Feeling in a Repressed Society
Last week I briefly touched upon the topic of feelings, encouraging you all to allow your feelings to be felt and expressed. I received a letter from someone who was confused about the concept of expressing feelings in a society where feelings and emotions are considered taboo or socially unacceptable.
My brief response was that our society is highly dysfunctional and if we make our choices based on what is socially acceptable we are only supporting that dysfunction. But I want to talk about this topic in a little more detail, because I feel it is extremely important in our awakening world.
Awakening is the key here. Society has been emotionally repressed. We have been trained to stuff those feelings, not talk about how we feel, don’t cry or I’ll give you something to cry about. But when energy is suppressed for long enough it begins to surface in very toxic ways. Take a look at our world today. The repressed emotion is surfacing as illness, disease, greed, war, famine, poverty, abuse, substance abuse, obesity, mental illness and depression, to name a few. All those unfelt emotions are finding an outlet somehow. So the challenge is whether or not you will allow those feelings to be recognized, honored and expressed or if you will continue to repress them and have them surface in unconscious, unhealthy and toxic forms.
I had a woman write to me who said she had repressed her emotions in her toxic relationship and now that it is over they are all surfacing. This is common for most of us who repress in order to stay in that relationship. We put a veil of slumber over the truth and go unconscious in that relationship. This is how we are able to survive with a toxic or narcissistic partner. We sleep through the relationship, so to speak. We don’t really allow ourselves to fully feel and express our anger, dissatisfaction, pain, fear, and feelings of injustice. We find ways of convincing ourselves that everything is O.K. But they really aren’t O.K. When that relationship ends all of those buried emotions begin to come to the surface to be processed. It can be really overwhelming. Especially if you are an empath and have taken on the repressed feelings of a non-empathetic partner.
In the book “What You Can Feel You Can Heal” by John Gray he talks about something called “The See-Saw Effect.” When we push down a feeling it comes up in our partner. I believe this happens frequently with narcissists and other non-empathetic, emotionally repressed individuals. These people are so “out of touch” with their feelings that they stuff them down into their unconscious and what is stuffed down is felt by the empathic one in the relationship. If the empathic person is also somewhat unconscious she may not be able to decipher what is her emotions and what is the repressed emotions of her partner and so she may become somewhat of an emotional basket case. Since her partner fears emotional expression he will judge her mercilessly for her emotional nature. The emotionally expressive member of the partnership may start to feel crazy because she can’t make sense of all that emotional pain being stirred up. She also can’t understand how her partner can be so calm, cool and collected while she is crawling out of her skin, ready to burst with a truck load of toxic emotion.
In the case of an emotionally repressed partner, he is fully vested in his repression. It is just as easy for him to blame his partner for her emotional outbursts or expressiveness and label her as crazy, a nut case, bi-polar or an emotional basketcase and walk away from the relationship, seemingly unscathed leaving his partner to clean up the toxic waste spilled into her ocean.
The importance of feeling our feelings and understanding where they come from can be a matter of life or death for many. Especially if you are one of those people left to deal with the clean- up of the toxic waste overload. It is important as you are sifting through all the emotions coming to the surface that you sort what is genuinely yours and what doesn’t belong to you. If you’ve been in a toxic or narcissistic relationship, some of it will be yours, but the lions share probably is not. Remember you’ve been dealing with someone who is not authentic with his feelings. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have feelings. It means he is so “out of touch” with his feelings that he doesn’t realize he has them. He really does believe they are all yours. There is nothing you can do to convince a narcissist that you have been carrying the emotional load for the relationship. He won’t own any of it. That is why he is a narcissist. That is why he has no genuine empathy. He is severely repressed and this is his coping mechanism.
So now that you realize there is nothing you can do to get the emotionally repressed person in your life to take responsibility for what is his or hers, you can focus on sorting through and clearing out the emotional baggage you’ve been left with.
On an energetic level, you don’t have to carry or take responsibility for what is not yours. You can simply release it. Easier said than done, I know. Because you’ve likely gone through such conditioning to believe you were the one with all the feelings and he didn’t have any.
