It’s been a while. I’ve wanted to write some blogs for a long time about some of what I’ve learned about honest emotional expression, self-trust, and facade, based on experiences I’ve had with my family in the last couple years.
I am hoping that my experiences might help others with their seeking truth about their childhood, and learning about how their emotions became shut down from their childhood experiences. I also wanted to share about topics of self-trust and “intuition”, which is something I think many people struggle with in reflecting on what really happened in their childhood. And lastly, also I wanted to touch a bit on facade as well.
I decided to break this post into parts as it ended up being quite long for just one post. So instead it will be a series of posts, with this first post being the introduction.
The Divine Truth teachings, as well as personal feedback to me gifted from Jesus and Mary, have helped me to realize how shut down emotionally I’ve been in my life. At only age 17 I was diagnosed with severe depression and eating disorders, and for many years I struggled with fantasies of suicide. My life is so much better than it used to be, thanks to the emotion that I have felt so far and the truths I’ve learned.
Anyone who has had that level of depression and suicidal feelings knows how incredible it is just to get to a point where you feel well enough to care for yourself financially and perform basic tasks of day-to-day life. However, I have so much more to go in terms of opening up to honest emotional expression, especially in front of others, but even just with myself.
I’ve also always had a lot of self-doubt that comes up in certain areas, and particularly this has been true as I’ve tried to sort out the truth of my childhood and my parent’s emotions towards me. I’ve often dismissed my suspicions about their intentions and downplayed the trauma of my childhood.
Facade is also a big issue for me. I don’t like people to know I’m angry, and I don’t like to cry in front of them. I prefer people to feel I have things “together” and am not messy or out of control. Due to this my anger has often been passive aggressive and underhanded towards others, and I’ve downplayed and hidden my sadness. I often pretend I have different emotions than I actually do. There are many times I’m even just in facade with myself and convince myself that I don’t have emotions that I actually do have.
My current understanding of what honest emotional expression is (and this is just my definition based on my current understanding), is that it is when our real feelings in our soul, and the feelings that we display outwardly, match. This is what it means for it to be honest; there is no discrepancy between them. Also, it seems to me that the emotional expression part is really expressing the emotion like a small child does, where their voice and their body also express the emotion in an unbridled, full way.
For some backstory on my history with emotional expression:
I grew up in a stereotypical American Christian military household, and emotional expression was not allowed, particularly from me. My dad was the only one allowed to feel anger, and he had angry outbursts where he would insult, cut with sarcasm and pull-downs, and threaten punishments. He would get moody and mopey, and slam the occasional door or fist on the table. My mom was passive aggressive and underhanded, and most of her suppressed anger was taken out on me in the form of criticism, punishments and control. Nobody really cried except on the occasion of a tragedy, when a few tears might be allowed from the women.
I was supposed to be a poised, polite, and totally silent and obedient Christian girl, which I mostly succeeded at. I often describe myself in my childhood as having felt like a doll on the shelf in a corner, in a frilly dress with blushed cheeks, smiling but with dead eyes. I felt I was not supposed to have much more of a presence than an actual doll on a shelf. I was meant to look pretty but be silent. My opinions and personality weren’t wanted, and certainly my emotions were absolutely not welcomed. As a very young child I was often called “strong-willed” and “independent”, but not long after, when my parents successfully suppressed me, I began being praised by others outside the family for being “well-behaved” and “mature”, polite and quiet.
Growing up, when I would watch TV shows or movies where a child or teenager openly disagreed with a parent, got in a fight with a parent, or otherwise expressed their emotions, I would marvel. Sometimes the child would yell, run out of the room, slam the door to their bedroom, or cry and sob. I always gawked at these scenes because I absolutely could not imagine ever expressing myself like that, and indeed I never did, not even once.
With my dad, I have never showed anger in front of or at him, and rarely have I cried in front of him. I’ve never really discussed with or displayed fear with him either. I have always interacted with my dad in a way where I’ve been completely frozen and without personality or emotion. I now recognize this as terror.
With my mom, I’d also never showed anger in front of or at her. When I was a child we would have disagreements, but I was always punished for “sassing”. I can now see that what my mom called “talking back” was really just me saying some words of truth about the injustices. I wasn’t yelling, or calling names, or throwing anything, in fact I was relatively calm. But I was punished for speaking up at all, and so didn’t really display emotions with her either. Crying about specific issues external to the family (like a breakup) was ok, but she felt it should be brief and then be done.
