Belonging, authenticity and self acceptance

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Wow I found this when I was looking for quotes and images to put on my post on self acceptance.  I find Brene Brown has some incredible insights into acceptance, authenticity and shame but this one hit me to the core.  I have so often I felt as though I didn’t belong as I was trying to fit myself to situations where I felt out of step, but in recent months, and when I have found myself into those same situations being myself, loving myself and not being besieged and assailed by critical inner shaming or invalidating self talk lately I have felt a far greater sense of belonging and I have been able to be more authentic.  That is so powerfully expressed in this quote, I felt the need to share it. Also in those situations when I have been real it has encouraged others to be real and open too. Its such a gift!

Brave

Bleeding Heart 2

You are brave

To bear your scars

You say I hurt

You say I am vulnerable

You say at times I feel like I wish that I could die

Because the deep down truth is that you suffer

At the hands of others

Who could not bear you being you

It takes such courage to feel that pain of inauthenticity

But somewhere deep inside

You love life

And a fire burns

All your pain

Comes from the harsh realisation

Of how in being starved

You could feel you were less than

And therefore had to beg for or buy love

But true love

Lies in authenticity

Even if the authentic real dark at times with tarnish

Obscures the true brightness of your orphan soul

Exposed to pain

Exposed to life

You travelled down so deep and into such pain and emptiness

Bearing things others could never imagine

To find a love

That now

No can take from you

 

For all survivors of abuse

Angry with my family

Anger

I am not going to deny my anger any more.  I have legitimate reasons to be very angry at my family and my mother and sister in particular for what they put me through following the end of my marriage and even in the years before where I was just never treated with support, empathy and love.  I am sick to death of denying the truth to myself, rationalising it and minimising it.  I just spoke to my therapist and she said my anger needs to flow out and I need to find ways to do that today… write about it in your blog, draw it out or scream it out, do what ever you need to do to get it out of your system she said to me and so this blog is part of that process.  Internalised, invalidated anger has been kicking around inside my system for so long, it resulted in my accidents and in my alcoholism.  Part of my recovery is that I need to speak about it and value and validate my inner self and inner child.

I recognise what happened when I spoke to my mother yesterday when writing my blog A hollowed out shell was that by crying and becoming really vulnerable my Mum roped me into compassion.  Earlier on I had ended the conversation when she was once again telling me I needed to forget about things and put them behind me.   She called me back out of guilt to ask me to dinner and at first I said no and then wanted to relent when she showed me how much pain she was in and how insecure and unable to truly express herself she feels.  While I feel compassion for her I cannot let that over ride my own anger about what happened to me for it is anger that lets me know something hurt me deeply and wasn’t okay and that then helps me set some kind of boundary.  If I get told I shouldn’t have it or feel it that is invalidation abuse pure and simple and if the person is trying to guilt me out of it that is worse abuse.  Full stop! No argument, no debate!

I had a difficult day yesterday.  I noticed I got onto You Tube and posted some videos in two posts which although they had interesting insights don’t really help me to cut to the depth of dealing with the trauma and anger I am still carrying from the head injury that happened to me 12 years ago as the result of my sister and my mother’s meanness. At that stage I needed support and help to heal and grieve and know my truth, but I see how impossible this is to attain from anyone in my family they were just not that awake to the inner self or emotional realities.  My Mum is close to waking up but she seriously needs therapy.  I am sick of trying to be her therapist.  It isn’t my job really and she often told me that its not a good idea to go to others with your problems.  Her bottom line is that you need to work things out alone but that comes from a childhood where she was left alone and had to figure things out all alone.  Yesterday she was touching into deep realities and she told me how she feels so helpless and alone with no one much to talk to about all the things she goes through.  I want to say “well Mum get some therapy” but she never would.  So I end up being the font of all compassion but my compassion now is only prepared to extend so far when no recognition of past hurts or any apology has been forthcoming.

Second reason for anger and terribly acute body symptoms over the past few days has been unresolved issues with my living sister.  She was so awfully mean to me at the aforementioned time, telling me I was a selfish little girl and that I had had a shit of a life and she pitied me.  Oh and also going behind my back to my nephew (my older dead sister’s son) who I was really establishing a close relationship with and telling him how jealous I was of her.  Luckily at that time (just under 3 years ago now) he told me and I confronted her on the day we putting a party on for my mother.  I wish I had just walked out for at first she tried to deny it and then she said he had no right to tell me and then that she thought it was true.  But what I actually think is true is that the situation was the reverse and narcissists always believe they are so wonderful that the universe is jealous of them, why I do not know when the are such superiority junkies looking down their noses at all and sundry.  I have never been that person, as those who know me and have told me its just NOT ME.

