Diving Through the Wound

“I’ve diverted myself many times by becoming involved in what surrounds my pain or sadness, while never feeling the thing itself. So when someone asks me how I feel, I wind up retelling the circumstance of the pain, but not feeling it. Or strategizing what to do next, but not feeling it. Or anticipating reactions, but not feeling what is mine to feel. Or swimming in the anger of injustice, but not diving through the wound.

Though we fear it, feeling our feelings is the only clear and direct way to free our hearts of pain.” -Mark Nepo

I’ve taken up reading Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening again. Some old time readers will remember that his words were frequently quoted here because no matter the day I can always open it and find solace in his poetic wisdom. Today’s piece resonated with me because this is exactly what I am striving to do in therapy- feel the feelings. I am at the place in my “personal growth” where I can logically assess the WHY of my feelings. Most of the time I can tie them back from some pain from my relationship with my father. Like you need me to tell you that again. Sheesh, even I am sick of hearing about it. But the thing is, I can’t give up on delving into all the old hurts because in the delving I hope to recreate myself to some extent- to find peace, to let go, to just BE easier. And maybe not have to reference my shitty relationship with my dead father all the damn time.

Not that I am angry or anything.

Okay. I am. (Feeling the feelings.)

The part about “anticipating reactions but not feeling what is mine to feel” is so true for me it is painful to read. I have spent my life anticipating other people’s reactions because, hello, it is one of the  main job requirements of being the oldest child of an alcoholic. So I basically have the equivalent of a PhD in it.

Go me.

I do not want to be this way anymore but I do not know how to not be this way. This is why I go to therapy. To learn, then unlearn. Because if knowing is half the battle then I am only half-way there.

So if you need me, I’ll be here. . . feeling my way through.


30 thoughts on “Diving Through the Wound

  1. That is a very powerful quote. I do a lot of covering over and just moving on without delving into how certain things really make me feel. For the past two years I have been really trying to feel my feelings as they happen to me. Sometimes it makes me feel like I cry more than anyone else on the planet, but after I do always feel better. Whereas when I shut down and stuffed those feelings away I was depressed all the time and on a lot of meds. So I think if crying over everything is the worst thing I do. I can deal with it. Good luck on the next chapter of your journey and I think I speak for many of your readers when I say I am never tired of reading what you have to say. If you want to write about something you should write about it. Who cares if it’s something you’ve gone over before. Sometimes we need to really get things all the way out before we can begin healing and feeling better. It helps to have people there cheering you on through it.

  2. Feel, cry, get angry, scream, laugh. It’s always good to feel. It’s when you are numb to everything that it becomes scary.

    Best of luck to you my dear. You will get through this. And as always, lost of hugs to you.

  3. feeling my feelings is something I’m struggling with/working on too. I get it. I might have to seek out that book – the quote resonates so…

  4. So long as we take our past relationships and learn from them, we will be in a better place tomorrow. Sizzle, you are an inspiration to all of us to make each day a little better.

  5. Oh yeah–I forgot that I got that book for Christmas 2 years ago. I should probably pick it up again. 😉
    It is hard to return to your own feelings when you are so used to taking care of/being in tune with those of others. And then sometimes it is really, really painful to feel like that again when you’ve historically shut that part of yourself down.
    I wish you the very best in your journey. Do not forget how far you’ve come!

  6. This is such an interesting thought. I don’t think the whole feel the feelings thing has occurred to me before, at least not as such. Good luck! I think knowing what you need to do is half the battle.

  7. That is really a profound quote. I think (if I’m understanding it correctly) that most of us are guilty of this. When I face something traumatic, I find myself stepping outside and looking in. No feeling. I detach as a means of survival… and then months, years later… whamo. I dont know. Maybe that isnt at all what you’re talking about. But I wish you the best in sorting this out, I always admire your ability to be introspective. If anyone can tackle this, you can.


  8. I struggle with feeling my feelings often. I am going to put that book on my wishlist for sure.

    I am thinking good thoughts for you still.

