We Have Stuffed Our Feelings From Our Traumatic Childhoods And Have Lost The Ability To Feel Or Express Our Feelings Because It Hurts So Much. (Denial)
Fairly early in my childhood my feelings became so raw, so painful, so intense that I began to discount them and stuff them. In ACoA I discovered that my deepest reactions to abuse and abandonment, rejection and scorching ridicule, were carefully stuffed away in my subconscious. As events in my home became more and more unbearable I just buried the feelings that went with the incidents. In doing so I managed to construct an almost impenetrable shell around my early torment. I was unable to let all that early pain surface and be processed. It took a number of years of ACoA recovery to break open that protective shell.
Most of my childhood feelings came to light through experiencing similar confrontations and incidents during my early recovery days. As unsettling and awful to feel as these events were, they were just what I needed to open myself up to long hidden feelings.
Even more damaging was my inability to recognize and know just what it was that I was feeling at any given moment. Long ago I had ceased being a sensitive, aware and spontaneous human being. I was a sort of mechanical individual with a very limited range of responses and reactions that might almost pass as feelings – not a very healthy portrait. From what I understand about human nature, a person who has lost the ability to identify and express his or her feelings is pretty much buried alive in rigid inflexible behavior and incapable of experiencing life in a full and meaningful way.
ACoA meetings provide a safe and understanding environment where members can explore, identify and express their innermost feelings without the judgment of others. Meetings also provide a sense of belonging in which the vulnerable ACoA is accepted unconditionally.
Excerpt from Chapter 4 – The Recovery Process in The Laundry List by Tony A. and Dan F.