Anyway she has softened somewhat in later years and actually did give me a grudging apology about what occurred in 2005 when I confronted her and Mum about it 2 years ago around this time of year.  But it was in no way an apology that came from her heart or truly recognised the damage done and the other day when she rang me about my tooth issue concerned to see how I was, it was I who ended up apologising to her for reacting to the horrible way she traated me.  Did I need to apologise  NO!  And my inner child is very upset with adult me about it and let me know as I woke up with shocking PTSD symptoms yesterday.  Whenever I see my sister my anxiety level goes through the roof and I was telling my therapist today that it was because I feel there is a lot of anger and hurt my body is carrying and the only way it has to come out is as anxiety.  But the mixed up irony is that as anxious as I feel I try even harder to bond with her and its a trauma bond and end up having an extra coffee with her even though its not really good for me to do it, because I feel she may be lonely.

I am aware as I write all this out it may seem like sour grapes to some.  I don’t really care as what you think isn’t my issue.  But what I need to know and see more clearly which is why I am putting it out there in black and white is how I can over ride my own impulses and intuitions. I often find my inner critic attacks my real attempts at feeling the truth of my feelings and most particularly that includes genuine expressions of anger.

Katina, my therapist was today reminding me that as much compassion as I feel I also need to remind myself that its okay to be angry.  So many of the messages around me growing up in family and Catholic school were based on anger being a ‘bad’ or negative emotion, when really anger is a signal of something from our deepest, truest inner self.  If we deny or over ride our own angry impulses we end up in such strife.  I have had so many accidents due to traumas from my past or pain replaying over in the present moment and this is one of the saddest facts about trauma,  it tends to attract more of the same to us but most particularly for those of us who were taught to value compassion, rationalisation and excuses over valid expression of anger.  So many times I have been told I better be careful as anger is dangerous, but this is only the case when it is not cleanly and clearly expressed, or if it is expressed aggressively.   We need to be so mindful of where our sore angry spots lie because when triggered they are signs of something from the past that needs to be dealt with or is calling for our awareness or attention, if we don’t pay attention we are in trouble  It won’t do us any good to act our anger out on those who really are just triggering a massive back log of past stuff but we still need to be aware that such people aren’t good to be around on a long term basis.  I am sad to say that goes for my family at present, much as I long for their love, when they are around it comes with huge reminders of pain from the past.  I have not ‘let it go’ yet, it hasn’t let go of me.

Its difficult writing this, as I was the television was just turned on by some automatic process.  I went over and Jasper my dog had his ear on the remote but what was most interesting was that it was a show called Compass and was on a priest’s life, and at that moment in time he was speaking of the ‘false ego’ that has to die if we want to fully embrace our humanity.  It made me question the wisdom of hanging onto my anger.  Maybe my sister had changed now and has soften, maybe she regrets what she did to me all of those years ago.  Maybe my mother wishes she hadn’t been so cruel to have chosen my sister over me when I was ‘too sad’ grieving at the end of my marriage.  I truly don’t know the answers to these questions.  Is my anger coming from ‘false ego’?  Is that why the television automatically came on?  I don’t know either but I am putting this in my blog as part of the mental process I go through on a day when I am trying to make sense of and deal with this anger from the past and the deep wound in me that gets triggered around this time of year.  I feel less angry now after writing this.  I have attempted to express my true reality, for what it is worth.   And I appreciate any feedback or any sharing from others about how you have dealt with your own anger.

And in the interest of openness the following are just a selection of anger quotes I came across on line :

 

 

The power and necessity of self expression in healing trauma

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I woke late this morning to hear the tail end of a very powerful interview with an aboriginal writer and artist. Rhonda Collard Spratt who has recently written a book on the trauma of being one of the stolen generation, those precious young children who were forceably removed from family and community ‘for their own good’ by white people who actually invaded their country and set up missions to educate them out of their indigenous ways and subjected them to all kinds of abuse.

