Avoiding Feelings ~ The Root Cause


Avoiding Feelings and emotions

A couple of days ago, I was just about to declare that I was having a bad day and as I heard the thought forming in my head, I got thinking about it. I was not actually having a bad day; I was feeling feelings that I don’t like feeling. All my life I was taught that my feelings were wrong. As a result of that, I thought my fear was misplaced and that I misunderstood whatever or whoever I was afraid of. I was told that if I didn’t stop crying that I would be given something to cry about. I was told not to be sad, not to be angry and the eventual result was that I tried not to feel. You could say that I was encouraged not to feel. You could even say that I learned not to feel. ~ I found ways not to feel. I used food, I used alcohol and I used drugs so that I would not have to feel. I used men, and “falling in love” so that I did not feel. I created drama and excitement; I used books and movies so that I could avoid feeling those feelings. When things got really tough, I used dissociation and depression, all so that I could avoid feeling and dealing and all because I did not know the truth in the first place. My moods depended on circumstances. I was emotionally immature because I learned to avoid feeling. There was no peace and no serenity.

 And now I am feeling…  and sometimes I am not comfortable with it. I have spent a lifetime trying to avoid certain feelings so it is actually understandable that it is still difficult, uncomfortable and unfamiliar to finally allow myself to feel them.

I decided to take a look at the feelings that were coming up and FEEL them. It was horrible.  I decided to spend some time on the phone with a friend and TALK about them. I took a close look at what I was thinking and I looked at it from a couple of different angles. I like the view from the bottom of the mountain looking up and I also like to go up to the top of the mountain and look down. Both views are interesting and both reveal different information.  I realized some thinking patterns that were left over from the old days. The old days were the days when I believed all the lies and blamed myself for everything that was going wrong in everyone’s life. If someone near to me was not happy, it must be something that I’ve done, and since I caused it, I should try to fix it. 

In my victim mentality I had adopted the belief that I was the problem and it was familiar for me to go into a spin about why someone else was in a bad mood, or even just sad. Trying to figure out what was bothering them sent me into a spin trying to figure out all the things that I may have done, or neglected to do that might have set them off. I had to learn to recognize when I was in that spin before I could learn how to head it off. I learned how to head it off by realizing the truth ~ which is that I am NOT the cause of all struggle or strife. Learning to stay out of that spin was not easy for me. For years I said cute little sayings like “I am not powerful enough to wreck your day” or “I am not that important” but it wasn’t that easy to actually understand those kinds of sayings and I really did believe that I was the problem. The belief that I was the problem didn’t come from ego it came from abuse. It came from being told over and over in so many subtle ways, that the problem was me, so the only way that I could accept that I was NOT the problem was to find out where the belief came from, and change it. That process was long and involved.  

I had to dig down to the roots of how I came to believe that everything was my fault and my problem to solve, before I could see that everything was not my fault and that I was not the cause of someone’s bad mood or difficult day. When I was telling myself that believing I was the problem came out of my ego, I concentrated on being less important, which actually was the cause of the whole problem in the first place! I was so busy being all things to all people that I never considered my own needs or feelings! It was only when I got all the garbage out of the way, and looked at one root at a time, that I was able to sort this stuff out and learn the truth about my value and how much power I do or don’t have in other people’s lives.

Because I was willing to feel these feelings, and work through this process, I was able to realize that once again had been willing to take ownership and responsibility for the feelings of an unhappy person in my life and I was able work through how much (if any) I had actually contributed to the distress. Once I sorted that out, the feelings that I was trying to escape from were no longer an issue.

In my next post I am going to expand on how all of this had such a big hand in letting other people define me.

Exposing truth one snapshot at a time,  

Darlene Ouimet

41 response to "Avoiding Feelings ~ The Root Cause"

  1. By: DXS Posted: 17th July

    My mom is just a scared little woman. Yet, why can’t she apologize to me? Why can’t she give me a real apology, not a “one size covers all the bases” apology?

    This post describes me. When I was dating, if the guy I was dating was having a bad day, somehow I felt I *had* to make him feel better. It was my responsibility.

