Emotions, me!?

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    Nov 26, 2008 3:52 AM GMT
    So I was driving home from the bar this evening, after sublimating my loneliness in chocolate cake and amaretto, when I came to the realizationg that I'm afraid to show human emotions. While I've always had them, I've either a) disregarded them, b) belittled them, c) rationalized them, or d) some combination of the above. I've told myself that the only thing I can allow to rule myself is logic, and I feel that in that I have lost touch with my emotional base. I always had prided myself in being cold and logical, being the cold hearted bitch who never got upset, angry, overjoyed, or happy, but now I just feel that being that ass hole does not suffice. I had a couple conversations with friends this evening, and kept telling them that "I was feeling emo this evening." Which I don't think is entirely true. I think I was actually feeling and reveling in my human emotions (a prime example of me belittling my emotions).

    2008 is my year of not being single (I know, this seems a random change of topic, but bear with me, I'll make it relevant momentarily). I vowed to put myself out there more, be more friendly, engage with other people, and actually date. I've been single for going on 6 years now, and while I've enjoyed that, I've always known I wanted to find a guy to actually date and cuddle up to. I have certainly gone on more dates, met more people, and made some amazing friends, and those have all been positive things. While I think I have made some great strides in that arena, I've come to realize that it's not enough (this is the point where it gets relevant). How can I truly enter into a relationship, or truly be available for the proposition of a relationship, when I'm not emotionally available. I'm pretty detached from things, and what guy would want to attach himself to someone who's detached and apathetic?

    So here's the part where you all come in. Personally, I think I'm making a pretty courageous move by actually opening up to anyone about this, especially the knowing the catty bitches that populate these forums (I'm sometimes one of them). My quandary is this: How do I go about allowing myself to a) admit my emotions are valid and deserving of consideration, and b) allow myself to let other people see that I do, in fact, have human capabilities besides breathing, shitting, and blinking? Does anyone/has anyone felt this way? I would sincerely appreciate any insights or advice you may have to give, and would probably laugh at most good-natured mockery, should that be the case.
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    Nov 26, 2008 5:29 AM GMT
    You've taken an admirable step. I have noticed that when people vulnerably reveal what it is they are ashamed of or want to change, that others are often more tender. I say, keep figuring out all those times where you feel something yet aren't comfortable saying it.

    Once you truly feel the validity of your own emotions and treat them like they are valid, then others will follow your lead. The trick is that you aren't asking for others to make it okay for you to open up (a.k.a be nice to me if I tell you what I am really feeling). Expecting others to see your emotions as valid means you seeing them as valid regardless of the reaction and still choosing to reveal them. This is something that I, too, am still working on. Best of luck in this scary endeavor.
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    Nov 26, 2008 5:56 AM GMT
    To thine own self be true...

    If you are an emotional reserved fellow, admit that....to yourself and to others. Dont go trying to turn yourself inside to be something you are not. That wont work...wont last...will make you miserable and anybody you have tried to be who you are not with.

    I can give you my own personal example. After many years, I realized that I am by nature introverted. Not introverted like a shy wallflower. But introverted in the sense that I need "alone time" to regenerate my batteries. Being out amongst people drains me. For some people, it is the opposite...they like to party party party....not me. I have to be able to withdraw and have some quiet solitude.....and anybody who wants to hook up with me will have to understand and accept that.
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    Nov 26, 2008 6:00 AM GMT
    i know your struggle well. i've been there and here and back again. i've always been good (as a textbook Aquarius) at intellectualizing my emotions so they don't hurt- i can flip them on and off like a switch- even my messiest breakups only hurt for a day or two- and this has always made me feel cold and heartless. so a few years ago i started really trying to open up and feel things. and just got shit on for it and stomped all over. so now i'm trying to break the bad habit of feeling stuff and go back to not caring so much about everything lol. it was a good exercise to experience it all, but 'there's no place like home' after an adventure lol. i suggest you make the effort to open up and hurt a bit- really let yourself feel it and express it- then do what you will with it. personally, i'm over feelings. they just get in the way of stuff.

    u realize this is almost in a sort of jest? im like 7/8ths serious here. no really
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    Nov 26, 2008 6:31 AM GMT
    By belittling your emotions, aren't you belittling yourself? That's the problem - you need to realize how important you are.

