… I should listen

: “Feelings aren’t facts” (#1)

SITEs: • How to listen to the heart
• Diff between feel, think, believe

POSTs : Use THINK instead of Feel

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. Simplified – facts come from the head.
b. Feelings – as pointed out in Part 1, has 3 different uses, 2 legit, 1 not.

For people who use this term – ‘feelings’ means Emotions (Es) and 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 “Feelings aren’t facts” actually means.

c. Thoughts (Ts) are not technically facts either, but rather ‘constructs’ of the mind – not tangible in themselves. They are:
• the cause of emotions (in the present) :
EXP : T ⏩ “I can’t believe she never called me back. What a b— I’m so angry!” ⏪ E
Unrealistic expectations, cruel toxic rules, scary projections, unfounded assumptions & S-H … lead to distorted thinking & obsessions, which cause great suffering for ourself, & often to unfair or harmful actions towards others!
• the cause of actions, healthy or unhealthy, depending on the type (may not be conscious, but the real reason for behavior)
✒︎ 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: In this case ‘Feelings’ are obsessions, circular repetitive thinking built on negative, distorted beliefs, and NOT emotions at all! which are not telling us the truth (facts) about a situation.”
✒︎ In other words : “What my obsessions are telling me are a pack of lies.”

And what do most ACoAs endlessly obsess about ? :
☁︎ EITHER Self-Hate
”I don’t know why he won’t talk to me – why is she ignoring me – was it something I said? Maybe I bad thoughtsshould have been nicer to her.  I probably sat in the wrong chair… I know he doesn’t like me… what can I do to change their mind… “  –  bla, bla, bla….

👺 OR Rageful thoughts towards others
“How dare she treat 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 for us to function well in the world & in personal relationships. This requires :
• accurate, reasonable & present-day information about how everything really work   • what our needs, goals & dreams are
• what is positive about ourself (character & abilities)
• what it means to be human (determined, imperfect) images-4
• universal 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.  ‘0’ is neutral.
✒︎ We’re most successful & comfortable when we live within a range of +5 to -5 on either side of center, most of the time, although not exclusively. Times of great stress OR great joy will push the range much higher or lower, but not get stuck at either extreme.
☆ This medium state can only happen when healing diminishes 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

RECOVERY – What it IS & IS NOT (Part 1)

in with the new
Dismantling the old patterns

PREVIOUS: Self-esteem IS

SITEBenefits of a Gratitude List


IS NOT…❖…expecting to get unconditional love and perfect sanity from any human. It’s unrealistic, but the Wounded Inner Child demands it anyway. Now – when we don’t get it, we accuse others of abandoning us!

IS…❧…understanding that in adult relationships –  each person has their own needs.  Since our parents couldn’t give us unconditional love, when it would have been ‘normal’, we can only look for it now from ourselves, our pets & our Higher Power.  As we interact with healthier people we will receive more appropriate companionship – be mirrored, understood, respected, considered, loved…but never perfectly!

IS NOT…❖…being free of emotions (Es) that were unacceptable in our family, controlling our Es or trying to have ‘appropriate’ Es. Those are signs of damaged thinking – (CDs) – NOT the same as being in control of our behavior!

IS…❧…accepting all emotions as legitimate. Humans are built with the capacity AND the need to feel. Es are the natural indicators of our reaction to any experience – to let us know whether something is good or bad for us. Re.T.E.A. —
Actions may, or may not, be good, & can be corrected, over time
• Unhealthy Thoughts can be reframed & replaced, when harmful or incorrect
Es just are. They can go from very joyful <–to–> very painful, but are never good or bad! We need to have access to a wide range of Es, with many shades. It gives us a sense of vibrancy & allows us to connect with others.

Only seeing everything in B & W = tv, paintings, walls, clothes….. can become quite boring. Suppressing or narrowing down Es (to 1 or 2, like rage or fear) will make us one-dimensional, possibly cold, hard, distant & ultimately limited.
The intensity & depth of our emotional reservoir of old childhood pain is so great that it will never be completely empty.  Accept this & learn how to manage Es rather than trying to spiritualize them away!
(review “Feelings Aren’t Facts” posts) (MORE re. hand-emotions)

IS NOT…❖…trying to permanently ‘fix’ our childhood damage, eliminating all character defects, doing is easily it & quickly.  Any effort to fix ourselves means we think we’re bad, that our badness is our own fault, SO we’re responsible for doing anything we can to eradicate it. (BTW, this is one of the reasons why many ACoAs are suicidal & want to be dead)

IS…❧…accepting that alcoholism & co-dependence have left deep scars & emotional hangovers. (Good / bad parenting @ ACoA site). These will take our life-time to gradually heal. Being human means we’ll never be perfect – but Recovery IS truly possible!  Many have proven it.

