Have you ever felt treated unfairly? Of course you have it. But while some respond with healthy anger outward, others direct the negative emotions inward. One feels helpless, miserable, like a bad person, worthless, and plagued with feelings of anxiety and depression. 

 Image: Dreamstime (with licence)


If you recognize yourself in this, then you are not alone. Many people have a tired tendency to be fooled by their own emotions. And because emotions are strong issues, we like to use emotions as evidence against ourselves.  

 

  1. I feel ashamed, so I must have done something wrong. 
  2. I feel guilty that the others are angry with me, so they probably have a good reason.
  3. I feel miserable, so there's probably something wrong with me.

 But emotions are not proof of anything more than the emotion itself. 

 

Being treated unfairly

Let's say you've done a good deed for someone you care about, but the response you get is a terrible mouthwash for what you've done. 

Let's say you do your absolute best in a situation, whether at home, at work, with family or friends. But no matter how hard you try, you will still hear that you are not good enough. 

Let's say you meet another human being in as friendly a way as you can, but it ends up with the other person hitting you hard in the face, shaking you, or scolding you verbally.

Most people would feel unfairly treated in such situations. But sometimes we are tricked by our emotions.

Some would not even have thought of being treated unfairly. No, on the contrary, the emotions that come are more in the direction of sadness, fear and low self-esteem. A bad feeling in the stomach. A nasty acknowledgment that "there is something terribly wrong with me", or that "this is what I deserved"

 

To direct the mind towards oneself

Such feelings are common when struggling with, for example, anxiety and depression. But the emotions do not come out of nowhere. They usually have an explanation, and one important explanation lies in how we think about ourselves.

When you are treated unfairly, many people automatically get negative thoughts about themselves. It's just like pressing a button, and then the world is turned upside down.

Because if you have been treated unfairly, it is completely illogical that you should be angry with yourself for it. The only logical thing is that you should have been angry with the person who behaved badly towards you. 

We can call this being caught up in the projections of others. That is, we allow ourselves to be guided by what we think others think of us, and we begin to think the same ourselves. 

 

Not the past, but the present, which has the most to say

A relatively common feature of people with mental health problems is that they are preoccupied with the past, with what may have helped to trigger the mental health problems. It can be a childhood marked by many strains, traumatic events, bullying, difficult relationships, or otherwise.

But we must learn to remember that what has happened in the past is gone; at least it is at a good distance.

What often has a lot more to say about how we feel emotionally lies in what is going on here and now. 

And one of the things that is constantly with us here and now is the conversation we have with ourselves. Maybe through a hard life you have learned ways to think negatively about yourself? Maybe you have become so caught up in other people's projections that you do not think that this is exactly what is happening? Maybe you think you're already ruined, so it's no use trying to get better anyway?

 

Emotions going astray

In this text I have used the example of being treated unfairly, and how the mind that should have been directed outwards instead goes inwards. Of course, there are many other sources of anxiety and depression problems. 

Whatever the basis, it will never make the situation better if you live "with emotions going astray."

Therefore, many will benefit from trying to become a better friend with themselves. A good start is to learn techniques from cognitive therapy. It is not about trying to fool oneself into being happy, but about winning to a more constructive and friendly way of interpreting oneself, other people and the world.

For example, this may be related to really trying to understand why I feel so miserable right now. What negative thoughts do I have? Is there a good basis for these thoughts, or are there alternative ways of thinking that are just as true, or perhaps much truer? 

 

It is possible to get better

Such work can be demanding, and it is not done in a jiffy to break out of a lifelong negative conversation with oneself. But do not forget that it is possible. It can be a long way to go, but it always starts with a first step. 

If you are treated unfairly, then it is a good start to acknowledge this.

Although it does not change your feelings immediately, such a realization may make you feel better faster - and perhaps you will make other choices than if you continue to blame yourself.

Cite this article

 

Feel free to use information from this article on your website, but remember to add a link.

 

Written by

ove heradstveit

Ove Heradstveit

Psychologist, specialist in clinical community psychology. PhD.
 Facebook -  Twitter -  Scholar
- Helpseeker.net 

Read more about psychology

Psychology and psychotherapy

What is narcissism?

You have certainly met someone who is a little overly excited about themselves; people…