10 May 2015

Fear of Crappy Emotions

**My writing on this blog is so sporadic.  But I'm so grateful for my little space here, and for the little community of women who share it with me.  Thanks.
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June B left a comment on my last blog post that called me out a bit.  She didn't mean to, I'm sure her question was genuine.  But she struck at something that surfaces in my therapy a lot.  And that is my undying devotion to the avoidance of what June referred to as "crappy emotions."

I do a lot of things to avoid uncomfortable circumstances which can result in uncomfortable feelings. Sometimes I refrain from sharing my thoughts with Pete, because I am worried he will get defensive or I won't be heard.  Sometimes I hide parts of my identity, things about who I am, because I fear disapproval.  There are so many social experiences I miss out on for fear of rejection.  Even just making a phone call to get a babysitter sometimes isn't worth the risk I take that the babysitter will turn me down.

A few weeks ago we were traveling as a family and Pete and I had a conversation where I shared some of my feelings and it didn't go well.  I didn't get the empathy and understanding I was looking for, which resulted in some resentments and frustration on my part.  I decided that it just wasn't worth it to share my feelings.  What was the point?  It would be better to just keep them inside rather than take the chance that they wouldn't elicit the response I wanted.

I was discussing this with my therapist and he said to me

"Just because it didn't go well, doesn't mean you did it wrong.

Things are gonna go badly sometimes.  Conversations are going to result in hurt feelings and disappointment sometimes.  But why not give it a chance? Give Pete the chance to hear you and understand you.  I believe in you, and I believe that when it doesn't go well, you are capable of coping and feeling and getting through the disappointment."

What are crappy emotions that they must be avoided anyway? They are just guests at the party. Part of life's experiences. And not only that, but sadness consistently brings me closer to compassion, and out of pain grows empathy.

June asked, Will I ever get to a point of long-term consistent contentment and happiness?

Here's what I think. I think the course of my life is going to include crappy emotions.  But it is going to include happiness as well.  With the help of God and wise friends (and a good therapist!) I can navigate my way through it all.  Fearing and avoiding crappy emotions is not only an impossible task, but a confining one.  It's a classic risk-reward paradigm.  If I'm never willing to share my feelings, exhibit my true self, and participate socially - I'll never have the reward of a vulnerable conversation with my husband, feel loved for who I really am, and enjoy creating and nurturing meaningful relationships.

June I hope for both of us that our periods of happiness will be lengthy, and that we can learn how to lay a foundation of peace that will sustain us through the crappy emotions we will inevitably face.

8 comments:

  1. I like this. I needed it. Thanks :)

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  2. Happiness to me gas taken on a new meaning during the last 6 months. Happiness to me is a deep peace and knowing who I am, amidst the storm. It's the ability to step outside of myself for a moment and look in, remember who i am, identify what I am feeling, and then step back into myself with the eternal perspective of who I am. I wrote a blog post about how Ive learnes to do this, I will link it in a moment.

    I also have learned that allowing myself to feel and honor myself in whatever I am feeling, and facing the crappy emotions, has been one of the biggest keys to self worth. I had learned so much about empathy in this recovery journey and wished so muxh to get it from my husband and then one day I realized that my savior ALWAYS comes to me with empathy and that I can come to MYSELF with empathy. So instead of feeling mad and then rwlking myself "you aren't supposed to feel mad right now," or "get over it," or whatever, I put my hand on my heart and love myself through it.

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  3. http://chainsoflight.blogspot.com/2015/01/negative-emotions-freedom.html?m=1

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    1. I can so relate with this entire BlogSpot. Thank you for creating it and sharing so much. My problem is eating to numb those crappy emotions. I also am a grateful member of AlAnon. I am learning to remember to pray the Serenity Prayer and apply self care when those emotions step in. It took me a while to enjoy the moments of happiness for fear of losing the happy moment too soon. Now when the happy moments come I can appreciate them and let myself enjoy the moment. I think of it as my favorite season. Seasons change and I have no alternative but to accept the weather change. The same goes for my emotions. Happy and Spring are my favorite. I now will try to remember to place my hand on my heart and love myself through the "bad weather" instead of munching away. (((Hugs)))

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  4. http://chainsoflight.blogspot.com/2015/01/negative-emotions-freedom.html?m=1

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  5. Thank you for that. I felt very validated after reading that. And going through the exact same fears around sharing my feelings and being vulnerable with my husband only to get nothing or a disconnect. It's so hard and I feel it's safer to retreat sometimes. Also, is it wrong that I am resentful that I feel happiness at this time in my life includes a therapist and a women's support group? :) Not how I pictured life....BUT, at the same time I'm grateful for these women (you included) and the things I'm learning. Just hoping I can get through my own host of crappy emotions and have the clarity to see them as the gifts they really are. Thank you for being so vulnerable on this blog. -- June B

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  6. Thank you for your honesty, Jane. You are a beautiful and brave woman.

    http://tinyurl.com/p9mjtru

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  7. HI Jane, I am a husband and a recovering porn addict. I also work as a CSAT (Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist). I hear you. Men are afraid of crappy emotions as well which is why so many men I work with convince themselves not to disclose the truth of their addiction to their wife. People generally don't get better unless they are willing to tell the truth. I wrote an article about this subject that is listed on the covenant eyes website entitled, "yes you have to tell your wife". I love what your therapist said, just because something did go well doesn't mean you didn't do the right thing. Rignt on. Great blog. - Mark Makinney

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