Saturday, February 5, 2011

Anger, Fear, Sadness And Hurt - How They Interact - Part 1

This post comes to you from my comments on Emerging From Broken's post "Coping Methods ~ Trying to Escape Myself" which you will find at the following link: .  My comments brought me a very big ah-ha moment that is still making more connections in my mind.  Those connections are what I want to share with you here.  I hope that it doesn't sound like a crazy person just rambling as you follow my thoughts here.  My words inside of brackets were not shared in the comment.  I have added them as I write this post.  This is Part 1.  Comment #3 deserves a post all its own which I will write and post in a few days.

Comment #1:
"I survived my childhood by shutting down my emotions like my mom taught me and by taking care of others.  [As an adult, my taking care of others became a way to control the people around me as my dad controlled me as a child.  It was years before I realized what I was doing and why.]  As an adult, I did the two extremes that my parents taught me with feelings.  My mom was always emotionally unavailable so I learned to not feel. [Stuffing down my feelings with food has become my method for not feeling as an adult.  This is one coping method that I still catch myself doing today.]  I stuffed the feelings deep inside of me hiding the hurt even from myself as long as I could.  When the pressure would become too intense then I would explode in rage like my dad taught me to do.  Neither extremes were the real me.  They were the coping mechanisms that my parents taught me.  I continued them into adulthood and added controlling as another coping skill.  In not wanting to be like my mother who portrayed helplessness very well, I became like my dad who was the dictator of our family.  He controlled all of us to the point that I wasn't allowed to have needs or an opinion different than his. [I also wasn't allowed to have wants or dreams of a future that he wasn't in control of.]  In order to not allow anyone to control me, as an adult, I became the controller.  If you came anywhere near me, I tried to fix you.  If I could fix your problems then I had some value as a person and I could feel good about myself.  You would like me if I could fix your problems.  I don't know if I ever knew the 'real' me until I, like Darlene, [the person who writes Emerging From Broken] learned to love and respect myself and learned that I had needs and worth.  I was always 'good enough' and so much more.  I just didn't know it until I started working on my incest issues and started loving me."

Comment #2
"Darlene, I too found that the control was just an illusion.  [Today I quickly recognize other controlling people when I meet them.  I see, in them, all of the things that I used to do to feel safe.  The more controlling a person is, the more afraid they are.]  The more that I was into controlling, the more out of control I really was.  I didn't try to fix you because you needed fixing.  I did it so that I wouldn't have to see my own issues that needed fixing.  If I could concentrate on you and your problems, I didn't have time to look at my own.  I didn't have to feel about my own issues if I was focused on your issues.  It was my method of escaping my own pain and anger.  It seemed to work for awhile (or at least that is what I told myself at the time).  The reality was that I was disconnecting from the terrible rage and under the rage all of the fear and hurt that I was carrying around inside of me.

When I got into 12-Step programs, I discovered that, for me, (I don't know if this is true for anybody else or not but it was true for me.) the emotion that I could see and feel was rage.  The rage meant that I was in control (like my dad when I was a child).  The rage covered over my fear which was this big, big monster.  The fear covered up the terrible sadness and hurt that was overwhelming if I allowed myself to feel it.  I felt like if I acknowledged the hurt that I would cease to exist as a person or I would lose my mind.  It just felt so big and endless [and uncontrollable if I felt it].  I didn't know that grieving would release all of that sadness.  The sadness was so much a part of me from a very early age.  [Even today, some of the sadness is still there.  It is such an old part of me that I am not sure who I would be without it. I only have one memory of me without the sadness.  I was younger than three years old.]

I once told a group that my fear would fill the entire space of the room that we were sitting in.  That fear was weighing down on my body all the time until I started chipping away at it a little at a time. . . ."

[There was a little more to this comment that doesn't pertain to my topic here so you can read it on Emerging From Broken.]

I will tell you that Darlene's blog Emerging From Broken has been bringing up feelings for me for awhile that the inner child in me doesn't want to look at so I haven't read all of her posts over the past few months.  I intend to start reading more of those posts that I missed in the coming month.  I thank Darlene for her blog.  It is helping me and so many others.  We have some pretty intense conversations in the comment section of many of her posts.  I am going to stop this post and make Comment #3 into it's own blog post sometime in the next few days.  I am still processing the information that is coming in for me.  It is okay if you have already read Comment #3 on Emerging From Broken.  I am going to be expanding on Comment #3 in my next post.  Feel free to leave a comment here and on Emerging From Broken. 

If you aren't a subsciber here or at Emerging From Broken, I invite you to do so.  As a subscriber, my posts will automatically come to either your email address or in the reader of your choice when they are posted.  You will find subscribe buttons on the right column of my blog page.  I know that I haven't been posting very often since I got sick with pneumonia in November.  I have needed the private time to recover from the illness and to process other things that have come up. 

Just as I was in the final stages of recovering from the pneumonia, an aunt died and a few days later it was Christmas with all of the family activities and traveling that Christmas brings with it.  Five weeks after my aunt died, her husband, who was one of my dad's younger brothers, followed his wife in death.  They were both good people.  They have hosted our Caldwell Family Reunions for many years.  Their daughter is a very strong, caring person who has been taking care of them for the past few years.  They were both diabetics and are a reminder for me to take better care of myself with my own blood sugar issues.  My cousin said, at my uncle's funeral last week, that she is going to continue the family reunions in honor of her dad who enjoyed them so much.  Funerals always bring up any unresolved grief issues that I may have so I have been feeling some of that sadness that I have carried for so many years.  Feeling the sadness is so different from all of the many years that I stuffed it instead.

One last topic before I close this post, have you ever seen weather like we have had this Winter?  We have our third snow of the Winter melting outside right now.  We have another chance of freezing rain and snow tomorrow and then again on Wednesday.  It is rare for Arkansas to get more than one snow over several years time.  We got three inches of snow yesterday and three and a fourth inches of the snow on January 9 which we kept on the ground until the following Saturday (1/15) before it all melted.  Our temperatures have been below normal too down in the teens and 20's for the lows at night over much of the past month.  We usually have a week of these cold temperatures in February.  I am glad that I don't live in Chicago or Boston or Maine.  They have gotten every snow storm that we have with a lot more snow and ice.  Ice is what can be so damaging here and Thank God we haven't gotten any this year.  I hope that all of you where ever you live are staying warm and dry.


Pastor Sharon said...

HI Patricia.
I am glad to have stopped by here to read this.
What a brave and incredible thing to bring to light. . . those feelings and emotions which have come up from the other blog posts you have read.

Patricia Singleton said...

Thank you, Pastor Sharon, many of Emerging From Broken's posts give me insights into myself and my own journey to wholeness. Part 2 is even more revealing. It will come out on Feb. 8.

From Tracie said...

I love that you took your comments and turned them into a post! That is brilliant.

There have been many times when I have found myself pouring out in someone's comment section....and next time I might have to borrow this idea from you.

Emerging From Broken is such a great blog! I never read there without learning something, or being challenged to think in a new way, or gaining a new insight.

I really relate to what you said about the sadness. I feel the undercurrent of it in myself even in the most joyous of times.

I'm so sorry for your and your family's loss.

Patricia Singleton said...

Tracie, thank you. Lately it seems that some of my best thoughts wind up being written on someone else's blog. I wanted to share some of those thoughts with my own blog readers. I am glad that you like the idea.

Thank you for your condolences. Sadness seems like it has always been one of my close companions.