October 2018
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realizing that I'm afraid of joy; I feel as if too much will devastate me


I've been listening to this podcast about an orgasm-based community and it's set me to thinking about how I experience pleasure. I've realized that when it comes to intense pleasure or joy of any kind, I cannot relax, cannot let the full measure of the experience in. I mentioned this last year after I went to the Big Trees Forest Preserve and felt the heartbeat of the forest -- after the first rush of joy, I shut it off. And I do that every time I REALLY want to connect and have the chance to. Even if it's just connecting with my own spirit through orgasm; I can't seem to relax into it -- it's like I feel a short burst of it and then make it stop before it can radiate through my body or my being. I've experienced a relaxed orgasm once or twice and it's the difference between night and day, but relaxing into it seems terrifying; I've not been able to do it consciously yet. It's frustrating. And it's been bothering me lately that when I'm in Ben's presence, I know the connection is there and every bit as intense as before, but I can't feel it continually. It takes me so long to open up to it now, because it's increased in intensity to the point where I close off preemptively. Just eye contact with Ben is a more intense joy and connection than any I've ever felt, and it's MORE every time. At times of less intensity (like when we're sitting next to each other but talking to other people) I can be fully open to it, but if we're focused on each other I shut down right away (then slowly the connection opens me up again).

Why would someone who chases joy and connection as I do shut it out when it gets really intense? When I asked myself this, the first thing that came to mind was my first time having consensual intercourse; I think that was the last time I was fully open to connecting (with anyone or anything). I had a really horrible flashback to childhood sexual abuse, ended up shaking and crying, and it caused damage to my sexual relationship with my ex that took years to overcome -- not to mention opening up memories that led to me spending years in terrible fear and pain. I think part of me is afraid that if I ever fully open up again, more horrible stuff will come out and I'll fall apart again. And that's not an irrational fear, because I know there is stuff I still haven't dealt with. I know I could handle it much better now, but what if it's so much bigger that it ends up overshadowing my new strength? What if I become useless again? Worse, what if in my breakdown I become scary and untrustworthy to whoever witnesses it? There's another aspect too -- what if the joy itself is too much for me? what if I disintegrate and cease being a person? I feel like uncontrolled joy is destructive -- why, I've no idea.

This is a new realization for me because it's new for me to have the chance to experience connection at this intensity and this often. It's amazing (and amusing) to me to discover new ways to grow in areas where I thought I pretty much 'got it.'

I want to get into therapy again because I feel like I'm starting to climb a really steep hill. I can do it on my own, but the proper gear and rope would really help. Also, I think shutting down when faced with intense joy is just a symptom of a problem which affects me in other areas, and I want to get to the core of the matter. For now I'm just going to remind myself to be open and push past my fear as best I can, and maybe in the process convince my subconscious that I'm not going to be destroyed by too much joy. And I may try (solo) orgasmic meditation, consciously relaxing. I'm definitely going to be more aware of my openness (or lack thereof) and focus on consciously opening my heart.

Knight Of Wands -- Au Revoir Simone
Oh, joy, I can see you
Oh, joy, I can see you
it's all I want
it's all I want

seeing changes everything

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Comments
hyrkanian ══╣╠══
There's a similar realization that Linda Kohanov wrote about (can't remember which book it is, either The Tao of Equus or Riding Between the Worlds) where she is in so in tune with one of her horses that she is filled with an intense sense of joy that she knows came from the horse. When she was thinking about that and wondering why humans could rarely if ever feel so joyful, she got mental images from the horse to the effect of "You shut out your pain and so you cannot feel the joy."

Horses are to me (and to Ms. Kohanov) as trees are to you. :)
sabr ══╣╠══
That is... so beautiful. That is what horses are to me too.

I hate to sidetrack this comment, but that is an amazing quote. I shut down to horses for a while, and lost all joy when riding, and it has only been recently that I have regained it again...

