I won’t let anyone get to me
PREVIOUS: Feelings Aren’t Facts – #2
POST: “Feelings Aren’t Facts”
CONFUSION: We use ‘feel’ interchangeably to mean THOUGHTS and EMOTIONS – but mostly we’re talking about thoughts or actions. It is imperative for ACoAs to know the difference, both for our own mental clarity & to understand what other people are talking about.
‘To feel’ as an Emotion = always a single word
‘To feel’ as a Thought = always a sentence
All ACoAs were trained to ignore our emotions, often with tragic consequences. It prevents us from being able to identify what is:
• suitable or not for us • mentally sane & logical
• psychologically healthy • genuinely pleasurable
• At its simplest: The right brain governs our emotions & the left brain our thinking (among many other things). Connecting the 2 sides is a thick mass of nerves, the Corpus Callosum, allowing the halves to communicate, like being able to verbalize <—> feelings. (In women the corpus callosum is somewhat thicker – making it easier for them to talk about emotions!)
• Everyone is born with a unique personality which then interacts with our environment (our training). When a child grows up under constant stress, the 2 sides of the brain stop communicating, as a protective mechanism. Then, some people function too much from the left & others too much from the right. One way this shows up is in the way we handle physical or mental hurt.
Over-Feelers (O-F): some ACoAs are born hyper-sensitive, who suffer easily & continually because of long-term pressure & trauma. Their dominant right brain gets over-activated. More in next post
Under-Feelers (U-F): most others ‘live in our head’ (left brain) as a defense against our pain and to obey the sick family rules. We’ve become cut off from a vital part of our being, & need to find ways to re-connect the ‘wiring’. U-Fs have the same amount of emotions but have less access to them – their dominant left brain is over-worked
a. GOAL – TO:
• be able to feel all our emotions without fear, shame or guilt
• learn the names of a wide range of emotion & be able to associate them with the sensations our body generates via the limbic system
• gather & use the many methods (tools) available to help us get in touch with repressed emotions
• know how to manage painful emotions when they surface
• nurture the Inner Child so that our Abandonment pain diminishes – which will make us less afraid of our feelings!
• The process of breaking thru layers of emotional denial is different for every person & cannot be predicted. Each of us is at a different mile marker on the road to Recovery & each is born unique. So the effectiveness and timing of these activities will vary
• Any one, or some combination of these methods can bring to the surface those emotions we’ve pushed into the unconscious. The more of these tools we use, the more successful we are in feeling. It takes patience & perseverance. Try as many as you can & never give up:
ANY type available in your area, like:
• core energetics, a safe way to get our rage out
• massage, to release holding in Es in muscles
• acupuncture, to re-align the meridians so that energy can flow freely (since emotions are energy vibrations)
• Brain Gym (re-patterning), to reconnect the 2 halves of the brain
• craneo-sacral therapy, to get trapped cerebro-spinal fluid moving …..
If none of these are available, go to a gym, find a place to run, get a punching bag, hit pillows, get a plastic bat & use it on the bed or couch
• 12-step literature • Personal-growth articles & books
• Spiritual works • any other writing that ‘touches’ us
SEEING / LISTENING
• movies, plays, classical & modern music, choirs
• old family photos, diaries, letters….
• religious services, spiritual gatherings
• meditation, prayer….
• 12-Step Meetings – Al-Anon, ACoA, SIA (Survivors of Incest)….
• any form of therapy – individual, group, experiential, primal….
• loving friends, getting family info from anyone willing to talk
• Inner Child visualizations / guided imagery
• dreams, interpreted by a professional (a variety of styles)
• ‘hypnosis’ – with a trained therapist or self-administered (fully awake but with focused concentration on a topic)
• 4th-Step inventory: list of character defects, as well as childhood traumas & losses – but NOT used for self-abuse!
• lists of positive qualities – using 5 or 6 categories (PMES, or Natural abilities, Learned Skills, Talents, Interests, Personality traits… ) & then add to each category as often as you think of: things you do automatically, what you’ve learned in school or on your own, any natural tendencies, tastes, interests…, whatever you’re good at, AND anything positive that other people say about you
• Morning pages – stream of consciousness – the idea is that first thing in the a.m. you’re not as ‘defended’ against your inner truth
• 2-handed IC dialogues – learning to listen to the Inner Child AND how to respond lovingly
• your dreams – write them out using the Gestalt method
• keep a list of self-hating belief every day & be able to ’hear’ how ugly and untrue they are. ASK: “Would I say these things to someone I love?” If you wouldn’t, then why let the bad parent say them to your kid & why let the kid agree with them? You can change that!
✶ Most of our old emotions are painful, but as they get released, we feel lighter & look younger! Practice giving yourself permission to have all your feelings & always comfort your little kid!
NEXT: ‘Getting to our Feelings’ – OVER – #1