Trauma Therapy Session 5: post session day 6 . Facing into the “bad” feelings.

I have learnt over the last couple of months my emotional processing power has been subdued. It has never really reached a normal level of functioning, forced aside by the desire to avoid at all costs the trauma of the past.

In this latest session we talked about an event and I thought it would be helpful to reflect on what negative emotions came up. It would probably help you to understand the context of what we were talking about, but it is still a little hard to articulate. Even in writing which often comes more naturally for me. So I am sorry dear reader you will just have to know this event was a really hard one, it did involve mum and it left me carrying all sorts of horrid feelings, well more burying rather than carrying.

Fear

An easy one to identify. In that moment as a child I was petrified. Afraid of the situation I had previously been in, afraid of the moment I was stuck in then and afraid of what was to come. In hindsight it is a really hard spot to be afraid of your past, present and future.

Hopeless

The fear probably lead to the hopelessness. That sense that I could see no way out. There was no good next step. No obvious safe escape. Of the myriad of options I considered none of them would give me the outcome I wanted. For everyone to be happy and safe.

Guilt/ Shame

This was one of the less obvious emotions. I felt guilty. I felt awful that in the exact moment of this particular event mum was just being a typical mum. She was being kind, it was me that desperately wanted her to go away, to not be there. I felt like I should have hugged her back. I should have responded like most kids would have, even though my circumstances were very different.

Trapped

I felt trapped. Stuck in a strange situation with no escape. For so many reasons, my lack of authority as a child, my lack of ability to physically fight back, my inability to articulate the world I found myself in or my wants, the fear of making things worse or getting something wrong. All this result in one reality, the one I was stuck in.

How to process emotions

I think I get now why I was drawn to that one event. I think it was an example of all the challenges I faced in one. It demonstrated every negative feeling I have longed to avoid. I wanted to write it down partly to solidify my own thinking, partly because we live in a society which draws very black and white lines around what is a good or bad emotion and we need to accept bad emotions are not simply bad. Sometimes they are necessary or even helpful.

We all have reasons to feel negative emotions, we need to learn to accept them, to understand they have a part to play. Not to avoid them and so I wanted to stop avoiding them and share with you.

I also came across another helpful video to shed some light on negative emotions…

Just know that is ok to feel down, afraid, hopeless… sometimes. It fact it is healthy. It is how we process and work through those emotions which matters.

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