I know everyone who reads my work can understand what I’m talking about when I say that we often tell others how we are truly feeling without saying it. We hide behind phrases like, “I’m okay”, “I’m fine” or “I’m just not feeling good, but I’ll be okay.”
Why do you think this is so?
I’m going to offer my opinions on the subject, but I’m sure the reality is much deeper than I or any expert in Psychology could ever truly know.
I feel the first and probably the most reliable reasons are that telling others your true feelings, feels horribly dangerous. In childhood our feelings were either discounted or caused us to be harmed.
I’ll tackle the prior reason first.
Our Feelings Were Discounted
In homes where the parent(s) are totally immersed in themselves, children are truly seen and not heard. When their child comes to them feeling overwhelmed by something they usually get one of two responses. Either the parent minimizes the problem their kid is having, or they go overboard trying to fix it.
In my own personal experience.
I went to my mother many times because the other children made fun of me in school. Sometimes she would acknowledge me in empty words and go on about how wonderful her childhood experiences in school had been. Others she would take an extreme interest and begin making embarrassing phone calls to the principal of the school. The problem was never solved, and in most cases, it was made worse.
Children who are neglected and traumatized at home grow up in homes where their word means nothing. The helpless that is inherent in all children is thus magnified in these kids leading to acting out in many and varied ways. These children grow up to be angry inside which as everyone knows, is the basis for depression.
We Were Harmed
Expressing one’s needs to parents should not be dangerous, but unfortunately that can sometimes be the case. Children raised in families that feel that a child’s place is to be in a corner of a room and invisible are treated horribly should they speak up. No matter what they do, they cannot please these vindictive and terrifying parents.
In my own experience.
Going to my mother and telling her about a problem could have these results. She might be verbally abusive, or sometimes she would switch me until my legs were covered in lash marks. She had an explosive temper and living with her was like living with a ticking time bomb. No matter what I did, I could not get her to be proud of me. Oh, she would feign pride but as soon as the moment has gone, she would forget the good I had done.
She was also horribly inconsistent with her rules and I was often beaten or belittled for doing something she had said was fine only hours before.
So, because of such training in childhood, as adults we have a hard time telling about how we really feel. We can be living in distress and tell others we are doing okay and not to worry. We walk into our therapist’s office after making plans to die by suicide and talk for an hour never mentioning how close to death we are at that moment.
Do You Have Any Suggestions?
I have yet to find a way to completely defeat this self-destructive and trauma related problem. I’ve read many ideas online but none of them are right for me.
I’d appreciate some feedback. What do you think I can do to become able to share with friends and family how I am really feeling instead of downplaying my emotional state?
Leave your ideas in the comments below. There are no right or wrong answers, so don’t worry about that, okay?