Emotional Processing

I’ve noticed in recent months that there are some emotions I don’t process quickly. This has been true for some time – years certainly. Before that, I think I just didn’t get round to feeling them at all. I don’t tend to become cross or upset in the situation causing it. I can have a rapid response with a panic trigger, but often in the short term with those I just freeze.

It can take me a few days to work out that I feel cross, hurt, upset, unfairly treated, let down and things of that ilk. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with the realisation – I suspect the unconscious parts of my mind are better at processing this. During the figuring out process, I have tended to spend time asking if my response is fair and reasonable. Am I over-reacting? Should I be more understanding of the situation? Is it ok, and is it safe, to express distress?

I’m now questioning that fundamental issue of whether my responses are justifiable. I recognise it comes from times when I would have to justify my emotional responses – usually to someone who was not going to be persuaded of the validity of my feelings.

It’s a significant thing for me to have got to the point of saying I do not have to justify how I feel. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone and I do not need anyone’s permission for my emotional responses. I may need space and distance to feel safe with my own emotions, I’ll give that whatever room it needs. I don’t have to make sense to anyone else. I don’t have to be reasonable. If I feel something as a consequence of my history, it is valid, even if it makes little sense in the context.

With hindsight I can see that not being allowed my own emotional responses cost me a great deal in terms of sense of self. It cost me self-esteem, confidence and feelings of personhood. These experiences taught me to mistrust myself, and to surrender authority to others. To be the kind of person whose emotional responses are preposterous, unfounded, and who needs putting straight about it is to be treated as immature and childish. It is to be invalidated. I would not, I realise, even treat the emotions of a very small child having a tantrum with the same disregard and belittling that’s been shown me in the past.

To feel on your own terms is to be properly a person. To be able to express something of those feelings is a measure of being safe. To have those feelings taken seriously is a measure of being loved, respected and valued.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

6 responses to “Emotional Processing

  • David

    “I do not have to justify how I feel. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone and I do not need anyone’s permission for my emotional responses.”

    Just wow, yeah.

  • Labrys

    I often think I am a sort of freak – btw I am pretty alright with this by this stage of life. I lived as a child always under threat – like you not allowed my own emotions – but under physical duress. But I did feel them, true and hot. I simply hid them well enough to not be beaten – I had an excellent poker face. The downside in one sense is that I promised myself when I left my abusive home, I would not hide my feelings any more. There was along period of awkwardness while I learned to show them without being a volcano, haha!

    • Nimue Brown

      it is no small achievement to keep your sense of self though that kind of experience.

      • Labrys

        I am not sure anymore – I think it was a sort of fatalism on my part, not necessarily a strength. I was pretty sure I was losing, and as the old trite but went – decided to do it on my feet. To this day of course, I live with anxiety and a sense of expected rejection. Yes, lol, I “kept” my sense of self – but it is a scarred self all the same.

  • eberis

    I want you to know I have stress this week because the local Army type woke me up on Monday and said this week make pay grade [(with a number)] crm2://:JenLivi:’weed.info’:skype✌ internet . I am vocifering my interest in campaign of unpolitical reguard to the sense of psychadelic counter culture getting I enjoy the affiliate of blogging to a game streaming service called twitch.tv . my joke is the Meta should see filter of sharing of data center . I hope you understand Otay¡ Cloud Druid adept geom£ eberis nPax . that’s all . Peace to you .

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