Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tao of Equus - Unlearning to ignore our feelings

This book has again surprised me as it has described me and my experiences.
"People who've been convinced to mistrust the simplest of feelings and perceptions can be counted upon to obey family, peer group, and government policies about more complicated matters, even if these policies are obviously destructive or immoral. This is an ongoing problem for women with a history of abuse. As little girls, they learned to be happy, helpful, brave, and polite when they really felt sad, frightened, rebellious and angry. No one ever taught them how to manage or learn from those "bad feelings." As a result, they later found they could not rely on their own internal warning system to avoid potentially dangerous situations. When these women finally seek therapy in the face of extreme adversity, the culturally conditioned split between mind and body actually keeps them from changing the pattern. It's simply not possible for a battered wife to talk herself out of nonverbal postures of submissions and conformity ingrained in her since early childhood. With her mind firmly focused on the ideals of freedom and a better life, she remains oblivious to the ways her body and personality were molded to support chauvinistic and authoritarian agendas, molds set in place without her conscious knowledge or consent. Women are ceaselessly preyed on in civilized society because, in order to conform, they relinquish the same somatic and emotional wisdom that allows horses, deer, and zebras to elude an attack in nature."
To please everyone else, I ignored my own fear and heartache. I kept pushing through, toughing it out, and submitting completely to first my parents, then my husband, and even to the church. This submission left me in the perfect mindset to be victimized first by Johnny, then by Larry. Really I am lucky it wasn't worse.

And now, I am at the point that it is hard for me to even know what I want and what I feel. Everyone else's emotions and vulnerabilities are far more important to me than my own. I am trying to unlearn to ignore my own feelings. I have gotten much better over the past year. I don't "push through it" nearly as much, and it feels good albeit still strange.

It is very strange to think that my fear is actually there to serve me. It is actually okay to acknowledge it and sometimes listen to it.

1 comment:

  1. God gave us a warning system. There is a reason he didn't remove fear and pain. We are supposed to learn to deal with those and use them to get out of bad situations or solve problems in our lives.