Feelings and the Trigger Connection – No Longer a Powerless Child

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EFB car picEarlier this year my 16 year old daughter hit glare ice, flew off the road and crashed her car. She hit the first tree and took it out which caused her to roll and flip into the air, crashing 5 feet up on the passenger side and wrapped around a second tree.  Her face and hands were covered in blood and cuts from the broken glass and she thought her arm was broken. When she was taken to x-rays in the hospital she fainted.

The images of her near death were haunting.  I couldn’t stop imagining what she went through, her fear and how much worse it could have been. Even though she walked away, even though I was fairly sure she was going to have a complete recovery, the feelings, emotions and fears that came up for me were overwhelming.

On the third day after her accident my entire body was ‘humming’ with fear, emotion and flashes of the way my mind imagined the accident. I felt nauseous, exhausted and totally stressed out. I couldn’t sit still, I couldn’t concentrate on a book, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t even escape with mindless television shows.  I found myself reaching for weird food, like potato chips and chocolate and I reached for them as though they were a life preserver. I ate  mindlessly and in a frenzied manner and as I shoved things in my mouth I became aware of the thought that I somehow believed eating those foods might block the feelings of fear and anxiety out of my mind.  I had this crazy belief that eating those foods would squish the fear and flashbacks of her accident and all my feelings of helplessness, down and away from me.

I felt like I couldn’t cope. I felt like there was ‘nowhere’ to go and nothing I could do about it, that I was powerless over the outcome of her accident, that I was helpless and I had been helpless in that moment. And in the case of my daughters car accident I was powerless and helpless but the problem was that  I felt like that ‘powerlessness and helplessness’ defined me as ‘useless’ and as a ‘failure’ as a mother, as a woman and even as a person. 

Useless and a failure;

And I had this nagging feeling that this feeling I was trying to get away from was very familiar for me. I had this sense that this feeling was something that I had had for most of my life.  And while I was in bed that night, half awake, half asleep, it came to me; this is the feeling that I tried so hard to escape from after I had been invalidated and mistreated. This was the feeling that I had when I didn’t understand the ways I was regarded, discounted, not heard, smacked, hit with a belt or with the hairbrush. This was the feeling that I had when I was being yelled at, reprimanded belittled and ignored, and this was the feeling that I had after I was sexually abused and nobody did anything about it.

Powerless, helpless, useless and a failure;

This same “helpless and powerless feeling” was the feeling that caused me to dissociate and develop all sorts of other coping methods just to survive. This was the feeling ~ powerless, helpless and worthless ~ that caused me to get lost in alcohol and drugs when I was a teenager and into my early twenties. This was the feeling that I binged and purged over in a desperate attempt to block it out and to block out what I was so afraid of.

It was this exact feeling that caused me so much fear and caused me to resist facing the pain of my past. I didn’t want to have the very feeling that I had worked so hard to escape from in the first place. Realizing that THIS was the very feeling that I worked so hard not to feel, helped me to realize another root lie at the bottom of my belief system;

The truth is that I was just as helpless and powerless when I was a child as I was when my daughter had her car accident. I couldn’t MAKE it stop, I couldn’t make the accident disappear as though it had never happened, I was powerless to change that it did happen and there was nothing that I could have done to prevent it, just like I was powerless as a child to prevent getting spanked and beaten with a belt and just like I was as a child powerless to prevent adults from using my body for whatever evil desires they wanted to perpetrate on me. 

The lie that I had believed all along was that I WASN’T actually powerless. I believed that I COULD have stopped the abuse if only I could have been different. I falsely believed that if I was more lovable, more lovely, more sweet, more compliant, more worthy, more… just more, that I would never have been treated those ways in the first place. The lie I believed was that it was me… when all along it was them.

Growing up and coping by avoiding those feelings of helplessness and powerlessness for so long, it was second nature for me to avoid feeling that feeling as an adult to0. Avoiding that feeling was how I survived as a child. It was second nature for me to believe, even as an adult, that I was helpless and powerless over abuse because it was how I had always survived.

Healing was about changing that belief in the present. Although I WAS powerless over my daughters accident and I WAS helpless and powerless over the abuse, neglect and discounting actions of adults in my childhood, I am no longer powerless today. Today I am an adult and I have a choice. I can take care of myself now. I have a choice now. If someone hit me I would charge them with assault. If someone molested me, I would charge them with sexual assault. If someone talks down to me or devalues me in any way I can stand up to them. That is my power. I know that I have just as much value as other people do. Today I know that respect is a two way street.

