I know I cannot force my ideas about feeling onto anyone. Nor would I want to. I have had enough experience with being told there is something wrong with me for feeling the way I do to ever think its a good idea to tell others. However sometimes I make a suggestion as to how someone might be feeling, which leaves them free to disagree since I cannot truly know their inner reality, but being sensitive at times I can sense it. But what I am learning is to realise it may be best to just keep this sense to myself.
I cannot know anyone else’s insides. It is hard enough at times just to feel my own. And I am enormously grateful when someone gives me the precious gift of just being with me while I feel. It is one of the gifts I used to give to my dead sister in the care home. She was in a place where not many people could respond to feelings. Someone might say her tears served no purpose. They did not free her from her incapacitation.
I got in trouble from my ex partner after visiting her one day for sitting with her and holding her hand. “You better watch out you don’t end up like that”, he said, which really, really stung. I know I could not take my sister’s pain away but I could witness it and I know that witnessing calmed her. He didn’t like it when I cried, sometimes it downright offended him.
I am a person who cries a lot and I am a person who has seen a lot of pain. I don’t really want to become a person who does not feel and cry and at the moment I am crying more following my breast surgery as a lot of my old wounds have been stirred up and I am feeling tired and emotional and raw a lot of the time.
Today I was discussing a lot of this with my therapist. I was sharing with her about a somewhat intense exchange that took place over WordPress about crying. She instantly got where I was coming from with what I had been trying to express. Her feeling was that the other person had a lot of defences in place and that I had ended up falling over and apologising which is an old pattern of mine when I try to present others with feelings.
I have been shamed for crying often in my life. I know that to some people tears are a sign of weakness. They are seen as a sign of weakness. Contrary to this a few weeks ago I read a couple of articles along these lines. Why being able to cry shows you are strong, not weak.
Ideally we have access to all kinds of emotions, tears and sadness being only one. Emotions are our best gauge of our inner reality and response to a situation. We ignore them at our peril. Hopefully our crying shows us something.
The ideal outcome would be to be able to share our tears with someone and be understood and to offer others the same kindness and courtesy.
This afternoon my therapist said to me “this person wasn’t really interested in trying to understand where you were coming from”, that is very familiar to me. Our internet interaction left me raw, smarting and deeply sad. I also felt like I had been bashed around at a time when I was feeling really tender emotionally. This is a very familiar feeling. I used to feel it all the time when I was sent to my room or treated callously by family members .
As a small child I had no way to make sense of the painful feelings such encounters left me with, feelings of rawness, woundedness and anger. I don’t really feel the anger about what happened today because over the past few years I have been able with the help of good therapy to understand where past anger of my Inner Child came from.
In my ongoing work of recovery I am beginning to learn who it is safe to be open with my feelings with and who will dismiss, ignore or try to get me to reframe them so as not to cause them anxiety or a sense of powerlessness. This later response was and is the one I meet with my mother and immediate family members all the time.
I see not all people have developed awareness of their own emotions and that is their choice. It is just not a choice that works very well for me.