On November 18, 2012 by a.G.


Inner voices. And no not the schizophrenic me, myself, and ID kind. The internal messages that cause mumbo jumbo that often times we cannot even discern.  Taken as “truth” these messages are given so unlovingly by our experiences. (yes I’m talking about perception. again. consistency is key people. get with it.) A voice whispering flawed data to your core, telling you memorex memories from unreliable sources.

Don’t get me wrong here people. Feelings are awesome. It’s the whole TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING-ISM… that gets me. Case in point when asking my patients in treatment (yes I was a therapist of the mental health order) to point out their feelings on the “feelings chart” I did too. And I said to myself ERMEGHERD I FEEL ALL OF THE ABOVE. And too much of them. Gah. Counselors can be a sick bunch. Trust me.

Anyway I became aware that oo much too much … toooooo much of a good thing is… TOO MUCH.

Apathy. Given a bad rap by the masses, this word has become my friend.  Mirriam and her beau Webster have told me that apathy means: lack of feeling or emotion :impassiveness or lack of interest or concern : indifference. For an “over-feeler” (as I was raised to be) this word is bliss. Explain? But of course. *curtsy*

All my life I’ve FELT, meaning lived in emotional brain. What does THAT mean? Well I could easily pause here and delve into a deep discussion for those who love neuroscience (like me) and go from Darwin’s studies of the emotional brain to MacLean’s exploration into the limbic system and then the Canon-Bard theory using angry cats as lab rats (?) ahem. Or how in 1937 Papez proposed a new ideology for the way the brain routes feelings versus thought. I won’t. But you very easily can read a much more learned person on the subject HERE. Fascinating stuff.  Tim Dalgleish explains it far better than I. But the amygdala? (oh how I love thee amygdala. let me count the ways.) THAT we may look into. Or not so much. One only has so much time to write you know.  But trust me when I say it IS possible to change your brain chemistry to be LESS emotional. It is.

Okay okay okay … enough name throwing and brain chemistry-ism. (oh that does get me all flustery though. hot. brain.) Back to explanations. I was raised by an over-reactor. EVERYTHING was a trauma. Gasps and exclamations and exaggerations were common fare. Daily occurrences included overt lying (exaggerating), high drama, talking behind backs judgmentally, and shame.  My DAD on the other hand … never said a bad word about anyone. Ever. Calm cool collected and apathetic in many ways… HE was who I wanted to be like. Unflappable. Good self concept. Oh… yes I was speaking of my mother if you didn’t notice. Lovely woman, kind and beautiful, over-reactor? Hell yes. But then again she was raised that way. So … was I.

Stuck in a feelings rut. Impulsivity and irrational were viable choices.  Doing something just because it “FELT GOOD” was rarely the right answer.  It got me (and still sometimes does) into all kinds of messes. Interpersonal relationships pretty much sucked because they were based on pure emotion. The second it stopped ‘FEELING GOOD’ I was out. Ran away faster than a jackrabbit looking to get laid. Totally unaware that I created the negative situation by looking for the wrong types of men.  The instant quick fix hot and heavy bad boy who looked sooo good but was in reality sooooooo bad… for me. If my parents hated them all the better. Yeah. That felt good. Friendships were based on drinking (of course) and who could meet MY needs (now this is all in retrospect which is crystal clear you know … I didn’t realize it at the time. sheesh.).  Selfish – feeling mind set – touchy goody goodness that rotted my soul and gave me epic cavities. No amount of flouride could wash away the sick choices. Not even a little bit.

And what about THIS passive aggressive BS …  being a pansy ass because I didn’t want to hurt anyone ELSE’S feelings? Martyr-ism. I suffer because I don’t want you to dislike me. omg. Because if you dislike me then apparently the world will end … somehow. wtf? It’s really called living in fear and cowardice doesn’t look good on anyone. The classic “nothing” syndrome. What’s wrong? NOTHING. What’s the matter? NOTHING. Oh that’s so irritating. When all your body language conveys that SOMETHING IS NOT QUITE RIGHT? Nothing is a cop out.

Feel feel feel … rational doesn’t play here anymore. *sigh* That was then. A long time ago. So what did I do? How did it change? What became different? Well insight is one thing.  You can’t change something unless you’re aware. Yes? Yes.  Getting sober did that for me. At the tender age of 19 I had to come face to face with how my choices ruined pretty much everything. SMACK. And even still, in the last 18 years since crawling into recovery, it’s been a struggle.  The last two plus years has brought great focus into this change. Now it is innate. Thank the gods… whoever they may be.

You change. THAT is what you do. I did. Am doing. Gah. Attempting to NOT care SOOO much. It works for me. The old saying “If it doesn’t directly affect your breathing then it’s none of your business” is applicable here. Reminding yourself/myself what is important and what is just NOT. This is done by inventories and self exploration. A difficult but worthy endeavor. But nothing easy is worth having right? Right.

To be able to walk in a room with complete confidence? To be able to stand in front of thousands and speak/perform? To have a calm sense of self assurance radiate through my conscious self? Hell yes. THAT is the outcome of this selectively apathetic approach. And honestly? No matter how much I FEEL about something … the only thing that changes the outcome is doing the work. Changing behaviors is key. So in effect viewing life from a less feeling based paradigm fits with my recovery choices.  I over E people. (intellect over emotion) It… is a choice to have balance between the two. Intellect and emotional brain working hand in hand. Equal partners in which intellect and wisdom are on top. Emotion likes being a bottom better anyway.  You don’t wanna know how I know … that. I strive for a culmination of emotional intelligence … no it’s not contraindicated. Shush. It is possible. Think of a combination of Spock and James T Kirk … not a trekkie? Ummm okay Claudia Schiffer and Oprah and Hillary Clinton? Oh just use your own examples. Sheesh.





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