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




18 thoughts on “Racket feelings, rubberbanding and tummy rumbling

  1. so so true. its not just about quitting the substance, it’s about finding out why we are abusing in the first place. you have to peel back the layers and find your little SELF core. have a peep, and there you are….a scared little you that needs lots of SELF Compassion.
    hugs from NZ
    love from Lisa

    1. Absolutely Lisa which is the hardest part for me. Confronting the difficult feelings can be overwhelming. No wonder alcohol addiction is a chronic relapsing disease with an 80% relapse rate ….. You’ve the onslaught of the inside feelings and the outside pressure and influence. It’s a Herculian task!

  2. Hey there I’ve been enjoying your posts very much lately. I’m not delving too deep as they’re making me want to hide, so I know I’m not ready. (thats good) So I thank you for sharing them very much. I know I’ll be back here reading more when I’m ready.

    Id read somewhere, or maybe at my group I got told that the 12 week thing with alcohol where most folks don’t get past that stage. Is that true in your experience.

    It was something about initial recovery needing a solid 12 weeks to really effect change.

    80% relapse rate is very scary.

    Hugs and cake x

    1. Hey Daisy – Too soon for you, I understand 🙂 12 weeks is a critical point as that’s roughly how long it takes to break a habit and form a new one. Relapse rate with current treatment options is indeed scary and not exactly a roaring success either! xx

    2. Daisy just to add to what others have said here… overall relapse rates are scary but it helped me to remember that I am a sample of only one 😉

      and you are putting enormous efforts into your recovery which gives you the best possible chance of not only ‘making it’ but thriving. so don’t let statistics spook you, ok?! xx

      1. Absolutely Prim – we’re doing it differently so those statistics may not be relevant for us anymore. Daisy you are doing great – don’t let wolfie use this statistic to persuade you it’s not worth the effort – it so is 🙂 xx

  3. Daisy – I managed a fairly long period without alcohol last year and around every 3 months would properly freak out with massive cravings…. Im back at day 5 so have no words of wisdom. I am just listening and reading all I can at the moment. Thanks Lucy 2610. Always interesting to read x

    1. Thanks for chiming in Claire and I agree 3 month intervals were also flash points for me. You’re welcome and keep on keeping on, 5 days is a great start 🙂 xx

    1. Hey TMSN Wouldn’t that be great if we could apply what we know and fix ourselves!? I absolutely do believe you have a Master’s 🙂

  4. Your course studies sound very intense; is it ok to ask you: has this been “triggery” for you? I was raised to avoid confrontation and conflict, which didn’t help me develop self-esteem or coping skills. As a child I numbed my feelings with food, and as I got older, alcohol, lots of it. I am going to go back to your earlier posts regarding CBT; after learning about it in your Udemy course (plug!), I am intrigued and ready to learn more about it. 80 % relapse rate is terrifying. Thank you for the interesting posts 🙂 I honestly don’t know when you find time to sleep! xx

    1. It is intense Lori and in the past it would have been VERY triggery. The course tutors are superb and the group are supportive and compassionate as we explore these issues. Tears were shed by me today in class, and others too, and there was nothing but kindness shown 🙂 I hear you on the confrontation and conflict avoidance and CBT is a great tool for working on issues like self-esteem. You’re welcome and I sleep plenty don’t you worry 😉 xx

  5. Interesting post. Again, thank you!
    I was taught nothing about feelings or how to express them.
    The only thing I was taught was guilt and shame…the “You should, you shouldn’t”.
    I only now am learning to figure out my true feelings and how to express them.
    It’s never too late, though, and I am happy to discover this sometime in my life! LOL

    1. You’re welcome too untipsy! Yep guilt and shame featured heavily in my upbringing and as you say it’s never too late to learn to do things differently 🙂

  6. These three terms all make sense to me. I have never had any formal counselling, but I remember when I stopped drinking or started trying to stop I had a reiki session. During it I did a visualisation that ultimately involved you meeting a child. It of course turned out to be yourself and you had to embrace the child and lead it away back the way you had come. I was horrified to discover there were tears rolling down my face.
    So yes I think there are a lot of things that must stem back from childhood, but it must be very painful to explore.

    1. Hey Kim Sounds like a powerful Reiki session experience you had. I hope you don’t mind me asking – why were you horrified about your tears? (Respond on email if you would like). It is painful to explore these feelings but if they are met with kindness and support it gets easier and as you develop compassion for yourself you find yourself being more compassionate to others so the pain is worthwhile and of value 🙂 xx

  7. another powerful post that I am tiptoeing through like a minefield (or my son’s bedroom – that Lego between the toes can be EXCRUCIATING!) oh look, me using humour to deflect attention from a feeling….there I go again…

    thank you for these posts. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are reaching people who don’t even feel able to comment on them as the posts are so near the knuckle.

    and take very good care of yourself my dear. I’m glad that your class is a supportive environment but we both know that this feeling of exposure and vulnerability can linger for a while. have a hug from me! hell, have several 🙂 xxx

    1. I do it too Prim – use humour 😉 Don’t mean to be near the knuckle but equally I had to recognise that all this stuff was bound up in my drinking behaviour. I am taking good care of myself and have just inhaled 2 x Rolo cookies and 1 x Smartie cookie following job interview. Eating my anxiety much?! xx

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