can’t go to sleep till 3 or 4 in the morning and then, of course, I don’t wake up till everyone else has started their day.” 

Yes, emotional pain is an equal opportunity misery. The good news, however, is that most can be successfully treated with psychotherapy and/or medication. So, if you have days in which your emotions are out of whack, don’t despair. Though there are no “snap your fingers and you’re all better” solutions, there are treatments which can make life a lot more gratifying for you –and for those you love. 

Here’s how one woman described how her life improved when she addressed her emotional problems head on: 

  • Back then, I reacted to every stressful event as though it were an earth-shattering crisis. Now, I keep a sane perspective on whatever comes my way — even when I don’t like it!
  • Back then, life was exhausting. I was always a bundle of nerves, obsessing about what might go wrong. Now, I appreciate that life is full of surprises. I know I can’t prevent the unexpected from happening, so I keep reminding myself not to make that not my mission.

Here’s how one man described how his life has improved since addressing his frustrations:

  • Back then, I’d pop my cork when challenged by anyone close to me. Now, I appreciate that people don’t always have to agree with me.  And I don’t have to be right all the time — though I must admit I do like to be right at least some of the time!! 
  • Back then, I was afraid to admit that my emotions were off the charts. I thought that meant I was going crazy. Now, I know that I’m not going crazy but I do admit that I need help keeping myself on an even keel. And therapy helps me do that!

A poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

“There was a little girl, who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead
And when she was good, she was very, very good,
But when she was bad she was horrid.”

A 19th century child’s nursery rhyme? Or, a 21st century description of mood swings that darken your days?

It’s amazing how much better life can be when you’re not “very, very good” and “you’re not horrid!” 


Related Articles