May 19, 2006
Opening To Feel
Ways We Numb Ourselves
We are born equipped to experience a complex array of diverse emotions. Many of us, however, are uncomfortable confronting our most powerful emotions. We may shy away from delight and despair and deny life's colors by retreating into a world of monotone grey. We may numb ourselves to what we are truly feeling. It's easier to suppress our emotions than to deal with them, so we may momentarily turn to pleasures such as alcohol, food, sugar, shopping and too much television. We may even numb our hearts. While it's normal to temporarily seek distractions as a means of coping with intense emotions, numbing yourself prevents you from confronting your issues and keeps you from ever finding resolution or peace. When you are numb, there is no pain or powerlessness, but there can also be no joy or healing.
The activities that numb you may seem harmless or pleasurable, but using them to numb yourself diminishes the quality of your life. Numbing yourself so that you don't have to feel intense emotions can often satisfy a surface need while blocking your awareness of a deeper need. You may find solace in food or shopping when what you really need is spiritual nourishment. The less you feel, the less alive you feel. Your feelings add vividness to your experiences and serve to connect you to the world around you. It is possible to disavow yourself of numbing behaviors a little at a time and once again taste life's rich flavors. When you sense that you are engaging in a particular behavior simply to deaden your emotions, stop and ask yourself why. Examining the feelings that drive you to numb yourself can help you understand what is triggering your desire to emotionally fade out.
With each numbing activity that you cut out of your life, you'll find yourself being more aware and experiencing a greater emotionally acuity. Senses once shrouded by the fog of numbness become sharp and acute. Traumas and pain long hidden will emerge to the forefront of your consciousness and reveal themselves so that you can heal them. You'll discover a deeper you-a self that is comfortable experiencing and working through intense emotions with courage and grace.
Just like to say to Treecutter, that was spectacular! Put into words what many of us have experienced in one way or another.
From someone trying to change, as an adult and a parent, Take it Easy and Ride Safe!
part two : Right next to that little girl part was the little boy part. He hated to see that girl part hurt and sad all of the time, and he was angry at the Parents. So he spoke up, and said to them: "NO, you are mean, don't talk to us that way! Love us!"
Well, you can imagine what they said and did to that little boy part. That's right, they got really mad at him. And they made him be quiet -- and they knew perfectly well how to make him be quiet. They told him that nobody would love them unless both the little girl and the little boy acted the way the Parents told them to, because they knew the way the World expected them to act.
And so, the little boy part turned to the little girl part inside, and said to her: "You have to be quiet! Don't cry and don't be hurt and don't show your fear and don't tell the truth -- because you and your feelings are bad and the Parents know it and if you don't do all that stuff maybe they will love us and not reject us and not hurt our feelings so much. I'm not big enough or strong enough to protect us from them, so we have to be quiet and do it their way."
As you might expect, the little girl part became silent, and she and the little boy part of our child of Love learned to look outside of themselves to see what was expected of them, what was allowed of them, and who they should be in order to be loved and accepted. They were very afraid of being rejected and not loved, because they were very little.
And so, the child of Love died, and the child of Fear was born. And the little boy part became the voice of the Parents and the World, inside, making the child of Love wrong for being who she was. AND THUS WAS BORN THE INNER JUDGE.
And to this day, even now that the special child is all grown up, inside the little boy Judge is still telling the little girl part to be quiet, to not express her feelings or her truth, and to do everything the way THEY say she should. And to make sure that she remembers, he reminds her constantly that she is not OK the way she is... she has to do it better, be more, be stronger and less emotional, and mostly be like Them, in order to have the love and acceptance she and he need to survive in the world.
It is a sad, true story.
Now in a perfect fairy tale, the World would tell that precious child of Love: "Welcome to the world. We are so glad you are here. We know you are perfect just the way you are, and we are here to protect you and nurture you and help you discover who you came here to be." And in the perfect fairy tale, our child of Love would learn how it feels inside to be nurtured and accepted and loved without condition. And when it is time to be grown up, the little girl and the little boy inside would grow up too, into the healthy feminine and masculine parts of the healthy Adult of Love.
And the Adult of Love would go into the world whole and complete and natural, from the inside out. And that is good. That would be a good fairy tale.
As you know, everybody has their own fairy tale. Many of us live as the child of Fear, with an Inner Judge following us around telling us that we are not good enough the way we are and that we have to change a lot to be worthy of love. And some of us live as the Adult of Love, with gentle self acceptance and self love. Whatever fairy tale you are living, it is yours to change if you want to, now that you are grown up. My wish for you is that you are creating for yourself a story of love, perfection and acceptance. Because you, too, are a special child of Love, and you deserve it. And so does the little girl and the little boy inside of you.
rac1257 write: Trust is the biggest obstacle we have to overcome. After enough emotional B.S. happens to us, we learn not to trust. First we don't trust others we wonder "If I let them in will I be hurt again?" Then we start not trusting ourselves. Thats when the numbness engulfs us. It can be easier to feel nothing than risk feeling the pain of another lost relationship. If we don't feel, then life becomes nothing but a long painful death.
ahhh trust.. and masking emotions,, this is quoted from a friend of mine that teaches and gives therapy....
Once upon a time, in a time not so long ago and in a place not so far away, there was born a little child. This little child was very special, born into complete innocence and purity. This child was a child of God, born as Love-- being only Love, like a gentle heart turned inside out. Open. Vulnerable. Pure love.
The new parents and everybody liked this child well enough at first -- it was cute and not too much trouble. As time went by, however, this child began to express itself in the world, and conflicts began to develop. Often the Parents got angry at the child for crying, or told it not to use that angry tone of voice with them. They laughed at its fear, and told it not to make so much noise, and so on. The child began to be afraid of the Parents, and the World-- and most of all, the precious child of Love began to be afraid of its own feelings and sense of reality.
