Daily Archives: 04/12/2014

Racket feelings, rubberbanding and tummy rumbling

Been reading my Cambridge course text and these three expressions came up that resonated with me and that I wanted to share.

I’ve been reading about resolving difficult feelings and emotions something that I struggle with and one of the reasons that drinking was such a great coping stategy for me – um, until it wasn’t!  Numb was how I liked it.

This concluding paragraph in the book had alarm bells going off in my head like a firestation.

Depression can be understood as a sadness/anger problem.  Anxiety is about fear.  Relationship problems stem from anger.  Low self-esteem can be understood as feeling ashamed to share what you really feel.

I recently finished my CBT and will share with you in the next post the formulation that resulted from those 20 weeks of talking.  They all revolve around those emotions and feelings.

So what’s that got to do with the title of this post?

Racket feelings are a term used in Transactional Analysis (TA) which are defined as: ‘a familiar emotion, learned and encouraged in childhood, experienced in many stressful situations, and maladaptive as an adults means of problem solving’ (Stewart and Joines, 1987:209).  My learned and encouraged emotion as a child was to express nothing as if I felt nothing.  Children should be seen and not heard right? So feeling nothing worked for me and as an adult booze helped me maintain that nicely.

Rubberbanding is the process that happens when we are under stress that swiftly and unconsciously returns us back to the emotional state that we learned as a child when things got scary.  The assumption is, the emotional state that then emerges is the one that was functional, as a child, in getting parental support and care.

This was me .....
This was me …..

If I don’t feel the feeling it didn’t happen.  Except it did and I’ve got forty plus years of them to process.  And we wonder why this recovery journey is hard?

And as for tummy rumbling – some counsellors believe that, in the absence of overt hunger, this is a signal that there is a deeply held, buried feeling struggling to be expressed.  So all those times I reach for cake – I’m not necessarily hungry but I need to feel something I’m still trying to numb – but now with food 😉

Reference: McLeod and McLeod, 2007, Ch11 Resolving difficult feelings and emotions, Counselling Skills – A practical guide for counsellors and helping professionals. 2nd edition, Open University Press, p.184-201