Managing emotions

My most important desire, my most pressing need, is to manage my own feelings. It is to avoid feeling, or suppress feeling, fear and anger. I did not know what my feelings were, and when I got in touch with them around 2000, I found they were rage and terror.

I wanted to join a practice in the country, after my Dip.LP, seeking to hide away, wanting a dark, cool, harbour. I little thought it was a riotous prison that I sought, and ended up in, and indeed the partner I worked for did end up in prison for pinching £700,000 from the clients. Since then, I have probably worked below my natural capacity, though anyone looking at my CV to date would hesitate to employ me for a more onerous job. I have done the work I have done because I have been desperate to feel that I am doing something useful (and so justify my existence) and have sought to avoid anger and fear. Feeling those feelings has been too threatening to me.

This is a survival mechanism which I developed in early childhood, a self-protection mechanism which indeed protected me at that time, but is counter-productive now. Then, expressing fear or anger was a threat to my existence, it deeply upset my mother.

I do not really blame my mother. I remember weeping uncontrollably aged about nine, with my mother looking on in perplexity. She really did not get it, because she was a product of her time, starting nursing training during world war two: among the nursing techniques she learned were bleeding and cupping. She inherited her need to control from her parents, just as I have inherited it from her. Deuteronomy 5:9:

I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.

It helps to realise that this is descriptive, not prescriptive: not a condemning God, but just the way things are.

So my task, now, prescribed by Claudia Black, is to bring my loss to consciousness, feel the anger and grief and pain, and move through them. As she says in “Changing Course”, I have not gone through the healthy healing process of DABDA¬†and so must bring the feelings to mind before mourning and letting go. I mourn my loss. As a baby I was entitled to¬†proper care, including having¬†my feelings heard and validated, and not having that has deeply hurt me.

I am so excited about this. It feels like the right move at the right time, and I am encouraged by Monday’s Wisbit¬†popping into my inbox:

There been times when I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

And it frightens me. And it hurts.

Fear

I connected with my shame, and found that a creative and healing experience, so I thought I should connect with my fear. I permitted myself to feel it, and I felt it, and I felt terrified of everything. Suppression is not working.

I fear being hurt, again. I can’t bear it. I have suppressed feeling hurt.
Denying my own value, I have felt I do not deserve to avoid hurt.
I am worthy of avoiding hurt.
I have the intelligence to avoid hurt.

I have projected my condemnation of myself onto other people.
They do not condemn me, generally.
If I can accept myself, then I can perceive acceptance by others.
If I can accept myself, then rejection by others will not hurt me.

I am finding “It is never too late to have a happy childhood”, with uplifting sentences by Claudia¬†Black paired with colourful abstract paintings by Laurie Zagon, useful. For example,

You are special.
You may never have had the opportunity to believe in your specialness.
You may believe in it today.

I tell myself, Stop this endless whining and moaning. I can’t bear it.
(I project that demand on others, too.)
Then I listen to my own whining, and accept it, a little.
Then I heal, a little.

Oh, that’s it! I wrote this a few days ago, as usual, and thought, um. Avoiding hurt. Not enough. So-

if I am worthy of avoiding hurt
then I am worthy to achieve goals.
If I have the abilities and qualities to avoid hurt
then I have the abilities and qualities to achieve goals

and my fear is strong.