Now totally unbeknownst to the child of Love and to the World, deep inside this little child there were a actually two little children-- a little girl part and a little boy part. The little girl part felt the feelings, needs, and sensitivities inside this special child. The little girl is the part that felt so hurt when she was shamed or yelled at or made wrong for being herself.
Right next to that little girl part was the little boy part. He hated to see that girl part hurt and sad all of the time, and he was
Trust is the biggest obstacle we have to overcome. After enough emotional B.S. happens to us, we learn not to trust. First we don't trust others we wonder "If I let them in will I be hurt again?" Then we start not trusting ourselves. Thats when the numbness engulfs us. It can be easier to feel nothing than risk feeling the pain of another lost relationship.
If we don't feel, then life becomes nothing but a long painful death.
Your dialoque regarding the dumbness of numbness was eloquent, apt and intensely personal....thank you for sharing it with whomever chose to read it. I am impressed by your insight and the great courage you have obviously displayed by doing what you say and saying what you do. you rock!
Not so much unlike the status quo I have taken the road too well travelled and with blinders on and senses only barely alert have had mundane journeys. However, more often than not I have allowed my entire array of senses to be alert and aware of all around me, felt the pain and joy of great love and contentment and fear in moderation but with equal intensity. If you are unable to feel and express those feelings particularly to those whom evoke them, there is always God whom listens intently, patiently and with great empathy.....Live life fully...
Kin, you say you didn't feel depressed. Cruel thing is that that is the nature of the disease. It's an invisible disability, and the sufferer is quite often the last to know, as I've found through some very painful experience! If it had been recognised and treated a few years earlier, I might not be, now, looking around for little pieces of a life to pick up! I am truly glad to hear you are doing so well and have found what we all strive for, happiness. I hope one day to be in that place too! Another plus is your kids will learn SO much just by having a happy mam. They can now realise they have the right to be happy! Wish you well, Take it Easy!
Kin thanks for sharing your experience hopefully someone other than me will read it and find some help in your words. I can't say that I've been numb to my feelings I've been thru quite a bit this year and it's only halfway over and I still go thru life. I struggle at times but find comfort in my friends friends like Kin, Kitty, Don DD, Smiles, Sexybaby, JJ girl and Ms. Peach. Iread your posts and they make me laugh or your send me an e-mail or call me and leave a message and it's funny but they all seem to come right when they are needed the most.
Thank you all for what you've done and Thank yo Kin for posting this it means the world to have someone share what they have gone thru it helps us know thay we are not alone in our suffering.
Hmm.. I spent 7 years numb.
To everything except my kid's. I know the day I became numb and the day I began to feel again. It took a year of prozac and 18 months of a great therapist but I got all better! I wasn't really sick I just didnt allow myself to feel.
I was 25 , I had a 2 year old and a 3 year old and I was 9 months pregnant with my third child. I had jsut found out about a week before that my ex was cheating on me.
We were at the doctor for my ex husband. The doctor came in and basically said your husbands going to die unless he gets a kidney transplant.
Tears welled up and I sat there silent. I couldn't even speak. I didn't cry 1 tear again until I was 32.
I filled my life with the kids and I worked about 30 hours a week. I was a class mom for 5 classes (3 of my own kids), I was the Vice President of the PTA...the ice cream lady and a Sunday school teacher. I enrolled all 3 of my kids in soccer which put us on the field 11 times a week for practice and games, and I was a girl scout leader, and of course I took care of my sick husband.
Looking back I have no idea how I held it all together. But I did..and I did it well. I kept myself so busy and exhausted I didn't have time to feel or think.
The day I realized what I had done to myself.. I was driving, my 3 kids were in the car with me , then 7 9 and 10. A feeling of wanting to die came over me..and as I stared at telephone poles as they passed I looked at my kids and knew I couldn't take them with me as much as I knew they couldn't survive without me.
I had read in the paper that day that there was a screening for depression until 9pm at the local hospital. Though I really didn't feel depressed I felt like I was gonna lose it. It was 8:30..the hospital was 10 minutes away. I took the exit and headed there.
I walked in with my 3 soccer dressed kids in tow and asked the lady at the desk where the screening was. I went there , a woman was at the desk and looked at me puzzled. On the outside me n my kids looked fine and healthy and happy. I looked at her and said,
" Please help me"
She immediately got up and asked the kids to follow her , she sat them at a table with juice and cookies. Then she took me to a room where I met with another woman who evaluated me then recommended a therapist. I went..reluctantly. In my mind I couldn't imagine telling a stranger my issues. I didn't want meds, but I gotta tell ya... I walked into that first session..sat down across from this beautiful black woman ( the therapist) and she asked me a question and I just cried.. tears..poured.. thats when I began to feel again. I was safe there. From anything. It was there I found me again.
I lost a lot of years to being unhappy because I was afraid to end a marriage, to talk, to let anyone believe MY life was anything but perfect. ...makes me laugh a lil now. I'm so different. Now I'm me, not someone everyone expects me to be. Nah I dont have the house or the inground pool or the new cars or vacations in Europe anymore...
OMG I have been grandstanded. I could never have said it better than how you just did. Props to You... I love being alive today, the ups and downs of living are just parts of it. The downs seem to always spotlight the ups. chkn
Wow...and you have a way w/the words..I'm honored..
I LOVE livin' too...
I would rather have those joyful feelings even for a short period of time rather than deny them and not experience them at all. The pain would not be too big a price to pay.
OMG I have been grandstanded. I could never have said it better than how you just did. Props to You...
I love being alive today, the ups and downs of living are just parts of it. The downs seem to always spotlight the ups.