She was sharing about her experience, about the power of story and the importance of grieving for those of her people who suffered abandonment and abuse on an emotional level due to be stolen and were subjected to harsh discipline.  One of the things she said which really struck me were the words :  “Many of my own people are drowning in their unshed tears”.  She then spoke of the essential need to grieve, of taking that little one on our knee, caring for him or her, loving him or her, listening to his or her pain, letting him or her shed tears.

She also went on to share about how many times when she has tried to share her pain or her story she has been ‘shut down’ by white people.   I hear it myself all the time on various media, white commentators saying how its been going on too long and that aboriginal people ‘need to put the past behind them’.  Little understanding is given to how that is actually done nor is their a recognition that is a process and that what was stolen in childhood left wounds, wounds and memories that will always be there no matter how much so called ‘healing’ happens.

It is really only since the formal apology to aboriginal people in this country which occurred in 2007 that attention is actually being given to the grief of the stolen generation together with the recognition that what was done all those years ago caused great hurt and trauma which has left a lasting legacy, especially of addiction for so many.

In another interview last week a woman who was subjected to years of sexual abuse by a priest was speaking about her experience about which the movie Don’t Tell has been made.   Her therapist was also interviewed and she was saying how important an apology or recognition of what was done to children is, and how healing is blocked when we cannot find this.  I know this is an issue I have struggled with all of my life, mine was not sexual abuse, it was emotional neglect, invalidation and teasing but I have been so often gaslighted or blamed in the past that I learned to turn my painful feelings inside and medicate them with booze and drugs.

In the interview the aboriginal woman was saying how many of her own people have died due to medicating pain in this way.  She was speaking of how essential it is for others not to judge, to show empathy and understanding.  She then spoke about going back to one of the communities with a fellow sufferer where she had been abused and of how the person wanted to hit one of the priests she saw there.  The person involved would hang aboriginal children on the clothes line when they wet their pants, leaving them hanging their for hours.  My immediate thought was that the priest deserved a smack!  I was thinking about that, what happens when we are not allowed to express the anger in some way and of how grief is so much a part of that anger and may only be felt once and after the angry outburst can be expressed.

Internalised anger is, I believe, behind so many auto immune diseases.  It relates to pain gone inwards or internalised, buried deep inside the tissues, healing involves externalisation and ex – pression that we press the pain outwards and let it exit the body.  We need places to pour in into too, places to contain it, and validation is so important in this regard, for from my experience and understanding when invalidation or blocking of our feelings happens we can de – press it and all the now toxic unexpressed feelings and pain gets sent back inside to kick around in our systems where it burns and lives a vibrational charge and other imprints dumped deep in the cells.

AB

At the moment in Australia there is a huge push by aboriginal people for recognition of what happened to them in the past.  Deeply painful as it is, what occurred for indigenous races all over the world at the hands of imperialist colonialism is part of the evolutionary story of mankind.   These primitive people are immersed in the unconscious and connected to the earth and to the deep soul in ways so many modern people are not, due to the evolution of ego centred consciousness where religion and materialism became so powerful as a way of defending against and finding meaning when humans were confronted with the power of destructive forces, namely the Black Plague which killed millions.  To be black or of a different colour to so many whiteys was to mean one’s value was diminished.  A lack of empathy and a rugged need for possession and survival was what pushed so many to overrun and steal and kill and disempower indigenous races.  It was a case of the heroic ego gone wild.  Such stealing and killing and disempowerment forces live on, these things happen not only on an outward physical level, but also as deeply powerful psychic forces both within and without form any of us who suffer abuse and neglect or shaming of our emotional selves and are now trying to recover while being left with a deeply painful legacy of years of trauma.

And that is why it is so essential for us to connect to the child within us, that part of us that like aboriginal people can feel him or herself to be connected to the earth and stars, that natural joyous spontaneous part of us which reaches out in love, does not take refuge from fear in separation, attack and killing off, that part of us that is open to all that we feel and all that we see and all that we know deep inside.  When this part is stolen or when it goes missing or is buried deep down inside, we lose so much of our essential connection to spirit, we lose our powerful rebel yell, we lose our joy, our hope, our strength, our power to say ‘No’ and we become immobilised and have difficulty moving with the feelings to flow forward in healing, instead blocking them or burying them.

What was being spoken of this morning in that interview really concerned that process.  The advice she gave was to find some way to be able to tell the story of what happened to us, to sing it, to write it, to paint it, even to dance it out.  These are all ways of ex – pressing of pressing the experience out and giving it some kind of shape and form outside the container of our body.

