heart talk 

… I should listen

: “Feelings aren’t facts” (#1)

SITE: How to listen to the heart


1. FEELINGS (Part 1)

2. ‘FACTS’:  The other problem with this platitude is that these 2 words don’t really belong together (feelings & facts).
a. Facts – are only actions, quantifiable, with measurable results. Simplifies – facts come from the head.
b. Feelings – as pointed out in Part 1, has 3 different meanings.

For people who thing this term (feel) means Emotions (Es) = Es are never ‘facts’ – they are internal experiences – from the gut.  Yes, it’s a fact that we have emotions. Even Vulcans have those pesky things, underneath. For humans, to be cut off from them turn us into narcissists or worse – sociopaths!

• Eventually someone in Al-Anon added what they thought was a clarification: “Feelings aren’t facts, but it’s a fact that I’m having these feelings”.  OK – this does refer to Emotions. This was encouraging for many of us to hear, because as CoAs we were taught to repress some or all Es – to deny them as irrelevant or unacceptable.  So this version gave permission to FEEL emotions.  But this is not what the phrase actually means

c. Thoughts are not technically facts either, but ‘constructs’ of the mind – not tangible in themselves. Thoughts are:
• the cause of actions, healthy or unhealthy, depending on the type of thoughts (may not be conscious, but the real reason for behavior), AND

• the source of emotions (in the present): enjoyment, pleasure, relief, comfort
… OR great suffering, caused by distorted or cruel toxic rules, scary projections, unfounded assumptions … which lead to painful emotions for ourselves, & often to destructive actions towards others!

➼ NOTE: Watch out for people who ONLY talk about what they or other people are doing, where they’ve been, who they know, what they’ve accomplished…. Facts, facts, facts!  That tells us they are NOT in touch with their emotions, which makes them unsafe in relationships, for anything other than giving information – if that!

CONCLUSION: Based of these distinctions, what does “Feelings are facts” really mean?
ANS: “Our negative, distorted thoughts, beliefs & obsessions are NOT telling us the truth.”  Only when understood that way is it a correct statement.

And what do most ACoAs endlessly obsess about ? :
☁︎ EITHER Self-Hate
”I don’t know why he won’t talk to me – why is he ignoring me – was it something I said? Or maybe I bad thoughtsshould have been nice to him.  I probably sat in the wrong chair… I know he doesn’t like me… what can I do to change his mind… “  –  bla, bla, bla….
👺 OR Rageful thoughts towards others
“How dare she talk to me like that… Why didn’t he call me….I never did anything to her… I’m going to give her a piece of my mind… I hate her, she’s a witch…. no I’d better not… what should I say… I don’t want to get fired…”  grrrrr , grrrrr

❖ Healthy Thinking is imperative to function well in the world & in personal relationships. To do so we need accurate, reasonable & present-day info about how everything really works, what is positive about ourselves, what it means to be human & images-4universal spiritual truths about Higher Power.

EXRESS  thoughts
, opinions & beliefs, directly:
• “I think that the government should…”
• “That’s not my opinion”   •   “I wouldn’t say that…”
• “I suspect he’s not going to honor his agreement”
• “I’m convinced there’s a better way to do this project”

❖ Healthy Emotions are NEVER good or bad, but rather range from the very painful <———–0————> to the very joyful.  The ‘0’ stands for neutral.  We need to aim for living within a range of +5 to -5 on either side of center, most of the time, although not exclusively.  This can only happen when healing diminishes our accumulated anxiety so we don’t have to alternate between the ‘outer limits’ of misery or fantasy/illusion!   (REVIEW all posts on Emotions)

NEXT: Getting to Our EMOTIONS – Under


think or feel 

I’m confused! What are you talking about?

PREVIOUS: Request of my Readers

SITE: Diff between feel, think, believe



This is a familiar phrase used in 12-Step Programs, but not exclusive to them. It contains an intrinsic truth and an intrinsic lie.  We have to examine both words – ‘feelings’ and ‘facts’ – to understand.