Today I know that over certain things I am NOT powerless and that power can be used for good; even for MY good.

It was getting past the childhood belief that I didn’t have a choice then, (and I  truly didn’t, none of us do) and understanding that I had carried that childhood belief and those coping methods into my adult life with me ~ and flipping them over to realize that I DO have a choice now (today and as an adult) that made all the difference in my journey to wholeness and freedom.

Today I am an adult and I know the true definition of love and that respect is ALWAYS mutual in healthy relationships. Since I had never been taught that nor had it ever been modeled for me when I was a child, it is easy to understand why we grow up into adulthood not knowing that we actually have a choice in most situations when as children we never did.

I rarely have that ‘powerless sinking feeling’ anymore except in cases such as my daughters car accident. When I do have it, I see it as a clue about the situation that I find myself in. I ask myself if my feelings of powerlessness are truth based feelings (as in my true powerlessness over Amy’s car accident) or if they are a left over from childhood, but I had to understand where that feeling came from in the first place before I was able to navigate through them in order to be set free.  

My daughter Amy made a full recovery; and so did I.

Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

Are you aware my of my e-book “Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, this 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing. I’ve received hundreds of thank you notes from the people that have bought my book. Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

Your contribution to the cost of running this website is greatly appreciated! If you are able please help me spread this message of hope.  Thank you in advance! ~ Darlene

UPCOMING SHOW on March 20th 2014 ~ I am being interviewed by Mike Domitrz from the Date Safe Project on His Web show The Gift of Respect .  The show is Live on Video so you will be able to see me and listen to the interview. The show will also be on Blog Talk Radio 

96 response to "Feelings and the Trigger Connection – No Longer a Powerless Child"

  1. By: Gee Posted: 12th July 2014

    I always hated the feeling of helplessness when I was a child. I learned to keep my mouth shut, but I COULD NOT WAIT to grow up and GET OUT of the dysfunction. I kept hearing “enjoy your childhood, you’ll miss it”. But I don’t. My life started when I left home during senior year. I graduated and NEVER went back. Coming to terms with being unloved by both (long divorced) parents was hard at first, but I was saved by always blaming them and not myself. I was lucky. I finally completely gave up on my mom this week. It’s how I ended up here;)

  2. By: Apple Posted: 2nd June 2014

    Omg. I can’t believe I found this web site. It has saved me from living this world. Taking back my self esteem is something I want. All my life I thought it was me the cause of all the chaos. My heart is still hurting from not measuring up. Right now my self image is smeared to the ground because I allowed my self to think that others were better than me. Today I will take back my life. I will strive to exercise my esteem muscles and gave them strength to endure a life where I one day will stand up for myself with dignity and self respect.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd June 2014

      Hi Apple
      Welcome to EFB!! So glad you are here! There are 400 articles on this site all about this kind of stuff and there is always a current conversation; (check the home page or the side bar for recent comments to see what is active)
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Amber Posted: 4th April 2014

    Alice and Chris, several days ago you both gave me encouragement because I said I needed to stand up to someone. (My messages 48 and 52) I want to thank you again for your support. I wanted to let you know that I saw the woman I spoke about in message 52 today and I was able to make my point to her that I am only able to provide her with a few hours of work each week watching my daughter and that she needs to be actively looking for other sources of income. I offered to pass her name along if I hear of someone who needs her services. During today’s Stand Up For Myself session, I managed to pull it off with less of a shaking voice and my heart wasn’t racing quite as fast as in other confrontations. I think I am starting to emerge!! Thanks again for your suggestions and encouragement!

  4. By: Alice Posted: 31st March 2014

    Hi Marie!

    I know your question was for Darlene but since mindfulness meditation is one of many things in my “arsenal” against the negative effects of such an awful upbringing I thought I could jump in with my experience.

    It has definitely helped me, although because I was so detached from myself, when I finally made that connection, there was so much “body memory” there, I thought it would never end. It has gotten easier for me with time but I have found the way is definitely “through” and not otherwise. YMMV and this is by no means definitive, just my understanding.

