Real, Real, Real, Real

The fact that you can stand up and speak rationally about your emotions, that your left brain can report on what your right brain is feeling, does not mean that those emotions inside you are not real, powerful and crippling.   The body keeps the score.

I know that most counselors believe their job is helping people find a conceptual framework to understand and manage emotion.   Teaching how to be open, aware and considerate even when you have deep feelings is the goal.

“You are smart enough to understand what is going on, so you are smart enough to take care of it,” people want to tell me.

The expectation is that just because I can, because I have done the heavy lifting, I am the one who should eat my feelings, the one who should make things easy for others who haven’t had to work through their feelings.   That expectation is crushing.

I know, I know.   You are trying to hurt me because my responses bring up your stuff.   It will be easier if you scar me into withdrawal and silence  than if you have to face yourself and do the work.  My emotions are intense and corrupt, so not only can they be discounted and erased, they should be.  I should get over them, be a man, practicing self-denial and compartmentalization.

As Dr. van der Kolk says, though, The Body Keeps the Score.


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