• In our language, the word feelings is used in almost every context to mean either thoughts, emotions or sensations, without distinction.
• The main problem is that most of the time people use ‘Feel’ to mean Thoughts, not emotions. This causes confusion for both speaker & listener.

• This triple usage may be a clever ploy in our culture – likely unconscious – to suppress Emotions! We’re taught to live in our head & only focus on actions (“Just do it”), which we gladly embrace as a defense against facing our deepest pain.
So, along with many other sources (family, media, male culture, war, sport…) our language encourages being cut off from an essential part of ourself

b. CLARITY:  We’re not going to change the vocabulary, but we can learn the meaning of these 3 words, so we can use them correctly.
i. Sensations – ‘Feel’ is actually an experience word (Physical) : I feel hungry, tired, thirsty, sexual…

ii. Emotions: If the word ‘feeling’ is meant as Emotions – then what follows can only be single words : “I feel…… sad, glad, mad…..” (Posts: Use THINK, not feel)confused

iii. Thoughts: If the word ‘feeling’ is meant as Thoughts/ Opinions/ Beliefs –  it’s always a sentence, & usually leads with ‘that‘ or ‘like’:
•  “I feel that he wants to talk about something”
•  “I feel like you’re not going to support me”
• “I feel that we should leave now”
• “I don’t feel like we’re communicating”
Stated as such, none of these are about emotions, only ideas – even though emotions are often implied – nit not acknowledged. It’s subtle & at best unintentionally, at worst it’s manipulative & dishonest

Mix-ups occur when EMOTIONS & THOUGHTS are combined, or substituted for each other. This misuse comes from not being able to own our personal power. ACoAs are ‘notorious’ for being talking around an important point, leaving out important info, adding too many qualifiers, justifications & apologies!round about
We say:
• “ I hope you don’t mind if I tell you…”
instead of  “I’d like to tell you something / I need to talk to you about…”
• “Is it alright if I___ , Will you be upset if I___ , I hope you don’t mind that I…”
instead of (with a smile, perhaps) “I won’t be able to____ , I need to____ , I’d like to___ , I’m not available for___”
• “I feel like I’m doing better”  instead of “I’m doing better”
• “I feel like I can’t trust him”  instead of “I know I can’t trust him”…..

YES, there is a time & place for careful wording, being respectful of others’ time & space, or for apologizing. Also, generally, women are more likely to be indirect, as a way of not being aggressive, which makes staying connected easier. (“He said, She said” by Chris Evatt)
HOWEVER, the above examples of waffling have to do with ACoA shame, S-H, fear of being seen & of punishment / abandonment.
➼ Practice verbalizing your thoughts & emotions using declarative sentences, so they come out of our mouth more easily, and repeat, daily: “I know what I know”!

A good way to be understood is TO include both meanings in the same sentence (emotions + thoughts):
• “I’m scared that you won’t stay with me”be clear
• “I feel sad that he’s ignoring me”
• “I’m afraid he may not like this gift”
• “I’m so happy that you got the promotions”
• “I feel excited & curious that you want to tell me something”
• “I’m (I feel) concerned that you don’t stand up for yourself”
This of course implies that we know what we’re feeling (emotions) and have permissions to own & express them.

NEXT: “Feelings aren’t facts”, Part 2

What about EMOTIONS? (Part 1)

therapy couch 1WHAT AM I FEELING?
Don’t ask – I don’t know!

