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The Coaching Situation

My question is how do I get my feelings back? It's like I don't have any emotions anymore. I tell the people in my life that I love them because I'm suppose to, but I do not know what that feeling is like or any feeling for that matter. I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me.

I asked for more information to write the most helpful coaching response.

1. Please describe how you came to feel that you no longer have any emotions.

2. How long ago did this start? Do you have any idea how it started?

3. If you were to try and look underneath your numbness, what do you think would be there?

4. Do you ever get angry? How do you express your anger?

5. Are you ever afraid to get angry?

6. List the top ten things in your life that have made you really angry.

7. Name the top ten things in your life that have made you really happy.

8. How old are you? Have you ever felt love?

9. To the best of your ability, how would you describe love and how it feels?

Here are the answers to your questions. I am in my late twenties and I started realizing I didn't have any emotions about 8 months ago. I'm not really sure why this has happened. I started realizing this when I would look at my daughter or any of person in my life and I would ask my self why don't I feel love or happiness. I know I love my daughter, but does it really feel like, or when I look at my boyfriend I don't what that feeling feels like. I use to feel it but now it's like I just say I love you because I'm suppose to. I know deep down in my heart I love all these people but I just don't feel it. I try to remember feeling happy or sad and I even look at pictures of me smiling and having fun but I can't remember what that feels like.

Yes I have felt love I was with my daughter's father for 7 years and was very much in love with him. I left him and it's been 7 years. I do not want to be with him at all. I have a boyfriend who would do anything in this world for me and before we started dating he was my best friend. About 2 months ago I was driving and I asked myself if I really love him? Have I ever really loved him? I'm not sure of that. I don't get close to many people because I feel they are just going to disappoint you so why bother?

As far as getting angry I have a very bad temper but I do a good job of hiding it. I do get extremely angry and some times my temper gets the best of me. I have never physically hurt anyone just the things around me like a wall or what ever else is right by me. I don't let people see me when I get this angry except my mother has seen me get this mad. My friend says I'm going to have a stroke one day because I keep everything inside. I am a very private person and I don't like people knowing things about my life. A lot of people come to me with their problems seeking answers and some times I feel like a psychiatrist.

There isn't any one thing that makes me angry sometimes someone can say just one sentence and I get angry. I don't know what sets me off sometimes just seeing a person makes me angry. My boyfriend says I'm a walking time bomb waiting to explode. I've had a lot of disappointments in my life and have been through a lot of stuff but most of that is in my past. It's just been different these last few months. I would greatly appreciate any advice you can give me. Thank you very much for your time.

The Coaching Response

Whenever we try to shut off close down or avoid certain emotions, the problem is that everything else can get shut down as well. It’s not like there’s one dial for happiness, another for sadness, and yet another for anger. We either feel our emotions or we don’t. If you want your positive emotions back, you will have to open up to the negative ones and work through them.

The reasons why we shut down emotions are all based on fear, but with different variations. We may be afraid of hurting somebody else or we may be afraid that if we show our anger we’ll be negatively judged for it. We judge that we should have gotten over something from the past, but when there are still feelings left, we’re afraid that something’s wrong with us that we haven’t “gotten over” something. There are many more faces you can put on fear, including the one you mentioned, where you're afraid of people disappointing you, so you close down instead.

Your feelings of loving are suppressed because of your overall suppression of emotions. To feel love again, you'll need to face your fears of what will happen when you access your anger. The problem with believing our fears, whether it’s on a subconscious or conscious level, is that the fears is always out of proportion with reality, but we have no way of knowing that unless we face what we’re afraid of.

You may even be able to respond with, well, logically there's nothing that you're afraid of, you’re a strong woman and can’t be bothered with stuff like that, but what resides in your subconscious is not under logical control. From what you write you can’t be feeling happy. How can you be when you’re not feeling anything? A person’s happiness depends on their ability to be able to exist in the world without fear of being hurt. This includes the ability to express yourself in whatever way you want without the fear of being judged for your individual expression.

Much of our lives is spent trying to fit in, making others happy, and pleasing the people around us so that they accept and love us. We are afraid of rejection, saying or doing the wrong thing, and other people walk around you with some degree of fear. We all want love and don’t feel that we can be ourselves and express our needs and desires for fear of conflict with others. You need to get help with finding out why you’ve closed down. What sequence of events and associations have made you feel so hurt that it’s no longer safe for you to participate in life. You need to learn different alternatives to closing down your emotions so you can be emotionally safe in this world.

Lets look at your fear of being disappointed by others. You can feel disappointed by others only if you have set up expectations for them. Can you see a pattern of creating expectations of people that are regularly broken? Where are you not listening to your inner voice? Can you see where you ignore yours needs to be loved by others? Do you believe what you’re told without waiting to see if a person’s actions are concurrent with their words? Do you get angry later when what people say isn’t what they do?

There’s a lot for you to find out about how your mind thinks, how it comes to conclusions about people, what meaning those conclusions have, and how you can change those meanings to bring love and happiness back into your life. Besides asking yourself these questions, you also need to look at your suppressed anger and explore its triggers. All emotions relate back to behavior that you learned a long time ago. What patterns of behavior can you identify and redefine to bring you less pain and to build you knowledge about who you really are?

You are not your behavior, the lack of love that you feel, and the hurt that you've experienced. So who are you? What do you like, what don’t you like? What parts of yourself are you comfortable with, which parts do you despise about yourself? Where are you angry with yourself? Where do you not let love into your own soul?

You’re tired of being who you think other people want you to be. In a way, you’re in an emotional rebellion. If you can’t be who you really are and feel loved and accepted for you, warts and all, it can make you feel like life is hardly worth living. Your body, mind and soul are trying to communicate to you that something needs to change, that you can’t go on the way you have, that it’s just not working for you.

All the hurt you’ve experienced is cumulative, and you’ve gone numb to stop the pain, which would overwhelm you if you were feeling emotions right now. This is why it’s important that you find a counselor you’re comfortable with to guide you through the process of uncovering your pain a little at a time until you learn how to do it yourself and you can continue to safely do it on your own.

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