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#39956 - 02/01/03 09:33 PM Emotions without Feeling
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
I've always considered myself an emotional person who was in touch with my feelings and able to express them--especially for a man.

Over the last couple days something has hit home with me like never before.

Being emotional & feeling are 2 different things.

I have done well enuf in my life at expressing emotions, tho not so much at expressing them well, in an appropriate way.

That's becuz while I have been expressing emotions, they have for the most part not been my emotions, what & how I really feel.

I've been expressing the emotions that were so forcefully expressed to me thru a childhood of emotional incest. The emotions that have become trained reactions & responses to those emotions, or emotions I perceive to be like those. The emotions I think I ought to expess becuz that's what I've been taught or told. The emotions I think people want me to express--or sometimes, don't want me to express.

But expressing the emotions I really feel has been rare for me.

That's becuz I couldn't feel.

I was trained to react not act, to echo feelings instead of feeling. I was not to have any feelings of my own. I was "comfortably numbed."

Not feeling was another way of trying to survive:
no feelings, no bad feelings, no pain. Probably this helped me for awhile in childhood.

But the problem is it couldn't & didn't last. I did feel pain. I did hurt. I did bleed. But not knowing how to feel for myself, all I could do is respond with the emotions I'd been programmed to respond with.

Well, not anymore! In recovery, I've been letting myself feel. Yes, I'm feeling a lot of pain. But I'm also now able to feel the good feelings too. And feeling the pain, at least I know what is wrong and can try to do something about it. That way I am more free to have more good feelings.

I'm still learning to feel, but at least I'm learning & at least I'm feeling. My feelings!

Being "comfortably numb" wasn't so damned comfortable anyway!

Victor
Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#39957 - 02/02/03 04:50 AM Re: Emotions without Feeling
RJD Offline
Member

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 326
Loc: jefferson City, Mo,usa
Victor
Victor,
Don't quote me on this but I beleve the term is hysteria in Freudian psychology. Freud used it to describe the symptoms he found in women who he originally believed had been incested. When woman after women began to show up with the symptoms he began to wonder could this be true. When his own sister began to show symptoms, he couldn't deal with the implications about his own father so he decided that they were incest "fantasies" that the women experienced. It was also a very sexually repressed time, and some believed he was pressured to change his views about the source of hysteria. Being "emotional" defined as hysteria certainly has a negative conotation. I'm no expert on Freud, but I think read these theories abou 15 years ago.

I think my mother was "emotional" too, and I know she was impacted by incest in her family. I learned from her how to be "emotional." I think you're right, that kind of emotionality has a kind of shotgun way of being expressed,instead of the true feelings being honed and expressed directly. I think other people could see my distress even if I was denying it and smiling. Truer feelings are burried deep and are sometimes inaccessable to me. Sometimes I even can say that I feel like I could cry but I don't know why. I might even say that with a smile on my face.

Being "emotional" to me means someone has experienced deep overwhelming trauma, and is still struggling to be able to focus the expression of those feelings. I certainly still struggle, and I expect this struggle to go on for a long time. BUT I definitely do get better and better at expressing my true feelings. I too am sometimes numb. When I become aware of it I know the numbness happened again because of a profound fear from childhood that was reactivated, and it is a good tool I learned to use to survive. I need to learn to use new tools because people who love me need me to be present fully for them and for myself, and I also need to be gentle with myself.

I've also been called too sensitive, as if it was something bad. What I have learned is that I'm so on target that it makes them squirm when I shed light on their behavior towards me. I've had my mind blown when I encountered one particular person on the street two years after the incident. She began the conversation apologizing for her behavior toward me two years earlier when we worked together. What I had told her in the original incident was that she always seemed angry at me. I love being too sensitive, it is a skill I constantly try to hone. I think I'm getting quite good at it. I guess I'll know more about how I'm doing with this skill in the morning when I re-read this.

I'm curious, what triggered this awareness,or how did this awareness unfold for you? I don't remember how it happened for me.

I didn't plan to write this much. It is 2:48 in the morning here and my wife and I just came home from dancing to salsa music until our leggs wouldn't work anymore. And I'm goood at it. This decendent of French Canadians can even fool a Cuban with a look of shock when they realize I don't even speak Spanish. Dancing with soul speaks a universal lanuage, and I have a passion when I dance. We've just celebrated our 33rd anniversary like we were spring chickens, and are we going to pay for it tomorrow. BUT IT WAS WORTH IT. YEAHHH!!!!