Humility (not humiliation) is acknowledging our human limitations, with a consistent willingness to evaluate ourselves with compassion, in honesty & reality, modifying our thoughts & action when needed so we can reach our own goals

IS NOT…❖…being ‘serene’ all the time.
• To always be pleasant, kind, honest, thoughtful…is a disguise for a wide range of emotions we don’t find acceptable (anger, envy, greed….)
• To still be the good boy / girl, in the present, is the symbiotic need for our family’s approval, rather than becoming our own person
• Forever trying to be ‘so good’ is a negation of our legitimate rage & pain of childhood abandonment

IS...❧…gaining genuine serenity, based on a solid emotional, mental & spiritual foundation – from the inside.  This creates the unshakable knowledge that we are ok even when we’re in pain, under pressure, not understood or supported.
We can have upheaval, express intense pain / anger… and still be at peace, deep down.  Serenity is the by-product of knowing & accepting ourselves in the moment, trusting our gut, having a great support system & a loving H. P.


PURPOSE of Emotions : PROtection

musical notes 2

gives me an early warning sign of danger

PREVIOUS: Awareness #2

Article: The World of Feelings & Emotions

b. For Self-Awareness

• BODYi. Painful Es like depression, hostility, rage, anxiety, worry… have been linked in many studies to heart disease & other physical illnesses such as diabetes, as well as to hospital deaths caused by stroke

ii. Pleasurable Es: A first-time study of ‘positive’ emotions linked to illness concluded that people who are usually happy, enthusiastic & content are less likely to develop heart disease. This was done in Nova Scotia (1995), using 1,700 people who were followed for 10 years.
Dr Davidson noted that the chronically unhappy people had a 22% higher risk of heart attack. Even those with some positive Es we less at risk, & the safest were the overall happy people, even though they sometimes got depressed as well

• MIND – Es give us information about what’s going on around us. We subliminally pick up signals about situations that will produce an emotional reaction, but we can’t always tell what set off our ‘Spidey Tingle’.
We might say: “Something doesn’t feel right about this” or “I had a feeling something was going to happen, & it did” – thoughts based on
physical clues below conscious threshold. PAY ATTENTION!

We need to honor the gift of our intuition & Es – but it’s OK to double check with others. It’s also useful to keep a dated written log every time we’re right – and when we’re not – noting what we think may have made the difference between what we imagined & what actually occurred.  These notes give us much-needed self-mirroring & validation of reality

ACoAs have a great need for safety – even above love. Not allowed to ‘hear’ our gut feelings as kids, as adults we’re still deeply fearful, automatically projecting our dangerous family onto everyone we encounter or deal with.
Cleaning out back-logged pain opens up the space to identify what’s really going on in the present. That lets us find better ways to respond to “situations that used to baffle us” (AA Big Book Promises), finally creating a true sense of safety.

Just because an Emotion hurts does NOT mean it should be avoided!
Unpleasant Es such as fear, anger, jealousy or disgust prepare us mentally & physically to take immediate action against an object or situation that poses a threat. EXP:
painful EsANGER is an emotion with a lot of energy to protect and preserve life – by mobilizing us, inspiring determination & creative action.
💨 Without it we wouldn’t object to someone regularly mistreating us, so we’ll stay & take it, as it wears down our health & our soul

FEAR is deeply rooted in all humans, supporting life by signaling danger, which triggers life-preserving action
🧊 Without it we wouldn’t notice an unsafe person, staying with them & easily become emotionally scarred, if not hit, raped, wounded or killed

SADNESS is a call to slow down, stop thinking, & surrender to what we’re feeling. It suggests that we trust ourselves & ‘the process’ enough to open up & be vulnerable, in order to recover from losses
😢 Without it we would never know that we missed a connection to someone or something that is gone

Setting Boundaries (not defensive walls) is imperative to protect our physical & mental health. (Review all Boundaries posts)
To develop appropriate Bs we must have internal permission to have needs, This requires some self-esteem – by Loving the Inner Child via the Good Parent. SO, we must to have access to a range of Es, which give us cues that tell us:clarity
• who’s too close or too far away for our comfort (causing us to feel suffocated or too lonely)
• who or what gives us the ‘icks’ in our gut
• when something is abusive, or ‘off‘
• what feels right for us & from whom (touch, talking, info…)
• what feels good, makes us happy, brings joy….

