Monday, March 28, 2011

Expressing Emotion

Sorry it's been so long since I posted. Life has been sort of busy but that's not really it. I just haven't been feeling like putting my thoughts into words lately. And, my deepest inspirations come in the middle of the night when I'm supposed to be sleeping, so usually I avoid writing them and try to sleep. Tonight, I must write.

I've been thinking about how hard it is for me to put words to my emotions; my innermost, deepest thoughts. Why is that? I mean, I'm a counselor. I make a living listening to others deepest thoughts. I sit with them while they cry, plead, become angry, despondent, and generally work their way thought all sorts of feelings. Why is it so hard for me? Whenever I go to talk to someone about my deepest, most heartfelt thoughts, I end up crying; unable to speak. I have so many things on my mind and heart to say to people and can't. Not even to my dearest husband. Especially not to him.

I used to think that I felt things more deeply and profoundly than others. I'm not sure if I do or don't. Probably don't. But, I haven't ever mastered the art of hiding my emotions. They kind of bubble over usually. That is why I can be in a supervision meeting with my boss and end up crying. I really hate that! Maybe it has something to do with the fact that when I was a child, my family shunned feelings of "weakness". Crying wasn't allowed. I was supposed to be strong. I was supposed to put on a happy face. In my family, you could be happy or angry. Nothing else. Certainly not sad or hurt or loving. No, expression of these more vulnerable feelings was forbidden. Maybe that is why I struggle so much with them today. Maybe.

You would think that at 45, I'd have mastered this. But, no. There are so many things I wish to say to my husband that I can't seem to get out. Whenever the talk becomes sweet and heartfelt, I end up crying. He gets confused and thinks I'm upset. I'm not really. Emotion comes out that way for me. So, much of my time is spent being "brave" and avoiding my innermost feelings. Thoughts, dreams, emotions remain inside and those I love most are never allowed access to my vulnerability.

Why is it easier to joke around or be sarcastic than to really express feeling? I have been angry with some of my family members but never addressed it with them due to the restriction I feel regarding this. No, angry is not the right word... hurt. Hurt is the word. Expression of hurt can lead to more hurt. The thoughts of that make me cry. Is that crazy? I don't know. There is a price to pay for emotional distance as well. You never have the sense that you are part of a close knit group. I like to think that my immediate family is close. And we are... and yet, we aren't either.

I am often jealous of families that are truly close... sharing fun times as well as difficult times... expressing emotions freely. I feel like a fish out of water around those people. How do they do it? When I start to cry, I can barely get any words out. It is like there is something in my throat keeping my thoughts from being put into language. So, I avoid crying... which means I avoid expression of my innermost feelings. They are all inside, unable to express themselves. Waiting to be spoken.... and yet, I can't help but wonder if maybe there aren't words to express the feelings. Maybe they aren't spoken because simple English words don't do them justice. At least in part.

How do I tell my husband that he means so much to me? That I feel the most deepest sorrow for past hurts I have caused him and that I truly, honestly wish I could go back and change all of that? How do I tell him that I love him very deeply and truly trust him, something that wasn't always so. Maybe the problem lies in my own thoughts... how I am so self-loathing about the wrongs I have committed. My emotions overflow because of the depth of sorrow I feel for any pain I've caused. It matters not that he has caused pain also... that is irrelevant. I can forgive that as part of being human. Maybe I can't forgive myself.

Maybe I've been so closed off for so long that there is a sense of shame involved. How can I not have told people my feelings? Maybe I'm ashamed of my own feelings... of my own perceived weakness. Which really circles back to being ashamed of not being able to express my feelings of weakness. It's like a deadly cycle. Cutting me off emotionally from others around me. And yet, there's always a fear involved. Fear of rejection. Fear of hurt. Fear that I will not be perceived correctly. Maybe there's a fear that if I express my innermost vulnerable feelings, I will somehow get lost in those feelings. That they will pour out and I will never be able to control that flow of emotion.

 So, instead, they are bottled up, overflowing regularly when I don't want them to. Or maybe overflowing because they are not allowed to come out often enough. Like a regular person. It's something to think about... and something to work on.

Namaste my friends. 

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