How do you process a feeling?

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
My T says that it is acknowledging a feeling and accepting it and then, from what I can figure out, some sort of magic happens and the feeling is processed.

Acknowledging and recognising a feeling is something fairly new to me (who actually knew there was more to feelings than feeling nothing, or happy or sad?).

And accepting it rather than fighting it, also new. I think I am sometimes in a pretence of acceptance. I just say I accept it but I'm not actually sure I know what that feels like.


And then the next bit of processing. What even is that?
I think I am still, sometimes, pushing the feeling back into denial of the feeling/make it go away. Which isn't processing.
So what is processing?
What does that look like and feel like?

At the moment I would like to let go and process that awful icky feeling after something hugely embarrassing yesterday. But it's still all jumbled up inside and I can't make it go away.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
good question. for me, processing my emotions remains one of the most mysterious pieces of recovery. i still don't have words to describe it, but the more i let go of the quest to find words for it, the easier it seems to be.

my measure of success is that i can think of the event behind the emotions without spinning out of control. the emotions remain, but they no longer have the power to disrupt current events. i feel confident i have fully healed when i am able to find gentle, compassionate humor in the facts.

"we take our first step toward maturity when we have our first good belly laugh --at ourselves." ~ethyl barrymore
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
good question. for me, processing my emotions remains one of the most mysterious pieces of recovery. i still don't have words to describe it, but the more i let go of the quest to find words for it, the easier it seems to be.

my measure of success is that i can think of the event behind the emotions without spinning out of control. the emotions remain, but they no longer have the power to disrupt current events. i feel confident i have fully healed when i am able to find gentle, compassionate humor in the facts.

"we take our first step toward maturity when we have our first good belly laugh --at ourselves." ~ethyl barrymore
Thanks for responding and explaining your process.
I need to mull it over about the events behind the emotion.
My feeling yesterday: I can do that.
Then sometimes there are feelings where I have no idea what the event is behind the emotion. Or I'm too overwhelmed with emotion to figure it out.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
continuing on my physical bruise analogy, when the pain of that bruise is whelming, it is best to keep my nervous fingers away from it and let it be. insert distraction here.

ditto for my less tangible psychic wounds. the healing mysteries have more room to work when i can let the mystery be.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
And accepting it rather than fighting it, also new. I think I am sometimes in a pretence of acceptance. I just say I accept it but I'm not actually sure I know what that feels like.
(Just for my guess for all of this, but can't fit above quotes), not acting out in a negative or deleterious way because of it, to self or others. Not denying it. Naming it. Recognizing what I need in the immediate to cope with it (hopefully also not deleterious choices).
So what is processing?
Understanding why I react or feel as I do. Taking responsibilty for it. Changing it in the future, by recognizing where it comes from (eg, grief, fear, neglect, depression, physical illness, stories I believe or views I hold about myself/ the prsent/ the future, stress cup awareness, etc.) Fleshing out the emotions and understanding, also as it relates to childhood, personal history (the 'layers of the onion').
What does that look like and feel like?
Recognizing what the event contributed to me feeling, or why I felt it; where that relates back to; ultimately why I am feeling as I do; what I can/ should do about it.
At the moment I would like to let go and process that awful icky feeling after something hugely embarrassing yesterday. But it's still all jumbled up inside and I can't make it go away.
^^ Hopefully you will be less hard on yourself. What did a mistake or embarrassment mean in your FOO, or to yourself? Do you feel you have to be perfect? Do you fear people/ someone will treat or see you differently, or it will affect your life/ be used against you? Do you feel ashamed? What memories does it remind you of and how are they relevant? What are the core beliefs being roused or cognitive distortions in play?
I need to mull it over about the events behind the emotion.
We can't really have an emotion without assigning some meaning to it, consciously, unconsciously or subconsciously.
, Then sometimes there are feelings where I have no idea what the event is behind the emotion. Or I'm too overwhelmed with emotion to figure it out.
Perhaps you haven't recognized where the meaning/ belief plays in- yet. And the second perhaps sounds like flooding (overwhelm), or emotional disregulation (inabilty to self-sooth/ regulate), or exhaustion (cognitively too tired to process), or avoidance of processing.

