By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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What feeling do you not allow yourself to have, either because it is intolerable to you, your family didn't allow it, or it's just too scary or painful to have? What feeling or behavior do you use in its place?
Here are a few examples:
I can't feel vulnerable; I use anger instead.
I can't feel scared, I use disconnection instead.
I can't feel shame, I use judgement instead.
I can't feel anger, I use criticism instead.
Take a moment to consider your answer to this question. Breathe.
When you notice yourself feeling or behaving in your "instead" mode, slow down and wonder if the feeling you're not allowed to have is at play. Slow down some more. Just breathe and notice the feeling. Don't fix it, don't indulge it, just notice.
Try saying to yourself, "Isn't it interesting, I'm feeling _______." Breathe again.
When you can learn to tolerate your difficult feelings (notice I didn't say good/bad/right/wrong) you have the opportunity to find out what they're about. And you can then ask yourself what you need to attend to. Once you do, the feeling usually subsides. If you don't, the feeling grows until you pay attention.
Feelings are like road signs. Yield, Curves Ahead, or Sharp Left Turn is information to which you need to attend. Neither do you park your car under the road sign. Either ignoring the warning (a feeling) or parking (indulging/ruminating) will likely lead to a crash. The same is true of your emotional life.
So for now, just notice. After you gather more information about yourself, you can devise experiments to address these feelings. If you want help, ask for it.