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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dam It All

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Feelings are much like waves, we can't stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.

~Jonatan Mårtensson

I’m realizing more and more that I have an emotional dam.

I’ve never exactly been an emotional open book. But lately I’ve been feeling a looming sense of emotional build-up. Not that I’m an automaton, I don’t necessarily have trouble showing my emotions or talking about things - I just don’t have as much opportunity at this phase of my life as I have had before.

One reason I think is because I’m not married. Most married couples will spend some time talking over each other’s day, discussing family issues, or just simply talking about things. Sometimes that’s good for their relationship and sometimes….well, usually it’s a good thing. But I have been married so, unlike the never-been-married folks, I got used to the talking and notice its absence. I do have a good relationship with my kids, but they are still young enough that there are some things that they just don’t need to be burdened with yet – and can’t relate to anyway. I want them to be caring and aware and all of that, but I don’t want them to have to feel emotionally responsible for me.

In the past I have had those close kind of sharing relationships with co-workers. But that isn’t the case right now. I’m kind of isolated in my day-to-day work. I will interact with the kids a bit every day which I enjoy, but I’m not in the classroom on a regular basis. And, because of the nature of my job, I am kind of separate from the faculty…which, I’m sorry to say, I am really ok with.

And finally I have to take some personal responsibility for being kind of isolated too. I’ve had a series of not so fun events in the last couple of years that have shifted my life a lot and I just haven’t had the emotional wherewithal to connect or in some cases re-connect with people. Plus it takes me a while to get to a place with people where I feel comfortable opening that emotional vault.

So, the combination of past emotional turmoil that I may or may not have fully dealt with, few opportunities for the human interactive relief valve, and then just the general wear and tear of day-to-day living have led to this vague looming sense of emotional pressure. So perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised yesterday that after talking to my ex-husband on a subject about which we disagree, I found myself feeling cracks in the dam and the leaks starting. I was crying – well weeping actually. It wasn’t really the Ex’s fault. We have a pretty good relationship all in all and the thing we were disagreeing about isn’t life or death. I would like him to see my point of view and it is troubling that he doesn’t but in the long-run it isn’t worth a battle - I may even be wrong. But I was upset last night and unfortunately every single emotion I have seems to be connected to every other in some hazy, indistinguishable way so just as one thought leads to another, one emotion leads to another and threatens the structural integrity of the dam.

I don’t really have a resolution to this. I did some crying last night and I did some resealing and cementing of the dam as well. I realize that I am gong to have to do something about this so that I don’t find myself at some point running someone off the road in a rage or weeping uncontrollably in the grocery store isle.

Fortunately for me life itself can be a pretty effective therapist.


Rachel said...

Oh Mel I'm so sorry. I wish I had answers for you. Wisdom, but no. I've been told I am a dry riverbed. The emotions don't flow.

Being female I think we have more of a need to "talk" things through. Have a sounding board. Maybe I'm wrong but it would seem that a lot of men don't feel the need to talk as much as women do. To not be able to do so would be so difficult! Siblings? Parents? Anyone like that that you are close to to use as a sound board?

Anaise said...

This post is just painful. How I hope there is someone you can trust for some face to face talking and healing.

Corine said...

I feel your pain. I can associate with isolation and all that comes with it. I have withdrawn from the world a bit from time to time - as if that would prevent any pain, though, NOT really. I learned that, for me, isolation is giving up one pain for an even bigger one. I would encourage you to reach out to others; find someone who needs a friend; serve in small ways. And just know that you are not alone - lots of people go through this (even people who seem to have a million friends; how many of them are really CLOSE friends - the kind you get intimate with anyway? They say you are rich if you have a handful of close friends in your life).

As for the emotional dam... a journal can do wonders! It is amazing how much emotion can be released with that little friend called a journal! My journal is my personal therapist.

...hope this weekend finds you smiling. :)

Gerb said...

I can relate, Mel. It is much easier to dam those feelings up than to show them. The worst is when the dam breaks just when you least wanted (or expected) it to.

I find release in visiting my dad at the cemetery. I talk as if he were there, cry my eyes out if needed, and the best part is that he keeps all my secrets.

Mel said...

Boy, this post really is a downer isn't it? I hadn't realized it sounded so sorrowful until I reread it today. But I do think that I need find a release, so I really do appreciate the comments and advice.
Thanks everyone.

Corine said...

No - It's not a downer. It's just one of those things that everyone can relate to, and you just can't help not feeling empathetic. ;)

GaeLynn said...

Mel, we need to go to lunch!

Cee Tindall said...

Isolation is a reality to many people even living in a large family. I think any woman who has any form of painful relationships will feel as you do right now. I admire you for talking about it. I so needed reading this today as I'm getting over a crying jag from yesterday in my own life....

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