Emotionally stunted people fail to learn to accept, process, or even tolerate a full range of emotion, leaving them emotionally primitive—limited only to recognizing pleasure and displeasure. “Me like” (waves club(friendliness, laughter, praise, flattery, gifts)). “Me no like” (pounds club(exclusion/shunning, withholding of information or communication, casually expressing diminishing things, gossiping and smearing, undermining). Important to acknowledge is the stone cold silence between the realizing of the displeasure and the standard generic REaction. And even though club pounding is undeniably displeasure, it is not uncommon to feel bewildered as to what has currently set off the club pounding. The consistent lesson seems to me: You’d best please me or else- this! I experienced a lot of the this. That way of living is too scary and stressful. My fear and stress cause more frightful silence and club pounding. Vicious cycle. My recovery allows me to remove myself, to choose a more virtuous cycle.
For decades now, I have worked toward feeling less– because that is what I was told was needed in order to be normal and welcome. I was collectively admonished: THE problem was— that I felt too much. The problem actually is that nobody was modeling or teaching me how to live life with full and complex feelings, of which I had many.
VERY IMPORTANT REMINDER: THE OPPOSITE OF SENSITIVITY IS NOT STRENGTH, BUT INSENSITIVITY.
To say that I have a lot of feelings is an understatement and the only expectation/requirement was that I mask and deny. My consistent failure to do so, was judged as a willful and punishable breach. The shunning and berating left me with even more feeeeeeelings: fear, shame, guilt, rage, despair–all intense, of course.
For decades, I lived far away and reported via hand-written letters that I was fine. This especially pleased my uncle and grandmother who served as the chief emotional police and demonstrated eagerness to always help my mother “gain control” over me. This was their loyalty to her. I kept physical distance and claimed to feel
less fine. My mother and sister also adopted roles as emotional police and I later married a man who is identical in this way. “Don’t make waves by directly expressing needs or feelings, but make difficulty for a person if they annoy, challenge, or inconvenience you.” This is what THE emotional police do.
I see now that feeling less (which often attempts to pose as strength and sophistication) and feeling better are not the same. In my efforts to feel less, I have lost vitality— also known as— I suffer from depression.
The Cavemen and the Happiness Police are no longer the bosses of me. Funny how Happiness Police and Higher Power have the same initials. I definitely have HP guiding my life and my recovery– diametrically opposing practices. One calls for drugs and alcohol to numb while the other relieves you with steps, principles, and fellowship– teaching how to feel and work through (rather than around) difficult feelings and people.Much Love,
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