Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"You're entitled to your emotions"


On my cranky post earlier in the week, Jennifer commented "You're entitled to your emotions".

Unfortunately I have never felt this to be true for me. I was thinking about it last night, remembering all the times I wasn't allowed to have strong emotions.

When I was 5 and my oldest brother died, run over by a train. A few weeks or months later I asked my mother why the train driver wasn't being put in prison, and she told me that it wasn't his fault. So where was my anger and distress to be aimed?

When I was 6 and my other brother got horrifically burned and spent a long time in hospital and I felt abandoned and ignored as I was dragged back and forth by my parents or left with my grandmother so they could spent time with my brother. Who was I supposed to be angry and upset with? My brother, in so much pain? My parents, doing their best?

When I was about 11 and learned I needed glasses, and was scared I was going blind and my mother told me not to be silly.

In my teens I used to cut myself rather than feel my emotions. Physical pain distracts you from emotional pain. You're not allowed to feel emotional pain.

And not just negative emotions.

When I was 18 and my boyfriend went away to the defence force academy and after a week he proposed over the phone. My mother said "he must be lonely". Crushing.

Getting excited about new pretty clothes and being told they didn't suit me.

So many little scenes like this, I can remember them vividly.

Obviously a lot of this comes from my mother, but in general my family doesn't display any strong emotions. Maybe it's unseemly or something.

The original cranky blog that I took down so quickly made me feel like an awful person. Because I am certainly not allowed to be upset or offended by someone trying to help me. I probably hurt their feelings. What I briefly thought was me standing up for myself on my own personal space turned into me being an horrible human being. Not acceptable. If I feel any emotions I'm certainly not allowed to show them.

And it is my impulse to do the same to my children. Squash them down if they get too excited or emotional about something. Restore placidity. Eternal calm. How sad.


  1. I saw the post you are talking about. And while it probably would be better suited to an email response, the truth is that you are entitled to your opinion in your own space. This is your space. Yes, a blog is out on the net, but it's still defined by you. You have a right to feel angry, or bad, or happy. Yes, mothers do a number on us (one of the terrors I have about my own children. I'm sure I'll get a huge whollop when they are older too), but eventually you have to overcome or accept it, because we're human and adults and able to make our own way. You have a right to feel whatever you feel. It's now up to you to choose how to do that. :)

    1. There is a line in the song "Affirmation" that goes "I believe our parents did the best job they knew how to do." I think it is important (if not easy) to accept that and move on. And now I'm an adult I get to rethink and reshape my responses to various situations.