The Function of Feelings

Girl In previous posts I have discussed that feelings have the function of signaling to us important information about our experience and our environment. In order to respond appropriately to your feelings you have to

  1. recognise what the feeling is telling you. This is obviously an important step because often our feelings about experiences today are coloured and influenced by experiences from the past. It is vital to separate these two out from each other.
  2. respond  properly to the message your feeling is giving you. Too often emotions are felt and expressed but not responded to. There is little point in regretting something you have done unless that feeling of regrets helps you change your future behaviour. There is little point in feeling frustrated unless you make and effort to attain your desired outcome.

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32 thoughts on “The Function of Feelings

  1. sophie says:

    feelings – the incredible hurt and acceptance of being abused, seems to only come in certain places. At other times i totally feel like it was all a nightmare and did not really happen. Then anxiety eats away and i want to feel the compassion i can feel at times, but it doesnt happen. I feel totally disconnected – how can we stay in the place of compassion and acceptance – even though it involves a lot of hurt it feels better than no feelings.

  2. S says:

    Hi Yvie, Even though you are feeling fragmented you seem to be understanding why, and allowing the various parts to feel their grief in their own way. the death of someone close takes a lot of working through, and when there are so many parts inside… it takes even longer!
    I am having problems at the moment with a part who previously denied any problems and just acted as if it was all a joke, partied, pretended to be mysterious, etc, used her difference as alluring. Well now that part doesn’t want that job any more. everything she used to do to keep afloat has collapsed around her. She sees how it only servrd to keep the grieving at bay. her whole reason for existing has no purpose any more, and she wants to end her life. She feels responsible for how we are.Now she can’t laugh it off and fill life with distractions, she is very afraid of the despair that has flooded into the resulting emptiness. She is existing in a very fragile place at the moment while she tries to find a new way of living in the world. We want her to stay with us. We are finding it hard to look after her. She is the one who lost her mother. she is the one who was set adrift without any stars to guide her.

  3. S says:

    Hi Yvie, Even though you are feeling fragmented you seem to be understanding why, and allowing the various parts to feel their grief in their own way. the death of someone close takes a lot of working through, and when there are so many parts inside… it takes even longer!
    I am having problems at the moment with a part who previously denied any problems and just acted as if it was all a joke, partied, pretended to be mysterious, etc, used her difference as alluring. Well now that part doesn’t want that job any more. everything she used to do to keep afloat has collapsed around her. She sees how it only servrd to keep the grieving at bay. her whole reason for existing has no purpose any more, and she wants to end her life. She feels responsible for how we are.Now she can’t laugh it off and fill life with distractions, she is very afraid of the despair that has flooded into the resulting emptiness. She is existing in a very fragile place at the moment while she tries to find a new way of living in the world. We want her to stay with us. We are finding it hard to look after her. She is the one who lost her mother. she is the one who was set adrift without any stars to guide her.

  4. Yviesback says:

    Well its been 2 weeks now since Ma passed away and I still feel really sad. I still can’t believe that she is gone and feel quite redundant now she is not there to visit and I no longer have to text and email everyone to let them know how she is. I am supposed to be studying for an exam and still have 2 essays to write. I continually each day try and study but have a huge blockage. Or may that part of me has disappeared cause too many emotions around. I have to somehow teach her that emotions are ok and that we still need to carry on and that she needs to be ok around emotions because they are never gonna go away. Glad I still have my fun person part who doesn’t mind emotions but is great at covering them up. I’ve just realised I’m going between the two of us and am getting headaches again which always is an indication for me that I’m more fragmented than what I have been becoming as more normal. Just shows me that its gonna take a while to get things to a stage where fragmentation doesn’t happen as much. I am avoiding the word integration as I am no longer sure that happens. But I do hope to get to a point in my life that I no matter what comes up I can stay consistent and not become fragmented letting others cover things up etc or withdrawing so it leaves our organisation etc into chaos. No wonder I can’t string two words together and write well at the mo. Am thinking is cause with this particular part we don’t have alot of concentration and focus. We are still able to function well and I have discovered its no good trying to get rid of emotions by using the fun part to try and make that part come back. Balance. Acknowledgement. Balance. And lots of self care. Getting there.