I'll see what this looks like in the morning. I hope I made some sense.

--------be genle with yourself Victor

P.S. GOOD MORNING!


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#39958 - 02/02/03 05:05 AM Re: Emotions without Feeling
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Comfortably numb...absolutly. I had a conversation with my old roommate about this and we used the term "emotional cripples." I was comfortably numb through out my life until I had an emotional break down at 22. At that time my life started to come apart and I couldn't even verbalize what was going on with me. My roommate knew something was up but there was no possible way I could express it. I had numbed myself from my feelings for so long that I was no longer able to understand them. So I did what I had always done and that was to repress them. It worked for a little while but it only led to another break down. So now I'm forced to deal with my feelings, which has been the best thing for me. So you're right, being comfortably numb isn't so damn fun after all. It's a different world to understand what you're feeling, at least somewhat, and to not let others do the feeling for you. Thanks for bringing this up, Vic.
Mike

_________________________
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Mental health is a commitment to reality at all times."
--M. Scott Peck

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#39959 - 02/02/03 11:12 AM Re: Emotions without Feeling
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
RJD, bro, I so agree & resonate with what you're shring here! Some particular thots:

Quote:
Victor,
Don't quote me on this but I beleve the term is hysteria in Freudian psychology...
Haven't researched it yet, but it seems I remember something about that myself.

Quote:
I think my mother was "emotional" too, and I know she was impacted by incest in her family. I learned from her how to be "emotional."
Yeah, that's where I learned it. Hysterical!...

Quote:
Truer feelings are burried deep and are sometimes inaccessable to me. Sometimes I even can say that I feel like I could cry but I don't know why. I might even say that with a smile on my face.
Ditto. Now I know why sometimes when I've talked to people about something really serious I would keep smiling, and sometimes hardly be able to contain laughter.

Quote:
I've also been called too sensitive, as if it was something bad. What I have learned is that I'm so on target that it makes them squirm when I shed light on their behavior towards me... I love being too sensitive, it is a skill I constantly try to hone.
Yeah, I know what you mean. Sometimes I think I'm being paranoid, and maybe occasionally I am. But usually it's good intuition & discernment based on a lot of painful time in the school of hard knocks. So I'm going to keep trying to hone this skill too--but no longer so much for spite, as just a good common sense practice in safety & setting boundaries. It's listening to "The Voice" (see Music forum).

Quote:
I'm curious, what triggered this awareness,or how did this awareness unfold for you? I don't remember how it happened for me.
You know, I can't really pinpoint just how it's happened for me, either. Just that's it's unfolded since my recovery began about 18 months ago, but has really come more into my awareness just in the last week or so.

I've been struggling with my problems with intimacy and expressing myself openly. Wondering why I didn't feel like I was doing this, since I'm being so emotional. It just really hit me, yeah you're emotional, but are you feeling? What an epiphany!


Quote:
I'll see what this looks like in the morning. I hope I made some sense.

--------be genle with yourself Victor

P.S. GOOD MORNING!
Thanks, bro, and thanks for writing. Sure makes sense to me! Glad you & your wife had some fun time dancing salsa.



Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#39960 - 02/02/03 11:24 AM Re: Emotions without Feeling
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Quote:
Comfortably numb...absolutly. I had a conversation with my old roommate about this and we used the term "emotional cripples."
Good phrase for it!

Quote:
I was comfortably numb through out my life until I had an emotional break down at 22.
Yeah I've had that too, as recently as last March, in fact. I guess the emotional crutches of others' feelings can only hold us "emotional cripples" up for so long huh?

Quote:
At that time my life started to come apart and I couldn't even verbalize what was going on with me. My roommate knew something was up but there was no possible way I could express it. I had numbed myself from my feelings for so long that I was no longer able to understand them. So I did what I had always done and that was to repress them. It worked for a little while but it only led to another break down.
Mike, I so empathize with all of this too. The vicious cycle of emotional collapse, not knowing what's going on or how to say it, stuffing it, numbing even more, collapsing again. Kinda hard to walk, even with crutches, when you're numb!

