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Day 5 Dumb Question 'bout Suppression

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by KathyC, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. KathyC

    KathyC Peer Supporter

    What exactly constitutes suppression of emotions? Is it when you are consciously aware that you are emotional and not expressing it? Like when you curse under your breath at: a rude driver, someone breaking into the grocery express line with 50 things in their cart, etc. Is it being unconscious of the unexpressed emotions? Or like right now when my deaf/blind geriatric dog, who I usually adore, is waking me up to go outside when it's -1 degree outside at 2 am, 3 am and 4 am. I am so furious at not getting enough sleep at night, but I can't take it out on this confused dog. But I am in a rage over this sleep deprivation nearly every night. People think that the only way to discharge negative emotions is to fully unload it on the person we think is creating it. Anyone who's been in therapy or on some spiritual path knows that it's not the "offender's" problem. It's your problem for deeming them as wrong, bad, offensive. So then your "goodism" kicks in and you try to take the high road, turn the other cheek, give up being critical, etc. And you are back at square one. I love this little dog, I would never show anger at her (although she's gotta pick up on it) . So how do you release the anger when it's just a situation that can't be helped? And when do you know that the anger is fully released? When do you realize you are beating a dead horse sometimes?
    tarala likes this.
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    My favorite book on this subject is a non-TMS book: Anger by Thich Nhat Hanh. I don't think you have to express the anger at the person (or animal) who is triggering it...if we all did this we would probably have no friends :) I think it's more about acknowledging the anger and sitting with it. Sometimes you might need to express it to someone else, sometimes just to yourself.
  3. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    In my family we had an acceptable band of emotions. They never included conflict, disagreement or disappointing others. If you asked me 3 months ago I would have said, oh yeah, I feel irritation but choose not to do anything as you said above. Now I know a lot more about myself.

    Reading Dr. David Clarke's book he talks about the inability as a child to sense or verbalize their own feelings. Children learn how to control their emotions so well they have difficulty feeling them. This is me. I had no idea how I experience an irritation.... I don't even feel it. It moves in a nanosecond through my mind into my body as pain. This has been completely out of my awareness for 60 years.

    Writing about these early events in my childhood has helped me get in touch with the locked-up emotions. The more the emotions spill out onto the page, the less power they have to produce symptoms (pain and depression). I redirect the angry feelings toward my parents into written word. I have not been able to use the spoken word. Not sure I can or really need to do this. Still learning.

    I have to journal all the time to release the anger because it comes up all the time in all my interactions. For example, I get annoyed with myself for people pleasing and not stating my opinion.
  4. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    Hi Kathy,

    I don't think this is a dumb question at all. And good for you for asking anyway when you thought it was.

    I agree with Veronica, and with what you said about taking responsibility for our reactions. I get into trouble often when I know the emotion is there, but rather than allowing a full experiencing of it, I cut it short by jumping right to the mental process of owning it . Maybe this is the goodist in me wanting to make it all nice. I am having to keep reminding myself that the emotion is okay and actually useful in helping me take care of myself; what I then choose to do with it is a separate thing.

    By the way, I had a similar experience with my first child, who had a physical problem that woke her up every one to two hours. Sleep deprivation is one of the most enraging things I have ever felt. It has been over 30 years, but I still remember shouting at her a few times. I just felt worse. But talking about it with my husband did help. Good luck with your sweet little dog.

    Hugs, Terry
  5. KathyC

    KathyC Peer Supporter

    Thank you, Veronica! I've already found the book on Amazon. Aren't I "good'? Ü A teacher spoke about trying to figure out what was "normal, average, usual". Her husband kept yelling at her for leaving all the lights on in the house. She protested that she was not, he was being extreme in his accusations. To prove her point, she counted up all the lights in the house and turned on half to prove to herself that she was being moderate, not extreme. When you say "sit with it", I don't know what that means. I want to count up the light bulbs in the house. Are we talking a nano second of acknowledgment, a second, a minute, a few minutes........? Are we talking about muttering and spewing and mulling it over? Just feeling the crappy fire in your belly or chest?
    veronica73 likes this.
  6. KathyC

    KathyC Peer Supporter

    Thank you, SandyRae! I hear you. I used to have a short circuit between my gut and my head. I'd get criticized or put down and it might take 2 days before, I went, "hey, wait a minute, that really pi**ed me off!" Now it's immediate, but that's just because of 30 years of therapy. It reminds me of Eric Bern's book "Games People Play". My favorite game: "Red Stamps". Like my mom used to collect Green Stamps to cash in for merchandise. You save up red anger stamps and cash them in when you dump your anger on someone. But when you don't cash them in, it turns to depression and physical pain. Writing will help a lot with that.
  7. KathyC

    KathyC Peer Supporter

    Thank goodness, Terry that my little four legged friend is better equipped for unconditional love than I am. It's why I adore her so. Thanks for taking the time to reply. See, I thought that jumping to "owning it" was the mature and enlightened approach. I've got to "enjoy" the wallowing a tiny bit before I go there perhaps?
  8. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    By "sitting with" anger I mean just letting anger (or any emotion) be there without having to fix it or get rid of it. It's really hard for me to do this but I'm moving in that direction. My initial reaction is to see a lot of emotions as "bad" or as problems that need to be solved. I'm slowly learning that emotions aren't catastrophic. I can feel sad and it doesn't mean I'm going to fall into a deep depression. I can feel angry and it doesn't mean I have to get a headache or even fix the cause of the anger.

    This is a work in progress for me and I have to keep reminding myself that I don't have to be "perfect" at feelings :)
    tarala likes this.
  9. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    I "sit with it" to bring up the feelings when I'm ready to do something about it--journal or write a feelings letter to the perceived offender. Then I let the feelings spew and the pen follows. It's important to write what you FEEL (not think) to process these emotions out.

    I think if it's a situation you cannot do anything about, or choose not to do anything about, work on acceptance is important--or toxic resentment will build in us.


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