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Trouble finding ways to be really "heard"

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by zclesa, Sep 17, 2023.

  1. zclesa

    zclesa Well known member

    Does anyone else find that most people do not seem to be open to "really" listening? They talk about superficial things. Or if you tell them about painful feelings, they try to change your mind or reframe it as you "should" feel differently or you should understand from another point of view. (That's partly what got me into this mess - being TOO understanding).

    My dad is awful with this. When I last moved house, I told him how distressed I felt, and he kept saying "You have to be strong and get on with things". It was exasperating AND ANGERING even talking to him. I ended up saying "I am strong. I am getting on with things. But I am allowed to feel as well!" He is obviously one half of the reason I repress (other half is my mother, who you could never say anything to without it being "wrong").

    I do struggle to find people to share genuine, deep feelings with without it being invalidated. I am an "in-the-moment" feeler. It is hard for me to reflect and feel pain. But I DO feel my feelings much more in the moment that something is upsetting or stressful. I am really feeling the need to express myself much more, and, I suppose for it to be heard and validated, something which I never had as a child. As a kid, when I was really upset, I sometimes talked myself through things, or I'd talk to my sister, or find a stray dog to talk to.

    I have definitely lost outlets for expression over the years. As a teenager, I wrote poetry, and read books or listened to music where I connected with the feelings, which somehow helped me feel not alone. After that, it was cutting and drowning my sorrows.

    I used to call my mother in my 20s, but since realising she is narcissistic and doesn't actually care about what's going on with me, I don't. My sister has also gone down that road and is impossible to talk to now without her "trumping" any story with her own. I do go to a fellowship meeting, but sharing for 5 minutes doesn't seem enough and is only useful if I've been directly "in-the-moment" just before the meeting. Same issue with counseling.

    I have lost a lot of friends through being debilitatingly ill and don't talk to many people anymore. I also struggle with reaching out as well due to huge trust issues. I have always been the "listening" friend as well, not the "talking about my own problems" person.

    Anyone been in the same boat and found answers or relief?
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yep been there.
    AND, I have a friend who wants to do nothing but talk about heavy stuff - woes of the world, all her problems, to be heard...and it's really really hard to be with her. She lives in her head, and anything in her heart is heavy and horrible. She is just now beginning to see some goodness and lightness in this world.
    And I have been there too.
    Do you FEEL emotions. Allow yourself to feel their sensations move within your body and know you are safe to feel them?
    Sometimes, I think most times, this lack of feeling heard is actually within ourselves. You have felt OK hearing others, but I sense that hearing yourself is hard, because you say you "used" to enjoy poetry and books.
    When you can become more comfortable processing emotions, the creativity can come back. It might creep in but it will allow you to express yourself in a way that you won't feel the need to do it "talking" to much, or do so much overthinking, worrying etc.
    You'll be more comfortable stepping outside of your current social safety zones and venture to meet new people to connect with: maybe find a poetry meet up, or poetry readings, book clubs, anything that is part of your interests. You can connect and talk to people on a deeper level about your mutual interests.
    As for now, feeling this expression now, I've explored that through meditation. Putting your thoughts "out there" to whatever place you like: the universe, God, the flowers, animals anywhere that your own energy can be of benefit and SEE and believe that your energy is of benefit.
    I am surrounded by many people who are more comfortable engaging in "small talk" - but being together isn't always about the talk, the busy mind, the chance to do more thinking when with others. I know that sounds weird but once again it goes back to FEELING - can you be with others and accept that they do not express themselves as you do. That their expression of love may be simply being in your company, spending time with you because they don't need to have all these deep "meaningful" conversations - they are happy just to be in the moment with you. Their ability to be in the moment doesn't in any way mean you squash your self-expression, it means you FEEL your emotions in your body and find ways to express yourself at other times by things you mentions like poetry, reading, music... the ability to engage in these things and many more will return when you feel comfortable feeling and accepting your emotions and being comfortable "Hearing" yourself. It's one of the reasons journaling and meditation are suggested as methods of learning to safely express and just be with yourself and learn to slow down the whirling thoughts and internal fights.
  3. zclesa

    zclesa Well known member

    Hey @Cactusflower, thanks for replying.

    I do feel sadness sensations; sometimes I cry and sometimes I can't. I feel lonely sensations. And I do feel angry sensations when someone I trust has hurt me. I can feel anger sensations about political things that happen or companies treating me unfairly (psychodrama). This is all in-the-moment stuff.

    I find it hard to think about the past and feel anything much. Although at the moment, I often awake with a feeling of dread in my stomach for no "current" reason, so I'm guessing that is a "past" feeling. I used to feel that way as a child quite often. If I don't trust someone, I'm more likely to feel resigned than angry when I have been badly treated.

