The Dark Side of Healing: Dealing with the Rage of the Unhealed
If you’ve decided to embark on a journey of healing and growth, or if you are naturally gifted, you may notice that those around you who have not yet done so may react in very negative ways to who you are or have become. We always talk about being “better”, working on self-improvement and reaching our goals, but we tend to avoid the conversation about some of the ways people will actually react negatively to your positive behaviors. In society, there is this false idea of perfection and anti-elitism- where people feel that anything outside of their perceived capabilities or perspective is considered “being perfect”, or, displaying attributes such as self-control or self-regulation is considered being “fake”- as if having these attributes is against being human.
The meaning of being human and real in today’s world is beginning to become associated with negativity- “everyone lies”, “we’re all messed up”, “no one has it all together” and other common clichés now- which are not actually truths, but ways of escaping accountability for one’s actions and choices. Yes, we all have our strengths, weakness; our ups and downs. This by no means communicates that everyone has to struggle to be real, to be human. For people who have come through their struggles, their lives will look very different to those currently experiencing struggle. Similarly, people who have healed and arrived at a place of calm and healing simply choose to respond to life differently. They may have worked their way to living a life that is perfect- for them. My version of perfection will be different from yours, which is different from everyone else’s. People should not be made to feel bad about achieving their goals and healing from their past. People should not have to dim their light or minimize their progress to appease others who could have done the same.
Let me explain: we are all on our individual journeys, which will consist of very different things. We will all want and need different things during different phases of our lives. Some people have growth mindsets; others have fixed. Neither is right or wrong, but each do produce different mental and emotional states, and also tend to produce different life results. This being said, those with fixed mindsets will often tend to look at those with growth mindsets with disdain. They will make assumptions that they are trying to be “perfect”, are “try-hards”, or are trying to be “better” than others- which is simply not the case.
However, those perceptions and feelings drive those with fixed mindsets to project their hidden feelings of shame and guilt about who and where they are in comparison to others. Instead of having an appreciation for, and perhaps seeking to learn from those they perceive are “better” than themselves, they will project their negative qualities onto them in an effort to make them feel more ‘real’ to them. If peace and emotional health are not realities for them, they will negatively react to the fact that you do not match their current reality. This is one of the easiest ways to identify where someone is emotionally- simply be yourself, and watch how they respond.
I’ll share some of my experiences to illustrate further: I have a naturally calm nature and empathetic personality. These qualities are said to be positive- but I’ve come to find they are only perceived that way around those who can appreciate them. In the last few workplaces I’ve been part of, people have seemed to be very bothered by these strengths- to the point of going to great lengths to try to trigger me into behavior they find to be more “normal” (lack of self-control, being upset by small things, being frazzled- things they are more comfortable with.) Many people who have not done the inner work will find people with qualities like mine to be unsettling or “fake” since they may have spent the better part of their lives attracting and entertaining people more like themselves. People have sabotaged my work, stolen my ideas, turned others against me with gossip and lies to tarnish my reputation, set up roadblocks, and all sorts of other tactics and antics in attempts to “throw me off” or “make” me feel negatively about myself (for example, “if all these bad things are happening to me, or if people hate me this much, then it must be something wrong with me”…) all in response to being uncomfortable with my personality.
Instead of managing their own emotions, getting to know me, or learning from me (should they feel I am “better” than them), emotions they cannot manage are thrown in my direction. And with little to no response from me (based on responding to such tactics by staying true to myself), the negativity grows stronger. Empaths are typically targets for this type of behavior from others, as it is easy for us to absorb others’ emotions and take on their problems. Without healthy boundaries, empaths can indeed be negatively affected by it; however, healed empaths tend to hold up a mirror to these behaviors, which escalates the negative feelings, projections and behaviors of people, further subjecting the empath to cycles of abuse and mistreatment.
What’s not talked about is how common this is - I have come across so many others who share similar experiences. If the goal of healing is so sought after, why are those who achieve some level of peace and healing then ridiculed and treated negatively? Much of it has to do with the emotional responses I’ve already discussed here. It has become the norm to project our reality onto others, with the expectation of others managing our emotions, making us comfortable, and making us happy. It is no one else’s job or duty to do any of these things- it is up to you. Of course, it’s nice to connect and vibe with others who are similar to you- but it is not healthy to leave your happiness and well-being in the hands of others. This is where emotionally healthy people differ from the masses, and this is a quality that is both envied and hated by the masses. The solution of course is for them to work on themselves and begin their own healing journey- but for those with fixed mindsets, this seems impossible. They embrace who they are in the moment- which is great short-term for self-acceptance- but keeps them stagnant and unable to see who they can become. This creates feelings of resentment and hate toward others who they perceive to be in a better place than themselves.
For those of you who have begun your healing journey- do not be surprised or caught off-guard by negativity thrown your way. The more you deviate from what has become the norm, the more resistance will you face. Contrary to popular belief, healing and approaching life from a different perspective from the norm will make you more enemies than friends. You may lose friends you’ve had for years. Your family may shun or hate you. You may face new difficulties in your relationship. You may find you’re not supported at work because people’s emotional stability depends on seeing you fail. Without knowing any better, bad behaviors will leave you scratching your head and wondering about the source of the attitudes against you.
From a healed place, you can see the nonsensical nature of these behaviors (sabotaging my work will not make me incompetent, for example)- but do not spend your precious energy trying to manage someone else’s negative emotions. Hold up the mirror to their insecurities and behaviors- not from a place of spite or hate, but with a helping hand. If someone is unwilling to take accountability, let it go. Simple as that. They may kick, scream, or amp up their attacks against you. No response is needed- it is not your battle to fight.
Some people will find you refreshing. Some people will appreciate you and see your worth. Others will be blinded by their inner shame, guilt and insecurity. At the end of the day, let people be who they chose to be. Continue to focus on you, your growth, and the people in your life who are positively contributing to you. Focus on who you are becoming, and do not let others minimize your progress and success. Keep shining your light, and do not be discouraged by those who want to see you fail. It is not you, or an issue with you- it’s your light illuminating their darkness.