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#226405 - 05/24/08 07:03 PM Do feelings have color?
MarkK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denver, CO
Sorry - didn't know what else to title this one.

I remember hearing at a seminar once that feelings were neither right nor wrong - they just simply "are". What matters is what is done with them. The actions that follow are what carry the real value or weight.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. What about the rest of you out there. Can feelings be right or wrong? Or are they simply "feelings" - neither good nor bad - right nor wrong?

M


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#226409 - 05/24/08 07:10 PM Re: Do feelings have color? [Re: MarkK]
GateKPR4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/28/07
Posts: 955
Loc: North Carolina, USA
I think feelings just are. Probably depends on what we learned is appropriate for our culture & situation.
Some mourn death feel sad and cry, get angry. Other cultures celebrate death and throw parties and parades.

_________________________
I'm a normal person dealing with abnormal experiences.
The greatest discoveries we will find within ourselves.
Ricky
__m_τΏτ_m__
|| || || || || || |

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#226455 - 05/24/08 11:14 PM Re: Do feelings have color? [Re: GateKPR4]
terpprm Offline
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Registered: 06/15/07
Posts: 312
Loc: Elyria, Ohio
i believe that feelings just are. but to me, what matters is what you do with those feelings. there is a right and aa wrong way to show your feelings as well as a right and wrong time and/or place to show those feelings. so yeah, that is my thinking.

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My Story

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#226459 - 05/24/08 11:28 PM Re: Do feelings have color? [Re: GateKPR4]
ericc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 1955
Mark,

If there is one area where I have learned the most in therapy, I think it would be in regards to feelings. A couple concepts that I have held onto would be the idea of "emotional intelligence", that is to say that one can feel and understand the nature of what they are feeling and identify the feelings and have a sense of where these feelings are coming from. Also, the idea of an "emotional bucket" has resonated as well, the idea being that if you don't deal with your feelings and emotions, you just let them build up; it is like you are filling your emotional bucket and it can get to the point where the emotions fill up and tip over the bucket so to speak, creating whatever mess may be (I am sure most of us have been there and can relate to this).

As far as if feelings can be wrong and bad? I do think one can get caught up in negative feelings and emotions, or thoughts for that matter, but in the end these are just that; thoughts, feelings and emotions. What is more important is what one would do with these. I think many or actually most if not all people have feelings and emotions that they feel are wrong or strange or whatever. Sometimes it is even really hard to understand the nature of where they may be coming form. But if they lead to negative actions or behaviors, that is really when it is a problem I think. Feelings and emotions can be a powerful tool in helping to understand one's self, but it can take time to figure out where they are all coming from and what they all mean (heck, it is probably a lifelong process of growing). These are my thoughts on the matter at least.

Eric


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#226533 - 05/25/08 09:46 AM Re: Do feelings have color? [Re: ericc]
hogan_dawg Offline
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Registered: 03/26/08
Posts: 492
Your seminar was kind of wrong, about right and wrong, sorry. But it was kind of right about feelings just 'are'.

Feelings can be right or wrong in that some feelings are quite warranted, justified, reasonable and understandable. For example, I can feel quite rightly angry that I was raped. I can feel righteous anger, and rightly feel shame. The emotions make sense in our culture.

Here's what I mean: Your feelings can be quite 'right' or 'appropriate' given the context of your experience. Murderous rage because someone shortchanges you two pennies is 'wrongly' placed rage. Even the most hardened reader will have to admit that if one feels murderous feelings over two pennies then the issue deserves more examination and thought. It deserves therapy. That said, murderous rage because someone rapes you is 'understandable' rage. Calling it 'neither right nor wrong' sort of invalidates your whole experience, and carries with it the unfortunate suggestion that if you just were 'less sensitive' or 'less testy' you'd accept your rape like a good little boy. I say screw that, it's a bunch of crap, and your rage is quite rightly felt.

"I am quite rightly angry I was raped" sounds far more correct than "I am choosing to be at home with my rape", which sounds plastic and sterile and clinically dead. See what I mean? Or how about "I am quite pleased that I was raped and beaten. Being raped and beaten makes me quite happy" Does that sound absurd to you all? It sounds weird to me. Now this doesn't mean that if you felt pleasure during a rape that the feeling is wrong. But if you examine yourself you'll find other feelings accompany that pleasure like perhaps some uncomfortable anxiety. Understanding your feelings means you have to examine all of them, together, as a whole, and make sense of them. Not easy.

The issue might be 'qualia'. Does the 'feeling' or 'quality' of a feeling change our mental life? (Yes) And can you change the quality of that feeling? (Certainly Yes)

Feelings can compel you into action. They are outcomes of evolution and they adapted for good reasons. You need emotions to inform you sometimes. They are additional information. Humans are informavores, and a good informavore seeks out information and eats it up. You should gobble up these feelings to help you understand yourself.

