I Can Haz Feelnz Plz? kthxbai

Feelings.

They are something that every person has.  We have positive and negative feelings.  There are many people that think that “happy” is the only acceptable emotion.  I became adept at “happy” because my Family of Origin (FOO) believed this.  Happy was the only acceptable emotion.  All other emotions must be buried lest you upset someone else.  Negative feelings had the potential to cause strife and in my family, that wasn’t ok.

If someone upset you or made you mad, you could gossip about it to everyone else except that person.  That person must NEVER know that they upset you because that would upset them.  One was expected to be a martyr and hold all those negative feelings inside oneself lest they caused someone else to look at their own behavior and possibly feel not happy.  Because it is one’s job to make sure that everyone around them remains perpetually happy.

I remember many times over the years that my mother would get upset with something one of her siblings had done.  Instead of going to that sibling and saying, “My feelings were very hurt when you said __________,” she would go to another sibling.   She’d tell her sibling what had happened and they’d discuss it at length – how that person was always doing that and how sick they were of it.  They would dissect it until they both felt better.  Then it would be promptly forgotten.  Meanwhile the offending sibling would never know what they’d done.  They would never be given a chance to correct their behavior.  Inevitably, it would happen again because he or she didn’t KNOW that there was ever a problem and the cycle would start again.

I became adept at burying every feeling I had that wasn’t happy.  If I was angry, I buried it (hello Fluffy!).  If I was upset, I buried it.  If I was curious, I buried it (asking questions was always regarded as a personal attack by Bubba).  If I was tired, I buried it (because there was always more work to do and I was the only one who would do it).  I had learned very early in my life that MY feelings were never, ever as important as everyone else’s feelings.  I was the guardian of everyone’s feelings.  It was my job to protect everyone’s feelings at the expense of my own, just like my mother.

By the time I left Bubba, I needed to take a class in Remedial Feelings 101.  I didn’t know how to actually feel my feelings.  They were as foreign to me as taking first steps is to a baby.  For a long time any feeling that I didn’t immediately get buried would cause me puzzlement as I tried to figure out what it was I was feeling.

My feelings were so hard for me to name.

Also, it took awhile before I felt safe enough to allow myself to have feelings.  I was allowed to have feelings?  The world wasn’t going to end if I wasn’t burying everything.  I was not a horrible person if I expressed to someone that they’d hurt me.

Slowly, I started embracing the feelings that I was having.  I’ve since found that I feel my feelings with such intensity that burying them like I did for years was a huge protective measure on my part.  I tend to emote all over the place.  I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m no longer shy about sharing my feelings with others.  It is a part of my personality.  It is how God made me.

I can no more shield how I feel than I could stop the sun from rising in the morning.  Wearing my feelings on my face for all to see is just who I am.

It is who I was always meant to be.

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5 Comments

  1. I’m working on this one so hard. It’s no easy task to undo years of swallowing feelings and feeling responsible for everyone’s feelings. I still swallow a certain amount do to the situation, but I have a semi-freedom and just make do with it for now. I have a friend I can talk to, but it took me a long time to feel comfortable enough to say things without fear of getting an angry response.

  2. It’s hard to learn to feel your feelings after burying them. It’s still something I struggle with them. Although, I must say that I’m very aware of what I’m doing. I’m to the point where I am making a conscious decision to bury feelings. For whatever reason I’m doing it at the time (inconvenient time, not ready to process it, etc…) I do make myself come back to it when I’m ready and deal with the feeling. It isn’t so much burying them anymore as placing them in a temporary holding tank.

Trackbacks

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