I dealt with the dead about the past; now it’s time to deal with the living about the present. Just because I acknowledged feelings inwardly about the past doesn’t mean I mastered the art of dealing with my feelings outwardly. There is a whole range of feelings and emotions I couldn’t even name. When my marriage deteriorated, it seemed like the only feelings I knew were anger, pain, and other feelings that sprouted from those two. Half the time, I didn’t even know how I felt. I couldn’t deal with my hurt and pain, didn’t know how to, and shoved them on the back burner. It didn’t matter how I felt because I didn’t matter. And if I don’t care about my feelings or think they matter, why should my spouse or anybody else. I don’t want to live in my feelings anymore.

I operated from an emotional position of resentment, fear, anger, and despair regarding my marital relationship. I was sensitive and prone to crying jags. Sometimes I took out my anger on my children, but most times, I did not; looking at their faces and being with them lifted me, but that wasn’t their job. Living in a failed marriage is why I’m the way I am: an emotional wreck. I’m trapped, used, abused, and overwhelmed trying to keep it together. We’re both to blame, but I can only change myself with a desire to improve.  Even if I can’t move out of the house, I can move forward, take responsibility for my feelings and deal with them appropriately.

I’m still sneaking and reading bits and pieces of my spouse’s AA stuff. And I admit it’s good stuff. I must deal with my feelings and acknowledge them instead of denying them. I Googled ‘types of feelings’ and pulled up a chart full of feelings, and I was shocked and clueless that there were so many. I have to start identifying my feelings; they have names. I printed the chart and used it to match the words to what I had been feeling all these years. Then I circled them. I chose a recent altercation that left me feeling some way. I matched the word with how I felt and asked myself why I felt that way. Was it true. Was it my fault. If it was my fault, I needed to apologize; if not, I needed to figure out why I overreacted.  I made the time, took the time, or found the time to study the chart and the words identifying feelings. It started to make sense; nobody could make me feel a certain way unless I let them. Asking myself questions helped me to deal with them. Self-talk helps when it’s positive and compassionate. Understanding my feelings helps me to understand myself and my weaknesses. I had to go inward, own my feelings, stop neglecting and denying them, start processing them, and begin to heal emotionally.

Days later, chaos ensued; I was upset, tried to keep my mouth shut, and went upstairs. I breathed, got out my chart, and identified the feelings. I know why I’m feeling this way: disrespected and abused. I start a notebook and write out how I feel, who is involved, how it happened, and what to do about it in a healthy way. My feelings are legit. The plan is to allow myself to feel the harmful ones for about 15 minutes, then tell myself and believe these feelings will pass. I’m struggling with the process but I don’t want to live in my feelings; I want to let them go. With practice–identifying and working out my feelings and controlling my emotions–the time will come when I stop denying my feelings and start to acknowledge my feelings, deal with my feelings, and communicate my feelings the appropriate way.