I once had a couple’s therapy session that left me sweating through every layer of clothing that I had on. It dealt with the two things that I struggle with the most: emotions and the expressing of them.
See, there’s a reason why that guy I married called me “Foxy Spocksy.” We both believe that I’m part Vulcan.
Vulcans, for my non-Star Trek geek readers, are (from Wikipedia) “an extraterrestrial humanoid species in the Star Trek universe who evolved on the planet Vulcan, and are noted for their attempt to live by reason and logic with no interference from emotion.”
Yup, that’s me — I see emotions as something to be squelched, something to be avoided, nothing but trouble. And logic, ah, logic is my happy place. It’s safe and it’s easy to understand.
I have been known to end friendships because of too many emotional outbursts. And I avoid family members who don’t display enough logical thinking. Though there’s something positive to be said about that: I credit that behavior with the fact that I have ended up surrounding myself with some of the greatest, well-adjusted people on Earth.
In fact, rejecting most of my emotions as useless crazy-making bullshit has generally helped me out in life with almost every relationship, but the one I had with my husband…
Turns out, perhaps unless you’re married to another Vulcan, this whole rejection-of-emotions thing can really make your partner crazy, and often hurt their feelings. It also means that I don’t generally understand my own husband’s emotions.
When you run from your emotions all the time, it lessens your frame of reference for such things as feelings — making empathy hard to come by. It also means that the person who is married to a part-Vulcan often finds themselves needing to state such obvious things as, “when I’m crying, you need to hug me.”
Interestingly enough, I think my Vulcan side is one of the reasons I had ended up with a partner who’s really in tune with his emotions… I must have seen something in that that intrigued me, or at least (I hope) I must have seen the potential for him to teach me what I was missing. Or MAYBE I thought (unconsciously) “Oh, he’ll do all the emotion-ing for the both of us. So I’m set.”
I wonder if this is common with us part-Vulcans — the marrying of more emotional beings. Because, for the most part, he DID do all the emotion-ing. We often tag teamed things like upset friends. Aaron leveled with them on the feelings part, and I came in as the distraction — made them laugh, or think of anything else but their sads. And it worked… but not when it’s JUST the two of us involved.
Learning how to get “in touch with my emotions” has now become one of the things I’m trying to work on in my life. Wish me luck? Because, if that therapy session was any indication, this shit ain’t gonna be easy for me.
Though I did learn something to help me in my efforts. Our therapist told me, after I confessed that feelings give me the wiggins, “feelings can’t hurt you… it’s what you DO with them that can.”
In related news: Foxy Spocksy is totally my roller derby name. Even though I’m never playing Roller Derby — I have a low pain threshold, it just wouldn’t be logical.
So, who has tips on how to not run away from my scary scary feelings?