My last post about feeling dead inside got me a letter from blog friend Sarah. In her letter she says its ok to feel unhappy too (which then made me cry some more). But it also made me think. For me personally, I have always found it rather hard to acknowledge and accept negative feelings--like anger and sadness--as ok.
Way back when my children were growing up, when my elder son started having physical problems and doctor's visits were the norm for so many holidays for us, I learned to damp down sad thoughts, worries, etc because I felt I had to be strong for him. I didn't want my children to see me have a meltdown--the one on whom they relied to keep their world stable. For me helping my son to become an independent, well-rounded personality, in spite of his disability, was very important and somehow being swamped with sadness always made it difficult for me to treat him like any other child. Besides, I feel children are uncanny in being able to pick up feelings from their parents. So I learned to keep out the emotions and only stay in the reality of the moment. As a good friend used to say, "You swallow everything, go to the toilet and pull the flush"[:)]
Along with my son's problems, we had to deal with the illness and subsequent passing of first a younger sister-in-law, then my father-in-law and then my mother-in-law, all due to different forms of malignancies. In all this I felt I had to be the strong one (and I guess to some extent I am accepted as the strong one in our large extended family), which required rigid control of my emotions. Now, after having been the strong one in ever so long, I find it difficult to lean on anyone, to allow myself to be vulnerable to the people around me. I can only let it out in the written word. So all my blog friends, please bear with me when I angst, because you are the friends with whom I feel I don't have to be the strong one.