The first time I went into counseling the very first time dealing with family stuff, the main overall theme was something to the effect of "You do have feelings, you are allowed to have feelings even if they aren’t happy ones, and they matter."
As someone who basically shoved them away to survive dysfunction, this was a needed lesson.
The second round of therapy… dealing with anxiety issues… the theme was essentially "Your feelings are not always accurate to reality".
And focused a lot on strategies to avoid triggering inaccurate feelings and minimizing the impact of the ones that did occur.
This third round… the overall theme has essentially been my feeling like I’m turning into a basket case, and being met with "Your feelings are normal and make sense given the situation."
Over and over.
In spite of the fact that if you count the local counselor, and the one that basically just transferred me to one more specialized, this is actually the 4th different professional that I’ve heard this from.
With some recent issues, I’ve been feeling more of an emotional mess again lately. I present the emotional basket case moments, expecting to be told what the problem is… and get surprised with a response of "Well, with what’s going on, feeling hurt and alone is a completely expected reaction…"
And it seems like it just keeps coming back to that.
I give a 16 page history of my being an emotional wreck at K… expecting to be told I’m a mess… and instead get told that my emotional reactions made sense in response to his actions and issues.
I beat myself up over having reacted so clingy and pitiful…. and get told that’s a normal response to an abrupt loss of a primary attachment. I beat myself up over having let the attachment become primary, and get told that given what I’d been seeing at the time, it was a normal response to trust my heart.
I explain about the weird crumbling moment… and the intense waves that broke through that I could barely contain…. expecting to be told I was a mess…. and instead being told that it’s a sign of a traumatic loss particularly one that comes abruptly… a completely normal reaction to emotions being too intense to be handled at the time… the waves a completely normal spell of the emotions beginning to drop enough to be processed a bit even while still maxing out the intensity able to be handled… that it’s actually a good sign that they were surfacing, as if they remained blocked they’d result in a lifetime of issues much like K has had to deal with.
I beat myself up over not being completely over it and for the feelings lingering much longer than I felt that they should have, and get reminded that with a sudden and completely unexpected loss of someone who was very loved, that it’s completely normal to be a more difficult process… sometimes closer to an unexpected death in the grieving patterns than it is to a normal breakup that would have had a preceding spell of growing devaluation and detachment.
I share the two emails that I’ve sent to K through this in which I went off in a mix of hurt and anger…. and get reminded that not only is anger completely expected as a part of grieving and normal, but also that not only is the feeling justified but that I actually probably should have been more angered and given him much worse in defense of my own deserving of a whole lot more respect and kindness than I was given.
I share the weirdness of the feelings seeming to gravitate towards both extremes at the same time, and am reminded that the two sides of K that I saw were very extremely different, and it makes sense that my feelings for him in general reflect the extreme differences of the feelings towards each of the sides.
Over and over again… I feel like I’m an emotional mess… and get told that my emotions are justified and reasonable responses. That they are normal reactions in the circumstances.
You have no clue how weird this seems every time it happens.
I’m very much still expecting phase 2.
I’m expecting to be told that they are out of control… that they are my mind overreacting… that they need to be harnessed and hampered and to avoid triggering them.
Instead, we’re sort of back to phase 1. Yes, they exist. They are normal. Do not force them away and ignore them because they will not go away. Just work through it. Feel them, and let them pass.
It’s just so very different from dealing with the over the top anxiety… that I’m so used to dealing with that, that it’s sometimes hard to realize that it’s not the same thing.