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The shadow self

I have read a fair bit and listened to talks about how we all repress certain emotions dues to our family and or cultural conditioning. For example we feel may feel lonely and instead of facing the emotion and then using an adaptive strategy to process or release the difficult feelings such as reaching out to friends or family we instead may use a maladaptive strategy such as wasting time on Facebook which gives us the illusion of connectness which is basically just avoiding and or repressing the feelings.
It is said that in meditation these repressed emotions begin to resurface and we can then learn to accept them with kindness and compassion.
The reason I am discussing this is because for me I rarely feel anything at all in meditation apart from some restlessness occasionally. I have a lot of thoughts but I barely feel any emotions. I'm not sure why. I'm wondering if I have some very deeply repressed emotions that aren't arising because they are too painful.

I know that I am a chronic procrastinator and procrastination is a maladaptive coping strategy. It's a way to avoid. I guess I'm avoiding feeling something.

lobsterperson

Comments

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Do you think you might benefit from counselling?
    It seems to me that rather than repressing, it may be that you lack the essential mechanisms that would enable you to express yourself.
    In other words, perhaps it's not that you are repressing - it's that you don't even know HOW to open up....

    person
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @Zania said:I have a lot of thoughts but I barely feel any emotions. I'm not sure why.

    Being more grounded might help, try practising mindfulness of the body so that you are less "in your head". The type of thoughts you have might give a clue, can you see any patterns?
    The thoughts should begin to settle after a period of meditation, so you could also review your method of practice.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I'm wonder, @Zania, if you suspect buried stuff or you're just looking for something because of the restlessness (sometimes read: bored)? Believe it or not, some folks do have reasonably nice lives/childhoods. In which case, maybe meditate on gratitude for the good in your life maybe. I think it's nice that you're curious - I think that's a healthy attitude.

    DairyLamaShoshin
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @silver said:> I'm wonder, @Zania, if you suspect buried stuff or you're just looking for something because of the restlessness (sometimes read: bored)? Believe it or not, some folks do have reasonably nice lives/childhoods. In which case, maybe meditate on gratitude for the good in your life maybe. I think it's nice that you're curious - I think that's a healthy attitude.

    Good point. Some people are just well-adjusted, nothing awful to discover.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Different people have different strengths of emotional experience. It could just be that your emotions are rather subtle and not very in your face, and that if you want to be in touch with them you will need to carefully make room and give them space. That's how it works for me too, it takes some attentiveness in order to be aware of my emotions.

    Zania
  • ZaniaZania Explorer

    @federica said:
    Do you think you might benefit from counselling?
    It seems to me that rather than repressing, it may be that you lack the essential mechanisms that would enable you to express yourself.
    In other words, perhaps it's not that you are repressing - it's that you don't even know HOW to open up....

    Hi Federica,
    Im actually a very emotional person and don't seem to have any trouble opening up in day to day life, its just in meditation that I don't feel anything and also theres the procrastination thing which is avoidant behaviour.
    Im currently seeing a psychiatrist. Ive also been to counsellors and psychologists before. They basically just tell me things I already know such as CBT strategies etc. It doesn't seem to be much help.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Zania said: Im actually a very emotional person and don't seem to have any trouble opening up in day to day life, its just in meditation that I don't feel anything and also theres the procrastination thing which is avoidant behaviour.

    Not being disturbed by emotions in meditation is a good thing! Maybe you should stop thinking about meditation as some kind of therapy, that is missing the point.

    ShoshinlobsterFosdick
  • ZaniaZania Explorer

    @silver said:
    I'm wonder, @Zania, if you suspect buried stuff or you're just looking for something because of the restlessness (sometimes read: bored)? Believe it or not, some folks do have reasonably nice lives/childhoods. In which case, maybe meditate on gratitude for the good in your life maybe. I think it's nice that you're curious - I think that's a healthy attitude.

    Hi Silver, I suspect buried stuff. My childhood and teenage years were very traumatic and left me with major trust and confidence issues. I developed avoidant behaviour to protect myself from being hurt and or rejected again. It has become very entrenched and is now very clear that this behaviour is maladaptive and leads to me feeling very disconnected and lonely. It has also led me find myself in a place in which I cannot seem to gather the motivation or energy to look after my most basic needs such as working to support myself hence my earlier post about my dependancy issues in relationships.

    silver
  • ZaniaZania Explorer

    @Kerome said:
    Different people have different strengths of emotional experience. It could just be that your emotions are rather subtle and not very in your face, and that if you want to be in touch with them you will need to carefully make room and give them space. That's how it works for me too, it takes some attentiveness in order to be aware of my emotions.

    Maybe but generally my emotions arent subtle they are very intense. Maybe I need to start to meditate when I feel the emotion rather than waiting for an emotion when meditating.

    lobster
  • I too do not feel emotions in meditation.
    This feels normal for me.
    Meditation is a welcome chance for me to just be still, let the psychic chatter fade out. It doesn't feel like I'm missing anything.
    In regular life, I'm perhaps slightly more emotional/expressive than average.

    Shoshin
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @Zania said:

    @Kerome said:
    Different people have different strengths of emotional experience. It could just be that your emotions are rather subtle and not very in your face, and that if you want to be in touch with them you will need to carefully make room and give them space. That's how it works for me too, it takes some attentiveness in order to be aware of my emotions.

