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When the feelings don't go away

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ewok, Aug 5, 2017.

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  1. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    If I understand correctly, we are told that if we experience or process our emotion, it will pass through our body and leave in a short time. I am having trouble with this. Something upsetting happens and I allow myself to feel the sadness in my body but it just doesn't seem to leave. Hours or days later I still have the overwhelming feeling of sadness or anger or what the emotion might be. Does this mean I'm not really processing them? I'm consciously not avoiding the feeling as I once would have done, I'm feeling it in my body, but this doesn't seem to be working. Can anybody help?
     
    Lily Rose likes this.
  2. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    The fact that you aren't getting any answers, is probably because you touch a thing that many people struggle with. I'll try to give you an answer, it's not great but I hope it will stir some discussion.

    Why doesn't my brain allow me to just live these emotions so I can get some progress?? Well, I think the answer is fear. This fear interfe(a)res by trying to keep you 'frozen' and leave those 'dangerous emotions' alone. The brain is wired to react this way. Fear is there to protect you. It takes times to teach your brain that these emotions are safe, not dangerous. When you feel frustrated that it isn't going fast enough, this is basically fear kicking in again that you are not making progress. In a way it is counterproductive. So do not expect anything, just attend your emotions and don't get upset if nothing changes.

    But, we all know of cases where people suddenly burst out and acted out their emotions to feel instantly better. How can this be? Well, again, it has to do with the same fear. Someone (maybe even you yourself) or something takes away this mist of fear, by keeping you focused on attending the emotion and/or by feeding the emotion until it becomes so strong that even fear (and TMS symptoms!) can no longer hold it back. Once the emotion has passed or has been felt, the fear is also gone because there is no need anymore to protect you. After such an event though, emotions and the accompanying fear of these emotions might return, because rewiring your brain still needs to happen and that takes time.

    I seldom experience such outbursts, just like many of us. The last time I experienced it was when I was about 17 years old. I attended a funeral of an aunt, the first time I ever did go to a funeral. Emotions were so strong that I couldn't hold it back anymore and I remember that I cried intensively for an hour, unable to stop it. I felt much lighter afterwards, even happy because on a deep level I understood that most tears were not the result of being sad about my aunt, but of repressing sadness in general.
    I sometimes intentionally watch tear jerking scenes to allow myself to cry. I sometimes imagine how I kick the sh!t out of someone to allow myself to feel and act out anger. Slowly it teaches my brain that these emotions are safe to have and that it can let go of the fear that is there to protect me from feeling them in the first place.

    hope it helps... I am open to critique, but I might beat you up in my fantasy ;)
     
    Ewok, Lily Rose, Lainey and 3 others like this.
  3. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sometimes it helps to look at our situation to see if long-standing or deep-rooted issues are playing out. It may be that there is something you need to engage with in a little more depth. May be a person (including yourself), or an event that needs forgiving and letting go of?

    This suggestion comes from a years long personal experience where I was using anger as a protection. Beneath that lay much sorrow and hurt. It was only when I sat down and made a conscious choice to be done with it, did the emotions subside.

    I had a less intense situation recently where a very dear person began involving me in a relationship issue they were having. It was escalating and causing me distress, anger and sadness. I spoke to my incredibly grounded husband about it and he helped me pen an email asking them to stop and to be kind to their spouse (who is ill). Then we went for a walk, came back and I sent the mail. Within an hour I received a very warm response which made me cry with huge jagged sobs and then...utter peace.

    I offer it for what it is worth. Maybe you can see something playing out in your emotional self where you are stuck. Where you are certainly feeling the emotions in the moment but perhaps not dealing with an underlying concern which does demand our loving attention.

    For me this often rests upon a boundary issue, something in the past where my people-pleasing would reign supreme but now I will not tolerate. Finding the sweet spot in dealing with this is getting easier.
     
    Ewok, Lily Rose, Ellen and 3 others like this.
  4. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    What a testament to growth! Kudos to you, dear Plum
     
    plum likes this.
  5. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks Gigi x
    I owe so much to this forum and the good souls here.
     
  6. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    This is really helpful, thank you Plum. I have been angry at someone for a long time and have spent much time identifying why and attempting forgiveness but I just keep feeling so anger towards them. I would even feel anger at them for little, ridiculous things that weren't even their fault. It makes sense that anger was just the cover for the hurt and sadness I felt for things this person had done in the past. I suppose anger feels more empowering than sorrow.
     

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