Feeling – Do you have trouble identifying your feelings?

 

Word Cloud of Feelings

“I don’t know why I am feeling the way I do.”

This statement was in many a journal entry. This had been almost a mantra of mine I said it so often.

Learning about my inability to express my feelings in therapy one day I talked about how I never knew what I was feeling. Nor was I able to express them. My therapist pointed out that it was no surprise. I had suppressed my feelings as a child and continued to do so as an adult. My father told me not to tell and not to feel. Expressing feelings made me vulnerable. I felt good knowing there was a reason why I had stifled my feelings. I hated to cry, but learned that I had to feel my feelings before I could begin to express them.

I used to attend a mood disorder group and someone said something interesting. “Your home reflects how you feel.” I have always changed things in my home. Moving things around trying to get organized yet I never seem to achieve it. That sounded like me and my feelings.

My emotional needs were never met and to some degree still are not, because I have always had a difficult time asking for them. I have never express those needs and always wait until someone frustrated me, then I blew up at them. My emotional needs are be loved, appreciated, supported, protected and listened too.

I needed to see a list of words to help me find what emotions I was feeling. Here is the list that I came up with.

abandoned
absent-minded
abused
affected
afraid
aimless
angry
annoyed
anxious
argumentative
avoided
bleak
battle-worn
beaten
betrayed
bewildered
bitchy
blah
bored
clueless
condescended to
confused
controlled
cursed
damaged
depressed
disbelieved
different
difficult
directionless
disappointed
disappointing
discontent
discounted
discouraged
disorganized
disregarded
dissatisfied
distressed
distrustful
down
drained
dumb
emotional
estranged
fatigued
fearful
flawed
forgotten
friendless
frustrated
heartsick
homesick
hopeless
hung up
hurt
indecisive
independent
insecure
impatient
inadequate
jumpy
let down
left out
lonesome
lost
loveless
low
misunderstood
mixed-up
needy
nervous
open-minded
pain
perfectionism
pissed off
powerless
pessimistic
quiet
resentful
resourceful
responsible
run down
reactive
reflective
repressed
restless
robbed
romantic
sad
scared
screwed up
second-guessed
sorry
spiteful
stressed
stubborn
stupid
suspicious
tension
trembling
unacknowledged
unfulfilled
unimportant
unnoticed
uncertain
unloved
unwanted
unvalued
unsupported
victimized
vulnerable
worried

Seeing this now, no wonder I didn’t want to feel!

Fear

I have always carried around a lot of tension. I thought it was from facing my feelings.I was afraid to. It was exhausting.

While exploring my feelings of fear I had determined that I was not sure when I was having them. I believed that fear had a lot to do with my anxiety. I didn’t tell people when they upset me; because I was afraid it would cause tension, and I have always been afraid of conflict. I did remember fearing my dad. I must have been afraid to keep the secret, afraid to tell the secret, afraid my family would leave me alone if anyone found out. I was afraid I would be alone when my father abandoned me. I was afraid of being a mom, afraid of doing the wrong thing, afraid of someone hurting me and afraid of what MIGHT happen. I was afraid of my abusive boyfriend.

Shame

Shame was another feeling I suppressed. I didn’t know I felt it until it we discussed it in therapy.

While taking to a friend my emotions stirred . She told me I was compassionate and warm and it brought tears to my eyes. Stuff like that always did. I had thought that I didn’t believe it but then decided that I was not hearing that sort of thing often enough. I was not getting enough of the love and appreciation of others. I felt so unloved.

Core Feelings

I had to break down that long list of feeling into my core feelings. It took me a long time to finally arrive at the following:

Inadequate – I often felt inadequate when I had to admit that I didn’t know things such as geography or my poor spelling. I needed and still need to have people tell me I am doing a good job.

Where it came from – My dad not recognizing my efforts in school.

What could I do – remind myself; that I am smart and that I know lots of things, that finishing school is not the only way to gain an education. Tell myself that I am doing a good job.

Powerless – I felt like I had to do what others told me to do. I have never liked that feeling. I wanted to make my own decisions. I was afraid of the potential reaction if I expressed my wants.

Where it came from – When my father told me to do something I obeyed. I did it whether you liked it or not. He instilled fear.

What could I do – Practice assertiveness. Find my voice and ask or state my wants and needs.

Alone – I felt no one was there for me. No one cared enough. No one else would do it so I had to do it. I couldn’t count on others to help me when I needed it. My family didn’t care and I needed them to.

Where it came from – I endured my abuse alone. I had to raise a child without any support. My life experience was, me doing it alone.

What could I do – Remember that I am not alone. I had a husband and kids who cared and were here for me. If I felt unsupported, I should have told them how I felt.

Doing this exercise helped me understand my feelings.

How about you? Do you have a difficult time facing your feelings?

Here are some links to articles on feelings that I think are helpful.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrea-wachter/managing-emotions_b_2717206.html

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-deal-with-uncomfortable-feelings/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-sociability/201201/feeling-your-feelings-0

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Author: MoonGirl

Me.

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