Sober since April 6, 2006

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

emotion switch?

Today I was thinking over some things, and I realized that I have a coping mechanism that I didn't know I've been using.

I can turn my emotions on or off at will. And whenever I reach a point where I'm feeling too many negative emotions, I turn my emotions off. All of them. I become very cold and callous about everything and everyone -- and that sucks -- but it makes the pain go away.

Would that be apathy?

It just seems easier to cut off emotionally and walk away from whatever hurts than to experience those unpleasant feelings and work through them like I should. I don't have any answers yet but I felt the need to spill that out there.

10 comments:

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

cool. yeah i know that one. Its a form of dissociation or 'numbing out'. a good step 11 makes you 'stronger' and able to 'view' the inner turmoil, with what is known as 'equanimity'. which is really just another word for acceptance. i prefer a more exact definition. what works for me is what Ajahn Munindo calls, 'here and now, body mind awareness, WITHOUT judgment'. It takes time to develop this 'strength', but if you have it, you can 'hold' unpleasant inner states in consciousness, without 'fleeing'. this is the answer to the 'old habit' of dissociation. which is just another word for 'running away' internally. for me step 11 is where i do most of my emotional processing. i say step 11, but i do not mean i sit meditating all day. it is where i learned the 'nonjudgmental, here-now, body-mind awareness' that's all. i can do it anywhere now. but you learn it 'formally' through a good step 11 practice. the foundation of aa is there, but the 'strength' to endure uncomfortable inner states comes from step11. I can add my aa stuff to the mix. Talking to people, sharing my inner conflicts with others. Becoming aware of what defect is causing the most discomfort. Ajahn Munindo's talks (and loads of others) are on http://www.dhammatalks.org.uk/munin.php and the link is on my sidebar if you are interested . Hes a very good step 11 teacher in my opinion.
That's how I do it anyway. And I point my Sponsees to step 11 as soon as they have completed the first nine steps.
Sounds like good progress to me. All in all.

Jenya said...

Could this possibly be a form of emotional dissociation?

Noor Azman Othman GBE said...

Thank you for sharing, TKD.

Shannon said...

I do this too from time to time, I think its good for us to back off and now dwell in the crap, but come back and deal with it later. As you continue your recovery you will grow through this

Khakra said...

nah, no. not apathy as there's no bad intent involved. you're perhaps running a shutdown extreme -- being cold at any point in time isn't a good idea -- but people around need to learn to accept it. every human has a shutdown period. If I were cheery all day, my mom would ask me to shut it down for novelty's sake.

recoveryroad said...

Apathy. I'm fighting it. It's hard.

I can't switch my emotions on/off. :( Wish I could.

Kari Sullivan said...

As much as I hate being upset, the one thing I don't want to do is shut myself off from my emotions. I feel that's what I did when I was drinking. I want to find a way to feel whatever I'm feeling, but without the need to drink or shut down or try to "fix" the situation.

Thanks for sharing!

Peace out,
Kari

NMAMFQLMSH said...

I too shut down my emotions (all of them) for a long time. Today I am slowly learning that feeling those emotions and working through them is not all that bad...most of the time. Hang in there my friend.
xoxoox
JJ

Shadow said...

hey! don't leave many comments but pop in a lot. yours was one of the first blogs i started reading when i realised i needed to fix my life. and in your words, i do still 'keep coming back'. just wanted to say THANK YOU to you...

Shadow said...

i do that switching off thing too. just don't let it build up or become a habit...