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Questions and Shame

We do a combination of things
@OceanSpray, it sounds like you have a comprehensive approach to your therapy, utilizing a combination of techniques to address the complex layers of your trauma. It's positive to hear that you're actively engaging in different modalities to support your healing journey. As you continue working through these challenging beliefs and memories, remember to practice self-compassion and patience with yourself. Healing from trauma is a gradual process, and it's okay to have moments of struggle along the way. Is there a particular coping strategy or self-care practice that you find helpful during times when these thoughts and emotions feel overwhelming?
 
Binge eating honestly
@OceanSpray, it's understandable that you may turn to binge eating as a way to cope with overwhelming emotions and distress. Food can sometimes serve as a source of comfort and temporary relief from intense feelings. However, it's essential to be mindful of the potential negative impact that binge eating may have on your overall well-being and mental health in the long term. Have you and your therapist discussed alternative coping strategies or healthier ways to manage distressing emotions that can provide you with comfort and relief without relying on binge eating? It might be helpful to explore new coping mechanisms that align with your goals for healing and recovery.
 
She wants me to allow myself to cry and I can’t do that
@OceanSpray, it's a significant step to acknowledge the difficulty you're experiencing in allowing yourself to express emotions like crying. Sometimes, due to past experiences of trauma or learned patterns of emotional suppression, it can be challenging to access and release these deeply held feelings. It's important to remember that allowing yourself to express emotions, including crying, is a natural and healthy part of the healing process.

Have you and your therapist delved into the reasons behind your resistance to crying? Exploring the barriers or beliefs that are inhibiting your ability to express emotions may help identify underlying triggers or trauma responses that are contributing to this difficulty. Additionally, are there moments or situations where you feel more comfortable or safe expressing your emotions that could be explored further in therapy?
 
We’ve kind of talked about it. I don’t really know why. I mean, neither of my parents ever cried and if I did in front of them, I would get kind of in trouble. Not as other kids I’ve heard of. But I just learned how not to and don’t know how to turn that automatic shut off off
 
We’ve kind of talked about it. I don’t really know why. I mean, neither of my parents ever cried and if I did in front of them, I would get kind of in trouble. Not as other kids I’ve heard of. But I just learned how not to and don’t know how to turn that automatic shut off off
@OceanSpray, thank you for sharing this significant insight into your upbringing and the impact it had on your ability to express emotions, particularly crying. It's understandable that growing up in an environment where displaying vulnerability was discouraged or met with consequences could influence your own emotional regulation and expression as an adult.

The learned behavior of emotional suppression to avoid negative responses or punishment can become deeply ingrained over time, making it challenging to access and process emotions freely. In therapy, exploring the origins of these beliefs and behaviors, as well as practicing self-compassion and building a sense of safety in expressing emotions, can be important steps towards changing this pattern.

Have you and your therapist discussed specific techniques or exercises that could help you gradually begin to reconnect with your emotions and allow yourself to cry in a safe and supportive space? Building trust and a sense of security within the therapeutic relationship can also create a foundation for exploring these vulnerable feelings at your own pace.
 
No we haven’t yet, there’s just been so much else. Do you have any tips?
@OceanSpray, it's completely understandable that therapy can sometimes feel like there's so much ground to cover, and important topics may take time to address fully. In the meantime, here are a few tips that may help you begin to work towards allowing yourself to cry and express emotions more freely:

1. **Create a Safe Space:** Find a quiet and comfortable place where you feel secure and can express your emotions without fear of judgment or interruption. This can be a physical space or simply a mental space you cultivate within yourself.

2. **Journaling:** Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a helpful way to process emotions. You can start by noting any sensations or experiences that arise when you feel like crying, even if tears don't come immediately.

3. **Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques:** Practicing mindfulness meditation or relaxation exercises can help you become more aware of your emotions in the present moment and create a sense of calm that may make it easier to connect with your feelings.

4. **Visualization:** Close your eyes and imagine a safe and nurturing figure or place where you feel completely accepted and supported. Visualizing this comforting setting can help you tap into emotions that may be difficult to access otherwise.

5. **Self-Compassion:** Be kind and gentle with yourself as you explore these challenging emotions. It's okay to feel vulnerable, and allowing yourself to experience and express your feelings is an important part of your healing journey.

Would you be interested in trying any of these tips to see if they help you begin to break through the emotional barrier around crying? Feel free to share any thoughts or questions you have as you explore these suggestions.
 
How do I convince my brain that I am safe enough to cry?
@OceanSpray, convincing your brain that you are safe enough to cry after years of learned emotional suppression can be a gradual process that involves retraining your mind to perceive vulnerability differently. Here are some strategies to help create a sense of safety around expressing emotions like crying:

1. **Positive Affirmations:** Repeat affirming statements to yourself that reinforce feelings of safety and acceptance. For example, "It is okay for me to express my emotions," or "I am in a safe space to feel and release my feelings."

2. **Grounding Techniques:** Engage in grounding exercises that help you connect to the present moment and your surroundings. This can help alleviate feelings of threat or danger and create a sense of stability that supports emotional expression.

3. **Self-Soothing Techniques:** Practice self-soothing activities that help regulate your emotions, such as deep breathing, gentle movement, listening to calming music, or engaging in activities that bring you comfort.

4. **Establishing Boundaries:** Set boundaries with yourself and others to create a sense of safety around emotional expression. Communicate your needs clearly and advocate for yourself in therapy and interpersonal relationships.

5. **Building Trust:** Develop a trusting relationship with your therapist and yourself. Trusting in your therapist's support and guidance can help you feel secure in exploring difficult emotions and breaking down barriers to expression.

Remember, it's normal to experience resistance or discomfort when trying to shift long-standing patterns of emotional suppression. Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you work towards building a sense of safety and allowing yourself to cry. Would you like to explore any of these strategies further or share any concerns you have about implementing them?
 
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