Not Reacting

Not Reacting

imageIn my In Shadow post, I mentioned not reacting.

When I look back on my “not reacting” statement, I had a twinge of emotion that said, “that’s just stuffing your emotions again.”

dissertation conclusion further research I want to clarify this statement.

When I get in shadow, I am in “fight or flight” mode. If I find myself in “fight” mode, I am looking for a fight. I have this perception that if I make the fight happen, it will end the shadow. Of course, this is all happening at a sub-conscience level and I’m not realizing it. I’m only aware of this after the fact when I reflect on myself.

I end up creating a fight (usually with my lovely wife). This always ends up in creating more problems.

One morning, I was pissed at everything. The dishes weren’t done. The house was a mess. I had to do everything. I was mad and I wanted a fight. I had a moment of clarity where I thought, “I’m just looking for a fight.  If I find a fight, it won’t go well.”

With this thought, I could avoid any serious interaction with my family.  Once I was in a safer place, I was able to reflect and realize I was having some jealousy problems with something that happened the night before.

Don't react to outside emotions.
Don’t react to outside perceptions.

Stuffing your feelings is taking an inside feeling and not dealing with it.

enter site Not reacting is shielding yourself from outside perceptions so it doesn’t turn into inside hurt.

In Shadow

In Shadow

I was triggered again.In Shadow

When I’m triggered, it seems like I’m back in the matrix. I don’t feel like myself. All hope is gone and there is nothing I can do to fix or make things better.

I refer to this as being “In Shadow” state.

Being “in shadow” is a state of mind that can be summarized as absolute terror. In a nightmare experience. Here’s where it gets tricky. You are awake, but there’s still a feeling of terror. All your senses seem to be alive and more heightened. It’s a state of fight or flight, but there’s nothing to run from.

It’s a state of panic.

I don’t like the term panic. Panic doesn’t seem to be a manly word to me. When I think of panic, I get images of:

  • Scared children
  • Women running
  • Wimps

I like the term, “in shadow” because that seems more mysterious to me. But I need to face facts. I get in a state of panic and I want to run in fear.

Either way you call it, it’s a state of “fight or flight” with nothing to “fight” nor “flight” from. This seems to be the ultimate problem. So far, I’ve had 2 reactions to this mode:

  1. Don’t react to anything. I’m in “fight” mode and anything perceived as a problem is really me looking for a fight. I want a fight so I can end this panic feeling. Of course, that just makes things worse.
  2. Feel it and deal with it. There is an underlying reason I’m being triggered. Find that reason and face it.

Feeling and Dealing

Touching EmotionsIf you read my posts up to this point, then you have an understanding of my emotional process.

  1. I have some experience that triggers a past memory/emotion that is hard to deal with.
  2. In a “knee jerk” reaction, I stuff/squash that memory/emotion.
  3. Later, this memory/emotion makes it’s way to the surface and I am set off.
  4. My wife (or myself) notices I am having a problem.
  5. I feel and deal with my stuffed/squashed memory/emotion.

Today, I am focusing on #5 and my process of feeling and dealing with my emotions.

Scary Memory/Emotion

For me, my emotions are the scariest things in the world. They involve fear and pain like a terrified child who wakes up in the middle of the night from a fierce dream only to find him completely trapped dark and scarier bedroom. A fear that hopelessly cries in terror with no response.

When these emotions surface, I have 2 options:

  • Squash or stuff it.
  • Feel it and Deal with it

Throughout my entire life, I have squashed these feelings.  This has always been a temporary fix that just leads to more hurt feelings.  I have found when I squash my feelings, I cannot tolerate others having feelings.

If I’m feeling jealous, I will squash that feeling of jealously.  If there are others around me like my wife and kids.  If they express feelings such as joy or happiness, my first painful feeling is more jealousy.  After all, how can they feel joy when I am trying to squash my feelings.  How dare they!

You can image this leading to more hurt feelings and me yelling at my wife and kids to shut them down.  Even make them feel the way I do to justify my feelings.

Feel it

The best way to truly end this horrible feeling is to feel it. In someways, this feeling has surfaced (since it’s presented itself in #4). In another way, I am truly trying to stuff it and not see it. Because it is so scary, I fight this feeling with all my will power not to see it.

To finally own this feeling, I have to find it and uncover it. I do this through writing. With writing, I find it is a safe way to express a feeling. I can write some pretty horrible stuff on paper and it won’t effect anyone. I can write my deepest and darkest anger and nobody will get hurt.

What is really great about writing, is you know when you hit the feeling. In my writing, I find myself skirting around he emotion until I hit it. Then the emotional floodgates erupt. The wave of emotions you have been holding back let go and it’s an emotional release that is physically and emotionally powerful.
The bigger the emotion, the more powerful the experience.

Deal with it

Once I find and experience the emotion with the physical and emotional release, I can now deal with that emotion. Along with the emotions comes memories and background. I experience the moment that triggered these emotions. I have to reassure myself these emotions are in the past and things have changed. I am an adult. I cannot change the past, but I can make things better now.


Make sure you are in a safe place. I have an understanding with my wife when I have this emotions, I say, “I have something to deal with.” Then I goto our bedroom and lock the door. This is my safe place. I am not to come out until I have felt the feeling. If I get emotionally worked up, and then have to come out and deal with anything, it could be disastrous.

Make sure you have a safe place and an understanding that you’re dealing with some tough emotions. Interruptions won’t go well.

Also, most of the time, in dealing with my emotions, there is always these thoughts:

  • This is so stupid
  • What a lame emotion
  • These are childish emotions

Well of course their stupid, lame, and childish emotions.  These are usually deep emotional wound that have not been dealt with and need to be.  Do not judge the emotions.  Just write them down.  By labeling these emotions, it’s an attempt to squash/stuff it.  Don’t!  Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with it again.

Feel It!

Deal with it!

Move on!