Hard to Open Up My Feelings

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2004


I found this website very fascinating! I found it when I was just exploring on the Internet looking for tips on helping me face the fear of feel the real feelings.  I would like to hear your advice and or your feedback.

I am a recovery addict, so is my fiancée. Let me brief you a little bit about myself. I am deaf. When I was in a high school, I was this kind of girl that had a charismatic personality, was very smart, used to speak out whenever I feel angry or whatsoever, and I had high self-esteem. It is all gone when I was in an abusive relationship and when I started using drugs on and off for a year. 

I feel like my fiancée and I are falling apart! He is a very happy recovery addict, he goes to college, he works as a legal assistance for a lawyer, and a father of our 3 yrs old son. He graduated from a drug program. He is now almost 2 years clean. He is a very smart bright man!

I stopped using drugs last year on July 2003. I relapsed and drank a little bit of alcohol in Nov 2003. I am now 4 months clean. I am now an outpatient of a drug program and I attend NA meetings.

What I am trying to say is I feel numb all the times. I feel like I can’t share my feelings, thoughts, emotions, etc with my fiancée. We used to laugh together, play around, spend time alone, and especially we talked a lot. It is gone. I am really trying to express my feelings to him, but I feel I can’t because he would tell me he uses his boundaries in basic ways and that he is not my therapy, my sponsor, my psychologist, etc.

I get confused. I really want to open up my feelings to him, but most of the time I am afraid that if I admit, I’m a loser or something, because he’ll tell me to remember that we all are not perfect. I just really want him just to listen and feedback and sympathized with me. He would always tell me to talk to my psychologist or my sponsor. I just really would love for us to talk and have an effective communication, from what I have learned from the drug program! I am really hurting inside and my friend told me that she thinks I have lots of fears and that I do not trust myself to allow myself feel the feelings.... I have always shuttled them out, the feelings.

PLEASE help me. Just give me the advices, feedbacks, etc. All you want. I just really need something to push my buttons so I could get out of the shell. I am seeking a drug counselor, a personal psychologist, and I have a sponsor to work my 12 steps. I feel it is not helping me completely.

I love all of your website. I would like to hear your personal advices and everything else.
Thank you for your time reading this and I am really hoping to hear from you ASAP.
-Confused

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Dear Confused,

Communication is essential with your fiancée, if you are to have a good marriage.  This does not mean that you need to dump all your drug-related stuff on him.  I can see that this subject is a taboo subject for a very good reason.  He cannot allow himself to be pulled down into your problems in that area, because he is still fighting his demons in that area, too.  Adding yours to the mix could very well cause him to flounder and loose all that he has accomplished since his sobriety. One more straw can break the camel’s back, so to speak!

The problem may exist that he cannot differentiate between your problems with drugs and every day problems.  You both need to work out everyday problems, especially with the raising of your child and relational problems that always arise when two people live together.  I highly suggest the following articles for you to incorporate into your lives:  (Just click on the titles)

Taking Control of Your Family

A Parent's Guide for Raising Children

Married Couple's Date Night

Active Listening

Communicating with "I" Messages

The Forgiving Marriage: Overcoming Anger & Resentment and Rediscovering Each Other

Forgiving and Forgetting is a Blessing

Even after working on problems common to parenting, couples relationships, and daily problems, you still have your continuing fight with drugs to stay clean and the huge problems you have to face from being abused. 

I am guessing that you used drugs to cover up these problems instead of facing them and the hurt they have caused.  I highly suggest that you find better coping skills to practice in your daily life and to employ to deal with future problems, whatever they may be.  See the following article:

Coping Skills

You closed off your feelings to stop the hurt from the abuse, and now you don’t know how to turn them back on again.  This problem is very common in all types of abuse.  You need a counselor that specializes in relational abuse.  This counselor will be able to give you exercises to help you open yourself up again.  I have to warn you that it was easier to shut that door on your emotions, than it will be for you to open them up again, but it can be done and is happening for many people who take their therapy, seriously.

The best thing that I can tell you to do, besides getting the right kind of counselor, is to include God in your recovery, just as you did in your 12-Step Recovery from drugs.  You should include Him in your life, to such an extent that He becomes your closest friend and confidant.  It is God that you will have to go, to work out your mangled feelings, not your fiancée.

At first you may feel that your prayers is like talking to the walls, but this is not so.  Speak from your heart.  Talk to Him throughout your day, in your thoughts.  When He sees that you are not just mumbling some words to fulfill a duty, and that you really want his input, He begins to guide your thoughts and prayers, to help you to know what you need to know to know Him and to help yourself.  You don’t even know that He is doing it, but He is.

Then, as you open yourself to Him-continuously and love Him, He becomes more open and apparent in your life.  You actually begin having a two-way exchange of thoughts as you would with a friend.  You think something to Him and the thoughts come into your mind, that you know are not your own, in a response to what you were thinking.

Many people have reported having a two-way exchange of thoughts with God.  For example:  one Christian fellow wrote that he plans each day with the Lord as he showers.  An acquaintance of mine said that she talks to the Lord, conversationally, as she goes about her house cleaning each day.  I have had the privilege of having Him help me raise my children, work out daily problems, relational problems with my spouse, problems with my health, cooking, looking for shapes in clouds, and especially in my counseling.  We even discussed you!  You can have this relationship too.  Just keep talking to Him and He will come to you too.  He is real, and He does love you.

You may wonder if you are worthy of His attention.  You are his child.  He already loves you and wants to help, just as you want to help your son.  Talk to Him like He is your father, because He is your father.  Invite Him into your life and into your problems.  Open up your heart to Him, and in doing so, He can help you open up the feelings you have shut up because of your abusive relationship.

No, you are not the person you once were, but you can overcome the abuse and become a stronger person through having a strong reliable relationship with the Lord.  He is the best person to go to with your problems, because He will not turn on you, reveal your innermost thoughts to others, or make fun of you.  He is there for you.  He is all-knowing and knows what is best for you.  Use Him as your sounding board, instead of burdening your fiancée with things he cannot handle.

Remember that the Lord will help you as you help yourself.  He expects you to work as if it is all up to you to make things work, then pray as if it is all up to Him.  If you do this, you will become the strong capable person that both you and God want you to be.  So, do it! 

Best wishes for a strong recovery,

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Annette Nay Homepage


     
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