Negative feelings - input please?

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by Freya, Jan 22, 2013.

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  1. Freya

    Freya Loves SF Staff Member ADMIN

    I grew up in an environment where expressing a negative emotion was unacceptable. Complaining at all, about anything, was not allowed and crying or being sad was a route to instant ridicule. I learnt that how I feel - unless how I feel is "fine" - is silly/unreasonable/ridiculous.

    You grow up, you move away from the influence of your family, and you discover that they were not necessarily right about everything.

    I started to teach myself to express myself - to (eventually) say so if I am unhappy or feel sad or do not like something. A good thing you would think. Only then I got depression - and was sad all the time for no reason. I developed social anxiety and was worried and anxious and jittery for no reason. I suddenly needed to relearn that how I felt was silly/unreasonable/ridiculous.

    I am better now - far better - than I was. The anxiety is far far less, the depression comes in waves and is not constant. But I no longer have any idea whether it is okay to feel how I feel. When someone tells you that you are being silly, that your anxiety or fear is unreasonable - how are you supposed to know if they are right? How do you know when to express how you feel or when to shut the hell up because you are probably being stupid and you are tired of your emotions being a burden and taking up time they should not be taking up?

    I do not know how to react the 'right' way - I do not have sufficient control over my emotions for that. The best I can do is box off how I feel, convince myself it is unwarranted and to feel it quietly, trying not to let it effect logical decisions. Not let it out in the open where it needlessly takes up anyone else's time or energy.

    How do you know whether the negative thing you feel is a legitimate feeling? How do you know if you are justified in expressing it and "causing a fuss" about it or whether you should shut the hell up and try your best to stamp it down and not feel it because it is stupid and unwarranted?
  2. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    Freya no emotion you are feeling is stupid ok or unwarranted it is there and you are feeling it I think people say those things to you because they don't know what else to say.
    If you are anxious they you are hun if you are sad then you are and suppressing these emotions will only make them worse. I think the best person to talk to would be your therapist someone that can help you find why you are feeling the way y ou are If it is just distorted thoughts then depression may be the reason and med may need to be change
    Emotions are there for a reason to push then down they will only come up ten fold h ugs
  3. Terry

    Terry Antiquities Friend Staff Alumni

    Hmmm, I grew up never telling anyone anything about my emotional state.
    This was partly due to my being very private and partly because all I ever heard as a child was "don't fret your mother".
    I am masterful at surpressing emotion and all it's done is taken it's toll on my health.
    As a teenager it was migraines, so bad that the doc thought I had a brain tumour.
    Later in life it's high blood pressure and torpor and a sense that my feelings don't matter.

    If you feel a thing, then you feel it, and it is not for others to tell you that those feelings are not valid.
    I think, when you started to express your feelings they kind of exploded, causing the depression, anxiety etc.
    I am mortally afraid of losing my temper and have spent a lifetime surpressing my anger, end result.....when I blow the fall out lands on Japan!
  4. Cariad_Bach

    Cariad_Bach Staff Alumni

    In my opinion, all feelings are 'legitimate' - both negative and positive. They are not a choice, but a natural reaction that occurs as we go through life and have experiences. But don't confuse emotions with states of being. Anxiety, sadness, depression, anger, these are all emotions, and no one can take away your right to feel them because they is only one definition of your emotions - and that's your feelings. Silly, unreasonable and ridiculous are subjective judgements, and can be applied by anyone to anything.

    For the record, we are all entitled to be silly, unreasonable and ridiculous sometimes. But these things have nothing to do with whether an emotion is negative or positive. People can be deliriously happy and act silly. People can be utterly terrified for no reason. Relief is often described as ridiculous (because of the way it manifests).

    But no one would say "stop being happy its ridiculous", so why should it be okay for them to say "stop being sad its ridiculous" ?

    However, there are occasions where the expression of emotion has such an effect on another that they might say "stop acting so happy - it feels disrespectful when I've just lost a loved one" or "stop acting sad - I'm trying to keep my own spirits up".

    And the difference? - that the first one is about myself, and the second one is about them.

    My peers have often told me I'm oversensitive. When it came to my emotions, I was often made to feel like they were, if not exactly inappropriate then, excessive. People said I should have a thicker skin, not take things so seriously, etc etc. Others told me to grow up. The problem was that my expressions of hurt or sadness was making them uncomfortable - they didn't want to deal with my emotions. I know this because sometimes, when I was lucky, I would find someone who would listen and sympathise.

    I never have a choice about when to express my emotions, or to whom. If I try to hide it, it will build and bubble and come out anyway in another form - usually hurting others, but sometimes hurting myself. I think its very important to be able to express emotion because that is how I understand it, communicate it, release it and learn from it. And hopefully in doing so I would feel heard, validated, and understood, allowing both parties to deal with it. If, when I express myself, they don't want to deal with my emotions, then that is their issue and not mine. I know this because sometimes, when I am lucky, I will find someone to listen and sympathise.

    Don't get me wrong it still hurts. But once you accept that then you can ask "why don't they want to hear it - what is their issue with me expressing myself?" and I think that will bring you far more pertinent answers.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2013
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