    I held in my emotions for so long that I had to hit an emotional rock bottom before I faced everything. You need to recognize that you, as all of us, are an important part of the fabric of the earth. Not only that, but by not expressing your feelings and not accepting that your emotions are important, your friends and family may not really know who you are. It's odd, I now have an entirely different group of friends since I first opened up, as they were the emotionless types as well, and realized how I had to think of myself. All of this came with coming out and creating a healthier lifestyle.

    Here's an idea, don't accept that your emotions are valid, assume they are. I'm sure you were the type to not say something is wrong, complain, etc...just like me, but there are reasons it is healthy to do so - it helps those creating a problem reconsider their actions, and it's a release and relief. Making people aware of who you are and how you feel creates an intimacy and makes things a little more important to you than you would probably imagine.

    It also helps to create a level of respect that you demand from your common man. I don't know about you, but I was treated like shit when I held things in. Once I started to be more open, I was taken seriously and my sense of humor got much better.
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    Nov 26, 2008 6:51 AM GMT
    I can very much relate to where you're coming from. I tend to be kind of a sensitive, emotional person by nature, and for years I tried to control it in not so good ways. This is what I've picked up from one of my classes. Emotions and feelings are a part of being human and not only that but allowing yourself to feel them is actually healthy. Anyone who tells you differently is in a similar place to where you were by denying their emotions. Unfortunately that's what society teaches us that it's not ok to feel. Then people wonder why they're in therapy 30 years later still stuck in their childhood. It's because we're expected to suck it up when we're not even fully cognitively much less emotionally developed. The key for me is being balanced and acknowledging emotions without dwelling on them. I plan to pick up a book on Emotional intelligence to further expand my knowledge on the topic. I'm very much still a work in progress.

    Thank you for posting this topic.
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    Nov 26, 2008 10:51 PM GMT
    Well Todd, I think I can relate to that as well. I have been in a relationship for almost a year now and its something that I always struggle with. I find it hard to open up, show emotion and my boyfriend always challenges me to do this.

    One time he took me tabogganing (sledding for those who dont understand my canadian speak), and it was so hard for me to admit that I was having fun...even though everytime I went down the hill, I had a huge smile on my face. Whenever he asked if I was having fun, I just said that I am wet and cold. He would then proceed to ask if I wanted to leave and I would say no. I couldnt admit how much fun I was having and I didnt really care how wet or cold I was, it was so much fun!

    I also find that when things get tough or difficult in the relationship or I get frustrated my instinct is to push him away and to retreat from all emotions. However, his comittment to me has helped me come out of my shell. I find I am slowly opening up to him and showing some emotion. Which I really do like.

    I think that getting too attached to the worng people and getting hurt from previous relationships has given me a shallow and emotionless perception of people and relationships. And I think relationships that start on the internet add to that. People are not whom they seem on the internet and it can be very deceptive yet a lot of people are looking for that online. You can only truely get to know someone in person and experience them face to face. Because those emotions are a huge part of it all and people can bullshit it so easily online. Its hard to be genuine online.

    I think that interaction with real people in person helps foster that and being an emotionless cold hearted bastard is something that takes time to change from. But it is a good thing to change and without having those emotions you cant feel the highs of being in love, and truly enjoying yourself and having fun but you also get the lows of being hurt. I hope this helps you out.

    AND WHEN ARE YOU COMING TO VISIT US UP IN CANADA?
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    Nov 28, 2008 5:36 AM GMT
    can_duathlete said
    AND WHEN ARE YOU COMING TO VISIT US UP IN CANADA?

    And the non sequiter award goes to..............

    The answer.... what's your January look like? Or possibly Toronto Pride 09. Gimme a call sometime and we'll figure this shit out. Or is this one of those situations where you guys really really want me to come to Canada, but don't want to express how much you want me to come? Don't worry Kevin, you know I'm lonely without you =D

    Anyways, back on track. A lot of what you guys have been saying has been really helpful. If nothing else it's good to realize I'm not the only one who has a hard time with this. At the end of the day I'm not all that concerned about getting "hurt" by others reactions to my emotions, but rather, I'm afraid that they'll just think that I'm weird. It's definitely something that I really do want to work on, at least a bit, so that I can at least recognize, process, and validate my emotions, and reasonably explain them when necessary. For the most part though, I don't think I'll ever really feel a huge need to share my emotions, and there's nothing wrong with that. I just need to be able to admit to myself that I have them.