Quote:
So now I'm forced to deal with my feelings, which has been the best thing for me. So you're right, being comfortably numb isn't so damn fun after all. It's a different world to understand what you're feeling, at least somewhat, and to not let others do the feeling for you.
Yeah, free to be me! Very liberating, isn't it? I can't wait until I can real work this damned numbness off! I'm tired of falling on my emotional arse!

Quote:
Thanks for bringing this up, Vic.
Mike
Thanks for your response, insight & experience, Mike. BTW check out "Comfortably Numb" lyrics by Pink Floyd in Music forum.




Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#39961 - 02/02/03 02:53 PM Re: Emotions without Feeling
Muldoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN
Thanks guys your have help me understand my mom a little more. She grew up in a church home for girls and I think she went through hell. Now I can understand a little bit about her wild moods. Think I got some reading to do. Muldoon

_________________________
Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

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#39962 - 02/02/03 04:03 PM Re: Emotions without Feeling
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Quote:
I've been expressing the emotions that were so forcefully expressed to me thru a childhood of emotional incest. The emotions that have become trained reactions & responses to those emotions, or emotions I perceive to be like those. The emotions I think I ought to expess becuz that's what I've been taught or told. The emotions I think people want me to express--or sometimes, don't want me to express.
Oh boy does this ring true, I spent so long, and still do to a certain extent, feeling as though I had to project the image of a 'normal guy' whatrever the hell that is ?
But I wouldn't cry at soppy movies, not even funerals. My best friend Mick's funeral saw me standing away from the other mourners and holding every emotion I felt inside.
That was about 6 or 7 years ago, and I visited his grave recently and cried like I wanted to back then.
It's a crock of shit - the whole thing anout men not showing emotions. And we're the products of the media who still portray strong, stoic men, and our parents who were raised in different times to us when it was completely unacceptable to be emotional.
"Real men dont cry" it's bullshit !

And I think RJD is right, Freud was the guy who made all the breakthroughs in this field, but that wasn't that long ago and we have a bit of catching up to do.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#39963 - 02/02/03 04:40 PM Re: Emotions without Feeling
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Dave:

Sometimes I cry at the end of movies with a happy ending, becuz I'm just so happy & relieved to see a good ending, even in film. Sad endings piss me off; I've seen too damn many of those in real life!

Well, if "real men" don't cry, then I guess I'll never be one. Too bad!--NOT!

Well, I guess we do have something to thank ol Sigmund Freud for after all huh?

BTW, everybody, how does Freud answer the question, "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

Answer:
"The fact that you are at all concerned that the chicken crossed the road reveals your underlying sexual insecurity."

OK.......

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#39964 - 02/03/03 11:25 AM Re: Emotions without Feeling
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
There's an iconic twist with this whole subject for me. That same roommate of mine was one of the most charasmatice people I have ever known. She, yes she, is very intouch with herself and she expresses it very well. Heck, her personality is so strong that I think she could even start a religion if she ever got a wild hair up her arse. But I became friends with for just that same reason. I think I was trying to strike a balance in my life by associating myself with someone like her. I would let her do my feeling for me. After I started down this road to recovery I'm completely repelled by her. I can't stand letting someone else determine my emotional stability. So I'm sure this is true for everyone. We all lose friends and gain others along the way.
mike

_________________________
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Mental health is a commitment to reality at all times."
--M. Scott Peck

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#39965 - 02/10/03 11:17 PM Re: Emotions without Feeling
ecb Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 205
I know I've already said this, but I too have a lot of difficulites dealing with my emotions. At times they are so deeply buried that I feel like a robot. The few times when I do express any kind of real, legitimate emotion (as opposed to just pretending too, as was mentioned earlier in this thread) I was compleatly out of control. In High School I once compleatly flipped out at this girl for cutting in front of me in line. If she had been a guy I think I would have beaten the crap out of her.

Other than insame rage the only real emotion that has ever come out of me was when I first disclosed my abuse to a person I cared about. And then I was just a mess. And even then I tried so hard not to show any kind of emotion, it just kind of burst out of me.

Unfortunately, I'm still like this. I just don't show my feelings to people. For me I don't know if it is because I am trying to pretend I am a "normal guy" or if I am just afraid of anyone getting to know me for real. See once they know me, they know my weaknesses, and they can use them against me. That's not an exact di>

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