    Peter Levine is another person (contemporary) that I’d suggest for trauma-related approaches. And of course Alice Miller.
    Shinzen Young describes mindfulness meditation as a “divide and conquer” approach for experience that could be overwhelming otherwise. I have a good text from him that I would like to post with Darlene’s ok. I am not affiliated in any way.

    I’d add, to conclude, that all of these approaches seem to me to quite dependent on the (conditioned) consciousness that is doing them. So for example if you were taught to suppress and keep yourself and your feeling down then there is a risk that that will carry through in anything one tries. At least, that has been my experience.

    At least to begin with and for a while into it. But I’d still do it anyway because once you make that connection, it starts working by itself and pretty much nothing will stand in its way. You know this may not be to the liking of everyone who is used to having things “just so”. But like I said above, it’s stronger than their BS:)

  5. By: FinallyFree Posted: 31st March 2014

    Yvonne, I appreciated what you wrote in your #76 comments. You sound very honest and sensitive by nature and very kind and I know from experience all about the people who will blurt out unkind and abusive comments for no seeming reason at all. I have come to think that it might be because those people are chronically unhappy themselves, and have problems with boundaries and filtering what they say or dont say. I also used to feel that I had a target on my back because people would say horrible things to me or seem to gravitate my way in a crowd and then say some cruel things over the years.

    I just want to say that there IS a way to get rid of these comments almost entirely, and how to deal with these people and comments in ways that they no longer sting or bother . I remember the day that I became free and began working on this myself. It took me a few months to really understand, and now I can figure it out almost immediately when someone begins to talk to me which is amazing to me even now! I learned from this website how to manage in situations that were turning negative on me,( I still search out articles to figure things out!) and I also realized that I did have to ability and power inside myself to stop being treated that way by others. I dont put up with it anymore. Sometimes it is a bit like dealing with a bully: stop them by turning the conversation back on THEM and making THEM accountable for the words they are spewing onto you and not sitting or standing there just taking it and listening to it and being hurt by it all. I dont even get angry anymore when or if it happens. I have noticed that ever since I began to change myself and not allow someone to plow me over verbally, but to challenge them, I developed a better sense of self esteem AND rarely does anyone ever speak to me that way these days at all. I dont seem to draw people like that anymore. What I have also noticed this last year in particular, is that I can see people sizing me up. I never noticed this before, but now I can tell when ppl are deciding if they will try something or not. It is very interesting! I am still sensitive, but I am not vulnerable in the same ways and once I learned that I could actually keep ppl from talking down to me, I dont seem to give of the same vulnerable “target” that I used to have.
    It is great that you are sensitive and spiritual, but you also deserve respect and kindness back! hugs and comfort to you!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st March 2014

      Hi Everyone,
      Just wanted to bring your awareness to a new post on the home page today! Guest Author Carrie shares the grief over being ignored by her family of origin when she drew her boundary. This post is beautifully written and so full of emotional honesty. I hope you will share your thoughts with Carrie ~ here is the link: Self Love and Navigating the Waters of Grief by Carrie H
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Chris Posted: 30th March 2014

    “It does seem like the world is changing, and random strangers are more outspoken than before. People seem emotionally “trigger-happy” and willing to jump on others for the most minor of “infractions”.”
    Light,
    IMO this is a direct result of lowering standards of formality in social interaction, failing to teach people to accept fault in others and an arrogant ego based belief that wanting to help, then acting on that desires actually amounts to help even if the helper is entirely ignorant of the nuance and depth or possible stress and harm they might cause the person or people they ‘want’ to help.
    Which mostly looks like imposing on others to change in ways that makes the “teacher” more comfortable or the student more like the teacher. It is insidious and can make one paranoid to see ignorance marching along so happily with no apparent opposing force to be seen.

    My defense is the correct use of grammar, at least as well as I am able. If one is pedantic one can limit the manipulations of others and mistakes one makes.