A couple years ago, I realized that I hadn’t ever emotionally expressed myself with my parents. By this point I had consistently and quite bluntly told them them that I felt we had many issues in the family. I had told my dad about issues I felt existed via email and letters, and with my mom via emails and some in-person conversations. Because I had *technically* called out issues in our family, I was characterizing that in my mind as having really confronted my parents. But I realized that I had never actually expressed emotions in front of them.
What I mean is, I had said words, but I’d never allowed emotion to come through my body and my voice, and I’d never at all looked like a child expressing emotion. I never wanted to be messy or appear like I wasn’t “together”, and I wanted them to take me seriously, so I was always very controlled, calm, and monotone when I spoke with them. I didn’t want to seem childlike, I wanted to seem like a “respectable” adult who could win the argument of logic.
I was also afraid they would feel I was evil if I expressed anger, weak if I cried, pathetic if I was terrified. I also felt I simply wasn’t allowed to express in these ways. I didn’t even know why or what the consequence really would be, I just always had this sense that I was not allowed.
But I realized that “saying words” was not the same as emotional expression. Don’t get me wrong, just saying the words, even in the controlled, adult-like way that I did was so confronting for my parents that I’d had turbulent and intermittent relationships with them for many years and been attacked and blamed a great deal. But I didn’t have any idea what would happen if I emotionally expressed myself. However, I started feeling curious about why I was so afraid, and why I had never felt allowed. And I sensed this block to emotional expression was preventing me from accessing important deeper emotions, and from understanding the full truth about my childhood.
I thought, what if I did honestly emotionally express myself with my parents, which I’ve never ever done? What would have happened if I did as a kid? Why have I always felt this is simply not allowed?
So, a couple years ago I did some experiments with my parents, and also the Law of Attraction brought me some truth that really helped me as well. These next few blogs will be about what those experiments were and what I learned about emotional expression.
(For clarity, my parents have been divorced since I was 17 and have no relationship with each other, so my processes with each of them have been separate from each other.)
I do want to add a disclaimer and say that these blogs aren’t meant to be taken as instruction on what you should do with your parents. I’m not writing these blogs to tell anyone that they should confront their parents the way I did. I am not sure that I was loving all the time, or if it was the best/only way to arrive at the understandings that I did (maybe it was and I’m just worried, or maybe it wasn’t, I’m still working that out). The reason I’ll share the specific stories is to explain the bigger picture realizations that arose about emotional expression, that I hope might help others. But all the choices I made were my own ideas to experiment with, and shouldn’t be taken as a reflection of what Jesus and Mary recommend. I just do know that I’ve had a bit of growth and understanding from it about certain concepts that I want to share.
I do also have to give Jesus and Mary all the credit for all the growth I’ve had though, because I wouldn’t have even known I had an issue with emotional expression without Jesus and Mary and the Divine Truth teachings. Without them I would be completely lost and wouldn’t be aware that I had issues with facade or with self-doubt. I’d also be in way more delusion about my childhood than I am if it weren’t for them.
On that note, in case you’re new to this blog or haven’t watched much Divine Truth material about emotional expression, I would at this point like to recommend some Divine Truth videos that might help with understanding some of these concepts and phrases. They’re much better at explaining the concepts than I am and so I really recommend watching them:
Divine Truth videos about emotion
Divine Truth videos about facade
What has helped me, and what I’d recommend, is to reflect on what emotions you openly displayed in front of your parents as a child, if any. Not just the words you said (though that’s a part of it), but the full, unedited, unrestrained expression of emotion.
Did you express anger around them?
Cry in front of them?
Were you ever very emotionally messy?
Were you allowed the expression of some emotions but not others?
Was it different with one parent than the other, or with your other caregivers?
Did you ever notice a difference in your freedom to emotionally express compared with your friends’ families or portrayed on TV?
These are some of the questions that helped me realize something happened where I never felt allowed to emotionally express, and that there might be something important for me to explore.
Thanks and until the next post,
Photo 1 – Annie Spratt via Unsplash
Photo 2 – Xinyi Song via Unsplash
Photo 3 – Nsey Benajah via Unsplash