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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Overcoming Your Emotional Blind Spots

Emotional blind spots are often aspects of ourselves that we're unable to see, but other people, especially people who are close to us, can see.  The problem with emotional blind spots is that they often keep us making the same mistakes over and over again or they affect our loved ones in ways we never intended.

Overcoming Your Emotional Blind Spots
The following composite scenario is an example of an emotional blind spot.  As a composite of many cases, it preserves confidentiality.

Mary
Mary never knew her father when she was growing up.  It was a family secret.  When other young children talked about their fathers, she felt sad and wished she had a father too.  It wasn't until she attended the funeral of a family friend, when she was in her mid-20s, that she found out, inadvertently when she overheard people talking, that this "family friend" was actually her biological father.  He was always nice to her, and she was very fond of him.  Mary was shocked and very sad to discover that she never had a father-daughter relationship with him.  When she confronted her mother about it, her mother refused to discuss it, so Mary vowed that she would never do this to her future children.

When she became pregnant from a man that she had only been dating for a few months and had already broken up with because he was unreliable, she decided to have the baby and allow him to be involved in the child's life, just as most fathers would be.  But the child's father continued to be unreliable and continually disappointed their daughter by not showing up.  The child, who looked forward to seeing the father, was always disappointed and hurt.

Mary's mother and sisters tried to talk to her about how damaging this was to Mary's daughter, who was now seven.  But Mary kept insisting that it was important for her daughter to have the father in the picture.  Due to her own unresolved needs, she continued to try to keep the father involved, and he continued to disappoint the daughter.  Mary couldn't see that her emotional blind spot and her own unresolved childhood issues kept her in denial and were emotionally damaging to her daughter.

As a teenager, when Mary's daughter refused to see her father any more, Mary felt very upset.  All of her friends and family told her that her daughter's decision was an emotionally healthy decision because the father always disappointed her.  Mary had a hard time seeing it--until a close friend tactfully suggested that Mary might have an emotional blind spot about this issue and suggested that Mary see a therapist.

Somewhat hesitantly, Mary started therapy and when her therapist also pointed out her emotional blind spot, Mary began to deal with her own loss and realized that it was affecting her ability to see what was best for her daughter.  She grieved for the father she never had and, over time, she freed herself from this emotional burden that was starting to drive a wedge between her and her daughter.

Emotional blind spots are often hard for us to see on our own.  They usually involve aspects of ourselves, our lives or our loved ones that we're in denial about.  One clue that you might have an emotional blind spot, which is unconscious, is when you keep finding yourself in the same situation over and over again.

An example of a possible emotional blind spot is if you keep choosing romantic partners that have problems with alcohol or who are abusive.  If you continually find yourself in these types of situations, it's worth exploring if you have an emotional blind spot.

Getting Help
Working through your emotional blind spots with a skilled, objective therapist usually gets you a lot further than trying to deal with emotional blind spots on your own.  Once you're free of the emotional blind spots that cause you to keep making the same mistakes, you have a chance for a much more fulfilling life.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more abut m, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

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