  7. By: Marie Posted: 30th March 2014

    Light, reading you post I was nodding my head relating to so many things you spoke about. All my life i was passive too. I went around with a smile on my face being nice to everyone i met, trusting too easy and like you, because of accepting pain in childhood i re-created so much pain in my life. Holding on to relationships where i was mentally and physically abused, begging them to please love me, what did i do wrong to deserve this, (probably words i used as a child after the abuse and now re-created). I have been going around for 40 years split from myself- my mind was not connected to my body! I did not realise this and thought that everything i endured was ‘normal’. That life was supposed to be hard and people cruel. With the new therapist i have for the last 12 months (im 7 yrs in therapy altogether and will need life help from the amount of traumas ive endured), this new therapist works with mindfulness and focusing on
    the breath. This was really hard for me to do at the start because my breathing was so shallow and it really scared me, but your asking what can work to bring you to connectedness, this works! My last session was 2 weeks ago and this was the first time i relaised i had a body as well as my mind, i know this sounds crazy (well maybe not) but because i was so disconnected from my body i did not know who i was. She looked me in the eyes and said ‘congratulations, you have been going around in your head but now you have made the connection with your body) she smiled and told me that the work i have done on myself most people will never do- I had to look at the mistakes i had made as an adult and the people i had hurt too because of the lack of parenting i had as a child. I highly recommend mindfulness based counselling if you want that connection- Darlene i wonder how you feel about this approach.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st March 2014

      Hi Marie!
      My opinion is that if it works it is good! Different things work for different people and as long as I was going forward (or willing to go forward) I was hopeful! I remember the first time I connected to myself, I had been recalling what I remembered of a sexual abuse perpetrated on me by an adult babysitter. I was asked about things like ‘the curtains’ and ‘the doorway’ and I thought it was so lame.. but suddenly I realized (after I talked for well over 50 minutes) that I was talking about ME. That had happened to ME and I had never realized it before because I was so disconnected (dissociated) from myself for so long. There was extreme pain and sadness simultaneously with the wonder of being connected to myself.. After that it got easier and easier. 🙂
      hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Michele Smits Posted: 29th March 2014

    Whenever I find myself in any situation when I feel as if I have no recourse and I must accept the will of others, it triggers certain feelings that overwhelm me. I have flashbacks and a sense of helplessness, along with plummeting self worth. This, of course, has the potential to permeate all areas of my life. Plus, I can never predict ahead of time what might come up that will set the wheels in motion, so I can’t prepare myself for any specific events. What I’d like to do is get myself to a place where I can handle anything like this that comes my way, no matter what it might be, but it’s really hard! Not impossible, but very difficult to navigate this particular terrain for me. I’m so glad I found this site!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th March 2014

      Hi Michele
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken
      Yes, exactly! For me I was able to accomplish what you are describing by seeing how I didn’t have that in the first place. I looked at how my self esteem went missing or was never set in place. I looked at what happened to me and sorted out the lies that I believed about me that were attached to the damage. Today I can handle anything that comes up.
      I am glad you are here too!
      hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Alice Posted: 29th March 2014

    Hi Light!

    I can totally relate since my place in the family’s life was to be what they wanted. Be an extension of my mother and a projection of their “success”. Not a new person for them to discover. The interests that I was allowed to cultivate were things they approved of or wanted to take a chance on “competitively”. Several that really came from me were not permitted. I really do feel as if who I really am was squelched at every opportunity. I also realized through the course of this process that I took up a lot of “contrary” stances and behaviors in reaction to them.

    So there’s a real mixture of what I’d call “sanctioned” behavior and personality in me as well as a rebellious self-destructive streak. At one point and this is maybe only a year or so ago, I realized I had never been allowed to be myself so in effect I felt like I didn’t really have a self. I’d say that the discovery of who I am is in process but I now have more faith that there is a distinct “me” after all. And it’s stronger than their BS.

  10. By: Light Posted: 29th March 2014

    I am wondering if others are having this realization/issue: I have realized over the past few years just how much I didn’t know myself, was passive about my life, and didn’t feel as if I was in the “driver’s seat”.

    I was so passive yet I didn’t even realize I was passive. I was never encouraged to critically think about or talk about issues of the day, nor given messages of trust and confidence in me. I didn’t develop opinions about current issues, or become focused or confident about where I wanted to take my life. I had some hobbies and interests (mostly solitary) but I wasn’t given strong consistent encouragement and shown how one step leads to another. For instance I drew a lot as a child, but my parents didn’t set me up with art classes, etc. As a result I may have become sort of good at any particular activity, but I let it slide and never became really knowledgeable and competent. I feel like I didn’t develop an IDENTITY. Who am I, what are my likes and dislikes, what are my opinions, how would I debate those opinions, what are my plans, my dreams, my goals? What do I WANT? All of this takes confidence and feeling powerFUL and grounded and centered, not powerLESS.

