Quick update about fawning

Guy sent his weekly reminder about my session tomorrow, so I seized the opportunity and sent my text, explaining it’ll help me to bring it up tomorrow if I’ve put it out there first and saying no need to reply today so I’m not intruding on his weekend.

He replied. 😲🙈

Essentially the advice was; because fawning is based on fear, try to imagine yourself not fawning, then scan the body for how that would feel.

I replied: “Should’ve known it would involve a body scan!”

So then I said, while we’re on the topic, can I add to the shopping list those bloody awful things called emotions, as its about time I got to grips with them.

Now I’ve well and truly trapped myself again! But it’s all good. I wanted to, it’s probably kind of a bit like necking a few drinks before going out to give yourself a bit of dutch courage (are you even allowed to say that anymore?). I’ve never done that, by the way, I just know it’s a thing.

I’m interested in how this one will go, actually. I’m hoping it will be practical because I need practical solutions. Or maybe I’m thinking with my brain and not my emotions… maybe it requires a part of me that is severely underused.

Today I read a quote on another blog, which got me talking in the comments to the author about feelings (bit of a hot topic for me at the moment). I was being my typical self, and quite negative about them, but the author was quite the opposite, seeing them in a completely different light. I was quite intrigued by the idea that feelings, once understood, could be viewed as valuable to help us being aware of and meeting our own needs, protecting us from harm, allowing us to enjoy life, and giving us valuable information.

What?!!!! Really?!!!! I’d be mad to pass up on that list. I could use all of it.

But I find emotions so uncomfortable, even the ‘nice’ ones. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve used dissociation to deaden them, which is still very tempting, but I think I need to do this. I have two very young boys who this kind of information would be really useful for them to know. I can’t really teach them how to dissociate, can I? The point is, I wouldn’t want to. Which kind of tells me something.

But it’s my safe thing to do and emotions are not. Were not. Lets talk past tense so we can pave the way for change here!

Emotions terrify me. I don’t know why, so I decided to google it and the first hit spoke of feeling exposed and vulnerable. That’s my issue, to some degree. Yet I have a different rule for other people, I’m quite happy for them to go ahead and let it all out if they feel the need – just not me.

I think it’s a little bit linked to how I felt when I was being bullied. You can’t show fear or they’ll know they’ve got to you and will do more of it. If you pretend you’re untouched by it and hide it all away deep inside yourself, then you might stand a better chance of being left alone. Of course it didn’t work, but I will never know how much worse it would have been if I hadn’t done a massive cover-up exercise. This became my go-to solution. I began to use it everywhere, with my mum, at the cult, at school… no wonder people saw me as a hard-nosed, unfeeling individual, particularly when I became an adult. I absolutely wasn’t, and I wanted people to see that, but I couldn’t let my guard down so I had to continue. It was all I knew to survive, and without it I didn’t think I’d make it.

After a while I began to feel proud of the fact I never cry, and scorned people who did. I don’t scorn them now, of course I don’t, but as a young adolescent I think I did. Why couldn’t they learn to swallow a brick and fight back emotions, to conquer them and win? I felt it was a male trait and I liked male traits, they seemed safer. Of course, that too, is completely wrong and I don’t view it that way at all, and am completely against old fashioned societal taboos like men having emotions and being able to cry.

I’ve lived all of my life this way. Any rare tears I’ve shed have been in private, and only recently I’ve allowed myself to cry more, but still alone. I used to detest myself for being so weak if I couldn’t hold it in, but now I just panic about the idea of doing it in front of another person. I honestly think I’d rather be naked. And a lot of the time I feel like I need to cry but nothing comes. It’s like my body just doesn’t know how to do it!

You know how some people have emetophobia? Well this feels the same. If you suffer from emetophobia you might want to stop reading the rest of this paragraph. I used to be that way until I was sick when I had been drinking, and from that day onward I stopped. Actually I think my drink had been spiked but thats another story. Anyway, the point is, I vomited, but was so relaxed from whatever I’d taken, it made all the difference, though I’m not suggesting you spike your drinks to cure emetophobia! Instead of the usual dread of feeling the waves of nausea, and then the vomit travelling slowly up north in my oesophagus, the tightening of the throat and the taste, and then the panic of feeling like I’m going to drown in it because I need to breathe and I can’t… it was awful and I dreaded catching a stomach bug. But when I was out of it, I just relaxed into it, and felt slow, rhythmic, waves of vomit empty out of me into the gutter. There was no panic, it was just like breathing while swimming, and from that moment onward I’ve always put myself into ‘relax-state’ mode, to vomit in style (never in a gutter)!

The reason I’ve been so explicit here is that I’m wondering whether emotions and crying is much the same? I fight off crying the same way I used fight off vomiting, with almost the same fear and panic. To me they were pretty much the same, equally unpleasant. But I learned how to be sick successfully (is that an actual achievement?!), and so maybe I can also learn how to cope with emotions in a similar way? It’s not just negative emotions, positive ones made me feel sad too. It’s like I have some kind of malfunction whereby my brain tells me happy emotions are too overwhelming, and I don’t know what to do with the strength of feeling. Then there’s the fear of what’s going to happen to take away the happiness… overall it’s just not worth it. Or wasn’t worth it but if there’s a way to find value in emotions I’m on the hunt for it.

To meet me you probably would have no idea I think like this. I’m a sunny, happy, easy-going kind of person. Or at least, I think I am, someone else might see me completely differently. Don’t forget, one of the leaders of the cult told me I was one of two most depressing, negative people they’d ever encountered. Maybe they were just more fucked up with their emotions than I am, and maybe they couldn’t even recognise a child stood before them, feeling utterly desolate. I much prefer that idea to the notion I might be depressing to be around! But it’s more important to me that I know the truth about how I am.

I don’t think there’s any I can trust to ask though. Nobody is going to say the equivalent to, “Yes your bum looks big in that!”, are they? I am beginning to trust Guy – which by the way feels bloody great – but even Guy wouldn’t tell me I’m depressing because there’s no way he’d have theoretically offered to refer people to me if he viewed me that way. But my therapist views all people as their best possible selves (I think) and I suspect it’s a therapist-y viewpoint to have of people generally. My nursing friends will be the same. I mean, you’ve probably read the text I posted last week, you can see how they also view me! Arrghh… who can I ask?

Maybe I need to ask nobody but work it out for myself. While we’re on the topic of working it out for myself, I’d quite like to work this emotional shit out by myself too, in private, alone. But it looks like I am going to need to have Guy’s help with this. He hasn’t answered my text about raising it tomorrow, but I think he should be okay about it. Of course he will be, it’s Guy!




4 thoughts on “Quick update about fawning

  1. Trauma causes overwhelming, larger than usual, and very painful emotions. Then we’re also fucked because we lack emotional regulation skills, because we don’t have an attuned caregiver to help co regulate. So soon, even “regular” emotions are hard to handle, and yet you’re experiencing more and more overwhelming emotions due to trauma. No wonder we dissociate, or turn to addictions to numb out the overwhelming, larger than our brain is built to handle, feelings. Our window of tolerance is small, we lack emotional regulation, AND we’ve huge emotions.

    I remember the time I realised untraumatised people felt “smaller” emotions like sadness instead of overwhelming grief or suicidal despair.

    We’re playing Emotions on Hard Mode, really. Therapy can help. And yes, emotions can be great info to help keep us safe, among other things!

    Liked by 1 person

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