  5. Yviesback says:

    Well its been 2 weeks now since Ma passed away and I still feel really sad. I still can’t believe that she is gone and feel quite redundant now she is not there to visit and I no longer have to text and email everyone to let them know how she is. I am supposed to be studying for an exam and still have 2 essays to write. I continually each day try and study but have a huge blockage. Or may that part of me has disappeared cause too many emotions around. I have to somehow teach her that emotions are ok and that we still need to carry on and that she needs to be ok around emotions because they are never gonna go away. Glad I still have my fun person part who doesn’t mind emotions but is great at covering them up. I’ve just realised I’m going between the two of us and am getting headaches again which always is an indication for me that I’m more fragmented than what I have been becoming as more normal. Just shows me that its gonna take a while to get things to a stage where fragmentation doesn’t happen as much. I am avoiding the word integration as I am no longer sure that happens. But I do hope to get to a point in my life that I no matter what comes up I can stay consistent and not become fragmented letting others cover things up etc or withdrawing so it leaves our organisation etc into chaos. No wonder I can’t string two words together and write well at the mo. Am thinking is cause with this particular part we don’t have alot of concentration and focus. We are still able to function well and I have discovered its no good trying to get rid of emotions by using the fun part to try and make that part come back. Balance. Acknowledgement. Balance. And lots of self care. Getting there.

  6. Yviesback says:

    Hi s, as I sit here with tears rolling down my face just wishing that she was still here. She’s not my real mother but was the kind of mother I always wished for and she softened my heart and persisted with reaching her love out to me until I let her in. My mother lives overseas. I guess she loved me in a way she could too so I do understand what you mean. But parts of me also hold her I think. Good way of putting it. thanks. (funny wonder how my name got changed from uznco to yviesback Gudrun? – guess is doesn’t matter though.)

  7. Yviesback says:

    Hi s, as I sit here with tears rolling down my face just wishing that she was still here. She’s not my real mother but was the kind of mother I always wished for and she softened my heart and persisted with reaching her love out to me until I let her in. My mother lives overseas. I guess she loved me in a way she could too so I do understand what you mean. But parts of me also hold her I think. Good way of putting it. thanks. (funny wonder how my name got changed from uznco to yviesback Gudrun? – guess is doesn’t matter though.)

  8. s says:

    Thankyou for sharing your thoughts. I am now feeling the same way about my mother, even though she died 30 yrs ago. I have just trusted myself to ‘feel’ or grieve for her. I wish I had more memories of her, I wish I could remember her touch. I wish she had been there for her when she died… but she has died and I don’t even remember her funeral. I know that she must have loved me, in a way that she could. All parts of me must hold her, somewhere, someplace inside me, if only I can find those places. It’s just that my memory has been taken away, but deep inside me I hold her.

  9. s says:

    Thankyou for sharing your thoughts. I am now feeling the same way about my mother, even though she died 30 yrs ago. I have just trusted myself to ‘feel’ or grieve for her. I wish I had more memories of her, I wish I could remember her touch. I wish she had been there for her when she died… but she has died and I don’t even remember her funeral. I know that she must have loved me, in a way that she could. All parts of me must hold her, somewhere, someplace inside me, if only I can find those places. It’s just that my memory has been taken away, but deep inside me I hold her.

  10. Yviesback says:

    Parts of me feel lost
    Parts of me feel abandoned and alone
    Parts of me are angry because she ain’t our mum
    Parts of me are sad…soo sad
    Parts of me just wanna howl
    parts of me don’t
    Parts of me think – just get over yourself
    I feel that I am allowed to have these feelings.
    Its normal to have these feelings.
    I know she is better off where she has gone and is in no more pain and has no more sickness.
    I know that these feelings are normal.
    A feeling is a feeling.
    So I am feeling all of this and its overwhelming.
    I just want her back and thats selfish really cause she’s better off now. I’m also glad cause she was in pain. After ten weeks of one thing after another and watching her fade away she is now resting in peace. Thats a good thing. But i will miss her so much.
    But I ache.
    I will carry on though cause I have to.
    I promised her that i would finish my studies. (Well at the moment my diploma – don’t think at this stage I want to carry on).
    But then what.
    I promised I would forgive and make amends like she did.
    And we do have a mother!!!
    I wish there was a phone line to heaven so I could call her!!