In true healing we open ourselves body, mind and soul to our story, to whatever pain arises, we welcome it in, we give it a place, we say to it “I see you, you are real”, but healing involves also the deep recognition that this pain is not ultimately stronger than the deeper spirit in us which can open to be its container and can become then too the releaser too of what ever pain, feeling or expression needs to be liberated in the singing, in the writing, in the telling, or in the dancing.  This to me is both the witnessing and the shedding which are such necessary parts of healing.

In another interview last night a video was aired of a young man who went through a very deep depression and recorded his raw pain one night alone on video on his computer in a Tennessee hotel room.  He felt the only way to go through that dark night was to express it, and to have no shame, but to be naked, raw and real.  The video was shown last night on the Australian Show The Project.  He has now started a movement called The Heart on Your Sleeve movement which is a kind of counterbalance movement towards the social media sharing of happy, shiney experiences.  It is a movement to encourage those who struggle to express the authenticity of their experience.

So many of are suffering not only due to ‘mental illness’ but more as a response to the trauma history of our collective which is now seeking understanding and expression.  As I see it there is a deeper movement going on.  Its beyond what I can express this morning in my blog and breakfast is calling, but I think it involves realising that we all suffer and feel vulnerable, that strength lies in sharing that vulnerability, in opening our hearts to the truth, in banding together to accept and love and show tolerance, compassion and understanding.  To begin to pay more attention to depth of our being than the mere superficiality of our at times empty  or pretence filled ‘over doing’.  And that perhaps this awakening happening on such a collective level shows that as a collective we are at an essential time of growth in recognition and understanding towards a necessary evolution of consciousness in which as we connect to truths in our own cells we also connect to the cells of mother earth and learn how the ways we seek to run, deny or numb our pain impact there in terms of mass consumption and overriding of those indigenous cultures who have so much to teach us about how we could reconnect to nature within and without.  Its just a thought I will leave you with as I go off to get breakfast.

A voracious inner critic : some reflections on self judgement

I seem to have a very tenacious and resilient inner judge living deep inside my psyche.  When I personify this force it becomes a ‘he’ though I am sure the things that judge or Mr A as I used to like to call him says are actually an amalgam of things said to me in childhood more by the nuns at my Catholic school than my parents alone.  The nuns were actually female, but come to think of it most of them were squashed in their true deep vibrant sexually alive feminine, really.

I was discussing this in therapy with Katina yesterday.   Mr A runs an ongoing commentary on everything I do, casting his wet blanket on it.   For example, last night after a very emotional session with Katina where I read her a blog I wrote on Monday about memories and deep emotions that were coming up for me this week over the loss of my life in England many years ago I wrote a poem Goodbye to the Meadows.  Immediately after I published it the criticism from Mr A rained down.    “Do you think you are going to get any likes on that poem which is full of sentimental nostalgia for things long gone by, things lost that you can never have again?”  “And in any case don’t you think you are romanticising everything?” “For God’s sake the past is gone, you will never get it back!”  Thanks Mr A for your compassionate support and I am grateful for your healthy dash of realism, but!

Surprise, surprise.  After walking back to the shopping centre after dropping my car off for a service I opened my email to find 8 likes on my post which I read back and just seemed to be a very heartfelt expression of the sadness I felt yesterday and the tears of longing and love shed for our narrow long backyard with a Walnut tree at the end which looked over fields and was home to various wildlife, including squirrels and robins, all gorgeous little creatures we don’t see much in Australia.  Why did the inner critic have to give me such a hard time?

Come to think of it, though I am only one of the millions or others who probably suffer at the hands of these kind of inner voices.   I am not entirely sure but I feel that on some level this voracious inner critic tries to keep us safe in some sad or deeply confused way. If he can beat us up before others do maybe we won’t hurt so much if we get outside criticism.

One of his favourite things to say is this:  “Just you watch out that you don’t get too big for your boots, young missy.”   As a dramatic and open child who was very expressive and loving I didn’t really meet much support of those kind of qualities in my own family.  And at our dour Catholic school you were more than likely to get a harsh rap over the knuckles if you let yourself get carried away or showed too much initiative.  I remember once getting a bollocking from Sister Rita for daring to go to the cupboard and open a new box of tissues.  With a face red from hyperventilating she screamed at me.  “You are bold as brass, Miss Willemsen, bold as brass!”  As a youngster her reaction surely showed I was a sinner who must work hard to erase such behaviour.  She struck the fear of God into me and I learned to try to hide my initiative and motive pretty much from there on in.

