Why is it easier to feel anger, fear and sadness and happiness is so elusive?

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needfixing

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Hello, how are you all? I hope all is well.

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RavenLady

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Because of trauma. For me, anyway.

I've been pouring over "Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving" (Walker) and he has excellent tips on negotiating with and working through all of these emotions. Anger, in particular, has actually been a literal life-saver for me. It is the part of us that says NO to abuse, and letting myself embrace my anger in as healthy a way as I can has been extremely liberating and life-changing for me. Also, once we let ourselves protect ourselves effectively, the anger dissipates.

Fear is a very important signal from the body that we are not safe. Sometimes that signal gets stuck on the "on" position through trauma. Healing dials it way, way down.

Sadness is an important part of grieving and loss. It's not something to feel ashamed of. When we get stuck in sadness, it's time to listen very closely to the wound. And to get help if it gets overwhelming or unhealthy.

I've been feeling a return to happiness in my healing journey, but not the sort of forced-smile variety my culture is always imposing on me. More like allowing the good in, and savoring it, and enjoying that feeling where I can find it. Which is more and more.
sometimes in the open you look up
to see a whorl of clouds, dragging and furling
your whole invented history. You look up
from where you're standing, say
among the stolid mountains,
and in that moment your life
becomes the margin
of what matters
-- Terry Ehret

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moglow

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Needfixing, not to sound trite, but I honestly believe that this life is what we make it. I think everyone has tough times, lonely or even angry and fearful times. We can choose to focus on those, or find gratitude wherever we can and look toward better things. It's very easy (way too easy for me sometimes) to get and stay stuck in the dark corners.

I suspect when you're able to change your living situarion some of this weight will lift for you. Feeling physically stuck makes sense that you'd feel emotionally stuck as well. If you can find a way to alleviate one or the other, it stands to reason that there'd be an overall shift upwards from there.
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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1footouttadefog

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For me this tendency would come about at times when I focused only on the hard, big stuff.

I remember a long time ago they came up with a model for stress that assigned points to various life problems.  There was a total points a typical person could handle.  Let's say 300.  Job changes and problems were l, and I am guessing here,  big ones at like 60-75 points. The loss of child , divorse, major illness all biggies maybe hundred and more points.  Leaky faucet, missing tile on bathroom wall, broken dust pan handle, neighbors dog knocking over trash, a few points each.

Reducing the overall point total is helpful whether one tackles small or big problems.

Sometimes it all seems like a log jam that goes for miles, but often it's a tugging few twigs that can get things moving. 

Look for those things you can do and empower yourself. Self care is always a good place to start.


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Pepin

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The answer to this question for me is that it is easier to feel anger, fear and sadness more because I am surrounded by it.  It is absolutely situational and I cannot escape it as much as I would like.  While I have had success at removing NF from my life and moving on on my terms, it hasn't been so easy with PDmil.  She is a major downer and having her be a part of our lives is a challenge.  I feel maxed out with setting boundaries and know that going forward the only way I can be truly at peace is when is gone.  LC with her is incredibly painful for me and I just cannot go any lower - DH would have to step up and make this happen....but he is in his own fog.

Happiness is elusive because most times we are seeking validation for our non happy feelings to go along with the thoughts in our head.  Yeah, it woud be validating if my DH could see how sad I feel on the inside but the thoughts in his head about his mother don't match mine.  I can put myself in his shoes and feel the way he does...but I doubt he has thought about putting himself in my shoes to see how I feel around his mother.  He has no need to do this. 

Generally I loathe weekends since it means the possibility of visiting with PDmil.  I focus on being happy M-F.  When DH travels for work, I feel amazing....especially when he has to be gone for the weekend.  The entire mood in our home shifts.  What I need to do is train my mind to think this way...who knows, maybe changing my thoughts will reward me with more feelings of happiness.
Why work so hard to have a relationship with someone that does not care the same way as you?

No PD is going to tell me what to do.

Born into a dysfunctional family and married into a dysfunctional family.

People who don't bring joy, let them go.

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moglow

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1foot, it's called the Life Event Stress Scale and can be very illuminating! We recommend people at work take it sometimes, and it's a really good way to focus on what got you where you are (if you're sick a lot, depressed, out of sorts or just jumbled and confused). There's that No wonder! moment we all need sometimes to help us adjust our sails. I think a score of 300+ (scored events in one calendar year) is cause for serious concern - there was one really bad year where I was caving physically, emotionally, mentally, everything was shutting down it seemed. My brother told me to take the test ... Let's just say mine was well above 300 that year. 😳

Quote from: 1footouttadefog
Reducing the overall point total is helpful whether one tackles small or big problems.
Sometimes it all seems like a log jam that goes for miles, but often it's a tugging few twigs that can get things moving.