    How did this play out?

    …trying over and over again to “work it out” with people who didn’t really want to meet me halfway if at all.

    …learned how to endure pain in childhood – now when something painful happens I don’t “get out” easily

    …Not listening to my body when stress is too much. Now have chronic condition and some orthopedic injuries

    …Not paying attention to my inner voice that told me important things (disregarding intuition only to see it validated later)

    …Stymied professionally. I chose the wrong profession, but did not get out early even though it was bad (enduring pain again – note to self: feeling exhausted and crying is NOT a good sign!!). Not knowing myself enough or feeling powerful enough to leave the profession and feel confident that something better would work out.

    …Did not have children – I was way too emotionally upset (ongoing) regarding my FOO, and I also just didn’t have the confidence that I could do it. Couldn’t even see myself in that role.

    …Did not get married. Not sure why, but I think it’s connected. It’s like I never really became my own person first, where I could trust MYSELF no matter what happens in the relationship. Ironically it seems that feeling grounded and secure in oneself leads to an ability to let go and connect with another.

    I’d be really interested to hear about anyone else’s thoughts about this, and Darlene if you have any links about forming an identity I’d love to read about it.

  11. By: Light Posted: 29th March 2014

    After reading through the last comments, I could relate to some of the experiences that were shared. I recall when I was a child, I would get angry which I suppressed and got quiet with kind of a pinched expression on my face. My mother would laugh at me.

    It does seem like the world is changing, and random strangers are more outspoken than before. People seem emotionally “trigger-happy” and willing to jump on others for the most minor of “infractions”.

  12. By: Chris Posted: 29th March 2014

    Hi Yvonne,
    OK I read it. You have a lot on your mind and I hope that was a relief to get that out.
    I can’t offer much more except to say that you might want to consider dealing with that parent related fear before they die. I don’t know you or enough about you and I’m not a therapist but it sounded to me like maybe that’s a resentment that a letter you don’t mail is not going discharge very well.

    Ever have a Spiked Murphy in Seattle?

  13. By: Chris Posted: 29th March 2014

    Thank you KarenR, Amber Alice, Yvonne and everyone for the responses.

    Yvonne, That is a lot to take in at once. I think I get what I’ve managed to digest and well the 1984 big brother is one of the many Kafkaesque, nazi, commie, tortures and abuses I endured as a child in ‘protective custody’ from my abusers. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s living in Berkeley that people started telling me to smile and subtly and not so subtley abusing me if I didn’t. They like my childhood abusers also had the habit if ignoring what I said for what they decided out of thin air I “really” meant. Funnily enough that real meaning they claimed to perceive was in line with their desires.

    People can suck and then you nice meet folks like on here 🙂 Be well I will try to finish reading and take it in later Yvonne.

  14. By: Alice Posted: 29th March 2014

    Hi Darlene!

    Good to hear that the “shakes” became something else for you:) Amber, great that you’re set on standing up for yourself:)

    I’m also in the group of people who were told, especially by the women in their family and especially by their mothers that I had to look as if I felt the way she wanted me to feel rather than the way I actually felt. And no, there was no kind enquiry into any possible reasons there might be for my demeanour because nothing I felt was important to them. What was important was that I looked “enthusiastic” or whatever else she wanted my expression to show.

    If I was feeling down or bad or whatever I’d also get told “go to your room and don’t come back until you’re in a more pleasant frame of mind”. My grandmother once complained to me “You used to be such a smiley little girl, I liked you better then”. No question of why I wasn’t “smiley” anymore.

  15. By: Yvonne Posted: 29th March 2014

    Chris and Amber,

    You both read my mind….I have been very hurt by the comments of others telling me that I must “smile”! I don’t know what is wrong with people. It’s exactly what you were saying that it is NOT my job to please them. A girlfriend of mine once told me that this modern society cannot tolerate any genuine negative human emotion. Apparently, you are considered weak or defective for ever having a hard day and feeling depressed or anxious. At times, I have almost been afraid of going out to these stores and being attacked by another store clerk.