A key dream that I had just before my ex husband and I decided to return to Australia from the UK in late 2001, after my older sister came to grief and my mother had a bad fall fracturing her wrist was one in which I found myself outside a classroom being asked to rescue a class of children who were being held in stocks by a huge old nun with a big bunch of keys hanging off the belt on her skirt.  In the dream my fear got the better of me and the dream ended before I could make the necessary rescue.  We went back to Oz, even though by then I was truly regretting my decision to return.  I am still in Australia after two attempts to get back to the UK, the last of which ended in a massive head injury.

Planet of communications Mercury is apparently currently in a long drawn out conjunction with the planet of individuation and liberation from repression Uranus at present and I have noticed a distinct elevation of my mood and thoughts over this past week.  I seem not to be as stuck in things.  It’s no wonder all of these issues are coming up at present for me.  My psyche is trying to break out of something and I am being shown the path of the past 16 years since (can it really be that long) where I was led on what seems often to me to be like a massive regression.

Carl Jung often talked of the regression which serves the needs of the deeper Self whose needs and agenda lie far beyond or beneath our conscious will and ego objectives.   And it appears to me that in some way I am being asked to rephrase things and find deeper meanings than the inner critic can provide.  The critic thinks its keeping us safe but really its perspective can be deeply limited at times.  At other times it may give us really valid and useful information.  However it is also so important that we allow a voice to the inner nurturer who can provide us with essential qualities of self compassion and acceptance and counter the destructive voice of the critic that wants to shame us and lay everything to waste, most especially joy!

For me I wish the critic would get off my back and l will continue to fight to free my self expressive voice.  The Moon’s nodes are moving back into Leo and Aquarius.  With the North Node in Leo we are being called to embrace and express our deep inner creative self outside restrictive more’s of societal convention.  We need our wild voice and our sad voice and our guilty voice and our triumphant voice.   We need to embrace all of our disparate parts and give birth to the witness who in standing firmly at the inner centre of our Self can embrace all, express all, contain all and transform all with a radiant love that allows our unique being to coalesce into a rich multifaceted prism : a kaleidoscopic lens through which we can transform and re-envision our lives and world.

 

The freedom of being allowed to know and express our feelings

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I am always so grateful when those who have suffered as children are able to vent their very real feelings.  The post I wrote last night about strong feelings was really provoked by Summer sharing hers in her own post.   Reading it made me realise how important it is, in terms of recovery from abuse and neglect that we can recognise and own our feelings.  It often appears to me that in society at large people are often mocked, shamed, rejected, diminished or invalidated, either that or we are given some reason why we had to go through them and how it was all a learning experience and we should just shift our focus to something else and be grateful.

And it is true that there is a certain point in our recovery where its best if we shift our energy into positive channels, but I often think if we are continuing to dwell on past pain there may have been a reason, in terms of us not having fully processed or been able to resolve the hurt.

My own mother has often said to me “for God’s sake haven’t you let that go yet?” and the reason I haven’t let it go is that it hasn’t let go of me yet and I haven’t been apologised to. The other night my mother had to apologise to me for behaving badly,  I knew she was stressed about other things and had enough empathy and emotional insight to know it wasn’t all about me, and she admitted as much when she phoned me later to apologise.  I forgave her but I had still had a major panic attack after the episode and my head was full of thoughts of what a ‘loser’ I was.  This incident showed me how deeply I have been effected by being left all alone with big feelings and having so little help to deal with them.  I think it is one of the major reasons I turned to alcohol and drugs in my late teens along with all the insecurity I was carrying about.

I am becoming more and more aware too that my parents also must have struggled with strong feelings.  My Mum could fly into a frenzy or a rage at times and I am aware of that in the mornings when my anxiety can some times be high and I feel an urge to push, push, push which isn’t about reality or the present, but instead about past trauma energy I carry.  This is when I need to sit quietly with my breath or ask myself if there really is any hurry or emergency.  I am also aware more and more now of the anxiety that underlay that in my Mum, my Dad on the other hand would detach and remove himself to get out of the line of fire but that left the rest of us alone a lot of the time.  I notice this same tendency to take himself away in older brother and his niece was talking the other day about her own tendency to disengage.   To me it all speaks of a fear of and difficulty in dealing with feelings.

