* * *


20 years ago:


“What are you feeling?”


“I feel upset”


“Upset? What does upset mean?”


“Upset! It means that I feel upset!”


“Upset isn’t a feeling. Are you sad? Or scared? Or angry? Or feeling loss? Or something else?”


“I’m not sure.”


Yes, I was so afraid of my emotions that I couldn’t even begin to identify my “negative” emotions.


That would have meant getting close enough to them to start to really feel them, which felt utterly overwhelming.


And I’m not only talking about feelings related to the abuse, I’m talking about the feelings related to every day life.


Thus began my education about emotions.

~ From I have to feel what? by catsmeow at Living While Healing.

5 responses to “Feelings

  • Clare Flourish

    Fear Anger Sadness Happiness Disgust and Surprise. FASHDS, “Fash” in Scots is to get, well, upset and express it. Dinnae fash, we tell each other.

    • Steve Hauptman

      Dinnae fash, huh? I guess that’s what we mean when we tell someone Get ahold of yourself. Or Chill. Or Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.

  • Mike

    “Upset isn’t a feeling” ? Hmmm I think I have a definite feeling of upset which isn’t quite the same as mad sad glad or sca’d. It’s a bit more like “confused” which I also experience as a very definite physical sensation that I can locate in my body.

    • Steve Hauptman

      When I’m working with someone who tells me they’re “upset” I usually push for more information, since that word can be used to describe such a broad range of experiences (sad? disappointed? frustrated? nauseated?). And it’s important to me to get more specific, since each feeling reflects a different experience. So I think of “upset” more as a symptom of a feeling than as a feeling in itself.

  • Hurt and shame « Clare Flourish

    […] is the emotion there? Upset is not an emotion, it is a symptom of an emotion, (Thanks Steve) and perhaps it would be good to identify the feeling, but at the […]

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