PREVIOUS: “What others think of me is none of my business’
REVIEW:  Feelings Aren’t Facts

Read article at ConneXions  – food for thought, & decide if you agree or not

DEFINITIONS (Answers.com):
• The English word emotion (Es) is from the French émouvoir, from the Latin emovere, where e- means ‘out’, & movere means ‘move’, as in emit & emote
• At it’s most basic: Es are pure mental & spiritual energy from the core of our being that makes us all one, where we meet & overlap as human beings

• Es are the part of our consciousness that involves feeling / sensibility: “The very essence of literature is the war between emotion & intellect” Isaac B. Singer
• E. is a particular mental state formed spontaneously rather than by conscious effort, often accompanied by physiological changes
• Es are short-lived psycho-physiological phenomena that represent efficient patterns of adaptation to environmental demands (Levenson, ‘94)

• Es are the result of combining external experience, brain chemicals, our thought process & the actions we choose – based on our native self, our personal history & the cultural rules & values we grew up with
• Es can be used to motivate us to actions needed to protect ourselves, to connect & to grow
• Our Es enliven those actions, which would otherwise be rigid or boring

• From Evolutionary Psychology – Emotions developed to coordinate our many adaptive survivalneeds so we can function more efficiently, without those needs being in conflict or demanding attention – all at the same time (food, shelter, reproduction, safety, sleep, communication….)

Es are considered an overriding program that temporarily deactivates, activates or modifies particular needs, depending on the present situation – where one has to be deactivated & another activated – so we can keep functioning properly (sleep vs go to work, stay connected vs withdraw from danger, achievement vs privacy…..)

• From Affective NeuroScience (en.wikipedia)
Affect is an encompassing term, used mainly in psychology to describe emotion, feelings & moods, even though it’s more commonly used to mean Emotion

Feelings are our subjective impressions of emotions, private to the person experiencing them – based on perspective, beliefs and desires. A general state of consciousness independent of physical sensations, thoughts….

Moods are diffuse affects, generally lasting much longer than individual Es, but less intensely. They represent an overall tone or general attitude that effects one’s outlook on everything, for as long as the E lasts

• K. R. Scherer in “What are emotions? And how can they be measured?” (2005) suggest 5 crucial elements:
– Action tendencies: as motivational energy to prepare & direct motor responses – Es as the push to act in some way
Bodily symptoms: physical aspect of an emotional experience, generated in the gut, but also experienced in other body parts

EXP: FEAR can be felt as tightening of the chest, stomach, throat, weakness in the knees…. & in panic attacks – as temporary blindness, inability to think, ‘clutched heart’, trouble breathing….

– Cognitive appraisal: Es provide an evaluation of events & objects. It’s the Mental component – what we think / believe about something, either healthy or unhealthy
– Expression: facial & vocal output almost always going with an emotional state, communicates reaction to & intention of actions – unless using Botox! 🙂
– Feelings: the person’s subjective experience of their emotional state, once it has occurred

MOST Es: In a psychological healthy state, emotions usually come & go rather quickly. We can have several, even conflicting Es, at the same time – about a specific person or situation.
They’re brief because they’re situation-specific, & we’re not holding on to a negative mental interpretation of what’s being felt (not judging or being afraid of Es)   (More…..)

SOME Es: There are some healthy long-term ‘states’ like love, loyalty, faith…. that can last years or a life-time, even with ups & downs, depending on the individual &/or the relationship

ACoA Es : Once triggered, our E seem to go on forever! because we’re usually not experiencing current ones, but rather taping into the unprocessed enormous well of accumulated childhood pain.
Interesting : A pioneering study into why some emotions last much longer than others suggest that – compared to being ashamed or disgusted (30 min), guilty (3.5 hrs), or even bored (about 2 hrs), sadness outlasts them all (up to 120 hours!) The next longest was anger, about 6o hrs.!

NEXT: What about Es? (Part 2)


Sscared fish 

I don’t know what love is, so how can I tell?

PREVIOUS: How ACoAs Abandon Others #3b

REVIEW: ACRONYM page for abbrev.