Children by their very nature experience strong feelings.  For a baby who as yet lacks the power of a functioning ego/mind or words for feelings, feelings just exist as very strong body sensation and it is believed that some babies feel more intensity of feelings.   I ask myself is it that they are born this way or is it that some babies have stronger feelings because their parents struggle to contain them and reflect them back due to their own issues with strong feelings.  So much of how we react and respond to others comes our of our own history stored in our body/mind.

Intensity of feeling and emotional hypersensitivity is a big issue in so called ‘borderline’ conditions and I can see it in bi polar conditions as I have had two sister’s diagnosed with this in the past. And the intensity of these feelings are real.  Also if we have lost contact with strong feelings due to addictions or minimisation or invalidation in the course of our healing as our true feelings begin to unpack and unthaw they are going to be intense at first.  We may most likely shame ourselves for having them or be shamed by others.  This is one of the problem of some 12 step groups which don’t have an intelligent, aware mediator.  I have personally been shut down at an Al Anon meeting and it was really wrong and very damaging.  I didn’t go back and my breast cancer developed over that time.  One of the women in the group was very sanctimonious and obviously had never fully dealt with her strong feelings towards her own alcoholic parent.

Alice MIller

Add to this that our feelings and emotions are so much connected to our true spirit or spiritual self. To me a spiritual awakening isn’t a lofty thing that isn’t of this world, its about coming home to our bodies and knowing that who we are and what we feel makes perfect sense.  There is a degree of containment in this process for lacking containment we can tend to lash out or act out our wounded feelings but even this may be necessary at first.  This is why so many of us need a good therapist, support people and others who will provide this containment, empathy and validation for us and help us strengthen the trust in what we deep down know to be real and true.

When our spirits feel fully awake and alive we are at home in ourselves.  We trust how we feel.  We act on how we feel.  We find our voice and our truth.  We can speak up for ourselves.  We have better boundaries. We have more compassion for others and we are more able to protect ourselves from abuse.  All of this may not be possible if we don’t learn to take strong feelings seriously and incorporate then into our person and understand where they come from.

The capacity to understand and self soothe also means that in taking our feelings seriously we don’t have to magnify them by negative thoughts of ourselves and others and make our feelings and suffering worse.  We have permission to feel angry and upset and express those feelings, but not in a way that damages others for once we have learned to understand and contain our feelings and take them seriously we can use them kindly and skilfully, but with a far greater power and determination.  We can also take a deep breath.  We can ground.  We no longer feel so scattered, because we have learned to embrace within the circumference of ourselves all that our spirit feels, knows, has experienced, hates and loves and we can use this knowledge wisely.

Strong feelings

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Just some thoughts after reading about someone’s deep emotional pain as a response to overwhelming abuse.

Strong feelings don’t mean you are crazy.

Strong feelings don’t mean you are out of control.

Strong feelings result from intense experiences which overwhelmed you and which your soul intuitively rebelled against.

Strong feelings don’t make you ‘bad’.

Strong feelings are an indication that you may be getting very close to painful or intense realities or abuse that you endured.

Expect that when you have strong feelings that there are those out there who may not understand, who may try to invalidate you or shut you down, you don’t have to like it, and its likely it will anger you as well.

From my own experience strong feelings come out of a passionate response.  Often those who have them are judged or misunderstood.  A chiropractor who I sometimes see to help with my own intense body symptoms told me recently how what I choose to call ‘terminal coolness’ is a sad sort of social standard these days.  To be judged as ‘cool’ your responses need to be tempered and laid back but what is more likely is that you are just emotionally shut down.

Unfortunately shame is still very pervasive in our society.  Its used to keep people in line, to judge them and label them and put them in boxes.  It helps to bolster the egos of those who lay claim to the moral high ground and may rain down platitudes on your head that make no sense.

I personally now believe in trusting my strong feelings. There was a time when I really needed to act them out and they were super intense due to a lifetime of being mocked, judged, invalidated and stuffed down deep inside.  Over time my strong feelings have become less intense but I still say a silent ‘yes’ and feel an inner leap of joy when I see or hear someone express strong feelings that come deep out of their emotional core, for that person is then well on their way to healing, they have begun to be able to acknowledge painful emotional truths and their freedom and right to self expression has no longer been stolen.  The right to protest is so often taken from us in abuse. And to heal it needs to be validated and valued.

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