Sunday, 30 March 2008


I have shut off my feelings for so long that I don’t know how to feel them. I don’t identify how I am feeling, and I often cover them with other feelings. For example, when I feel angry I instantly cover that and turn it onto myself, or change it into a different emotion like sadness or guilt.
I think work on identifying how I am feeling might help. Here’s one exercise:
What are feelings?
The following is a list of feeling words. Say them out loud. Try out different tones of voice for each word, or say it louder or softer. Pay attention to your feelings as you say each word. What sensations does it stir up? How does your body feel? Do some words fit you but not others? Write in any other words that especially describe you. When you are finished, underline the three words that you respond to most strongly.

(from The Courage to Heal)

Excited – no sensations stirred. No body response at all. Doesn’t seem to fit.
Frustrated – tension, jaw clenching, louder voice. Butterflies starting in stomach.
Hurt – pit in stomach. Lump in throat. Voice childlike. Toes twitching.
Tender – images of my girls. Melting in stomach.
Frightened – this is really me. Instant feeling in stomach – churning. Toes twitching again. Breathing shallower and quicker. Heart rate increased.
Jealous – no response.
Sad – slowing down, lethargy.
Contented – Lightening, weight lifting off me. Heart felt lighter.
Loving – tension all over body. Lump in throat. Fear responses too.
Depressed – heaviness. Everything slowed – breathing, heart rate, even typing rate!
Elated – slight raise in heart rate. Feels alien.
Edgy – Linked to anxiety. Heart beating harder and slightly faster. Lightheaded.
Timid – a frightened child./ The Little One. Wanting to be small physically, to hide away in a corner or behind furniture. Overwhelmed, overpowered.
Happy – my family now. Lighter, brighter feelings. Clarity.

The three words I responded to most were frightened, frustrated, loving.

I need to work on identifying how I am feeling. A lot of the time I don’t know how to deal with the feelings I experience. I can’t identify them, I am scared of them and I don’t know what to do with them. I’m struggling to deal with things because I can’t allow myself to feel. That’s one reason for the dissociation. When I dissociate, I don’t feel what I am feeling now. I know I need to allow myself to feel my emotions but I am really scared of doing so.


mandy lifeboats appeal said...

Hi D

Wish I could offer anything of use but my emotions steam roller me.

I think I might be the exact opposite of where you are that I am swamped by emotions that I understand too well, and wish I didn't.

somewhere there is a balance to be found, by both of us, and the only way to get it is to try and to keep on trying (with some relaxation and time out in between).

Problem solving is important..however big or small the probby....but also time to chill and have some positive distraction.

Another thing I am working on.

Perhaps we should hunt out one of those road work signs. A red triangle with a picture of a woman in a hard hat in the middle, digging downwards with all the rubble flying up.

Hope you enjoyed your weekend and have had some mellow time before you return to work. Or do you have another week? Now Em is at uni, I don't know when school holidays are.

Bye for now

MMP said...


"because I can't allow myself to feel"

is that a declaration of intent?
or a description of how you feel?

important difference between the two

for what it's worth.....
i think you will allow yourself to feel those emotions
when it's a safe time
and a safe environment

no hurry

Disillusioned said...

Thanks Mandy. Someone needs to throw us into a melting pot together perhaps. lol.
We still have another week before term starts, thank goodness. Have just started working (slowly) on some school stuff.

"because I can't allow myself to feel"
is that a declaration of intent?
or a description of how you feel?

A bit of both, I think. Can't as in I don't know how to take the brake off and allow those feelings to run, and can't as in won't, too scared of the consequences.
I don't know. I have so many things I was going to do, to get over all this and to move on and I seem to forget them - or just not get round to them. Sometimes I think I am just not trying hard enough. Other times it just seems too hard - there's too much to "get over", to "put right" and to process. Too much unlearning and relearning for me to do. Laziness or inadequacy - not sure which is most dominant. Onward, ever onward I suppose.

MMP said...

you are doin' nuthin wrong!

You're just not as fast as you want to be....!!!

Disillusioned said...

Well that's true, for sure, MMP.
Trouble is, I look at where I was a year ago, before BLPT messed things up so much when my then CPN was away, and I feel in many respects I have gone backwards. And that is SO frustrating.