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Don't allow myself to *feel* that! Anyone else?

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WaywardInHayward posted 7/11/2014 03:17 AM

A new insight I came across tonight while journaling...

My betrayed wife often wants me to tell her how I *feel*, and gets very frustrated when I don't know what to say. That’s the thing - I often don’t KNOW what I feel... I often rely on others for a barometer of my own feelings. My childhood wounding led me to remove myself from feeling things immediately, and even in the “short term” which can be relatively long in my case. I often glom on to other people’s emotions to experience theirs instead of my own genuine feelings, which I don’t allow myself access to because they are buried deep.

I learned early on not to trust my feelings or to be vulnerable with them because they’ll get stomped, so instead I ride along with other people’s emotions, experiencing them at a “once removed” level, instead of having to feel (and god forbid *express*) my raw emotions. That may be why I often react in the exact same anger that’s coming back at me, because I have now inherited the other person’s emotions instead of truly allowing myself access to my own.

I haven't even allowed myself to truly grieve the passing of my mother, which was over a year ago. It is particularly tough because it is tightly intertwined with my selfish justifications to have my affair, so I have shoved it down deep, knowing there is a huge amount of emotion there, and not all grief-based, but anger based. It feels too overwhelming to "go there".

I wonder if this is why I constantly feel the need to lie, because the truth would reveal my real, raw emotions, and that's not something I allow people to see. So better to cover it up with a lie of what I think they want to hear, than really have to experience the painful truth. Hmmm...

Anyone else relate to this? Or is this uniquely me?

BrokenButTrying posted 7/11/2014 03:53 AM

Hey WIH,

Yes I can relate to this, so can a lot of other people on this site. It's called Co-Dependency.

Read co-dependent no more, it will help you identify unhealthy behaviour and help you break the cycle.

I have recently started working on myself and my co-dependency, figuring out what my feelings are, not allowing myself to mirror the emotions of others. It's hard work, I'm fighting my instincts but I can already see changes and all my relationships are benefiting.

DrJekyll posted 7/11/2014 08:19 AM

i totally get this, the only 2 emotions I had allowed myself for such a long time were happy and angry. You have to keep looking at what you feel. I am guessing anger is the default. for myself anger was an allowable emotion of strength. one that was respected in my childhood. the others were perceived weak. and with an NPD mom. weakness was exploited. you need to dig past the anger and allow yourself to feel and express it. it will seem elementary at first, like I am sad. i am hurt. but keep working for the more complex emotions.

I agree with BBT
read co-dependent no more, but I would also recommend trapped in the mirror, and toxic parents.

remember anger is not a real emotion. sounds weird, but anger is a representation of concentrated other emotions. by not expressing disappointment or sadness they will turn into anger.

another thought, something I used to do, was hide my feelings to avoid intimacy and vulnerability.

LostTime posted 7/11/2014 11:51 AM

I can relate to what you are saying as well. I hear and feel your frustration. But I assure you that you DO know what you feel. I said the same things. Just a few weeks ago I felt so stuck. I was stuck. I was angry and frustrated and full of toxic shame and self pity.

I know that for me, the internal fears/realities of dealing with emotions thoughts and feelings cause me to look to escape and hide/avoid.

There are so many variables that can cause this and co-dependency can definitely be one of them. I've learned in my case that there can be an equally toxic parallel of selfishness and dependency that isn't actually co-dependency.

For me - what Dr Jekyll said is what it boils down to:

was hide my feelings to avoid intimacy and vulnerability

I have come to realize that my fear of looking within myself and the constant belief that I wasn't good enough is what I have to break down and get to the root of. I lied to escape myself, my emotions, my feelings, to protect myself essentially even though I was just walling myself up within myself and hurting myself more. I don't know if this helps or makes sense, but you're definitely not alone.

I can't explain what caused the shift in my case, but I am choosing now to be more afraid of being the way I was and staying stuck than feeling and breaking down and becoming aware of what it really is that I'm feeling. I read a few books that helped me see the reality of myself - maybe they can help you. "Reframe Your Life" by Stephen Arterburn, believe it or not "Awaken the Giant Within" by Anthony Robbins. For me I desparately wanted to change but felt too overwhelming looking at the reality of being separated, away from my kids, figuring out what is wrong with me, finding the whys, showing remorse, the whole reality of devastation I caused my BS. Everything has a whole IS overwhelming. Break it up one piece at a time, write it all out and look at one small piece at a time.

I'm really maybe one step out of where you are, but it's a big step for me and it has changed my life. Don't look at the big picture. Let go of the whole and break it down as small as you can and start there.

tired girl posted 7/11/2014 11:56 AM

When you say childhood wounding what are you talking about? That usually has the most to do with why we hide from what we feel.

Skan posted 7/12/2014 15:33 PM

I would like to make a suggestion to you. Please check out This is a marriage resource that I think might help you and your BW a lot. They teach you to communicate feelings to each other, and to help describe those feelings in a way that the other person can try to connect and understand them. I've seen people like you, that when asked what they feel, look confused and/or default to either good or bad. This program can really help you to connect what those words mean to you and how to communicate them to your BW.

Feel free to PM me with questions. BTW, the CA group is amazing.

badchoice posted 7/12/2014 15:44 PM

I relate, and TG has it right…look at that childhood wounding. That is usually the root of the issues.

WaywardInHayward posted 7/14/2014 00:33 AM

I want to thank you all for your feedback... your responses really hit me...

I thought "what??? Co-Dependency??? Wow!"

My wife had *just* brought home "Codependency No More" from the library! We started reading it soon after I got your responses.

It actually convicted *both* of us in different ways. I think we may have a double-codependency thingy going on here... or maybe another dependency variation like LostTime mentioned.

I read a very interesting "fable" about two codependents living with each other here:

Good stuff.

Yes, childhood wounding is definitely involved. My father would obliterate my shared thoughts/emotions if they triggered anything in him that felt disrespectful, which of course, children do from time to time.

There was also a situation in which my parents very graciously tried to "rescue" me from an abusive teacher, and it backfired BIG TIME. I decided then to never trust them again with my "help me!" thoughts or feelings, and to just deal with them myself, which basically meant "stuff! stuff those feelings down deep!"

A few incidents happened later in life, but these feel like they may be the original wounds... either that, or I've suppressed something deeper. At any rate, I feel like I'm on the right track now and may be able to "unlock" my stuckness.

I want to read/investigate everything everyone has suggested, and bring them up in IC - I really want to figure this stuff out because my wife deserves an unstuck, truly remorseful and emotionally available wayward. I'm trying! I feel like I'm on the path finally. So THANK YOU ALL! I'll keep posting, the more I learn.

[This message edited by WaywardInHayward at 12:50 AM, July 14th (Monday)]

Shatteredreality posted 7/14/2014 07:53 AM

This has been a huge area of struggle and growth for my husband as well. You are brave to be facing this and yes, I'm sure being so removed from your emotions (and borrowing them from other people) has impacted many areas of your life, though it's most painfully apparent in your marriage.

My husband has been helped tremendously by the Mankind Project, They have a presence worldwide, def worth seeking out. He learned about MKP from Patti Henry's book The Emotionally Unavailable Man, which is also excellent.

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