    There have been many times when I was much younger where I would stop at a store just to buy a few items. I seemed to always attract the nasty cashier who would insult me with a funny remark telling me that I needed to just “lighten up” or “smile” or not to appear quite so “nervous”. I was NEVER rude, insulting, or using any curse words but because I was not smiling, perky, and making small talk, then I really disturbed these clerks. It’s sad that they can not respect others and feel and understand others’ deep-seated pain. When I was in my twenties, I just didn’t feel good! I did not like myself and I just couldn’t project a very cheery and phony exterior like an actress. I am just way too honest, which I believe is part and parcel of being an abused kid. The mainstream culture is very good at acting and giving others what they want to see. It’s not about me having any sort of “disorder” where I can’t understand and read other’s emotions. Mind you when I was in my twenties, I worked at several PT customer service jobs where I had to please customers and learn how to communicate well by asking questions in a polite way.

    This modern society does not allow any “negative” human emotion. If I was having a bad week (say my dog died) and I was in grief (wearing sunglasses to shop at stores) and not appearing as very high and happy, then I know that there would be some rude store clerk to give me a bad time. (I have actually witnessed just such a scene in real life with another girlfriend in grief over a pet’s death).

    Back when I was a child (1970’s), in my humble opinion, I don’t believe that there was quite the controlling, hyper sensitive society of today. I remember another bad incident at a coffee house where I was talking on my cell phone, just minding my own business, sitting alone at a table. I was NOT disturbing anyone and having a deep conversation with a former very close friend who had serious problems dealing with her husband and a disease. I admit to being a rather emotional person and I had just raised my voice a little bit on the phone. All of a sudden, there was a young woman sitting with a group at a long table who started yelling at me saying that “I need to take an anger management class”. I remember yelling back at her and getting up to leave. Do people no longer have ANY MANNERS THESE DAYS? Back when I was a kid, I can remember going out to dinner with my parents to the best restaurants in Seattle. The men and women were well dressed, with the men wearing suits and the women wearing dresses. There was a smoking section and a non-smoking section and the hostess would direct you to wherever you wanted to sit. Back then nobody was so incredibly hyper sensitive about smoking. Then we would sit down and I being a child would get bored and start to listen to the conversation at the nearby tables. It’s interesting how people would sometimes have rather heated discussions at their table regarding politics and the other nearby tables had polite customers pretending NOT to hear anything. Now if you say just one word regarding politics, religion, or any ethnic group it’s like call the ‘Thought Police’ and have you arrested! It’s like a scene from that classic “1984” novel by George Orwell—(science fiction novel of future extreme thought control). I consider myself to be a polite person and I don’t make derogatory comments about groups or use curse words in public, but I think that that society has become too crazy and sensitive. I only have private conversations in email or on my cell with friends and we only have a “Mickey Mouse” conversation whenever we go out to restaurants for lunch.

    I just had to share another recent bad experience. I went to a car repair shop the other week for a car oil change and checkup. My work hours have been cut down to like 30 HRS/week and I’m on a tight budget. (My finances are not too bad and I do own my own small house—no mortgage—and my car). So I was starting to worry about the car expenses and I did not want to pay for any extra repair work. The store clerk made a rude comment that “I really needed to chill”….and then I got mad and snapped back with another rude comment. Note: I did not start anything with him and was only sitting down looking slightly worried and nervous. I don’t get it and when I was younger working at these many customer service jobs, no way would a clerk get away with saying anything that rough to a customer. Then people are surprised when I have a strong temper and a way with words.

    I don’t know but I’m trying really hard to wear a phony exterior these days with a fake smile. I don’t deserve to be attacked so often when I go out for errands. I am tired of this and I know that it goes back to self-esteem and child abuse. However there is a process involved and you just can’t please everyone all the time.

    There was another recent incident when I was riding in the car with a girlfriend and I was talking about how I have worse problems dealing with my elderly parents. Both of my Narc. parents are living and they hopefully don’t have a lot of time left(both in their 80’s). My friend (who is a truly good friend and kind person) told me that whenever I was talking about my parents that my voice changed and that she could “feel” my fear while riding in the car and only when they came up. Her mother just died and she is now getting the mother’s condo ready to sell. My horrible parents have their big luxury house for sale (another city—same state) and now they want to buy a smaller house near me. Yes, I am very frightened and upset at this news but I know that they will NOT last too much longer. I have said many times here that I’m a VERY new age/metaphysical person (Celtic Pagan) and I have had readings with the best psychics…(and their past predictions have come true for me). I am VERY sensitive and a bit of a natural Medium and psychic myself. I do feel and sense so very deeply, but it’s not such a bad thing. If I did not have the power to sense and feel so deeply, tune into Spirits (clairvoyant), then I would have been more hurt by my past. Many of the most gifted Mediums had very bad childhoods, almost like it is a pre-requisite for the job description. I just wish that I could learn how to control myself better and tone it down when I’m dealing with the business world.

