I have realised that I avoid my feelings, I shut them down and block them as much as I can in the hope of avoiding them. Why do I avoid them, well as a child it wasn’t acceptable for me to cry or to complain and there were consequences if I dared to show any emotions. That legacy of never learning to deal with my feelings means today I simply can’t cope with them.
However I am slowly realising what happens if you block emotions and it is not good, blocking anger for example means that when I am least expecting it and something incidental goes wrong out pops ‘mr angry’ in all his glory. It’s basically an extreme response to something that really does not require an extreme response and it’s never good. Now don’t get me wrong I am never angry physically it’s usually either a verbal outburst that lasts a few minutes or anger directed inwards at myself.
This week I started my virtual therapy session (I had therapy via a phone call) with the statement ‘it’s been a difficult week’. As the conversation ensued I admitted that I had had such an angry outburst and I didn’t get why, I wasn’t being untruthful because well I didn’t get why. Eventually discussing the issue further it became clear I was blocking emotions still and this time my own emotions, not ones carried by an alter.
I found myself learning such a great deal about feelings and how as children we learn to deal with our emotions, except to do this a child needs to be parented and nurtured. Sadly in my case that parenting and nurturing just didn’t happen and so I need to learn now. Whilst this maybe 40+ years too late, I’m also learning it’s better late than never.
I realise that yes I’m angry, but anger just eats away at you and deep down my anger is really sadness, sadness at what I didn’t have, sadness at all the things I lost, the things I suffered. So this week I’m starting to learn to feel my emotions in small tiny steps so as not to overwhelm me. I am scared but I know by giving time to these emotions instead of blocking them, they will in time stop bursting out uncontrollably.
Small manageable steps means experiencing the emotion for no more than five minutes at a time, having plans in place to stop them at that point and doing something to make me smile, to feel safe. So if by chance people see me in the coming weeks and I’m sad please don’t worry it’s just part of life and this particular learning process. Likewise if you see me laughing or smiling at myself in the mirror, I’m just trying to utilise the plans I have to control these feelings without them overwhelming me and being too frightening.
Yes I have a long way to go on my journey of recovery and it’s as much to do with processing trauma and dealing with the emotions contained within the memories, as it is the task of parenting myself. I am teaching myself with help and guidance all those things others take for granted, but which for me seem alien and frightening.
I’m providing me with the nurture I never had, the nurture that my mother never gave and whilst she didn’t serve me well, I can. I can put myself and all my parts back on track and start living the life I would have had the opportunity to lead, if only my past had not be filled with trauma and poor parenting. That seems such a positive, to think despite all the hard work ahead, the anguish and pain which I know need to be dealt with the end result is potentially so great. Maybe that’s what keeps me striving forwards, knowing just what I have to gain and knowing I’m not on this journey alone.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2014