Yesterday’s card draw has given me a lot of things to work on and think about. However, I think that to get started, I am going to start by exploring how emotional repression my have influenced my shadow and my current life situation. Because I feel that creativity ties into one’s emotions and their ability to be authentic and open, starting with my emotional repression may help me to unblock my creative center.
I have already talked a lot about how in my childhood, I learned that to be agreeable was to be liked. I pretended to be a person that I wasn’t for the sake of praise and attention. I avoided conflict and speaking mind. However, I always remember my emotions as being super powerful. I would often sacrifice my feelings for the sake of being accepted, but my emotions weren’t really repressed. They were still bubbling and simmering within me. I am an Aries moon, so my emotions always feel really big and urgent when they come up. I was always very emotionally aware of myself, even in childhood. I was perceptive about how I was making others feel, but I also knew what I was feeling and why. I may have chosen to keep my emotions to myself rather than express them, does that count as repression?
I never had an easy time going up to another person and letting them know that they had hurt me or upset me. Most of the time I just dealt with my feelings inwardly. Every time I tried to express my big feelings, I felt like people thought I was being crazy or dramatic. I was constantly being told to toughen up by my caregivers. I remember when I got my first period in the 4th grade. I was hormonal of course, but I got my period at school in beige shorts. Not to mention, the idea of growing into a woman really grossed me out when I was a kid. I didn’t want a period or breasts or anything else that came along with being a woman. When I got home from school that day and realized what had happened, I burst out in tears. My mom and Mema were at work, but my Granny was home so I ran to her. I was expecting comfort but instead, she got angry with me for being sad. She said, “I don’t know what your crying about. It’s not like you didn’t know that this was going to happen.” I think she may have even mocked my crying, but maybe that is just how I am remembering it now. I tried to call my mom at work, but she couldn’t really talk to me. I had no choice but to suck it up.
Another situation I remember was when I was in the 2nd grade, a boy had told the teacher that I had hit him even though I didn’t. She made me write my name on the board but I refused and started crying. She held up class, making a big scene of the whole thing. All the while I was crying and trying to tell her that I was not going to accept punishment for something that I didn’t do. This carried on for a long time. Eventually I gave in and signed my name on the board. I then asked her if I could go to the hall to get some water and she said yes. While I was there, I saw my mom in the cafeteria volunteering in one of the 4th grade classes. I ran up to her and gave her a hug, seeking comfort for my emotions and trying to tell her what happened. She was less concerned with my feelings and more concerned with the fact that I had left class. She drug me by the arm, popping my butt along the way, all the way back to class. I was bawling so hard by this point and I was humiliated.
I am not saying that I received no emotional comfort, but I feel like every adult in my life could have done better. I had big feelings, but instead of giving me the type of attention and comfort that I needed, all of my caregivers chose to instead tell me why I was wrong to be upset. In middle school when I was first starting to have “boyfriends” I used to go to the guidance office in tears. The first few times, I felt truly heard and seen for the first time. However, the guidance counselor eventually got annoyed with me. She didn’t say anything out loud, but as I said before, I was always really perceptive of other people’s emotions as well as my own.
By the time I reached high school, I only shared my feelings with my best friend. I froze my mother out and wouldn’t tell her anything. She said that this hurt her, but even then she didn’t handle the situation as she should have. By this point I was self harming, but she was too scared to push me further away from her to get me help. She should have cared more about keeping me safe than keeping me from getting mad at her. Not to mention, now that I am looking back on it, her actions show that she was more concerned with her feelings than mine. Even though I was cutting myself, she didn’t take me to get help because she didn’t want it to damage our relationship. Luckily I made it through, because that wouldn’t have done a lot of good if I was dead. My mom has told me many times that my Mema and Granny were not good with her emotions either when she was a kid. She was often neglected by Mema, and though Granny watched her, she had no time for feelings. Granny had a hard life. I understand that. I just wish that it didn’t trickle down the way that it did. I want this pattern to fully end with me.
I had a math teacher back in those days, she was really grumpy and lucky me, I was in her class multiple times. One day she saw my cuts and turned me into the guidance councilor. The guidance councilor called me into her office and tried to talk to me. I wouldn’t open up, but who would the first time talking to someone? At the end of the visit she said that she was going to be seeing me once a week. I remember that there was a small part of me that was happy about that because I felt like someone finally saw me….but then she never called me back again. She totally forgot about me.
Within my relationships, I experienced a lot of gaslighting that has probably led to some emotional repression. When I was a teen, I feel like I had more of an anxious attachment style than an anxious avoidant attachment style. However, the partners that I was with didn’t really know how to handle that. I had two different high school boyfriends that told my best friend that I was “psychotic” for being depressed and self harming. My most influential high school boyfriend Lee used to tell me that I was overreacting to the things that he did to me, even though he cheated on me constantly and lied to me to get me to sleep with him. He too would tell me that I was overreacting about my depression and that I didn’t have it as bad as other people, like him who grew up in an abusive home or one of our other friends who had been raped by her uncle. All the while, he was really rapey and sexually manipulative towards me but never acknowledged that….making me feel like I was making all of that up in my head and it wasn’t really happening.
Today I am actually embarrassed to have feelings most of the time. I know I am really open on my blog, but that is only because no one on here actually knows me in real life. In reality, every time I reach out to talk to someone about my feelings, I instantly wish that I hadn’t. I don’t feel seen, I feel humiliated and judged. I try to reach out for emotional support as little as possible. I don’t like people thinking I’m a sad and pathetic train wreck. I don’t want people to see me like that, so most of the time I keep my feelings to myself. I notice that when I have big feelings about a thing that other people don’t respect or about something that can’t be changed, instead of trying to work through the problem I just refocus my feelings onto something else. Honestly, I am kind of doing that now with all of my self development work. Because I can’t fix my marriage, I have decided to focus all of my emotions on myself instead. It keeps me from falling apart. Additionally, I actually used to be able to process my big feelings when I was younger, but now, I feel anxious and sick every time big emotions or dramatic situations come up. I’m afraid of them because I don’t know how I am supposed to deal with them anymore. Could it be that my repression and mismanagement of my feelings has helped to cause me to have avoidant tendencies?
I even deny my emotions just to make them easier to deal with. If I can talk myself out of my feelings, they won’t be as overwhelming. But isn’t this what all of my care givers and partners have done to me, diminishing my feeling thus invalidating my experiences? Now I am at a place in life where no one else has to tell me I am over reacting, I do that to myself. I question all of my experiences and look for ways that I am in the wrong. I invalidate myself before anyone else can do it to me.
I am reaching a point today where I need to take a break, I am feeling a bit emotionally overwhelmed. Tomorrow I am going to pick up by doing some inner child work and validating my past feelings and emotions. I may also work on some of current feelings as well.
These shadow work/self development posts are truly intended for my own self discovery and development, but I thank those of you who took the time to read this. I plan to work with my shadow aspects and self development topics relating to the Page of Cups reversed until I feel that it is time for me to move onto something new.
Love Always, AnxiouslyM