  11. Yviesback says:

    Parts of me feel lost
    Parts of me feel abandoned and alone
    Parts of me are angry because she ain’t our mum
    Parts of me are sad…soo sad
    Parts of me just wanna howl
    parts of me don’t
    Parts of me think – just get over yourself
    I feel that I am allowed to have these feelings.
    Its normal to have these feelings.
    I know she is better off where she has gone and is in no more pain and has no more sickness.
    I know that these feelings are normal.
    A feeling is a feeling.
    So I am feeling all of this and its overwhelming.
    I just want her back and thats selfish really cause she’s better off now. I’m also glad cause she was in pain. After ten weeks of one thing after another and watching her fade away she is now resting in peace. Thats a good thing. But i will miss her so much.
    But I ache.
    I will carry on though cause I have to.
    I promised her that i would finish my studies. (Well at the moment my diploma – don’t think at this stage I want to carry on).
    But then what.
    I promised I would forgive and make amends like she did.
    And we do have a mother!!!
    I wish there was a phone line to heaven so I could call her!!

  12. Jessica says:

    Sorry I still can’t talk about ‘God’ Vicki, But I can do spirituality so that it has the same feeling. I have just been out all day walking over the hills, with views of the Kaipra Harbour and the trees and valleys. I felt exquisitly at one with the wind and the sky.

  13. uznco says:

    Oh Jessica, don’t be embarrassed about that, I think we all have felt that way one time or another. But you know what from what we have talked about and what you have said I reckon you have come to far to give up now. It does get better I promise… just keep pushing forward and commit yourself to healing because as we all heal we become lights in the world. And if we all stand together there will be no shutting us down anymore. Chin up hun!!! We are all here for ya!!!

  14. Jessica says:

    I seem to be all over the place at the moment don’t I? If I tracked back over my comments, all my parts are having all sorts of thoughts, ranging all over the place. Some reactive some reflective, some musing, some compassionate, some thoroughly considered and some panicky. It’s no wonder I have trouble keeping track of my feelings. Is this perhaps what intergration means? Being able to contain, and evaluate these multiple feelings and act on the appropriate ones for that particular situation? Well now, That will require a lot of slowing down, talking through the problem with different parts of me, coming to a conclusion and then…. well by then, it will have taken such a long time that I will have forgotten what all the fuss was about in the first place!!

  15. vicki says:

    “The best remedy for those who are afraid lonely or unhappy is to go outside somewhere where they can be quiet alone with the heavens nature and God Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature”

  16. vicki says:

    “The best remedy for those who are afraid lonely or unhappy is to go outside somewhere where they can be quiet alone with the heavens nature and God Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature”

  17. Jessica says:

    Then you do wake up in the morning and the sun is shining and you have breakfast in the garden and you have the strength once again as if it’s absorbed from the earth. (Yes that ? mark was me Jessica. Too embarassed to say who I was when I was feeling like that.)

  18. Jessica says:

    Then you do wake up in the morning and the sun is shining and you have breakfast in the garden and you have the strength once again as if it’s absorbed from the earth. (Yes that ? mark was me Jessica. Too embarassed to say who I was when I was feeling like that.)

  19. Jessica says:

    Just read my stars this morning. Said something like how our deep set fears are more powerful than our hopes because we believe them as true but with hope we often don’t even think of the possibility of it being true. I have to realize that my secret fears and unconscious beliefs are in fact sabotaging me. Well I guess that’s a beginning! But here’s a question. Do we secretly hold on to our fears as if they are some sort of strength? Is it because these feelings are so overpowering that we mistake them for strength and they become our substance, the onlty thing that defines us? Are our fears really our surpressed anger? Well that was more than one question. But do you get the drift?

  20. uznco says:

    Hello Jessica
    It sounds like you have done heaps of work and that you are all working together really well. Actually, its not because I don’t want to integrate, I do more than anything. I want to be whole and free and be who I was supposed to be. It’s just that I have come to a place that it doesn’t matter if I do or don’t. I feel that what I have been through is not going to be wasted as I have a job that has been designed for me to do. All that rottten stuff that happen to me will be used for good. I have/or just about have removed the sword that I have been walking around with all my life. And when I have it completely out I will hold it up and help others get free too. Cause the more that heal the more we can help prevent and stand against Child abuse of any kind.