In my family of origin I was the emotional one. I was the empath. I was the one who felt what the family unit didn’t feel or express. So I internalized all the repressed emotions for the family which resulted in a severe eating disorder. It wasn’t until I could completely disconnect from my family that I could begin to heal and let go of what wasn’t mine to carry. But I was also conditioned to be the “feeler” for any family unit I re-created. I drew people into my life who were emotionally shallow or repressed because that was familiar to me. It was the role I had grown up with.
We have to learn to be emotionally expressive rather than repressive. It is a learned skill. Expressing oneself and his/her feelings doesn’t need to be a volatile process. Expressing ones anger doesn’t mean to yell and scream at someone. You don’t want to let your anger get to that point. If you feel like yelling and screaming do it in an environment that is safe, like driving in your car or taking a plastic bat to your bed. As you get more in touch with your feelings and you recognize your anger you can calmly state that you feel very angry about this without any hostility. If you feel an emotional build up, those emotions can be released by crying. That is why we cry. Because it is the best way to release pent up emotion. There is nothing weak about crying. It actually takes strength to allow oneself to cry or to really feel their feelings and own them.
The weak members of society are those who are unconscious. Unconsciousness is a weakness. It takes great strength to awaken and feel. To genuinely be connected into life, to feel your feelings and express all of your feelings in a healthy manner is to truly be alive. Repressed people are like the walking dead. They are very robotic and emotionally numb. They can’t feel genuine joy or elation either. They may act happy or put on a happy face, but they are lacking in authenticity. On a feeling level that pretend joy is not really there. It can’t be. Because we don’t get to be selective about what feelings and emotions we want to allow. When we repress pain, we repress our joy as well. These feelings are opposite ends of the same spectrum. The more we get in touch with and express our painful emotions the more we will also feel our joyful ones. So there is a payoff to feeling your pain. And once you truly allow yourself to feel the emotions that are wanting to surface they really will be healed.
It is so important to allow what wants to surface to be felt and expressed. That expression might be shedding tears, getting angry in a safe environment, allowing yourself to feel that injustice, that jealousy, and that fear without judgment. When you can be honest with yourself about what you are feeling you can be with those feelings and allow them to be released. This is part of the process of awakening to your true, authentic self. Those who choose to remain asleep will suffer the consequences of their unconsciousness. We create our reality not from conscious intent as much as we do from unconsciousness. Awakening is the process of delving into the unconscious, understanding our shadow, bringing what is in the dark out into the light and becoming aware of our inner demons. When we are aware of our inner demons they are no longer demons. They become enlightened (brought into the light of awareness.)
As you become a truly authentic, feeling, expressive individual you will need to be very conscious about the types of energies you are attracting into your reality. It is much more difficult for women to find an emotionally aware man as it is for a man to find an emotionally aware women, because it has been more “socially acceptable” for women to express their feelings. Men are groomed more to be emotionally distant. With this being said, women also make excuses for men who are emotionally distant, telling themselves that their emotionally distant nature has to do with their sex. But this is the lie women tell themselves that gets them in trouble. Men are waking up too. Men are getting in touch with their emotional, feminine natures too. Not all men are, but there are more and more on this path and these are the men we need to align with. If a man or woman is shut down emotionally and can’t communicate honestly about how he or she is feeling in a way that is responsible and non-blaming then he/she needs to be confronted about his/her behavior. If he/she can’t hear you or respond in a respectful manner than there is no genuine basis for a relationship. If we could get this early on, we would save ourselves a lot of grief.
As we set our sails on the course for awakening we must embrace and accept our feelings and emotions without judgment. They are coming up to be healed. We must allow this process in order to step fully into life in a healthy, fully authentic way. We must choose environments which support our authenticity. And avoid environments that are repressed, cold, heartless and uncaring. In an awakening society we must be part of the solution not part of the problem. We shouldn’t waste our energy trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Find the places where you genuinely fit and are accepted as who you really are. This is where you belong.