The emotional garbage can

After a long talk with my shrink at my last appointment, we decided it would be beneficial to get back into regular therapy for at least a little while to work on my self-esteem issues. I was terrified of the prospect, but I know that it will help, so here we go.

Had my first appointment this week. One of the first things that we talked about was how I let the logical side of my brain rule over everything because that’s what makes sense to me, and I stuff my emotions down into a garbage can so I don’t have to deal with them.

Ok, accurate.

When I was growing up any time I showed any kind of emotion – mainly negative, but a lot of positive too – I was told I was volatile and that I needed to be in better control of my emotions. Even in situations where emotions would be normal, I often had to tamp them down or “hold it together” for the family. Ahhhh that good old Catholic upbringing.

At the same time, I was never allowed to celebrate my successes – the family could, but if I did it was seen as ego as pride. And when my family did celebrate, it came off more as “look at how wonderful we’re doing as parents/grandparents/family” rather than “we’re so proud at what she’s accomplished.” But oh, those failures. You can bet your butt that I had to own those failures. They were mine and mine alone.

Social media and my family has also been a big problem over the years. My family posts everything on Facebook, from what they’re eating, to any random thought that comes into their head, to posts that are clearly meant to garner attention and sympathy. I haven’t been a fan of social media for a long time, and over the last six months I never use Facebook, and tend to stick to sporadic Instagram (mainly use it to send funny or interesting things to my husband or a friend of mine), Reddit (if you can really count that), and the occasional Twitter. This pisses my family off because they can’t tag me in things, and I have put a hard ban on anything personal about me being posted. I didn’t talk to my mother for a month a few years ago because she posted that I was ill and in the hospital. My feeling is that my business is my business. It’s not her business to share, and if I want it put out there, I will. We have mutual friends on Facebook, so I hear pretty quickly if they post anything about me, but they’ve learned. I want nothing on the internet that I don’t control.

But anyway, back to the point. Emotions. Between this kind of upbringing and my background in science that taught us to put aside emotion and stick to the facts. Identifying and letting myself really experience a full range of emotions is weird. Unnatural to me. One of the things he has me doing is I statements. Such as “I feel _____ when _____ because _____.” So far I’m just keeping a list on the notes app on my phone, but I told Mike about it and told him occasionally I would share these with him and not to look at me like I’m a total loon if I make that kind of statement.

So yeah. There we are.

And that’s it for this week. I’ve got a few ideas I’m tossing around for next week, so look for something early in the week.


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