External Bs help define us in relation to everyone else, while also needed as physical & psychic protection. When another person’s behavior causes us harm, our emotions alert us – it we’re paying attention. Once we trust our Es & thoroughly believe it’s ok to speak up for ourselves, we can let others know what’s acceptable & what’s not.  Bs can help us choose who we want to spend time with, have sex with, work with, marry …..

Internal Bs are just as important.
🔸They help keep the PP (Negative Introject) voice from battering us into over-working, perfectionism, S-H…..
🔸Bs are also needed to prevent the WIC from running the show all by itself, by building the Unit.
🔸Bs allow us to step back from the force of our damage, actually putting the Child & PP voices outside of ourselves – ie. detach with compassion.  This makes it possible to cope with emotional stressors that come from these 2 ego states by putting their intensity & distortions in perspective.

NEXT: PREdicting Behavior

REPRESSING Emotions (Part 1)

in order to not go crazy!

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Emotions #3

SITE: I Don’t Want to Talk About it: The Secret Legacy of Male Depression. by Terrance Real

Resistance to FEELING Emotions (Es)
• The source of personal power is Self-esteem – which is fueled & sustained by the emotion of unconditional Love, which allows us to feel Pease & Joy. But when we had to shut down our feelings because the pain was too much to handle, we also shut down the pleasurable ones!

Resistance to experiencing our emotions stifles the natural flow of life built into every human being. So it takes a lot of psychic effort to push down Es & keep them down – leaving very little energy left over to function, causing long-term Depression.
This is why ACoAs barely have any reserves to deal with unforeseen events in the present – so much of our effort is used up by our Shadow-storage of unwanted feelings & memories.

Repressed Es get trapped in various part of the physical body & in the layers of the energy body that radiate from our core. Such a backlog can cause holes in our spirit, leaking out vital power, which creates fatigue, vulnerability & low self-confidence!

• Emotions, as such, are never dangerous – only the suppressed ones that have piled up year after year, causing them to fester.
Our body wants to eject emotional poison the same way it does physical toxins. If we don’t allow this to happen they cause PMES damage. In the long run, releasing them voluntarily is best – so we don’t explode all over ourselves & others. If we carelessly ‘dump’ our pain on others or act them out in a self-destructive ways, we end up feeling even worse about ourselves (more S-H)

The BRAIN: our ability to repress emotions comes from 3 general areas : the mammalian fore-brain, the reptilian early brain, & the mid-brain which connects the other two.
To function well we need the capacity to choose how we act on emotions (see posts on T.E.A. & Anxiety). But if our Recovery isn’t far along, sometimes we also need to disconnect, because the panful ones get so intense that our weak self-care gets even worse. SO —
bain rooms• When we want to remember, we access the information stored in any one of the 3 parts, altho what’s available varies according to which data bank is holding it
• When we want to forget, we disconnect the memory links between the fore-brain (thinking) & the other two – creating temporary amnesia

BTW, ACoAs are notorious for having a built-in forgetter as result of trauma, which sadly includes all the good things that happen to us day by day in the present!

The mid-brain, as the go-between, is responsible for keeping it all straight, & does so very well – especially if we live in a ‘civilized’ society.
EXP: Not letting blind rage erupt in public prevents getting fired, thrown out & in some cases killed (road rage, gangs…). Not acting on every sexual impulse will preserve our promise of fidelity to a mate, maintain the family’s integrity, eliminate STDs…..  & potentially prevent getting killed.

Are you emotionally repressed?
Def –  DENIAL is actually : “I don’t know that I don’t know some things about myself, or my family”

• If we wonder what Es we’re denying, there are many ways. We can always start by asking some basic Qs, like the obvious ones :
“What emotions can I name? Which ones do I think I have felt ? (depression, rage, anxiety….?) What am I feeling right now?

