Why am I reacting this way?

This has been a very stressful period for me and because of the experiences I've had during this period, I've come to reflect upon my reactions more closely. I've had more opportunities to practice Focusing during this time and I've made some interesting discoveries.

I've had to work with various people in my work and personal life recently and for some inexplicable reason, I find myself falling into great, itchy bouts of rage. I had to struggle to keep it down, literally swallow it. I developed a constantly sore gut and inflamed throat for my pains.

I was also puzzled in a frustrated way. These people were doing their best to help me or to work with me. So why the hell was I in a rage at them? I felt that I had no right to.

It was most distressing, like a battle between two sides within me. I have a right to be furious. No I did not! That'll be ungrateful!

On a sleepy bus ride home one afternoon after an exhausting day struggling with myself, I lapsed into Focusing,

I turned my awareness onto the physical sense of my anger. It had a boiling, roiling sensation to it. However, there was also a curious itch that came with it, right there beneath my breastbone, It was also in my sternal notch (the flat of skin where your collarbones meet).

I allowed my awareness to rest in this feeling, assuaging the other part of me that I cannot possibly explode at the people I was angry at because they weren't there. This gave me some time to work out the space that this boiling-roiling-itchiness needed.

Slowly, then quickly, a serious of experiences with these people played back in my mind. We call these feeling stories in Focusing because they contain both feelings and meaning.

There was something similar in these experiences that sent the boiling-roiling-itchiness into a buzz. What was it? What stood out?

Then like a visual illusion resolving itself into a shape, I had it. All these people were SAYING that they would help me or work with me, with great conviction. But their ACTIONS were saying the opposite. One person told me that they would get onto helping me with my work, and was prioritizing me. The next moment they had gone for a meeting and had forgotten their promise. And the pattern replayed itself.

This realization pulled more stories together, as we tend to pull tales around a theme. Memories of other times in my life when other people had said they took my concerns seriously and their actions spoke otherwise.

A deeper theme emerged - It was as if by their actions, they were saying that they did not care or bother with my concerns. They did not really matter to these people.

That was sad, and hurtful. The itchiness settled into a tired sigh, only slightly unhappy. No wonder I was in a rage. These people were not taking my feelings seriously.

I really needed someone who would get it.

When I articulated this need, the feeling in my body released. There was a space, and a certain settledness. This is enough for now.

Have you ever had a recurrent strong feeling for no apparent logical reason? Had you somehow felt that it was right to have this feeling, despite being logically against it?

Maybe try exploring it in a Focusing way to learn what brings this feeling back over and over again.

You might be surprised by what you'll learn and what steps you might discover to take.


Our ever important emotional needs

The reasonable-ness behind the urge to retaliate