Look for those things you can do and empower yourself. Self care is always a good place to start.
Very good advice! Tweak what you can where and as you can to find some forward momentum. Those baby steps really can add up, plus they give us courage for the next obstacle.
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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coyote

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Here is where I found the inventory: https://www.stress.org/holmes-rahe-stress-inventory
And here are the scoring domains:
150 points or less  |  a relatively low amount of life change and a low susceptibility to stress-induced health breakdown

150 to 300 points  |  50% chance of health breakdown in the next 2 years

300 points or more  |  80% chance of health breakdown in the next 2 years, according to the Holmes-Rahe statistical prediction model

I scored 137 by the way.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
 Wayne Dyer

“The only person educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.”  Carl Rogers

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
Capt. Jack Sparrow

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treesgrowslowly

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I agree with what Ravenlady wrote. Each emotion is a response and anger is a response to trauma which was a crossing of our boundaries. Someone's behaviour crossed our boundaries and it wasn't safe to react in anger in the moment.

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SonofThunder

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Here is where I found the inventory: https://www.stress.org/holmes-rahe-stress-inventory
And here are the scoring domains:
150 points or less  |  a relatively low amount of life change and a low susceptibility to stress-induced health breakdown

150 to 300 points  |  50% chance of health breakdown in the next 2 years

300 points or more  |  80% chance of health breakdown in the next 2 years, according to the Holmes-Rahe statistical prediction model

I scored 137 by the way.

Good for you Coyote on that 137!   Haha im going to be on the high side for sure because of a variety of factors. 

But, i do believe strongly, with regard to myself, that half the battle is being in the ‘know’.  Many life stressors imho, are endured quite well with education in the area of the stress.  For me its not the ‘knowns’ which are that stressful, but the ‘unknowns’.   I spend a good deal of time educating my unknowns into the known category, and that has 100% assisted in times of great stress.  OOTF is one those huge educational resources for me that has turned past unknowns into knowns, but also lets me now predict knowns and therefore guide myself into areas of less stessors.   Thanks for the chart/link!

SoT
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

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Spygirl

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Coyote

I got 621. No wonder.  This year is going to be better. Im fighting for it. And letting go of alot.

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Griffen

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We've been trained to think in certain ways. That's why.

I've been doing a lot of work on this in the last few years, and especially the last few months. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, and coaching, has helped me enormously.

I've been listening to the Life Coach School podcast with Brooke Castillo (just search the name and you'll find it), and her Model is probably the best tool I've found for dealing with this stuff.

In essence, there are circumstances we can't change (but you can't use any adjectives or value judgments in identifying them, so "there's a terrifying dog in the yard" is not a circumstance but "there's a dog in the yard" is).

Then we have thoughts about the circumstances. This is where we get "the dog is terrifying."

The thoughts then produce feelings. In this case, it would be "I'm scared/frightened/terrified."

The feelings then produce actions, which give us our results.

Castillo's contention is that the only way we can change our results is to change our thoughts.

Between her, Byron Katie, Brené Brown, and Sarah Knight, I've got a toolbox now for working on me, not just dealing with the PD person in my life (with whom I'm NC).

I strongly, strongly recommend all of these resources.
"The people who hate it when you set boundaries are the people who benefited from you having none."

Queer male autistic with a uNPD/uBPD lesbian man-hating mom - gee, what could possibly go wrong?

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coyote

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Spygirl, Don't worry or "stress" about it, (pun intended). For me there have been less stressors as I have gotten older and already dealt with a lot of life stressors.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
 Wayne Dyer

“The only person educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.”  Carl Rogers

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
Capt. Jack Sparrow

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Pepin

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I've been listening to the Life Coach School podcast with Brooke Castillo (just search the name and you'll find it), and her Model is probably the best tool I've found for dealing with this stuff.

I also listen to Brooke and have just started listening from the beginning of her podcasts for the second time and taking notes.  Life Coaching in my opinion has been a missing piece in my recovery.  I have worked with many therapists  -- bad and good experiences -- and wish I had known about life coaching from the beginning.  Dana Morningstar from www.thrivesafterabuse.com also supports life coaching and has a lot of crossover with her healing work.  Our brains are continuously trying to pick apart what happened in order to make sense of it while at the same time our brains do this as a way of trying to protect us.  Changing our thoughts is key to changing our actions and not the other way around.
Why work so hard to have a relationship with someone that does not care the same way as you?

No PD is going to tell me what to do.

Born into a dysfunctional family and married into a dysfunctional family.

People who don't bring joy, let them go.