    I remember that Darlene wrote a good article on “Smiling”. Apparently when she was younger, people attacked her for NOT smiling and being cheery and perky every minute. It’s very good and now she smiles when she wants to and NOT to please others. But I don’t quit and I’m working on all this….thanks again guys…..

    Blessed Be,

    Yvonne )0(

  16. By: Nadia Posted: 29th March 2014

    Karen, thank you for you response and for your supportive words.
    I am so grateful to Darlene, and Karen and everyone on this forum.
    We are not alone.

  17. By: Chris Posted: 29th March 2014

    🙂

  18. By: Amber Posted: 29th March 2014

    Chris, yeah, I agree that people are presumptuous in thinking they know how another feels based on their expression. My friend with the expression that looks like a frown is a good example, with people commenting that she looks like she is mad at the world. She actually seemed pretty even tempered to me, and I knew her very well, and she confided in me a lot. She did not act angry at all, but people who didn’t really know her made assumptions from her expression.

    Thanks Chris for asking about the babysitter. Ironically she called me yesterday morning and said she couldn’t come on Friday because now SHE has the flu! So I don’t think she will be here again for atleast a week. I am still planning on having that conversation with her when she comes back. And I’m feeling confident; I’ve had extra time to organize my thoughts, I know what my boundaries are, and will be putting them in place. I got to the point where I look forward to the discussion, because although I still feel some fear and I worry about shaking, rapid heartbeat and freezing, I want to push through the fear and do this. I will let you know how it goes when it happens; maybe about a week from now. Thanks again for caring!

  19. By: Chris Posted: 29th March 2014

    Amber,
    How’d it go for you with that part time babysitter if I may ask?

    I’d say that your friends may read your emotions because they know you and have learned what expressions to associate with what feelings you express to be having. BUt as a rule no one can ‘read’ anothers emotions based on their face. What they are doing is applying names to expressions that they have been taught or learned from others apply to that expression. The thing with people is that each of us is different and while expressions for specific unambiguous big feelings are generally similar, ones feelings at any point in time do not necessarily relate to what ones face is doing. That is an over simplification that takes away from whom ever is pinned with a label of ‘he’s feeling X’. A lot of the mental abuse I was subjected to had to do with situations in which an abuser would assert that I was thinking or feeling something that I wasn’t and it was based in this false concept that it is possible to read people with specificity like that based only on ones subjective interpretation of appearance.

  20. By: Amber Posted: 29th March 2014

    Chris, Karen, Darlene, you’ve put into words something that I am well familiar with too. My mother could never glean any joy out of an event that was important to me. She showed no interest in my wedding plans and didn’t even hang around on the evening of my Junior Prom to see me off. If I was excited about a date she would find something nasty to say about the guy. If I was in a good mood, she would manage to twist it into me being self- absorbed. And Karen, if I was in a bad mood, usually I would become very quiet. My mother would tell the whole family to ignore me. Even worse, she would decide that I needed to have that pouty expression slapped off my face, and, yes, she would slap me. It never occurred to her to ask what was wrong or if I needed help with something. I was on my own from a young age as far as solving problems. No mood or emotion was safe; not joy, not anger, not sadness, not fear, so I learned to stuff it all down and not even ask for basic needs.

    Chris, I have a friend whose natural expression looks like a frown. I always thought it was unfair that people would comment that she looks like she’s mad at the world. Why should people be required to have a smile on their faces anyway? Because someone else feels put out or inconvenienced? People tell me I have a very expressive face and that they can easily read my emotions ( after all the efforts to stuff feelings down, they still surface!) I’ve been criticized for not smiling, and my response is why should I put a smile on my face if I don’t feel like smiling? I’m done faking how I feel because it might annoy or inconvenience someone else. I don’t see anyone changing their emotional landscape for my convenience, nor would I expect them to. That’s just plain wrong.

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