When I challenged Kahless in the blog Triggers to come up with questions for me. I knew that she would keep me on my toes and I would have to give her questions some thought.
When the list of questions came from Kahless, they were broken up into segments. Each one probably represented one train of thought but sometimes had more than one question. The next three questions were one of those situations. Standing alone they can be interpreted differently than the way they were presented together.
I have seperated them to make them more manageable to answer. And I also have changed the order but will number the questions with the order in which they were originally asked.
Q: 2 Ie if I shrug my shoulders at some stuff from childhood that others see as awful but I see as just that was that, does that mean I am not in touch with my feelings?
A: As I mentioned in the post about group therapy, it's not uncommon for victims of child abuse to think abuses they have suffered are ordinary and no big deal. While I wouldn't say that of and by itself indicates someone isn't in touch with their feelings, I would say that it indicates unresolved issues.
That may seem like I'm just exchanging one word for another but a victim can have unresolved feelings that are related to issues surrounding their victimization. The two terms go hand in hand but do not necessarily mean the same thing.
The big issue that I see in this question is about perspective. As children growing up in abusive families, our perceptions of the world have been altered by our environment. Those skewed perceptions actually function as coping skills to help us get through with the least amount of trauma.
Imagine what would happen to a child trying to stand up for herself/himself in an abusive family. It wouldn't be pretty. So that child learns early that this is just the way life is. If anything the child takes on the responsibility for the abuse by assuming it is because she/he has caused it by not being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, talented enough etc.
I think the process that brings about this change in perspective goes hand in hand with the child swallowing her/his feelings. The battered child has to convince herself/himself that this change in thought is right at the expense of what "feels" right. That means those instinctual feelings must not be listened to and stuffed away.
I think for a child to heal from abuse, those perceptions must be changed. Once that happens, it will help to open up the dam that holds back those repressed feelings as well.
I've seen lots of people in my time who have told themselves that they don't need to do this. They can put the past behind them and just go on and everything will be fine. I've not seen any of these people do this successfully. They live still caught up in the trap formed by those old rules and regulations. There is no way they can take good care of themselves and function as a co-dependent as well. The two do not mix.
Q:3 What is doing feelings?
A: I think this is relatively simple to answer but not so simple to accomplish. I think this speaks to allowing ourselves to "feel" our feelings whatever they might be. Instead of controlling them with what's in our head, we let them spill out without question. Accepting them as our own.
I believe this means allowing whatever "script" that needs to come out with these feelings needs to come as well. Only by allowing myself the feelings with their script did I get to the bottom of things and find out what the issue really was.
Q:1 How do you know that you have processed feelings?
A: For me, I know when I have no more "energy" about an issue. I can just talk about it without encountering any emotional connection. It still feels like it belongs to me but it doesn't really affect me anymore.
When I'm mad at my husband, I spew all kinds of stuff. If we talk about it and he takes responsibility for his part, I find that my feelings change and the anger goes away.
I think the unasked question here, is "Can I go on believing these things from my past just are what they are and leave it at that?"
My answer to that would be only if you are content to live life the way you are right now. To me that means still caught in the web that is child abuse.
That web so affects our lives I can't even begin to explain all of the ways. But suffice it to say, when we can get knocked off kilter just by the way someone enters a room, or clears their throat, or walks down a hall, or by their sex, authority, the list goes on into oblivion, we are caught in that trap. The only way out of that other than stupefying drugs* is dealing with this issues.
*when I say stupefying drugs, I mean the kind they use in mental institutions to knock someone so out of it, they just don't care about anything anymore. This was not a statement I made lightly.
multiple personality disorder MPD dissociative Identity disorder did stuffed feelings