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Post Info TOPIC: Book Study: Codependent No More - Chapter 13


Guru

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Book Study: Codependent No More - Chapter 13
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I have a bit of an odd practice to do this ... feel my feelings.  I am a logic driven person.  I was raised to not feel.  Even in recovery I can say out loud "I am mad, sad ... blah blah blah" but I don't truly accept it, feel it, deal with it.  I "logic" it.

I found the answer and it has been ... well pretty damned painful if you want to know the truth.  But so liberating.  I have done support groups, therapy ... shared with a partner all my deepest secrets ...  but this was the one place I had never truly gone.

I sit in front of a mirror and look myself in the eye and face my feelings.  Nothing even comes close.  Ever tried to just sit quietly in front of a mirror and look yourself in the eye?  Then be able to think or say out loud "He left and I feel ..." or "The dog passed and I feel ..."  or "He has cancer and I feel" ...  And FEEL it.  Feel less than and betrayed.  Feel guilty.  Feel despair.  Then look at it.  Look at reality and MY actions taken to date and what I will do in the future.  What feelings am I having that are real and what are stories inside my head.  I can talk until I am blue in the face.  I can cry, share, admit, say I accept ... but it wasn't true until I truly, literally faced myself in the mirror.

It is fantastic and works like nothing else for me.  I exercise, write, talk, share ... it all helps ... but this act for me is drastic and extremely effective.



-- Edited by willing on Friday 27th of January 2012 09:51:34 AM

__________________

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.   ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~St. Francis of Assisi



Guru

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feel your own feelings

"When I repress my emotions, my stomach keeps score ..." ~ John Powell

Codependents often turn their feelings off to avoid pain, to protect ourselves.  Perhaps our family system doesn't allow us to express our feelings, so we never learn.  It may even be dangerous for us to express ourselves.  Sometimes we run from our feelings because we don't want to face reality or the fact that we may have to change.  All the while we are caught up and feeling responsible for everyone else's feelings. 

The author tells how when first in recovery every answer she received to questions and hardships was "Deal with your feelings".

So how important are feelings?

"Feelings are not the end all and be all to living.  Feelings must not dictate or control our behaviors, but we can't ignore our feelings either.  They won't be ignored."

"Our feelings are very important.  They count.  They matter.  The emotional part of us is special.  If we make feelings go away, if we push them away, we lose an important part of us and our lives."

Feelings are a good indicator of where we are in our lives, either good or bad.  Feelings can be a sign of a problem we have to face, internal or external.  Our fear can protect us and our anger can motivate us to change.  Our feelings can help us get to know ourselves better if we pay attention to them.  They are connected to our intuition and instinct.

We can get stuck in our emotions.  Anger can fester into resentments, sadness into depression.  But denying our feelings can have even worse consequences.  It can cause physical ailments or compulsive or addictive behaviors.  Repressed feelings don't go away, they linger and can even grow over time.  They can come out at times and ways we don't want them to, directed at undeserving people or things.  With the repression of feelings we also lose the joy in our lives.  We lose touch with our
instincts and what they are telling us about our lives and our environment. 

"And if we don't deal with our feelings we don't change and we don't grow.  We stay stuck."

We need to feel our feelings.  It is ok to feel.  Feelings are not acts or personality traits.  We do not need to wallow in our feelings for hours.  We can learn to let the energy happen, pass through us, and accept them.  Then we deal with the feeling, deciding how to respond.  We use our new tools to evaluate what we are feeling, if it is in line with reality, and what actions we need to take - if any.  If it is a really strong emotion and the thoughts of a radical reaction are the result, perhaps wait a day and let things settle down.

"Our feelings don't need to control us.  Just because we're angry, we don't have to scream and hit.  Just because we're sad or depressed, we don't have to lie in bed all day.  Just because we're scared, doesn't mean we don't apply for that job.  I am not in any way implying or suggesting we allow our emotions to control our behaviors.  In fact, what I am saying is the opposite: if we don't feel our feelings and deal with them responsibly, they will control us.  If we are dealing with our emotions responsibly, we submit them to our intellect, our reason, and our moral and behavior code of ethics."

We need to examine our thinking and how it is affecting our feelings.  If we stay in disaster thinking, it is going to make us feel bad.  If we look at our thinking and see that it is inappropriate and making us feel negative emotions we can change.  Sometimes we need to discuss our emotions with others.  When others accept us it is easier for us to accept ourselves. 

"The following things help me get in touch with my feelings: physical exercise, writing letters I don't intend to send, talking to people I feel safe with, and spending quiet time in meditation."

Activity

1.  Read through your journal writings.  What emotions were squeaking or pouring out as you wrote?

2.  Let's play a "what if" game.  What if you could be feeling anything you wanted right now, and feeling that way wouldn't make you a bad person.  What would you be feeling?  Write about it.

3.  Find someone who is safe, a good listener, accepting, and nonrescuing, and begin honestly and openly discussing your feelings with that person.  Listen to that person's feelings without judgement or caretaking gestures.  This is nice, isn't it?  If you don't know anybody you feel safe doing that with, join a support group.



__________________

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.   ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~St. Francis of Assisi

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