It is good to laugh at ourselves. 😊🤗

ETA, ^^ it is nuanced. For example, I flip it often. If I wipe out, I say "the only thing hurt is my pride". Or "10/10 (or a perfect 6) From the Russian Judge". When (not if) I lose my mitts or gloves (a.g.a.i.n.), I say, "Remember Idiot strings? I am not offended by that, personally I need them!". Or, "wardrobe failure". Or, conversely, if I fear I inadvertently hurt someone or something was misconstrued, I say, "I am sorry, I am not sure if you thought I meant (x), I didm't mean that, I meant (y)". And/ or, "Did I offend you, as I didn't mean (x), I meant it as (y), and it didn't come out right. I wasn't very (thoughtful, etc)". (But I have to mean it.)
 
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grit

Not Active
I will try to simplify how I do it (does not mean it is the only way or even the right way);

  • name the feeling in language - ooh is this shame I am feeling? Is it hostility? is it anger?
  • I may even say it aloud to hear myself! usually under my breathe though, no reason to startle those around me! ha!
  • try to see where in my body I feel the most - my face, my legs, or my chest etc?

Feel good if I get it right (body tense gets less or I feel different). if wrong, then hope, I learn next time and move on to whatever I was doing.
I try at my best, not to over obsess! the shame thing is the longest linger...i hate it. Hostility or anger, dissipate when I call on it!
 

Sideways

Moderator
And then the next bit of processing. What even is that?
Feelings tend to do their own damn thing. They come and go, or linger, when they want. And we have very little control over that.

Things I can control:
- recognising what has caused the feeling
- deciding to make space for the feeing, or let it be, rather than fight with it to try and get rid of it
- changing the things that triggered it, or (harder) changing my perception of those things
- changing what my attention is focused on right now (like, okay, I'm angry, but I'm gonna focus on washing the dishes)
- noticing when the emotional wave has passed and acknowledging that (important for me, because my depression loves the line "I always fee like this"!!)

Processing what is causing the emotion, rather than the emotion itself, is where I do most of the work. And some of the is untangling and confronting reality that is distressing. But some of it is working on my perception of things happening around me.

I don't think that's answered your question at all!!
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Tha k you for your replies.
I've taken a break from the thread because it just muddles in my head.
I will come back and respond better to your replies.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I don't really understand either, @Movingforward10 , since feelings can come up becfore they're assigned a deeper meaning, too? I suppose the real 'why' as to the feeling would be part of the answer, eg. anger could be grief, or pain, or worry, or lack of sleep, etc., up tous to figure it out. (I think at some point Anthony said on here that anger was a secondary emotion). So there are promary ones I take it, as well. Combined I believe is normal, that is, to feel different emotions at once, even conflicting ones.

Eiy. If that doesn't muddle it even further! 🙄 (Sorry if it does. 🤗 )
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks @Rosebud

Sorry took a break from this thread.

Stuck in anger, or intense rage actually, at the moment. New.

Trying to do the things you all have said: identifying the feeling and the cause. And perhaps changing my perception of the cause (oooo that's a tricky one: far too angry to do that at the moment! But can see the theraputic benefit of that: making peace and letting go)

At the moment though: 🤬
 

intothelight

Sponsor
For me "processing" a feeling or what I call an emotion starts with recognizing it. Usually, it is something that is out of portion for current event, an uneasiness that doesn't square up, or an emotional response that is inappropriate. Once I recognize it, I try to label what it is, and then find the who, what or where that may be the trigger. Then when I have it sorted, if I can, then I just allow myself to feel it. I may need to go through that process multiple times depending on the intensity of the emotion and the size of the trauma. Since most of my flashbacks tend to be emotional and disconnected from any memories, that is about the best I can do. Benefit is the ability to feel a full range of emotion in the present, and far more emotional regulation.
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
Stuck in anger, or intense rage actually, at the moment. New.
That's a difficult spot. It intensifies the distortion of my input and never in a good way.

All my input comes through a filter that assigns feelings based on what it knows - Fight, Flight, Freeze. It also assigns those feelings to what comes in. Occasionally funny and a little joy slip through but almost never sadness.

A lot of what I thought was anger was really tied to embarrassment dysphoria and rejection sensitive dysphoria. I can be embarrassed before I know why sometimes and the perception that someone thinks I am stupid can fly to rage pretty quick.

Dealing with it was a phase in therapy. As I dealt with it in reprocessing I realized that the wrong emotion was being attached to thoughts and it was usually anger and rage. I'm getting past it now, as I am sure you will.
 
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