    In other news, I hear that emotions are linked to the soul. Think if I sold my soul I could get rid of the pesky emotions too? icon_twisted.gif
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    Nov 28, 2008 5:49 AM GMT
    Hey Toddy,

    I'm 51 and I still haven't any idea how to open myself up in that way. I've had two serious LTRs (nearly 7 years each) and both of them complained of the same thing, that I kept them too much at a distance. I'm sure it's true, though I'm never aware of doing so.

    If you figure it out, let me know.
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    Nov 28, 2008 5:53 AM GMT
    I had a very similar situation. My range was limited to a handful of emotions, depression being the most common. I would do cognitive backflips to make sure each emotion was fully reasoned. Then, I put several pieces together and understood why I had such a limited range and tried to work it out. Eventually I sought therapy and one day everything clicked. I still have to work through spells of depression, but my range of emotions has increased a dozen times.

    That is what worked for me, but what will work for you? I have no idea. Understanding you have a problem is a great start; though your understanding of what that problem is may change. Trying to be aware of what processes go into your decisions making and behavior will refine that. A bit of the talking cure worked wonders for me and I highly recommend it.

    I hope for the best. Cheers.
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    Nov 28, 2008 6:30 AM GMT
    I'm kind of in the same situation you were in right now. But it's a conscious decision. I don't show much emotions other than the 'happy' ones at all. To the point that I give the impression that I shit rainbows and butterflies all day long in happy land where everything is sweetness and light icon_razz.gif Friends are surprised when I show 'mature' emotions at times, because they're used to seeing me as the mildly retarded crazy weird kid with OCD. icon_lol.gif

    Everything else, sadness and anger I keep to myself which accounts for weird bouts of bad depression and irrational anger I have at times when the emotions overflow. icon_sad.gif

    I don't really like opening up emotions, especially romantic ones to people, because there is one great fear that we (and all people who hide emotions) probably share:

    Rejection.

    Once you get past that fear, I think you'll be alright. icon_razz.gif You have an advantage, you're attractive and intelligent, which would make it pretty hard for other people to reject you, even if you break down in front of them because of a Disney movie. LOL (I stressed it, in case you still don't believe it I'll add underlines icon_lol.gif )

    Anyway, I really don't know, because I myself still haven't gotten past that. I'm afraid of rejection to the point that I'm afraid of hoping for anything more, thus I refuse to show vulnerabilities that can be exploited later on. For example I avoid acknowledging compliments. Whenever I get one I simply sidestep it by making fun of it or the situation, thus forcing myself to not believe in it. Belittling it, just as you did. I also avoid 'mushy' situations, and act nonchalant whenever I feel some sort of strong emotion when I'm around people.

    I need to build my own self-confidence more, to the point where I couldn't anymore care what people think of me and can show the full range of emotions I feel. Not happening anytime soon though. icon_sad.gif

    Fear of rejection is not even simply romantic. It can be about friends who laughed at you once, or stemming from a parent who left you, a childhood experience etc. Either way, this might be the reason for you?

    Otherwise the only other reason I can think of is psychopathy, LOL. The inability to empathize with another person's emotions, which you don't seem to be.

    And whut catty bitches?! :3 Where? :3
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    Nov 29, 2008 3:54 AM GMT
    I suspect you are not being honest with yourself. You have emotions like anyone else but perhaps you don't wear them on your sleeve. Don't go about trying to change yourself just to get a date. Besides there are already plenty of drama queens out there.

    Honestly though if you want to get in touch with your deep seeded emotion (in private) as a form of therapy I would suggest writing. Write about past experiences that you found troubling and could never quite understand. If it is too difficult to right in pros try poetry. Writing good poetry should solicit an emotional response. You could also try pros first and then convert your pros to a poem.