Therapeutic Complaining…

It’s always been hard for me to have any sort of negative feelings.  I mean, they are there, but it’s been hard to own them. I have always lived in the Midwest, the land of making sure nobody rocks the boat or ever questions anything.  As a rather full-of-fire, go-against-the-norm kind of person, it’s hard to be located here.

Here’s the thing: I need to process my negative feelings.  I get frustrated, and I feel hurt, and I get scared.  I’d grown up thinking that there was something seriously wrong with me because of this – so many people seemed so calm, so with it, and just plain ok all the time – how did they do that?

If I brought up something that bugged me, I’d be chastised – other people have it so much worse, “what gives YOU the right to complain?”  So I’d be left alone in a shame bubble – I’m clearly the WORST person ever because I feel the need to bring up when something upset me.  

It was not the only cause, but I know it’s a source of my problems with anxiety and depression.  Rather than be able to vent out my negative thoughts, I’d feel compelled to hold them in, as I’ve seen so many do, and I spiraled into a ball of emotional anguish and self-loathing. “Why can’t you just be ok with what’s going on?  Why can’t you stop feeling angry/sad/anxious?  What the **** is wrong with you?”  I could be pretty horrible to myself at times…

As I’ve been in therapy, and exploring my psyche along with my theology, I’ve learned a lot about myself.  One big thing about me?  I need to process – good and bad – externally.  This means I have to talk things out to process them.  Talking about negative things is not the end of the world as I had been led to believe, just a means of working through them in my own head.  The big problem with this is that others are not always comfortable with my desire to discuss things, no matter how negative – they think it sounds selfish, or annoying – which might be true, especially if they don’t allow themselves this venting!

I have always wanted to please the entire world, and have everyone think well of me.  It’s perhaps the biggest sin that I’ve got – it puts a big wedge between what I should be doing in light of my call, for God’s plan for me, and even my self-care.  If I believe that EVERYONE is a beautiful creation of God, made in the image of God, I must trust that I am, too.  I am not a demure, quiet, always happy person.  I’m not a private person, either.  I need to talk about what bugs me.  This has to be ok for me to function properly…This does not mean I need to be a jerk – I must process feelings in a way that honors not only me but others.  There will be times when it’s appropriate to share publicly, and times that I can only talk privately with trusted family and friends.  I will try not to be a burden to you with this, but I do hope that others can understand that I do need to process…

What, may you ask, does this matter to you?  It matters that you know that no matter what, I’m an ear to listen when you have to talk about something that bugs you.  I’ll ask you to take care of feelings and such while you do it -but I’m a hard core believer in the fact that you need to talk through (or think through to those of you internal processors!) what bugs you.  Let yourself be mad, let yourself hurt, and know that it WILL get better.



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