THE Relationship Blog
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So, what do we say about feelings? This week we are tackling a subject that is huge! Not only is it huge, the science of it is humungous. Not only is the science humungous, there’s controversy! Who would have thought that feelings would elicit such….feelings?
We have a magnet on our fridge with a bunch of stick men faces showing the different emotions. The magnet asks, ‘How do you feel?’ Easy enough question, isn’t it? The feelings listed are happy, sad, tired, curious, dead, artistic, flirty and a bunch of other ones. A grand total of 32 faces are provided to pinpoint how you feel at that moment. You see, this is the cool thing about feelings. Feelings are in the present regarding experiences in the past. Ouch, let’s try that a little slower and we’ll break it down so everybody can pick up the nuances of what is being said.
When you are asked how you feel, the question is directed to the ‘now’. Your response, which usually is a non-response because you are so removed from your feelings or dare not share them for fear of reprisal, should be based on the physical manifestations elicited from what you are currently living and how it relates to past experiences. The triggered feeling is in the now even though the original experience is in the past. How about we get to that tomorrow and focus on that passive aggressive jab earlier in the paragraph. You know, the part where you are being accused of not feeling and repressing?
For whatever reason, we have been told that feelings are bad. Don’t cry! Don’t show anger! Keep a stiff upper lip. These are things that are taught to children actively and passively. We don’t care how touchy feely things get, kids aren’t allowed to feel. For example, if a child cries, an adult, perhaps a teacher, will try to console them. The words they say are not said to kill your child’s emotional well being but are delivered for two purposes; first, the teacher is uncomfortable with the child emoting and wants them to stop and secondly, the teacher does not realize that something as innocuous as ‘don’t cry’ said in a loving way still is the message the child will here. Kids are repressed in every direction. If they have an outburst, they are sent to the office. If they say how they feel and it is construed as violent, they may even be suspended.
We are a product of our childhood and let’s be honest, we weren’t that emotionally healthy growing up. We were raised with girls falling on their beds and burying their faces in a pillow to cry. We were encouraged to cry in private then eat a gallon of ice cream; ah yes, the antidote to sadness! Even today, adults are weary of those who express themselves. Adults look down upon those who seek help with their emotions. We question the efficacy of therapy and treatment because people are asked to talk about feelings. Yuck! By gosh in the old days you took someone out for a drink and slapped them on the back!
We are a bundle of issues and traumas and repressions and displacements and dissociations and reaction formations and more. We are a multitude of defense mechanisms all set to destroy anyone who gets close to our true feelings. What do you think would happen if anyone actually saw the real you? Would we melt like the guy in the Indiana Jones movie?