    I’m reading Darlene’s stuff, and I “get it” intellectually, but I’m having trouble internalizing it. I have to get this in my soul and believe it.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th July

      It takes time for the fog to lift. When we are young we HAVE to have that fog, it is how we survive. And it ‘feels’ like without that survival mode, we might actually ‘die’ so for me I was very afraid to ‘see the truth’. I was afraid of the pain and deeply feared that they might have been right about me… that this was all my own fault. I have never met anyone who actually deserved the treatment dished out though. When we look at things through different eyes, it gets easier.
      hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Tracie Hunter Posted: 17th July

    Hello Darlene,

    OMG,I cannot thank you enough for doing what you do. I stumbled upon your website quite by accident (then again, maybe not). You have given voice to the issues and pain that have been life-long struggles for me. It has only been within the last five years (I’m now 47) that I started to get the sneaking suspicion that maybe I wasn’t the problem. Thanks to you it’s no longer a suspicion. As long as I continued to see myself as the problem, I could never really own my truth or pain because I was always giving someone else the benefit of the doubt — namely my mother! She NEVER did the same for me. Your website completely pulled the sheet off of any lingering doubts that I was the “problem.” I now finally understand the pattern of one-sided relationships that have plagued my life. All of this was my mother’s legacy — the one I never asked to be heir to. She has NEVER, NEVER taken responsibility for any of the rotten things she’s done or allowed to be done to me over the years. She never once apologized even when it was 100% unmistakably clear that SHE was at fault. She still found a way to blame me. Her attitude was and still is “if you are jacked up, it’s your own fault” after all “I did the best I could.” Funny, I used to believe that crap. History, however, does not bear witness to her doing the best she could. My mother was a drunken, raging, mean and cold woman who still seriously believes that I should let bygones be bygones. She’s dying and expects that I should spend whatever time SHE has left, being her caretaker (in a way I am. I’m checking her home, paying her bills, etc.) For years I refused to see and accept how mean and hateful she has been to me. I felt so guilty for thinking those things about my “poor” mother (I’m feeling disloyal for sharing those thoughts right now). However, I am slowly coming to the realization that no one ever said “poor” Tracie, even though there many witnesses to my mistreatment over the years. I’ve already spent far too many of my precious years among the living dead. I know that I’ve only just recently emerged from the FOG, but for the first time in a long while, I feel hopeful about the future.

    With all of this said,the realization that she’s dying still makes me sad. Does this mean I’m crazy?

    Gratefully yours, Tracie

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th July

      Hi Tracie
      ( I wrote a post called “they did the best they could according to who??)
      I totally relate to your comments too! And NO you are not crazy at all. There is something about the hope of finally having a mothers love that doesn’t quit very easily. I was raised to believe that if only I just tried harder to gain that love, to deserve that love that I would BE loved. And that is the lie right there. It was hard to realize that it was never about me in the first place. glad to hear that you have hope!!
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Sam Posted: 6th November

    Hi Darlene I grew up in a household of suppressed feelings. The big one was not crying; mother had such a bee in her bonnet about the kids next door who were “such crybabies, always crying”, she found it contemptible and a sign of weakness. I soon realised that not only was it a good idea to not cry, I found if I fell over and didn’t cry mother gave me a grudging acceptance, (there was no love in my family so acceptance was the best I could hope for). Any crying I did had to be done in the privacy of my bedroom and as I got older, if I was slapped I would not cry as I did not want to give her the satisfaction that she’d hurt me, (the same with bullies at school). Now I’m adult I find I can’t cry in front of people as I feel too vulnerable and since I’ve started this healing process I often feel like I need to cry but it won’t come which is very uncomfortable. Another suppressed feeling was anger, any anger was only aimed at me, not other adults so I can’t handle conflict either, I get a strong urge either to raise my arms to protect myself or to run away. I can’t express anger properly either so fume instead.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th November

      Hi Sam
      I can relate; I had a lot of trouble crying and sometimes I needed to cry so bad that I would watch a tear jerker movie by myself so I could get a few tears out. I still have trouble in this area but I have been able to keep going forward anyway. I can’t cry in front of anyone else either. Well I can shed like one or two tears but thats it; I hate that but it is true for me. I also could not express anger before but I can now. I had to validate that I even had a right to BE angry before I was able to even look at it.
      Thanks for sharing, it gets better and easier as long as we try to go forward!
      Hugs Darlene

  4. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th June

    Hi Cat
    Please don’t take it personally when I don’t answer a comment. I can’t keep up with all of them anymore. I get between 1000 and 1200 comments every month. This website has an average of 15,000 readers a day and I get email too. and If I don’t answer, it doesn’t mean that I have abandoned anyone, it means that I am only one person. I have such a heart for this work and the people ~ please always know that.
    Hugs, Darlene

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