At times I feel that I don’t really allow myself to know the truth of how I feel so deeply inside. I can be dismissive of myself and my own deeper feelings at times, I can deny that things hurt or that I feel lonely. I feel the solitary nature of my childhood in which emotionally I was not connected to much left me with a legacy of loneliness and shyness that didn’t make it that easy to connect and living in the Australian culture I feel a bit lonelier too as people can sometimes be loud and brash and a trifle insensitive. glossing over deeper realities in an effort to appear ‘laid back’.
And I am beginning to recognise that if I cannot recognise how I am truly feeling how can I really be that connected to my True Self? Instead aren’t I living in a state of emotional disconnection or dissociation a fair amount of the time?. I discussed it with my therapist, Katina the other day and she gets excited when I start to recognise these kinds of things With her I never feel invalidated or dismissed which I now recognise was huge part of my childhood and adolescence.
And I have shared before how these feelings become very strong for me around home from school time in the afternoons between 4 and 7, that was a really lonely time in my past where I had to let myself into an empty house and find ways to entertain myself. And come to think of it my mother used to go through exactly the same thing and when we talk at times I sense that loneliness of hers deep down inside too.
Yesterday I just sat quietly with my dog Jasper as I felt those old feelings for a time and there were quite a lot of tears as I remembered how it REALLY felt. I talked to my inner child about how it was and she told me a lot of things. I see now that there is a pattern which I can perpetrate keeping myself away from company full of fear of what may happen if I do try to connect. I have a deep down fear of being dismissed or negated. This fear is very real, I carry the sense of having that done to me. Come to think of it I have a deep pool of unmet need around emotional connection which I so easily bring to new situations and my pain and longing from the past has made me hypersensitive, old grief can be triggered by newer experiences which contain resonate memories and then I am feeling the entire force of these. I am aware lately that these feelings are not as intense as they used to be in the past as I am becoming more and more aware of what I have carried in the unconscious.
As I read this post to my therapist this afternoon she was reminding me how children aren’t actually able to know how they feel when they are going through neglect and abandonment at the time. They don’t have a concept that something is wrong on an intellectual level but the experience is fully ‘known’ at a bodily and sensate level. I think that is why depression is often such a mystery to those of us who suffer. We are so often triggered while not knowing we are being triggered to feel really deep old pain and feelings of hunger, longing, hurt, shame, disappointment, anger or frustration from the past. It takes a lot of work to bring awareness and understanding to this level of our experience. Its a big job and may take some years of therapy or inner work. If we try to share the process with others they often wont understand or may dismiss us too.
I think its such a good awareness to have that we need to take our own feelings seriously and see how they connect to the past, learning to connect present feelings with older associations. Awareness is the first step before we can accept the past pain as a natural outcome of lacks and deficiencies in the past especially of adequate holding and nurture While we are undergoing this process its also very tiring, we need a lot of quiet time and rest and socialising is problematic, something others who don’t understand the process may not accept or validate. My personal understanding is that the body registers everything and if we don’t bring it to consciousness it will manifest in some way, often in some kind of chronic pain or illness.
We are so often so hard on ourselves just for being human and having needs and natural feelings and there are so few places that really help us to make sense of our past in my experience. Being dismissed is such a natural part of our society but I hope that it is changing as more people realise and speak about the pain they suffered as a result of emotional insensitivity, invalidation, abuse or neglect. We need to learn ways to encourage and love ourselves through these kind of difficulties with grace. When we take our own heart seriously we are being kind to ourselves and when we recognise our self judgements as responses that came out of lack of empathy shown we are a long way along the road to healing. When we let go of self blame we feel happier and more positive because we are really listening to instead of dismissing ourselves and then we can turn a listening ear inside to our inner self instead of blotting out its voice all of the time with distractions or philosophies or other kinds of negating beat ups. To me that seems to be the best kind of self parenting and we can never get too much of it while we undergo the process of coming to know all we could not know as children.