    I don't really worry, although I do get stuck in logic and reasoning. This is one of the reasons that I actually find journalling hard. It takes me "out" of the moment and too much into thinking. Maybe I'd be best off just speaking aloud how I feel in the moment (maybe to a photo of someone compassionate or my deceased cat).

    I do have fun with other people and chat about interests and that is nice, but I rarely tell anyone if I'm feeling bad. I just cope with it alone, as I always have. I think this is where the desire within me to speak about how I feel is from. I think it's fairly normal to want to share with others when you're feeling bad as well as sharing when you're feeling good. I dunno, though, when I do say how I feel (like to my dad), quite often it just gets invalidated. Even if that comes from a well-meaning place, it isn't helpful and makes me more angry.
  4. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    You say you feel some emotions, once againI’ll ask: do you feel them in your body -not just think “I feel sad”. This is hard for those of us who don’t do this to stop and take a breath and just feel. Before you cry, what physical sensations of sadness do you have?
    Many of us don’t talk about when we feel bad. You don’t have to say anything, you feel it physically. You accept that’s how you feel today. You want to shout it: do that in a journal. At some point you may have someone to share those more intimate feelings with: a partner or close friend, a therapist. But your Dad clearly has boundaries about this for his own reasons, just like you’ve laid down boundaries about speaking to your Mom. Dad simply isn’t the person to talk to about this stuff, and it’s ok to feel angry about it. I do not have many people to talk to about my emotions, and that’s ok because emotions are sensations..they are not really thoughts. It takes time and experience to get the hang of it, especially of those of us who overthink as one of our defense mechanisms. That is why your brain wants to avoid journaling and you think speaking may be better. It’s totally part of the whole tms defense thing.
    zclesa likes this.
  5. zclesa

    zclesa Well known member

    Thanks @Cactusflower It has been nice to share what I'm struggling with. I suppose that is part of it.

    Yes, I do feel the sensations. My anger is a rush of hot intense tingling energy that fizzes up through my chest, face, and head. Loneliness is like an aching hole inside. Sadness is mostly in my throat and head. Dread is a heavy weight in my stomach.

    My anger is quick and really intense when I feel it. It lasts and lasts, and I've had times when I can't even sleep because it's still there. I think this is because it's been bottled up for so long, and is no longer "about" the actual incident. This is very hard because it then makes me want to bottle it up again so I can get to sleep!

    Sometimes, I don't feel the anger as much - I can hear in my voice that I'm angry and feel my face getting hot, but I don't feel all the fizzing and intensity.
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey @zclesa - I continue to appreciate your ability to put into writing your experiences of meaningful and insightful emotions - it's quite awesome.

    So this caught my attention:
    It sounds like you might be hung up on a common propensity that we all have, which is our desire to edit what we write. The thing is, editing emotional expressive writing is absolutely NOT conducive to honest exploration! Editing introduces judgement, and even fear about what we are openly expressing, encouraging us to keeping it nicely hidden and repressed. This is our TMS brain in action, in fact.

    For a long time I've avoided using any form of the word "journal" when talking about writing in this context. This kind of writing is absolutely NOT meant to be like keeping a journal or diary.

    Dr Hanscom calls it "expressive writing" and advises that it be destroyed after each session. Nicole Sachs coined the term JournalSpeak but she also advises throwing it out or deleting an electronic version.

    I call it "writing shit down" and I use crappy old notebook paper, and fill up both sides with illegible scribbling before binning it.

    You are not writing for anyone to read, not even yourself. It doesn't have to make sense or be legible. It should simply be whatever comes into your head in the moment, immediately transferred to the paper, without editing or thinking.

    I usually start out by writing something obvious, like "OK, here we are again, what happened today? How am I feeling?" And simply see what keeps coming into my head and onto the paper. No judgment, no corrections, no changes allowed.

    Another terrific writing technique is The Unsent Letter. It's a wonderful way to tell our parents how they failed to live up to the expectations that every child is born with, which is to be protected and cherished and unconditionally loved. I learned about this years ago when we were fostering teenagers, more than a decade before I knew anything about TMS work. It was a powerful release for kids who had been completely let down by parental failure. I wrote my own letter to my mother years later when I did the SEP, and I was surprised by some of the resentments I unconsciously held - even against my quite excellent (but nonetheless somewhat emotionally repressed) mother.

    One more thing: when I was doing the SEP back in 2011, I realized my brain was trying to get me to avoid certain topics for writing, trying to convince me they weren't important enough, or too embarrassing, etc. That was quite a revelation, and I made sure to write those topics down and pick them for writing later - and that's where I found the most interesting revelations about my repressed emotions and fears. It was a real turning point.
    zclesa likes this.
  7. zclesa

    zclesa Well known member

    Thanks @JantheCPA.

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