From there we can go on to: “What Es am I not expressing?” & then to “If I knew what I was feeling, what might it / they be?”.
If the answer is always the same “I don’t know” – it’s time for outside help (which we can all benefit from anyway), such as 12-Step meetings, therapy, reading, spiritual gatherings, healing groups …..
POST : Getting to your Es – Over & Under” has a list of tools

NEXT: Repressing Es = Part 2

CDs & the Unconscious (Part 2)


it’s been running my life & I didn’t even know it!



1. THINKING  (cont)
. The UNCONSCIOUS (2. Emotions in Part 4)

bThe CONSCIOUS mind is abstract, creative & aware, about such things as —
— thinking about what we’ve heard, seen or written
— what is intelligent & purposeful (having choices)

It doesn’t know what’s in the unconscious & doesn’t even want to acknowledge it, because it considers it too ‘simple & concrete’.  In spite of that ‘prejudice’, our conscious part only has about 15% control over forming experiences, while the subconscious is in charge of the other 85%, as the result of conditioning!

In general, Thoughts are latent but measurable forms of electro-magnetic energy, an important natural activity we produce!  Changes in thoughts change our biochemistry, hormones & brainwave patterns. Thoughts vibrate at different rates of oscillation, spreading out from the body like pond ripples. The speed & distance they travel depend on the frequency that generated them, so the way we think definitely has an effect on our environment

Negative Thinking (CDs) assumes only difficulties & failures. negative thoughtsIt make us feel bad & decreases brain function, creating the same physical responses that any actual physical experience which would trigger anger or fear (blood pressure rise, cold sweats, hand tremors & flushed face, light-headedness & muscle weakness, rapid heart beat, shallow breathing, stomach knots….)

Thoughts are stored:
i. EITHER by mechanical repetition (like hours of reciting multiplication tables, practicing musical scales, rote prayers….)

ii. OR by pairing a thought or experience with an intense emotion.
When emotions connected to an event are too intense (painful), the whole thing will be repressed, especially if the distress is long-term or particularly traumatic, like most of our childhood, an abusive marriage, a severe illness….
✓ Think of your very earliest memory. Whether it was a pleasant event or not, it was anchored in your mind by a strong feeling!

• Any often-repeated thought becomes so automatic that after a while we don’t even notice it. It’s now unconscious, out of awareness, but like Google, a complete record of our life.
It includes all our experiences & emotions: disappointments, delights, habits, joys, losses, pleasures, successes, traumas….. PLUS a collection of ‘beliefs & perceptions’. It’s all there – waiting to be discovered!

EXP: Growing up you were neglected & abused at home & bullied at school, with no one to protect or defend you. Now, any time you consider attending a group – no matter how innocuous – you have palpitations.
You think it’s only because you’re an Introvert & shy, but it’s more likely to be from unconscious CDs formed by early stresses – like Over-generalizing, Disqualifying the Positive, Unrealistic Comparisons, Projection….

Hidden : even though information is out of our awareness, continual thinking is still going on. When an emotionally upset ACoAs is asked: “What are you thinking or believing about this situation?”, most will answer : “I’m not”, or “I don’t know”, insisting they’re ‘just upset’

• Strong emotional reactions are always driven by automatic thoughts. With some encouragement & digging, the harmful thinking can be uncovered:
— coming from self-hate beating us down
— repeating insensitive or cruel things others have said to us
projecting dire outcomes about something….

Automatic thinking can be either helpful or harmful:
as a +,  it makes it easier to respond to life’s many tasks & situations without having to stop each time to figure them out – whether driving a car, doing our job, or raising children

as a -, it causes problems when there’s flawed reasoning in the unconscious. Since we’re not aware of what we’re ‘saying’ to ourselves, we don’t know it is creating the emotional pain (anxiety, hopelessness, rage, unbearable loneliness….)
Instead, we blame the distress on something in our environment, which is only a trigger

EXP: 2 people are called in to see the boss. One goes in calmly, curious but confident. The other becomes more & more agitated while waiting his turn.  The difference is not the upcoming ‘talk’ but what each person is automatically, unconsciously thinking / believing about what’s going to happen.

NEXT: CDs & the UNCONSCIOUS (Part 2)