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I don’t know how to “feel” surten feelings

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  • #359410
    Merry
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: center;”>I perfectly understand why and how to express gratitude, hope, love, admiration etc. I just don’t know if they are real feelings that you can experience, and not just things that you do. Today I read description to word “appreciation”, and there was said that is manifested like a warm feeling in your gut, or butterflies or something like that. At that moment I understood that I have never felt anything of that sort, ever. I laugh, I feel fun, feel angry and act as an overall normal being. But here is this thing, that I just don’t understand…  Are there any exercises to make myself feel those things? Or it is normal for some people to feel like this…</p>
    It makes me feel frustrated and sad, because I know that I appreciate people around me and I am grateful. But at the same time I don’t feel it inside, and people around deserve better than just “thank you” or “forgive me” by default.

    #359433
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Merry:

    You wrote: “Today I read description to word ‘appreciation’.. a warm feeling in your gut, or butterflies.. I have never felt anything of that sort, ever. I laugh, I feel fun, feel angry.. Are there exercises to make myself feel those things? Or it is normal for some people to feel like this”?

    Combining what you shared here and in your previous thread last month, I figure the following: like any child you did experience warm feelings, like appreciation, but because your mother hurt your warm, soft, tender feelings (“my mother.. she has narcissistic personality disorder and manipulated me through childhood”), these warm, soft, tender feelings went into hiding.

    You are able to feel hard feelings (anger) and  emotional experiences that are not soft and tender, like fun and the following: “I feel guilt and disgust.. panic and fear.. depression”-

    – but the warm, soft and tender feelings are in hiding much of the time. Does this read true to  you? I will be glad to answer your  questions best I can after I get your response.

    anita

     

     

     

    #359490
    Merry
    Participant

    It is correct. I don’t know if my mum has something to do with this, but I can entertain this idea.

    I do have hard time experiencing things, even when I understand them. I can imagine that something requires a response, and act accordingly. I feel them in my mind, so to say… But there is no gut feeling, or chest feeling.

    It is like having no grief or sadness over loss, even though I understand what it takes or means.  When I say “I love you” or “I trust you” or ” thank you” I want to really feel them, not just say… I have loving, thankful people all around me, but the only thing I want is to reciprocate them on a deeper level.

    #359498
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Merry:

    “I don’t know if my mum has something to do with this”, that is, with you not feeling certain feelings: warm, soft, tender feelings.

    “I do have hard time experiencing things, even when I understand them.. even though I understand…I want to really feel”-

    In your previous thread you wrote: “my mother.. she has narcissistic personality disorder and manipulated me through childhood”- this piece of information: that your mother has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder,  it is information that you rationally understand, but you don’t understand it on the emotional level.

    If you understood it on the emotional level, you would know that it is impossible for a child to be manipulated her entire childhood by a narcissistic mother, and not be very significantly affected by this experience.

    I am guessing that you are still either living with your mother and/ or you are communicating with her regularly. To live with/ regularly communicate with a woman who hurt you so much and for so long, you have to keep your emotional understanding/ your warm, soft and tender feelings hidden below your awareness.

    What do you think about what you just read in my post, and what do you feel about it, if anything?

    anita

    #359501
    Merry
    Participant

    I do not communicate with her at all, I haven’t seen her for almost a year and our meeting was fleeting at best. I do understand that she had a lot of influence on my development as a person.  I have not felt those feelings even after I moved out from her, so I thought this is something normal.

    #359504
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Merry:

    I can relate to what you shared here. I too wasn’t able to feel those warm, soft, tender feelings. I wasn’t able to even after years of having no contact with my mother. What a surprise it was for me, to be able to feel these feelings without getting overwhelmed.

    In the past, if I felt a warm feeling for anyone, there was a lot of distress attached to the warm feeling, it made me so uncomfortable. Fast forward, I can feel a warm feeling, such as empathy and be okay feeling it. It is a different life experience, to be able to feel and be okay with feeling these warm, soft, tender feelings.

    Over time, I feel less and less anger and even fear, and more of these nice feelings.

    My healing started nine years ago in the context of my first quality psychotherapy (it lasted over two years). I don’t think you shared about having therapy yourself.. (?)

    Post again anytime, today, tomorrow, whenever you want and we can continue to communicate on the topic (or on any other topic)  for as long as you want to.

    anita

    #359519
    Merry
    Participant

    It’s not that I’m angry and sad all the time, these feelings are not prevalent in me as a person.

    I can say, that yesterday I felt a strong happiness for making my significant other happy. It went away, but it was gorgeous, not too overwhelming but sweet. I do not experience such thing all of the time towards him or even other people, and it makes me feel some kind of way. You can even say sad, but far more quiet.
    <p style=”text-align: center;”>I had therapy, but my mother ended it when doctor had a conversation with her about her influence on my mental health.</p>
    Also, I started to meditate before sleep and after waking up, and it makes me somewhat more understanding of things. Now I try not to give “default” responses, and really try to feel something like that from my experience and relate through it. Right now there’s not much things that changed, almost nothing.

     

    Also, thank you for listening…

    #359524
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Merry:

    You are welcome. Feelings are tricky- you can’t force them, they won’t listen to logic, and if you pressure yourself to feel this or that, they resist even more. Best thing when it comes to make a natural, unblocked flow of emotions possible is to not pressure yourself when it comes to feelings, not judging yourself negatively for failing to feel this or that, to keep yourself as relaxed as possible through a daily routine of exercise and guided meditation, which you started.

    If you attend psychotherapy in the future, it will be helpful to gain more insight regarding your mother’s affect on you as a child, and within the safe atmosphere of quality, professional therapy, you will feel safe enough to bring hidden or muffled emotions to your awareness, expressing these emotions to your therapist.

    In the context of this thread, you are welcome to post anytime. Maybe it will help you.

    anita

    #359579
    greenshade
    Participant

    Hi Merry,

    I relate to what you have shared as well. I still can’t always feel the warm feelings, but am putting down a few things that helped me feel them more.

    1. Movement while focusing on the breath – yoga and dance both really helped with this, but with teachers who are focused on creating a connection between mind, body and breath. I like yoga with Adrienne on youtube for this purpose.

    2. There are certain types of meditation practices that focus on cultivating soft qualities – compassion, joy, gratitude. Center for mindful self compassion has some links to practices. I did a course with one of their teachers in my city which really opened up my ability to have softer feelings for myself and others.

    3. Therapy

    4. Spending time with people (well 2 people) in close capacity who feel and express these softer feelings

    There were other things too, like inner child work which is hard for me to describe. But all of this is over a period 4 years, which is to say it takes time to break away the layers of defenses we have built up.

    With warmth,

    M

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