Perhaps you thought last post was just a bit of harmless fun.
Perhaps you thought “oh, this Mary… coming up with a funny squirrel…”
Perhaps, like me, you completely underestimated the power of being possessive with your feelings.
It happened last Sunday…
I was at this event, and I ran into a guy I had met briefly once.
I don’t know what I had just said to him, but he remarked… “you are always so angry”.
I paused. And then I replied:
“I’m not angry, I’m excited”.
Let’s look at this slowly…
In my last post, I wrote about this huge realisation that came to me after I worked with my stuff and got seriously possessive with my emotions.
The realisation was this: people tell me what my feelings are, I assume they are right, and then they suggest ways for me to deal with my feelings.
I realised that this sits at the core of the abusive dynamic: “telling others how they feel” and “believing other people when they tell you what you are feeling”.
Cue in Possessive Squirrel…
“Only *I* can feel my feelings”
“Taking in” other people’s perceptions of your feelings leaves you open to emotional manipulation.
The answer lies in strengthening your boundaries, so you get better at separating between “them” and “you”. What “they” think you’re feeling and what “you” think you’re feeling.
Back to my interaction with that guy
He remarks “you are always so angry”.
I paused and checked with myself. This is huge! I did not just “take in” his assumption of how I was feeling. I was making “me” the one and only source of knowledge around “my” emotions.
I didn’t have much of a chance to acknowledge the whole range of emotions there and then, but I did notice I was not angry. Excited? Yeah, we’ll go with that.
So I corrected him.
It wasn’t until later that day that I realised what I had done. And a part of me said…
“I am tired of men telling me how I feel!”.
I am listening, part of me… I am listening now…
And then I remembered…
Last week I went to this business event, and this guy gave me two very definite statements of ME.
Cannot remember what they were… something like “you are this kinda person” and “you are very angry”.
I did not remember to challenge him. I stuttered and excused myself for displaying the “inappropriate” emotions.
I am done with this as well. It’s their stuff if people cannot deal with someone not displaying the “conventionally approved emotions for this social situation”.
It is my stuff to stop caring that they cannot deal.
Still… it is worth examining what I was actually feeling
What “guy” took to mean “angry” as actually a grand mix of:
Anxiety, fear, excitement, anticipation, cold, insecurity, apprehension,
So. Considering that about 90% of my brain appeared to be engaged in the fine old art of NOT FALLING APART, I’d say it’s practically a miracle I showed any emotion at all other than “not-falling-apart-ness”.
Just to emphasise the point, here it is again:
Your feelings. Your “nuts”. YOURS. Nobody else gets to say how you’re feeling. It’s YOUR INNER QUEENDOM. It’s your heart.
Only *you* can determine what your feelings are.
Strengthening your boundaries, separating between “their” perception of you and “your” perception of you is a good way to practice.
Here’s to hoping it gets that little bit easier.