  9. Thanks for sharing that quote. Those are many of the same issues I am facing in therapy as well. Finally, after almost a year of therapy I bawled during a session, and my therapist was elated. Me, I was frustrated and exhausted, but saw it as progress and moving past intellectualizing my feelings. Yay, me! (?)
    It is not easy unlearning habits and patterns learned over 35 years, but surely there has to be a better way. At least that is what I keep telling myself…Good luck.

  10. Just to make you laugh…

    “I feel your pain.” Say this outloud in a Bill Cliton voice with your arm outstretched and hand gesture similiar to a thumbs up.

    Hope it makes you laugh. If not…next time you get a noogie!

    We’re all here for you.

  11. I hope you find a way to accept yourself the way you are (beautiful inside and out). It’s something we all need, to be able to grow and be loved. You do what you need, and we’ll be here if you need us.

  12. I absolutely love this post — but I’m struggling to digest it. I’m going to keep reflecting on it, though, and see where I end up. Right now I have this thought: I have a shitty relationship with my ALIVE alcoholic father and because I’m tired of it, of thinking about it, of the complications of it, of the feelings associated with it, I’ve put it aside. (In fact, I now categorize it as shitty because it’s non-existent at my action.) Clearly, I’m running from it. The notion of delving into it so I can recreate myself is foreign to me. What would that look like? What would I look like? You’ve given me so much food for thought.

  13. Wanting to feel the feelings is a very brave thing to do. For that alone, you should be proud of yourself Sizzle! And no, I’m not just blowing sunshine :o) I am quite the opposite…I feel the feelings too much. Sometimes it’s almost suffocating, and I wish I could turn them off and not feel anything. But then I think it’s no good to let them build up inside.

    Feeling the feelings will be good for you. I’m sure it’s going to be a long journey for you but it sounds like you have great family and friends…..and US to be here for you if/when you need to vent and feel!

  14. i understand where you are right now. after 40 yrs., i’m finally coming to grips w/ my anger and resentment with both my parents.

    my kids will be doing the same years from now because of me.

  15. Wow, yeah. We anticipate, we avoid, we side step, we pretend all is well…because when we start to “feel” it, it can feel like we are caught in the mud like for forever, with no escape. Feeling what I did made me have to look at things honestly over recent years, but even as I look at them and talk about “how I am feeling” in exploration? I sometimes wonder, if it is okay that I do. I wonder why we wonder if it’s “okay” to feel what we do?(Why the hell do we need permission, when tons of other people are in the world irresponsibly feeling whatever??) ahem.

    It took me awhile to let go and realize, I wouldn’t get caught in the mud of feeling-it forever.Still working on the latter part of the equation tho, and still trying to dissassemble all the why’s. I like you, because you are candid and brave in expressing yourself, and yet also not afraid to quote and get help either. People like you help me feel it’s okay to just be Me. 🙂 You are okay to be You too. Truly.

  16. I’m pretty good at bottling stuff up, but eventually it all comes pouring back out. The more you can keep your feelings felt, and in the here and now, the more it helps in the long run to prevent any major breakdowns over little things. Good luck, and I hope it helps you learn/feel you way to a new place in life.

  17. I had a creative writing teacher who said that people are pretty much destined to write the same story over and over again (even if they think they’re starting a new one each time) until they get it right. My therapist agreed. So keep delving, lady. It’s part of a good process.

  18. I’ll forgoe the typical humor attempt by me for once and sincerely say I’m way too out of touch with my feelings. I could probably learn something from that book.

  19. Dontcha just love therapy? It does help to sit with the pain and the anger. I remember my counselor telling me to do that – and to pay attention to how long it took for the feeling to pass. The more I did it, the faster I’d get through it. It was sort of an interesting exercise.

  20. It’s a tough journey. Your last line really hit me, you don’t want to be this way, but you don’t know how to NOT be this way. Sometimes it’s just taking a deep breath and starting from exactly where you are right now. Make small changes, notice things. Reach out to friends and lean into our energy when it gets hard. You have many that care for you, we won’t let you fall.

  21. I think it is hard for most of us to feel the feelings and then if we do we tend to get stuck there. It takes self awareness, and that is something you are not lacking :-). For me, I have let go of all the hurtful memories from my childhood as I found that delving into it just kept me in that place, you already know why you are the way you are, right? However, you must do what you feel is right. Big hugs and much love.

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