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Feelings or Thoughts?


finding my way
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One of THE most powerful things I learned in therapy was to separate out feelings and thoughts and work with them individually. I don't think I could have ever had that insight on my own. Before I was shown the distinction, I was lost in mashing them all up together in a subconscious disastrous mess. Just wondering if others have benefited from this type of work?

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I'm curious about posts on this topic. I haven't been so lucky to address this issue in my therapy and I'm not even sure how much I'd have need it, how much I've been "mashing them up together".

Do you think it's possible to describe how to do it (the distinction / separation), how to learn it? Or it's possible only by (guided) experience? (-That's what I suppose.) And... could you explain why and when it's so important to be able to do it? When you can differentiate, then what's the "next step"? "What do you do" with the information (about yourself in a particular moment)? Does it help to control yourself?

(Personally, I think my problem isn't such differentiation, but the fact that I cannot stop myself from "acting" (-including speaking, expressing emotions, ...) before making a conscious decision about how to "act". That's a different issue.)

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Does it help to control yourself?

It helps people understand themselves.

A great deal of self talk and reactive behavior is fueled by defensive thoughts about difficult feelings.

It was miraculous for me to learn I could peel them apart. Facing difficult feelings is more possible without the confusion of defensive thoughts. Freeing thinking from defending you from difficult feelings helps thinking become clearer, more helpful.

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If you know of any good links for seperating feelings from tjoughts, would uou mind posting them finding?,

I find it confusing, and when i looked for material some of it helped clarify but theres a lot, and some seems quite different from others.

Some mentioned EFT- but then i found two different things that used EFT as its acronym?

Or if theres a way that you recommend using this to be helpful?

I was hoping to read more...but wasnt sure what i should be looking for.

Thanks for posting this!

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Feelings are real events. It is a fact that you have a particular feeling; in that sense, feeling is not false.

Our thinking about a feeling can be incredibly way off, quite false in terms of the feeling, and yet it is a fact that you had that thought.

Then there is our identity-- what we identify our selves with. It could be our feelings, it could be our thinking.

As events (having a feeling, having a thought), they are the truth about us. We can cling fiercely to them. We require an identity after all.

What an incredible thing it is to learn that it isn't all so fixed as that. Our genuine selves can be more than this confusion of thoughts and feelings. By separating them out, a kind of facilitator arises inside, listening in on things. Space opens up inside difficult dynamics making a fresh perspective possible because the reactivity falls away. You can be genuinely you without being limited to just one of these facets. Good therapy creates this spaciousness and a safe environment to explore it.

The work can sound like CBT in some ways, and CBT can really help getting clearer with your thinking. There is also feeling though, and getting clear on what you feel is so important. And surrounding it all is the you you become in the process of working with these dynamics, not being just the feeler or just the thinker but being the one that can afford to listen to it all.

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It isn't EFT. I don't know EFT, but from what I've read, it sounds based in Asian medicine, since it works with meridians? That is what acupuncture works with, for example.

Sometimes these so called "fringe" therapies have their quirky ways of freeing up emotions or at least giving you new experiences inside stuck places, so I'm the type that might try it for the heck of it.

I do believe including the body in one's work with feeling is a good idea.

Have you done anything with CBT or DBT?

The thing that I found so healing for me was getting safe with feeling and thinking.

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was anything of it helpful?

I don't know EFT, but tapping along meridians has to be similar to acupuncture/acupressure work. Then there is muscle testing where you communicate with the unconscious intelligence of the body. If a person is OK with straying from Western scientific approaches, there are lots of methods out there, including shamanism. For this discussion, it's interesting if it helps you connect to how you feel.

Does body work appeal to you, JaiJai? All kinds of emotion gets pent up in the body.

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I dont think ive had much success with any of the therapy ive tried...and obviously im the common denominator there.

I dont have anything against body work, i guess... Well i guess i dont really know...ive never done anything like that, so in theory i do t have any issues with it.

DBT im only vaguely familiar with.

The seperating thoughts from feelings im hoping will help me with some of the difficulties i have with impulsive behaviour, usually in situations where im overwhelmed with negative feelings.

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I too have had dissociative states, and those are when I feel the most not safe :(

It's funny how the solution for me is to harness "dissociation" for the good.

Here's what I mean. Taking the one step back from what is going on to look at it is sort of dissociative in that you are dissociating that far from what is happening. The huge difference, though, is that you don't then flip to total blind absorption in another state, another way of behaving. You stay aware and observing. It helps to have someone there with you when it is happening-- keeps you from disappearing. From that amazing place, you can start to see a kind of sense in what has been taking place, why you act or think the way you do. The feeling part can then free up and express itself and be heard. The very act of being heard is so often what is needed. When we totally dissociate, no one is listening.

