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How to actually feel emotion?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Calum, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Calum

    Calum Peer Supporter


    I'm still fairly new to this and I think I am making some head way particularly in the fear if not the actual pain department, but I've been having a problem with actually feeling emotions when I bring them to the surface through journalling/talking about it.

    The problem is that when an emotion begins to surface I start to feel it and I try and concentrate on how it physically feels in my body, as the recovery program suggests, it may intensify a bit, but then in my head I say to myself (completely non-voluntarily) "O look its working" and this completely detaches me from the emotion and it goes down like a popped balloon. Has anyone else experienced this? I think that if I can just start to feel these emotions properly I'll start making some actual progress!
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    One of the most important balances we need to find is between thinking logically about our emotions and actually experiencing our emotions. People with TMS have a tendency to think about their emotions, but not actually experience them. This of course is simply one way we repress our emotions.

    I do think it is only natural to stop and notice when you are experiencing an emotion, especially at the start. When you find yourself doing this, simply turn your focus back to the present. It is a lot like meditation, where it is okay to have thoughts pop up, as long as you return your focus back to the present.
    ayalitta and Stock Trader like this.
  3. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Calum, I say keep doing what you're doing! Watch out for that perfectionist. One way of doing that is just having faith that you're on the right path. These treatment programs have worked for tons of clients.
  4. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Hi Calum.

    This takes practice.

    I was involved with a program years ago that was about our emotions and how they felt. One of the very first exercises was to feel the "big 4" negative emotions. Anger, sadness, fear, guilt. We needed to say I feel angry that [ ] then I feel sad. etc. This was so hard the first few times. We are not taught to feel our emotions! I can remember that I had the cd playing in my kitchen -- and I was standing there trying to bring up anger (now of course it's no problem!) and I felt lost trying to find any anger! Took practice. But it moved along and I have been able to journal and move things out of me that have been in there a long time and it feels absolutely great.

    Even the positive feelings - grateful, happy, secure and proud took practice to feel as well.

    Just keep doing it. It does get easier and then feels like a more natural process. :)
    Gigalos likes this.
  5. Calum

    Calum Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the advice guys. Forest I find meditation really hard too, another case if needing more practice I suppose, us TMSers have busy busy minds!
    Lori I'm going to try talking to myself saying "I feel angry that" etc. Its an approach I've not tried. I'll let you know how it goes!
  6. KathyBee

    KathyBee Peer Supporter

    I am just starting, but I have had this as well.
    I have run into the no emotions part while doing the journal writing. For example, someone did something that made me feel very stressed. But I just smiled and said it was okay. This seemed like a good journal writing topic. I figured I was probably suppressing some anger there. So I wrote down how I was very angry with S for how she acted. But I did not feel anything at all when I was writing it.
    I tend to not feel my negative emotions most of the time, but then every once a while something negative will just pop out. It seems to happen randomly, or for very minor things, and I do not seem to have control over it.
    And sometimes it will seem like displaced emotions. For example, last week I had a very stressful day at work. When I got home a read a short story with a sad part in it and started crying. Because it socially acceptable for a woman to cry reading a sad story, but not socially acceptable for a woman to cry because her computer at work is broken.
  7. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    I sometimes deliberately watch heavy stuff on the tele when I feel I need to express some sadness, sometimes it is even educational as things pass by that apply to me too. Talking about it or hearing someone else talk about it somehow lowers the bar. Afterwards I often feel more relaxed. Maybe reading your writing out aloud could help you?
  8. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Its when I journaled after about two or three weeks that I started feeling the emotions.
    Then id have those ah-ha moments cause id be hitting on repressions.
    Now I wasn't doing focusing at the time but I was using awareness which coincides.
    After about two months I was sitting on my back porch and a feeling just poured over me.
    I set there and I remembered a fight id gotten into ten years earlier- I felt a tension release right then,
    like the pain went from an 8 to a 2.

    Now id totally forgotten fighting this guy.
    It was while I was a preacher and I had to do what I had to do.
    He was selling drugs to my nephew.
    To make this story short I had completely repressed that thought.
    Then one day just setting there after doing my journal activity's about the past.
    It just flooded me and then instant release, ahhhh.....
    Sometimes the mind represses and the journaling will reveal....

    Now I say it flooded me, that was the emotions and release of the tension
    It had been years since id felt these emotions.

    I was always told to be a man you don't show your emotions or cry.
    I grew up wondering why I wasn't able to show more emotions.
    I know now why I wasn't able to and I also know now how I can.....
    Hope this helps....
  9. Calum

    Calum Peer Supporter

    KathyBee: I too get very angry over minor things, such as road rage and with inanimate objects, especially computers. Sarno calls this displaced rage, he says that the unconscious allows you to get angry at very minor things in a safe environment (e.g. my laptop can't fight back when I'm screaming and swearing at it, but it I was to do that too my manager I'd get fired). It does this too let some pressure out of that reservoir of rage we all have. I use this as a positive it reconfirms that I have TMS and a reservoir of rage inside. It is on my evidence list.

    Gigalos: I've tried reading it out too, it doesn't seem to help, thanks for the suggestion though.

    Eric: Can you explain the difference to me between awareness and focusing?
    I was also told from a very early age that a man does not show emotion and a child should not cry unless there is a "good enough" cause. On a couple of ocasions I remember my Dad telling me if I didn't stop crying over "nothing" he "would give me something to cry about". I think my unconscious is still too scared of my dad to let my emotions out.
  10. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey Calum,
    Yes , Awareness is in the now- the present, not living in the past or future
    living now, today ,on purpose and being happy with all outcomes.
    Its also being aware of your intentions and thoughts and emotions.
    I always add acceptance where you take a situation and look for the best way
    you can react to any given situation. Acceptance is choosing the higher road in your reactions.

    Focusing is when I pay attention to my emotions instead of trying to ignore or run from them
    im using awareness to focus on the emotion and then ill usually have a release of tension.
    By not trying to change the emotion but just letting it be and noticing it.
    Then im letting the tension that has been held in my body release
    I don't have to fight the negative emotion with focusing, I just sense the emotion
    and notice its there- its as if im saying im here and I know your there
    now im not running any more.
    Alan Gordon's program is awesome for knowing a felt sense which is very important in knowing how to focus.

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