I have some experiences that I’d like to turn into facts, not feelings.
Things that I’ve been through that still evoke an emotional response that I’d rather approach as more of “just a thing that happened” and less of a “life-changing THING THAT HAPPENED.”
I’ve been participating in a “processing” stage therapy group at my therapist’s office. Meeting weekly with other women who have a shared experience and are at a similar stage in healing has been really helpful. We recently went around the circle and talked about what we’d like to gain from attending the group. I personally, would like to be better at acknowledging my anger, and also, to be able to approach my trauma as if it is a fact, and not a feeling. That’s the difficult thing – how do I treat this traumatic, emotional experience as a fact? How do I remove my emotions from it, in order to move past it?
Sometimes I like to think of my past relationship as a book I read. I let it feel real while I’m “reading” it, and then I try to close it, put it back on the shelf, and think about it more as a hypothetical than as something tangible. Sometimes it’s the only way to get past the memory playing on a loop. Part of processing is also being able to take the next step, to move onto the next level, to live in the present. To stop letting feelings inform facts.
I’m too scared to date.
That’s the long and short of it. I could give you a million valid-feeling reasons as to why, but all it boils down to is that I don’t trust myself to choose a better partner. Because I’m still letting my feelings inform the facts. I know that I have grown and learned about myself and have far, far better boundaries after seeing my counselor for these last couple of years. I know that I’m not 18 anymore, and it won’t be my first boyfriend anymore, and that I’m not afraid of being alone anymore. But my feelings are still screaming louder, that it’s too frightening to try.
For now, I’m okay with that. As time passes, I realize that the only things I’m really missing about being married is having someone else to run errands for me. That’s not the basis of a healthy relationship. I’m currently interested in a unpaid personal assistant. In time, that might change. I might change. For now, I’m really very content with Ivan (the cat) being the only man in my life.
In other ways, I’ve learned to let facts take over. When I first started to acknowledge what happened, I was too afraid to be alone in an elevator with a man. Any man. Because I was letting my feelings inform the facts. Now I can take any elevator I choose. I was too afraid to give tours to men at work – an essential part of my job. I used to have to take someone with me. Now I can evaluate the facts of the situation, and give my feelings the appropriate amount of consideration. I’m learning that it’s okay to have the feeling of fear, as long as I don’t let it take over.
Emotions are neither bad nor good. It’s what you do with those feelings.