It can take therapy or friendships to create enough solidity in the listener observer self. It's very tempting to just run away or cave from simply not having enough self esteem.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a question possibly related also to this context: How would you "categorize" fantasies and what insights have you gained about them, if any? I'll explain: There are, of course, several kinds of fantasies, but I'm now interested in this one: It's not a hallucination, but it's also not "a voluntary activity". It just "happens". I can stop or modify it if I really try (but in those moments, I often don't feel motivated to try), but I cannot control weather it begins/appears. I suppose there are many many benign fantasies that fill these criteria, but there's only one which makes me concerned sometimes: the images of hurting or killing myself.

It's maybe useless "talking" about it now when it's not at all such a major problem as in the past, but... it occurred to me because it happened some days ago again and made me wonder. This time, it took (only) some dozens of minutes, but it was as in the old times; every time I saw something that could cause an injury, I "saw" myself hurting myself and then I "saw", or rather imagined (?), other things of that kind even without external triggers.

What is it? Expression of feelings or thoughts? I didn't feel suicidal and even less thought about doing it. I was sad that my brain "was doing it again". I think it's a message from my unconsciousness that I really want to resign again and really don't want my life as it is or seem to be in the present and near future. What a shame :rolleyes: that my unconsciousness doesn't provide images of what I would like to do, what I would like to change for better - it only offers me destruction... Of course, my unconsciousness just makes everything worse, as if my consciousness wasn't so good at screwing everything up... :rolleyes:

Oh; sorry... :o I didn't intend to be so negative... :(

download-43.jpeg

Edited by LaLa3
some changes & added picture
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Thank you, 'finding'.

I'm sorry it sounded too serious to you :(:o. I don't need to "see someone" because of this, for sure. It didn't happen again since that day and even if it will sometimes, it's not serious until it does not last too long (in the past, I used to have days when it was almost permanent during the time I wasn't focused on talking to someone (about anything) or sometimes reading - that was one of my main motivations to finally see a therapist).

I was just wondering if someone here has some insights that would help me to understand it more. I doesn't seem to me I would need (professional) help with my mental state(s) now, at least not in this context (what I do struggle with is rather lack of motivation, "apathy", ...).

Maybe I should have put there a trigger warning (?) :(... I'm not sensitive to this topic because it's familiar and when I write about it, it's mainly because of rational interest, a will to understand more, but itself doesn't bring strong emotions. I was hoping it won't bring them to the readers either :o...

Yes, intrusive thoughts sound quite apposite, although in this case, I wasn't sure if to call it "thoughts" because they happen only in images. I used to have other states (which happen also after therapy, sometimes) with actual thoughts about suicide - but those are very different because their main component is verbal and I feel like controlling them, unlike the fantasies.

Edited by LaLa3
corrected some mistakes
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Thank you, 'finding', for your kind efforts and inputs.

Maybe feeling for you is caught up with some kind of conflict and can't help you with motivation right now?

I do have feelings as usual (it's not a total, feelingless, apathy). But if I substitute here the word "feeling" by "wanting", it sounds... possible. (Yet I feel rather empty than conflicted.)

I stop it here. Not because of anybody else, just because of myself, loosing interest in such attempts to describe and understand myself. (Anyway, I've already spoiled this thread quite enough.)

I suppose (even though it seems as impossible as always) that this will go away and I'll feel more OK again. No need to babble here until it happens.

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Yes; it would be too expensive here and the language barrier is also problematic - I've learned writing better than in the past (-when I joined this forum), but that doesn't mean I can communicate fluently in person :(. (I mentioned it long time ago, so it's a good question to ask me here and now ;).)

I'm sorry I've made here the impression of needing it... :( It's only because of my current choice of words, not because of a change in my state. I've got ups and downs all the time. It at least makes me believe this down will pass, too... (This time, I mainly perceive it as a problem with adaptation to coming here again. Those fantasies I mentioned above came right after we leaved the airport...)

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I hope you don't feel a negative judgment when someone works with a therapist. I've had more therapists than I can count. :P Just wondered if you might enjoy the perspective of working with a new one? It always requires a good connection, but I would think the right person would be patient with the language differences. Is anything possible through the university to make it more affordable?

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I hope you don't feel a negative judgment when someone works with a therapist.

How could I??? :blink:

Just wondered if you might enjoy the perspective of working with a new one?

I considered a similar option before going home for holidays - I imagined seeing a new one in my home country for one or few sessions. But those fantasies were enough, I didn't feel the need to really do it. I know; that would be different; few sessions is not a therapy, just a consultation.

And in future? It depends on the current situation when we come back. Maybe I won't need it ;). (More probably; I won't be able to afford it...)

Is anything possible through the university to make it more affordable?

No. But thanks for asking about the option.

______

I don't want to write here about myself anymore. For those of you who have access to my blog on this site, I'll post there sometimes, so feel free to comment there in case you wish :).

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