  21. Jessica says:

    I like it when you say you do not want to integrate. It is the last thing I would want to do when I have spent the last few years getting to know,accept and love them. I feel like you too, things just come out of my mouth and I think,’Oh no!That was entirely out of context,’ and I look around to see if anyone has noticed, Like when the ‘baby’ yelled out Mummuy!! in the supermarket, when she thought she was lost. I still feel the need of secrecy and I am afraid to tell anyone about my DID. Itall seems too weird and I could’nt face rejection or being labled crazy. I would rather keep silent, yet isn’t this what we have done for most of our lives. Fear and rejection still keep me opperating underground.
    I’m too afraid to be angry in case the other person is angry with me or rejects me and I’m never sure of how to express my anger. My angry part is always ‘over the top’ and has a vocabulary that you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of!! She was the hardest to get to love as she has always kept herself appart. She began by using her anger to protect the others and in a lot of instances it was necessary and successful. Yet there was one time of great danger when she let the others down by not intervening and she never got over it because the others(some of them) got hurt really badly. She never forgave herself. I have tried to work on this in therapy but I really haven’t resolved this issue. I have helped my angry part by taking over some of the protection of the younger ones. I think that has lifted a great burden off her shoulders and has let her relax more. Each part has different feelings and we all have to try and understand each other. I am still afraid of bringing us all together ‘inside’ and talking together because of inevitable confusion, but I am more afraid of integrating to become ONE,( I don’t like this concept) because I don’t want any more loss or abandonment in my Life. I have promised never to leave them to cope on their own individually. Our job is to try and be aware enough to be there to help each other and trust eachother. But I think that is a hard promise to keep. Yes iy does require letting our feelings be known, let out and understood. Scary!!

  22. uznco says:

    Ok I am really confused. I have rage/hatred, I know why and I need to let it go. I need to let it go so that I am able to forgive…ok… I know some of you don’t like the work forgive but hey its a word that means something to me because I have been forgiven. I have read that feelings are feelings and we have them and can’t just make them go away. I need to forgive so that I can be free from what happened to me because the abuse does not define who I am. I want to be rid of it so much. I don’t even care if I never integrate because I know that I am starting to like all of me, I am still a bit of a control freak but I think that I have lost the need to think I need intergration to be normal. But you know what I meet broken singletons everyday and they confide in me and most of them know that I am DID. Half the time at the moment I don’t even know who I am and things come out of me and I think oh no did I say that out loud. I have but hey it turns out ok because they want me to be honest with them and thats why they like to run things by me. Although I see that part of me as a different part its still me. Then there’s this fun part that just loves to giggle and play and dance and just loves life. Another part which I think is here at the moment alot is very angry which is obviously full of rage and anger. I am still scared of it but ya know I am co conscious and I can hear that part and I know when that part comes close or even comes out and i do stop it from coming out. Ha!!! just think I may have come up with something that makes it not so confusing. I have to trust that part and let them out. I’ve withdrawn at the moment and am staying home as much as I can. I need to do that. Let that part come out…you watch now that part will start playing games and send out other angry parts or parts that will confuse me but I am just going to deal with each one until he/she comes because I want to let that part be angry.

  23. uznco says:

    Well, there would obviously be more reasons for each feeling surely??? Anger can be for loads of reasons not only because someone hurt you or are going to. Could be about how people just turn a blind eye and pretend the world is just all sweetness and roses. ugh!!! Could be at myself for getting and being angry over things I can’t change. Or even because of having to do another damn process and wanting to do more… but everything is too just too hard.

  24. Jessica says:

    Silly me. That’s what I meam. I’m too reactive by half! Jump in before weighing everything up or waiting for the whole story.
    Yes, it does help to READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, and then I can calm down and think about what it means and how to relate it to my life at the moment.Thanks Melissa.

  25. melissa says:

    Hey Jessica, if you click on to Read more, it will take you to more of the article, it helped me to recognise my feelings a bit more. Cheers M

  26. jessica says:

    In this post it sounds as if you are just a little bit frustrated when people don’t get the point. Surely this is often a long a learning process, not just – ‘your way to recognizing and responding to what your feelings are telling you,’ in 2 easy steps.
    OK, My reaction is just my own frustration. I just don’t want anyone to be angry with me while I struggle through my mixed up feelings towards some level of awareness, because the effort is enormous!!!

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