Carol, my new therapist, gives me homework. I don't really like that. I feel antsy when I talk to her but it is a good kind of antsy. Remember as a kid waking up with your legs aching and your mom gently rubbing them and telling you that it is just growing pains and you will feel better when your body has grown. Well, that is exactly how Carol makes me feel, emotionally. I can feel the stretch and growth but it is uncomfortable as well. Last week she gave me a list of basic assertive rights and a list of cognitive distortions and told me to go home and mark the ones I struggle with. There are 11 basic assertive rights and of those 11, I marked 7. Here's the list (and the ones I marked):
1. right to act in ways that promote your dignity and self-respect as long as others rights are not violated in the proces
2. The right to be treated with respect.
3. The right to say no and not feel guilty.
4. The right to experience and express your feelings.
5. The right to take time to slow down and think.
6. The right to change your mind.
7. The right to ask for what you want.
8. The right to do less than you are humanly cabable of doing.
9. The right to ask for information.
10. The right to make mistakes.
11. The right to feel good about yourself.
I was amazed looking through the list how much of that rings true to me. I don't let myself experience or express my feelings so it is often hard to identify them. Today she gave me a list of feelings. There are over 100 things on this list and it is so much more than happy, sad, angry. Actually she said I cannot use frustrated as a feeling because it is overused and several of the other feelings on the page cause frustration, and I cannot use angry as a feeling because angry is a symptom not a feeling. For instance, I feel angry because I feel betrayed, because I feel attacked, because I feel pressured, because I feel invalidated etc. Anger is a byproduct of another emotion. I am so not going to lie, the list is overwhelming to me! I didn't know there even were this many feelings and yet as I read the list, much of it rings true and I either feel now or have felt. Words like appreciated, afraid, blamed, cautious, concerned, confident, confused, dependent, devalued, disregarded, empty, encouraged, excited, exposed, important, inadequate, invaded, isolated, justified, minimized, nurtured, overwhelmed, protective, proud, secure, shocked, sure, trapped, used, violated, wanted, weak and worried are all on the list. I like that the list of feelings is inclusive of good and bad feelings. I relate with both the good and the bad feelings on a very personal level.
Speaking of bad emotions, today has been a day of feeling very conflicted about food. My hubby took me on a breakfast date and I thouroughly enjoyed it. I ate more than I have in a while and I actually enjoyed the food. That is where I feel conflicted. I feel guilty that I enjoyed eating. While it sounds absurd, that is how I feel. This is going to be a long road.