Managing Our Demons…John Page Burton

All of us have demons and many of us find ourselves in a seemingly endless battle to exterminate these destructive “bed fellows”. As the recent death of Robin Williams clearly illustrates, our demons can exert a death grip on our soul. Our demons come in many different forms and no two demons are exactly alike. Your demons may be similar to mine in nature, however, the circumstances (back story) and characteristics of your demons will be vastly different from mine. This also holds true in how we CHOOSE to address them. For most of us, our greatest demons originated in another place in time, yet we have allowed them to travel with us wherever we go. A few of our more common “bed fellows” include the demons around physical, emotional or sexual abuse, body image, intelligence, sense of belonging, success, sexuality, financial loss, abandonment and relationship/marriage dissolution. Our demons from the past often surface and wreak havoc in our most intimate relationships. I can certify that my demons surrounding abandonment would routinely raise their ugly head whenever I found myself beginning to enjoy and place trust in a new, intimate relationship. As soon as the relationship became comfortable, an alarm would go off in my head screaming “danger, get out” and I would commence the slow, deliberate process of sabotaging and ultimately blowing up the relationship long “before my partner could”. Intellectually, it made no sense to “blow things up”, however, my emotional intelligence was not developed enough to quash my demonic thinking. I was finally able to destroy my abandonment demons when I was in my late forties.

For many of us, our demons surrounding abuse are the most difficult to make peace with. Abuse demons feature layer upon layer of scar tissue, often rendering us incapable of trusting anyone, especially ourselves. Many of us have turned to drugs and alcohol as a misguided way of quieting the demonic voices in our head only to wake up one day and find ourselves with an entirely new “bed fellow” to contend with. Demons attract demons!

A friend recently asked me how I have been able to overcome my personal demons and enjoy the happy, prosperous life I live today. My answer seemed to surprise him. I have learned how to manage my demons.

Managing Our DEMONS…

Distance. I have learned to distance myself from the past. I recognize that everything in the present moment is perfect and that ALL of my current pain originates from past events. Many of the sources of my pain and discomfort are no longer alive or living in proximity to me which illustrates the absurdity of hanging onto these programs. This realization and a great deal of daily prayer and self exploration enables me to view my life with a present moment perspective. I can manage the present moment and recognize that I have no control over the past.

Ego. Demons are figments of our imagination, hand delivered by the Ego. The Ego desires for us to stay in pain and readily uses guilt, shame, anger, jealousy, envy and depression to try and hold us hostage. I have learned to counter the darkness of the Ego with the light of compassion and love. I routinely find myself fighting my Ego and there are times when it actually wins a battle. The good news is that I have the awareness and resolve to win the WAR! The most effective way to manage the Ego is to look at everyone and everything from a place of compassionate understanding. We are ALL on our own custom designed journey.

ME. The greatest breakthrough I realized during my process of making peace with the past (demons) was the moment I truly understood that the quality of my life from that moment forward was entirely up to ME. I was “the adult” in charge and remaining a prisoner to my thoughts was INSANE. The quality of my life would be a direct result of the CHOICES I made from that moment forward. As simple as this sounds, taking personal responsibility for ALL of my actions and subsequent outcomes was the single biggest game changer in my process of personal transformation. When it’s about ME there is no room for demons.

Ownership. As long as I AVOIDED addressing and confronting my demons I remained in a state of constant pain. Once I took ownership of my right to CHOOSE what I focused on, my life began to change. Denial guarantees that we will continue experiencing pain. Taking ownership is the first step toward abolishing our demons and living a life of inner peace.

Numbing. When I was under “demonic control” I found myself “numbing” to avoid feeling the pain and disappointments in my life. My numbing included, drugs, alcohol, exercise, thrill seeking, work and travel. Once I made the decision to confront my demons head on, I found myself living my way into a state of moderation and balance. At first this was a bit odd but now I have become quite used to it.

Support. One of the best ways we can manage our demons is by seeking support. Friends, partners, spouses, life coaches and cause specific support groups are excellent resources to help us stay on track. Everyone’s pain is different and as I mentioned earlier, no two people will experience the exact same demonic experience. When we seek support we are sending a clear message to the universe that we are committed to ending our demonic bondage once and for all. Seek and you will find the support you need in the moment you need it.

ALL of us have experienced things we would like to forget. ALL of us have done things we regret. ALL of us have the capacity to offer and accept forgiveness but before that can happen we have to give ourselves permission to FEEL the FEELINGS. Once I made the decision to confront my demons and release my anger I was truly ready to move forward. This is an ongoing process. EVERYDAY I am tested to see how serious I am about managing my demons and living a pain free life. My personal report card indicates that I am a solid B student working toward an A.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback. Cheers!

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