Voluntarily stop feeling happiness?

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Maxtrem

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Voluntarily stop feeling happiness?
« on: July 09, 2020, 01:19:41 PM »
This morning I experienced something special, at least it's the first time I've realized it. It was a night where I slept well, not much muscle pain, I drove my girlfriend back to work, the conversation on the way was pleasant. On the way back I turned on the radio, the music was good and I felt a great happiness. The last time I felt this was about 6 months ago, but it really didn't last long (1-2 days). (I had received praise from my boss for my annual evaluation, I had a good salary increase and a nice vacation with my girlfriend, but soon after my uBPDm had seizures, "suicide attempt" and I have had anxiety problems ever since). On the other hand, this morning, after a few minutes, I voluntarily told myself to stop and went back to a neutral emotion; not sadness or depression, just neutral.

Are any of you experiencing this; voluntarily preventing yourself from feeling really happy for no great reason? I often see my girlfriend being happy for all the little joys of everyday life, but I can't do it, I realize that I have never. On the other hand, I would like to mention that I have emotions, no depression, I just find it strange that I volunteered to stop this moment of joy to become neutral again!   

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Psuedonym

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Re: Voluntarily stop feeling happiness?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2020, 04:16:34 PM »
I would go buy Pete Walker's CTPSD from Surviving to Thriving if you haven't already. The Narcissistic Family Robert M. Pressman and Stephanie Donaldson is also a good one. What you're describing is a symptom of CTPSD and a survival mechanism resulting from a childhood. You a) weren't allowed to feel your own emotions or b) told they were wrong or c) punished for having negative feelings. In an attempt to suppress your negative emotions, you end up suppressing all of them. Its a maladaptive coping mechanism, but luckily its one that can be unlearned! Hope that helps a little.

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Adria

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Re: Voluntarily stop feeling happiness?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2020, 04:45:58 PM »
Maxtreme,

Yes, I understand what you are talking about.  I realized about 10 years ago that I stopped any happiness from entering my mind since childhood.  Just completely shut it down as I knew it would be squashed the minute I went home from school.  I had to relearn happiness, joy in simple things and how to laugh again.  It was a sad realization when I realized decades had been stolen from me.

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Maxtrem

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Re: Voluntarily stop feeling happiness?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2020, 07:34:36 PM »
Thank you very much for your messages! @Pseudonym I had already read a bit about the CTPSD, I didn't think I had it, but I clearly lived all the points you mentioned and deliberately suppressed a little moment of joy... the CTPSD seems to explain it well. I also had childhood flashbacks where I wanted to die at 6-7 years old, I had to develop coping mechanisms to get out of it. And thanks for the book references. @Adria, thanks for your post I'm glad you managed to relearn joy and that there is hope!   

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Adria

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Re: Voluntarily stop feeling happiness?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2020, 04:13:59 PM »
In my case, we weren't allowed to be happy or joyful.  If my narc dad would see us having fun, smiling, laughing or being carefree, he would quickly do or say something to squelch it.  Any emotions of elation were always brought to a screeching halt. So, I suppose that is why I just stopped letting myself feel joy. I learned, anytime I felt happy, to squelch it myself, so as not to let HIM take my joy away. 

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Blueberry Pancakes

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Re: Voluntarily stop feeling happiness?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2020, 12:16:33 PM »
Yes. I recognize this in my own life as well and believe it may have something to do about adapting a coping behavior to avoid punishment/mistreatment/verbal abuse, etc. Someone might notice you are happy and take it away from you. I am glad that you are recognizing it. I think with awareness, you can begin to allow yourself to experience the happiness you deserve, and the satisfaction of achievements in your career. If you catch yourself wanting to pull back, you can now know it is safe to enjoy those feelings. You might also start to notice good things all around you and be amazed that you never noticed them before. BTW, I really like that you see your girlfriend's happiness, her ability to enjoy the simple things, and seem to value that about her. I think that is a great thing, and reflects very positively on your relationship. 

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jennsc85

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Re: Voluntarily stop feeling happiness?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2020, 03:48:35 PM »
You know, I kept journals all throughout my teenage years and a couple weeks ago I found the box with all of them and flipped open one from when I was 16 or 17 and I had written “I am afraid to be happy because I know something will happen that takes it away. Mom will always do something to take away my happiness so why should I bother? It’s too devastating  to feel happy and then give her the power to take it away.”

I noticed that well into my adulthood, I felt the same way because my mother was still in my life in a big, negative, toxic way. I felt like i couldn’t handle dealing with any big emotions at all because I had to prepare myself to be strong enough to deal with my mother. I avoided discussions with my husband, I avoided doing fun things with my kids... all because I worried about saving my energy for my mother. And happiness? Ha. All it took to take my happiness away was one text from my mother (and I got approximately 100 a day from her!)

It wasn’t until into my second year of NC that I realized I was processing emotions “normally” and was able to deal with things that I never had before including happiness.

I think others are correct that it is a coping mechanism that you pick up without even realizing it.

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Maxtrem

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Re: Voluntarily stop feeling happiness?
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2020, 07:24:50 PM »
Thank you very much for your answers! Adria, Jennsc85, Blueberry Pancakes I might also have been in neutral for a very long time because it's always a matter of time before my happiness is taken away by my uBPDm. I just can't wait to live life's little joys to the fullest like my girlfriend does. It annoys my girlfriend sometimes that I'm on neutral sometimes.

On the weekend, my father-in-law said I feel like my happiness bothers people sometimes and they try to ruin it. Strangely, I was the only one who understood what he meant!