I have a feeling hangover!
Two years ago, when I started with my therapist, she said (and I repeatedly read) “you have to feel your feelings to get past them. You have to walk through them and FEEL them”.
I said WTF does that mean? I feel my feelings. I get sad, I cry, I get mad, I’m a walking ball of anxiety…..I feel my feelings. As we talked I’d start feeling sad and a few tears would come out, then I’d put on my big girl panties and cut that shit out! Moments of anger came out, but I quickly surrendered to sanity; I deserved what ever I was angry about.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that what I have referred to as feelings were less than authentic. This left me with a dilemna: How the hell was I supposed to uncover what I’ve been denying all of these years?
For most of my life I’ve been filtering my feelings through my intellect. I’ve let my feelings sit in my shoulders and neck, and occasionally make a short visit to my head, but never did I allow them to penetrate my soul; to fill that pit in my belly. Occasionally they snuck past my filters and took over my senses, but my filters were always stronger and pushed back, keeping them in line, where they belonged.
Right now though, my belly is pulsating and growing. I can feel my feelings breathing, growing, choking out all sense of reason, and I finally Get It! I am Feeling My Feelings!
It sucks, but it’s awesome. How can that be? In am emergency session with my therapist last night I complained that I feel out of control. I then said “what do I do with these feelings?” (what I really meant was how do I stop this, which I’m sure she knew). In her best Kung Fu voice she said “patience grasshopper. use your tools”.
Okay, she didn’t say it that way, but how cool would that have been?
I’ve been living in a constant state of flashback for the past few months, which I understood on an intellectual level. I was doing all my normal flashback activities: isolating, wallowing, numbing with Netflix and vodka, chiding myself for being a useless child, feeling self-pity because the world didn’t come pluck me out of my misery and Save Me. When I came across Pete Walker’s work I Got It. He probably didn’t say anything different than what I already know, but his words came at the right time, in the right way, and they hit me as true, valuable and workable. I’m constantly trying to figure out What To Do, and he gave me a list! I Love Lists!
I tried to share this information with one of my children, who I have been struggling with; to put it mildly. (Remember – I’ve been in a flashback?) Boy did I get blasted.
As I read his email, in which he chided me for foisting my psycho-babble on him, stating that I was the cause of all his problems and I continued to exacerbate them, and finishing with the statement that if I [you] don’t demonstrate empathy towards his point of view he was done with me, and suddenly I Was Feeling My Feeling! Most obvious is the rage, which bubbles away, a living, breathing, growing life force, flourishing in my soul. There is also grief, for the childhood I didn’t have, for that little girl I was that was afraid and lonely and unprotected, and for the son I’m saying goodbye to. (Actually, I won’t get to say goodbye because he won’t speak to me)
I have to say, Feelings Kind Of Suck! I feel like the Stay Puft marshmallow ghost in GhostBusters. I’m a towering, lumbering, deadly mass of mushy feelings. My filters are gone, my tools of denial out the window, my ability to repress feelings blown apart. It’s like that one sentence “done with me” turned me into the Incredible Hulk of rage. I could actually feel the rage explode in me. If it manifested physically, I would have grown 10 times larger and stronger, and my eyes would have glowed a bright red (I know, his are green. Why is that?)
This, Folks, is Feeling!
I feel completely out of control, like bits of me are flying out all around me, landing on and burning anything that gets in my way. On the flip side, I feel more alive than I think I’ve ever felt! I also feel strong, and I feel boundaries growing all around me. Those elusive boundaries, the word I could ever quite grasp, is now totally clear. Don’t fuck with me, because my Human Doormat Syndrome is GONE. My boundaries are saying:
- Sorry you feel bad, but I DO TOO, and I’m going to take care of my feelings, not yours.
- Do what you have to do, but don’t do it to me, in my house, or in my presence.
- Don’t tell me what I should or shouldn’t feel, lest you experience the totality of my rage.
- Don’t tell me to get over it, unless you want me to stomp on you.
- Don’t tell me I’m wrong, over-reacting, too sensitive, a bitch or any other trigger you might use to talk me down. I tower over you, and you will NOT take me down.
Boundaries & feelings; yin & yang; love and hate; two sides of the same coin. My head is throbbing!
So, I’m using my tools. Are you happy now therapist? I’m writing, meditating, doing my yoga, getting ready for more EMDR, and Accepting My Feelings.
I’m hoping that 54 years of pent up emotion don’t blow me up. She assures me they won’t. I sure hope she’s right.