<![CDATA[Jeffrey Nord, MFT Marriage and Family Therapist - blog]]>Fri, 01 Nov 2019 13:45:24 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Do you fear your feelings?]]>Fri, 01 Nov 2019 07:00:00 GMThttp://jeffrey-nord.com/blog/do-you-fear-your-feelingsWHICH FEELINGS DO YOU FEAR?
When new clients come see me, many of them have a conscious or unconscious fear of feelings or of certain feelings.  These fears are normal and often grounded in bad childhood experiences with those feelings.  If you were teased for being sad and crying or punished for getting frustrated or angry as a child, your body and mind might react when you begin to feel those feelings as an adult. 

Did your family of origin struggle with jealousy, anger, guilt, remorse or possibly disappointment?  Whatever feelings your parents had trouble verbalizing and processing, will usually come with a little extra baggage for you.  As children we are comfortable with whatever our parents are comfortable with on an emotional level.  If parents rage when they are disappointed or avoid people they feel envious of, it sends a signal to the child that these emotional states are dangerous and to be feared or at least not spoken about.

A high EQ, or emotional intelligence, describes the ability for a person to name and physically experience the full range of emotional experiences. They feel and look guilty when they mess up, they feel and look remorseful when they have hurt someone, they feel and look sad when they are hurt, and they feel and look grateful when they say thank you.   Feelings aren’t facts, so allowing a feeling to have its beginning, middle, and end without judgement is a good way to stay up to date on what is going on within you. I call it eating your emotional broccoli.  We all know broccoli is healthy and good for us but we don't always feel like it.  Emotional processing or relationship repair feels that way for some people.

Lack of open communication around emotional vulnerabilities, constricts not only the couples interactions, but also each partner’s experiencing and processing of his or her own feelings.  Distressed partners hide their vulnerabilities not only from each other, but from themselves as well in that even experiencing such feelings becomes problematic and/or foreign to them.  Most partners therefore experience EFT as risky and anxiety provoking.  They face at least four fears.  These are:
  1. The fear of self-criticism, as in: “I hate this part of me, it’s pathetic.”
  2. The fear of revealing aspects of self that they are unsure of and uncomfortable with, as in: “I never felt this before, maybe I’m going crazy.”
  3. The dragon of facing the anticipated negative response of the other spouse, as in: “He’ll laugh at me, worse still, he’ll despise me.  He won’t want me to touch him.”
  4. The dragon of unpredictable change in a distressed but predictable relationship, as in: “I’m lost.  I feel like I don’t know you.  Who have I been with all these years and what do I do now?”
Adapted from  “The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy” by Susan M. Johnson