How you use that information is up to you.

You can be compelled to act on every feeling (childlike, addictlike). Or you can reflect on your feelings, then act (adultlike) - this is called 'metacognition'.

Shame, guilt, anger, are all there to tell you what's what. It's up to you to interpret them.

Our culture eschews some feelings, or talk of some feelings. So most of us aren't very good at talk and thought about feelings. Therapy is there to help you learn to think and talk about feelings.

Moreover, it is also true that the more you learn to think and talk about your feelings, the more 'attuned' to your feelings you become. Hanging out here and talking with people about your feelings will help you become more attuned to your feelings and eventually, the hope is, you learn to trust them more.

Finally, once you learn to trust them more, very often your feelings become 'tempered' or 'softened'. The therapy won't remove these unpleasant feelings from your awareness, but it can remove the 'sting' and the tendency to immediately act on your feelings. So getting back to our original example, things can change after talk and therapy such that I can say I no longer feel shame for what happened to me because I was not the agent of the shameful act. And though I might get 'pangs' of shame, my new found understanding can temper that feeling so I'm no longer debilitated by the quality of that feeling.

So, to sum up: Feelings are informational artifacts. They inform you. You learn to interpret feelings. Your competence at interpreting them is not unchangeable like intelligence is unchangeable, rather, you can learn to interpret your feelings by exercising thought and talk about your feelings. Once you're competent at 'getting' your feelings, you can find their intensity and power are more appropriately placed.

Sorry to be such a smarty pants but it's a tough topic that needs a dissenting view.



Edited by hogan_dawg (05/25/08 11:37 AM)
_________________________
I can say unequivocally that the lie of "To truly heal you must first forgive" has derailed more victims than the abusers themselves.
Andrew Vachs, 2003

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#226543 - 05/25/08 11:12 AM Re: Do feelings have color? [Re: hogan_dawg]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1866
Loc: durham, north england
funny you should mention Qualea there Hogan, and equally odd in a topic about feelings and colour.

Because I am synaesthesic, ---- more specifically colour/tactile synaesthesic, feelings for me very literally have colour as an intrinsic part of their experience. Personally, i often find myself physically sitting their while certain feelings happen to me, ---- much as I did in my abuse, and for me, the process of recovery and therapy doesn't just involve understanding where those colours and feelings come from, but actually finding ways I can physically deal with them, ---- either personally through synaesthesic meditation exercises, or by creating other feelings impressions instead of the ones I've got, ones that are more useful to me.

as far as appropriateness and culture go, I'd personally say, ---- as a semi-existentialist, culture can go and take a running jump, and it's all up to the individual. this isn't to say it's easy, or that someone else ---- like a t, isn't often needed to help manage someone's feelings, but that ultimately, it's down to the individual not any other influence. Yes, there are things people have been taught to feel or think about while growing up, but these aren't absolutes, and ---- often with the right sort of advice, can be got rid of if someone wants to, ---- though that process certainly isn't easy.

About feelings being right or wrong, I've had long arguements with my friend the counceler over this. She claimes feelings aren't ever wrong, even the ones which cause great suffering to the one experiencing them.

I on the other hand would say feelings are wrong if they hurt. Symple as that. I'm not saying all feelings should feel good all of the time, ---- as everyone here knows, it's often necessary to feel some bloody awful things in order to do the recovery thing, but these are like tiring your muscles out doing physio therapy after some accident, in order that you heal properly and ultimately end up stronger and feeling better in the long run.

I'm really sorry for the long and detailed wrant, ---- this topic was really interesting and got me thinking, which is a good thing, though probably not for everyone who has to read all this drivel.


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#226545 - 05/25/08 11:48 AM Re: Do feelings have color? [Re: dark empathy]
hogan_dawg Offline
Guest

Registered: 03/26/08
Posts: 492
Oh gosh don't worry Dark Empathy about your rant - it was good and nice to read someone else caring about these matters.

Yeah I'm cool on the 'right-wrong' issue. The problem is that in discussing feelings in the context of 'right-wrong' we're perhaps walking into a field of error. So I'll sidestep that issue. \:\)

My take on it is that emotions are there to inform you. My take on it is that culture is there to inform you. And your thoughts are there to inform you. It's a potpourri of information, and you can eschew that information at your own peril.

So, when I feel feelings that hurt, I can choose to feel them and comprehend and absorb them and integrate them into my being, or I can choose to say "Oh that's a negative feeling so I'll choose not to feel it, or to ignore it". That's not what you're saying, is it? Probably not. We could probably agree that sidestepping our pain because it's 'wrong' won't work very well. Why? Because you can't lie to your body. Your body has the feeling to inform you. And if you shut it down because it hurts, that's a form of dissociation, and we all know what happens with dissociation. So are you saying that IF you feel pain, it's undesirable, and worthy of change? Are we on the same page in that regard? For me, the pain is real, right, and needs acknowledgment in order to afford healing. Once I 'get it', I can change it if I like. Or, in the case of my anger, I choose or elect not to change it, because I believe in the value of anger to compel my action.