    Maybe but generally my emotions arent subtle they are very intense. Maybe I need to start to meditate when I feel the emotion rather than waiting for an emotion when meditating.

    It's interesting, intense emotions are a rarity for me. Maybe once or twice a year something will come along which triggers an intense reaction in me, and then I'll typically be swept along by it for a few minutes.

  • @Zania said:

    I know that I am a chronic procrastinator and procrastination is a maladaptive coping strategy. It's a way to avoid. I guess I'm avoiding feeling something.

    I had a great response ... but it can wait ... :p

    DairyLamaWalkerpersonShoshin
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Zania said:

    @silver said:
    I'm wonder, @Zania, if you suspect buried stuff or you're just looking for something because of the restlessness (sometimes read: bored)? Believe it or not, some folks do have reasonably nice lives/childhoods. In which case, maybe meditate on gratitude for the good in your life maybe. I think it's nice that you're curious - I think that's a healthy attitude.

    Hi Silver, I suspect buried stuff. My childhood and teenage years were very traumatic and left me with major trust and confidence issues. I developed avoidant behaviour to protect myself from being hurt and or rejected again. It has become very entrenched and is now very clear that this behaviour is maladaptive and leads to me feeling very disconnected and lonely. It has also led me find myself in a place in which I cannot seem to gather the motivation or energy to look after my most basic needs such as working to support myself hence my earlier post about my dependancy issues in relationships.

    If you're finding that so-called experts in the professions of negotiating the hidden bombs in the 'mind-field', aren't provoking any type of positive progress, (because I personally find that sometimes, such support makes you look outward, and confront the issues that bound you, head on) maybe it's time to stop looking 'out there' at what happened, and how you're dealing with it, and start to really look inward and begin peeling back the layers of How do I feel? What does this do to me? How a I reacting to this, NOW?

    The problem with 'looking back' is that we can't 'look forward' at the same time.
    I'm merely suggesting that instead of Processing the Past, you begin to structure your present - which might mean a certain level of self-acceptance, self-liking, self-loving - and start to consider how you'd like to build and transform your future.

    See, I don't know how much time you've got left.
    I don't know how much time I have got left.
    We none of us know.
    Maybe it's time to lay the past aside, therefore, accept the contents thereof, and improve what we've got lying in front of us, as we speak.

    So to speak.

  • @Zania said:

    The reason I am discussing this is because for me I rarely feel anything at all in meditation apart from some restlessness occasionally. I have a lot of thoughts but I barely feel any emotions. I'm not sure why. I'm wondering if I have some very deeply repressed emotions that aren't arising because they are too painful.

    Tsk, tsk. You think meditation is confined to a cushion? You feel very intense emotions. Therefore your cushion time is avoidance through the mind.

    No emotions indeed! Pah! Would not fool me ... Carry on meditating. Don't stop.

    The plan abides, dudes!

  • ZaniaZania Explorer

    @lobster said:

    Tsk, tsk. You think meditation is confined to a cushion? You feel very intense emotions. Therefore your cushion time is avoidance through the mind.

    No emotions indeed! Pah! Would not fool me ... Carry on meditating. Don't stop.

    The plan abides, dudes!

    No I don't think that at all actually.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @Zania said in part : I rarely feel anything at all in meditation ...

    Maybe but generally my emotions aren't subtle they are very intense. Maybe I need to start to meditate when I feel the emotion rather than waiting for an emotion when meditating.

    Seems about right. <3 'Intense' and transformative meditation, hence the need for metta bhavna or similar that others have suggested and you have tried ...

  • @Zania said:
    I have read a fair bit and listened to talks about how we all repress certain emotions dues to our family and or cultural conditioning. For example we feel may feel lonely and instead of facing the emotion and then using an adaptive strategy to process or release the difficult feelings such as reaching out to friends or family we instead may use a maladaptive strategy such as wasting time on Facebook which gives us the illusion of connectness which is basically just avoiding and or repressing the feelings.
    It is said that in meditation these repressed emotions begin to resurface and we can then learn to accept them with kindness and compassion.
    The reason I am discussing this is because for me I rarely feel anything at all in meditation apart from some restlessness occasionally. I have a lot of thoughts but I barely feel any emotions. I'm not sure why. I'm wondering if I have some very deeply repressed emotions that aren't arising because they are too painful.

    I know that I am a chronic procrastinator and procrastination is a maladaptive coping strategy. It's a way to avoid. I guess I'm avoiding feeling something.

    Dude you sound just like me lol

    The shadow self is something I too have been interested in and is talked about by Carl Jung. It represents your darker side and represt qualities. The thing is you may not notice them in yourself but they can be the first thing you notice about other people. I have noticed that certain overweight people can be the first to call someone else unattractive. Perhaps this is why.
    Anyway from what I've learned on here is that none of this really matters, its just another way of questioning experience. Just feel dude, experience rarely fits into what you think it should be.

  • upekkaupekka Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @lobster said:

    I had a great response ... but it can wait ...

    this is what is called Right Speech

  • techietechie India Veteran
    edited September 2016

    I think this is true of most people. A certain situation triggers a certain response. In meditation, that situation could well be absent. These repressed emotions do not have an opening; hence, they do not come to the surface. In normal life, some event or person (or even a word or gesture) could suddenly trigger these repressed feelings.

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