WHAT DOES this quote MEAN?
• Like so many popular ‘spiritual’ saying there’s some truth in it, but not the whole story, so we can easily get confused & also misuse it. Love & Fear are both Emotions, see. T.E.A.
Generally, it means that if we did have enough love in our life, we won’t be afraid = loved by a Higher Power, by family, by pets, by friends…  Yes, these are to be desired & cultivated.
BUT the reality for ACoAs is that we are fear-based, no matter how much recovery we may have. There are 2 separate issues re. this quote:

1. Fear is created in CHILDHOOD by genuinely being in danger!
• As kids, ACoAs lived in an atmosphere of constant trauma, subjected to fear-inducing experiences (mental, physical & emotional) practically every day of our childhood.
AND there was very little comfort or validation of our reality. On the contrary, if we told anyone or complained, they said we were over-reacting, making it up, being disloyal, AND it was our fault “What did you do?” Even if anyone believed us, they didn’t / couldn’t help, so we had to suck it up.

EXP:  A lot of our childhood was like being:
— a 5 yrs old, dropped off in the middle of a huge traffic intersection at rush hour, left there in our underwear, told to not whine & ‘JUST COPE’ !!  How cruel !

All that pain & terror got pushed down, so where did it go?  Yes, in large part, psychologically, it went into the unconscious. But physically – the chemicals generated by terror & other painful emotions got stored in our body – in our organs, our muscles, choking our aura, meridians & chakras.

2. Fear is created NOW by outer events & inner thoughts
a. Present-day reality. There are many real-world stressful events we may be faced with in life requiring a clear mind, much human help & Spiritual support. .
It’s normal to be fearful when WE:
• or someone we love is in danger (a child, a pet …)
• loose something very important to us (apartment burning down…. )
• are overwhelmed by too many things needing our attention
• have a lot of emotional turmoil (visiting family, getting married or divorced…)
• find out we’re very sick, & sometimes – don’t know the cause… or we hear about traumatic world events ….

BUT for ACoAs, such events can easily trigger the pain of past trauma, and push us over the limits of our scarce reserves. So our emotional reaction will be much bigger than that of less wounded people.

b. Toxic Thinking. Fear will always be generated by harmful thoughts – our inner world of beliefs babad voicesed on negative family rules (CDs) – the harsh, scary things we tell ourselves, creating more terror on top of what we’re already carrying from our past. Terror & S-H are behind ALL rage and ALL obsessions.
• worry about future catastrophes & abandonments, which may never happen & which we have no control over
• project only painful outcomes to situations & relationships
• assume others will react to us the same way we think about ourselves – badly !
• are so used to things not working out, & having anxiety as our constant companion, that we create mental drama when it’s not called for…
• believe we’re “dying of cancer” when we’re not seriously sick (especially when not feeling well but don’t know what’s wrong)
• are convinced someone’s angry at us or can’t stand us, because they didn’t say hello or give us a compliment …..

Daily childhood abuse & neglect (unprocessed) accumulate in deep reservoirs of hidden pain, which most people call anxiety, because on the surface it doesn’t seem to be connected to anything obvious. HA ! As long as this backlog remains frozen, the pain:
a. drives much of our behavior, our thinking & our interactions with others
b. causes physical & psychological ailments ….

… but in Recovery, much release work can be done, which definitely helps!  We can get to a place where we live more in a state of calmness rather than upset. There will always be some residual ‘old’ fear that shows up thru the years when we’re under stress – never completely rid of all the original abandonment terror. This should not be a surprise, since there was so much of it.  We need to be extra kind to ourselves.: “Feel the fear & keep going”, but softly, softly.Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 10.34.08 PM

“Fear is the absence of Love” is a combination of:
— not the not having loving safe parent, originally,
— the scary thoughts which torture us
— not searching out people who can be good to us, &
— not believing that there’s any safety in the world – for us !

HOWEVER when we practice nurturing our Inner Child, connecting with the peace of a loving H.P. & with healthier people, our overall fear level diminishes, especially the unnecessary suffering we’ve been add to the ‘pile’.
➼  We can’t always control or eliminate old fear, but we can be in better charge of that we THINK & what we DO about it.

NEXT: Not Enough Love? – #1