Edited by hogan_dawg (05/25/08 12:08 PM)
_________________________
I can say unequivocally that the lie of "To truly heal you must first forgive" has derailed more victims than the abusers themselves.
Andrew Vachs, 2003

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#226546 - 05/25/08 11:52 AM Re: Do feelings have color? [Re: dark empathy]
GateKPR4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/28/07
Posts: 955
Loc: North Carolina, USA
rant all you want thats what we are here for. This is still a tough topic for all of us, as stated in a couple of the posts "its what we do with the feelings" this is the key to unlocking the recovery process. I have anxiety issues about being outside in sight of everyone even in my own back yard. I feel they are watching me or going to judge me. Is this rational or not. Its not - they are all out there just like me and not out to harm me so its a false reaction to a feeling. I have to tell myself this and go ahead and crank up the mower and just do it. After getting over the first false feeling the rest of the day goes pretty good and I just go about doing what needs to be done without fear & anxiety.

_________________________
I'm a normal person dealing with abnormal experiences.
The greatest discoveries we will find within ourselves.
Ricky
__m_τΏτ_m__
|| || || || || || |

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#226548 - 05/25/08 11:58 AM Re: Do feelings have color? [Re: GateKPR4]
hogan_dawg Offline
Guest

Registered: 03/26/08
Posts: 492
Yeah I get anxiety about going outside my place all the time. By other people's standards it's completely wrong. By my own standards it's completely wrong. But in the moment, when the anxiety is high, I don't go outside. I basque in my insecurity and let it run through until I talk myself out of it. lol

Then I go outside anyway - I make myself go because I know it's necessary in order to change my feelings. I'm slowly getting better. Slowly.

"Feelings are wrong if they hurt" - I can dig that and I get what you mean. \:\)



Edited by hogan_dawg (05/25/08 12:13 PM)
_________________________
I can say unequivocally that the lie of "To truly heal you must first forgive" has derailed more victims than the abusers themselves.
Andrew Vachs, 2003

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#226562 - 05/25/08 01:20 PM Re: Do feelings have color? [Re: hogan_dawg]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1866
Loc: durham, north england
I think Hogan, we are on the same wavelength, but coming at it from different sides. Let me use an example of what I mean.

Imagine you tare the muscles of your leg. It initially hurts, that's just logical. You can ignore it with pain killers, and perhaps you'll have to do some of that initially. However, if you just keep taking pain killers, things won't work and you'll end up thinking your leg is fine and just injuring it some more by standing on it and doing the muscles more damage.

on the other hand, if you just try and ignore the injury and go on with things, you'll feel lots of pain and probably end up collapsing.

What you actually need to do is get a physio therapist, ---- or similar, to help you get used to using that leg, so that the muscles grow back properly. The exercises you do in that physio might well be painful, but not half as painful or damaging as simply ignoring the injury would be. Afterall, without recovering properly, your leg might set badly and you'll end up hurting and injured for the rest of your life.

Yes, some pain is necessary for you to brecover, but only on a eutilitarian trade off business, sinse ultimately you'll have a more working leg, and feel less pain than if you did nothing about it.

all of the pain, the initial pain at your injury, and the recovery pain, is pretty bad, but some of it is necessary to avoid more.
GateKPr4 and his mower is a great example of this type of thinking.

I'm not sure if anger counts as pain or not. in fact to borrow a deffinition from my undergrad disertation, pain is any state of affairs which you do not wish to continue, but which circumstances force to continue, while your current state of perception persists. On this basis, your anger probably doesn't count as pain as long as your okay with feeling anger and it's useful to you.

My own experience with Anger was much less pleasant, sinse I passed several years being angry at the teachers who just ignored the fact I was being abused, ---- in fact almost contributed to the situation by chucking me outside at every oppertunity. the problem was, that just masked the real issue for me, and was a way of escape. Also, being angry takes a lot of energy for me.

As I said, for you things might well be different.

I'm sorry about yet another wrant, ---- this is sort of getting into my own area of research, which may or may not be a good thing, but probably i should try and keep it off the boards.

I'm interested to know what you think about "right" or "wrong" feelings Hogan, but perhaps another topic or a pm?

Btw, please feel free to disagree with me, I actually enjoy these sorts of discussions and I really don't mind people having different opinions. My tutor, who is a really learned man and someone I utterly respect has several opinions I disagree with, ---- but that's fair enough.

Oh heck, sorry about yet another wrant.


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