Today’s therapy session was challenging. Since my hospital stay, I’ve been feeling a mix of anger, sadness, and resentment. I talked about how I’m feeling angry, but it was hard to really feel my anger. My therapist noticed that I was being emotionally flat/shut down, so we explored that a bit.
It was really hard to wrap my head around this concept of betraying myself/my pattern of shutting down emotionally when I’m feeling angry and cutting people off when I feel like they’ve betrayed me. I say “betraying” because when I think about not shutting down when angry or not being resentful towards someone who I think has betrayed me, it feels like I’m betraying myself. Does that make sense.
My therapist explained to me that when I shut down emotionally, I am not allowing myself to feel my feelings. I usually do this when I am angry. I don’t know how to express anger in a healthy way. My dad would rage and that just scared me as a kid. My mom would shut down emotionally. I remember seeing my dad’s anger as very assertive/aggressive and since I had no real sense of self to assert, I guess my mom’s way of dealing with anger fit me best.
I have to say that I have been doing better with this lately. With K I have been able to express myself and all my range of emotions much better than before. But i do know that in times of stress, people tend to go back to old habits. This has definitely been that case recently.
She also later explained that if someone is being a good person to me (friend or otherwise), and I cut them off at the first sign of not living up to my expectations, then I am also not allowing myself to feel my feelings. Jezzus, does it ever end? I figured I was doing myself a favor by not being with people who do things that hurt me. But she pointed out that my cut and run reaction is PTSD behavior. How can I expect others to allow me to grow and learn if I don’t allow for others to do the same?
Now the’s the obvious exceptions like abuse or neglect. But when someone is being a good person to me, and I cut them off at the frist sign of an integral flaw, I am not allowing the relationship to have a chance at growth. This is really tough for me not to do. why would I want to keep someone in my life who has shown me that they can’t be who I need or want? She pointed out that I need to feel this through and address this issue with the person, and see if they can show up as I want and need them to. Okay, I think I can do that. Thing is, how many chances does a person get?