By Chandrama Anderson
Premarital and Couples: What feeling is not allowed, and what do you use in its place?Uploaded: Dec 13, 2019
What feeling do you not allow yourself to have, either because it is intolerable to you, your family didn't allow it, or it's just too scary or painful to have? What feeling or behavior do you use in its place?
Here are a few examples:
I can't feel vulnerable; I use anger instead.
I can't feel scared, I use disconnection instead.
I can't feel shame, I use judgement instead.
I can't feel anger, I use criticism instead.
Take a moment to consider your answer to this question. Breathe.
When you notice yourself feeling or behaving in your "instead" mode, slow down and wonder if the feeling you're not allowed to have is at play. Slow down some more. Just breathe and notice the feeling. Don't fix it, don't indulge it, just notice.
Try saying to yourself, "Isn't it interesting, I'm feeling _______." Breathe again.
When you can learn to tolerate your difficult feelings (notice I didn't say good/bad/right/wrong) you have the opportunity to find out what they're about. And you can then ask yourself what you need to attend to. Once you do, the feeling usually subsides. If you don't, the feeling grows until you pay attention.
Feelings are like road signs. Yield, Curves Ahead, or Sharp Left Turn is information to which you need to attend. Neither do you park your car under the road sign. Either ignoring the warning (a feeling) or parking (indulging/ruminating) will likely lead to a crash. The same is true of your emotional life.
So for now, just notice. After you gather more information about yourself, you can devise experiments to address these feelings. If you want help, ask for it.