Here's to (all of us) experiencing our joys.
hyrkanian ══╣╠══
I am glad you are regaining your joy. :)

Adding you to friends if you don't mind. I don't post much lately but I read friends daily and comment when I have something to say.
shadowwolf13 ══╣╠══
Very honest look at yourself and brave of you to post this. :)
vilturj - totem - himalayan monal
moonvoice ══╣vilturj - totem - himalayan monal╠══
I feel like uncontrolled joy is destructive -- why, I've no idea.

Philosophically, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, too much joy that is uncontained is as destructive as too much anger, grief, or any of the other emotions. It needs to be experienced in moderation. This doesn't mean it needs to be experienced in an inhibited way all the time; but that if it were experienced all the time, people would get physically ill. There are actual physical illnesses and symptoms in the TCM system connected to excessive and uncontrolled joy bursting along our energy meridians.

I think part of me is afraid that if I ever fully open up again, more horrible stuff will come out and I'll fall apart again. And that's not an irrational fear, because I know there is stuff I still haven't dealt with. I know I could handle it much better now, but what if it's so much bigger that it ends up overshadowing my new strength? What if I become useless again? Worse, what if in my breakdown I become scary and untrustworthy to whoever witnesses it?

These are natural, and normal fears for all people who have problems connecting with their emotions. Therapy can help with this, but learning more about connecting to all emotions in the same way you seek joy will help as well. One of the reasons you were - I think - so flooded in your experience with reliving your past, was probably that you were so unaccustomed to dealing with an intense connection to an emotion on that level. (Or emotions).

The only way to learn how to deal with that, is through; not around or under or over. It is through the experiences. It's through the journey of trusting in yourself and your ability to experience those emotions as you are ready to. It's not easy, but it's much easier if you don't force it.

Even a post like this shows just how much closer you are to it, than you were in the past.

Also - you probably know this already - but it's natural for those who have been abused to shut down all abandoned states, for fear of being hurt in that state of abandonment. It's not a logical or a rational fear, it goes deep deep down into the psyche, and can not be 'rationalised out' easily, or even at all.

Body therapy, and body work / somatic therapies might be really really good for you.
vilturj - totem - olm
moonvoice ══╣vilturj - totem - olm╠══
also sorry for the ramble. :(
*hugs*
divinemiss_em ══╣╠══
This post is so candid and honest. Thank you for sharing it. I think that no matter what obstacles come into your life, you are deeply committed to growth in whatever form it takes.

I think that resistance to joy is a much more common problem that people imagine. It seems so counter-productive and counter-intuitive. But it happens. I think for me, I shut myself off from joy because I struggle with accepting that I deserve to be happy. Not just happy, but embracing the joyous birthright that we, as humans, are meant to have. I think about all the negative, shameful or hurtful things that I have ever done in the past and use it against myself, sort of saying "Look at what a terrible person you are- you don´t deserve happiness"
*  Animals:  Cats - library
mermaiden ══╣* Animals: Cats - library╠══
*HUGE hugs*
burningmarl ══╣╠══
Thanks for adding me back. I used to follow you unofficially when I was a member of curvygirls before but I decided to do it properly, although I didn't expect you to add me back because I only ever ramble on about my day. I just enjoyed your posts before.

I think it's understandable that intense joy is scary, as intense other emotions are scary! orgasmic meditation sounds like a good way of working it out, as well as getting a therapist involved. I often use the orgasmic-meditation method to sort my head out, didn't know other people did too! lol
contemplative
frecklestars ══╣contemplative╠══
Even though you're chasing joy doesn't mean it's no longer scary to feel such a deep connection. I kind of think everyone is scared of being _that_ open, that maybe there's some weird something-akin-to-protective instinct built into humans to make them sometimes squirm at being so open with another person. Maybe this is too essentialist of an argument though.

You say that you might become useless again. But really, I can't imagine a being filled with such light as ever being useless. And if you scare someone who witnesses a breakdown...well, it's not something you can control. They are responsible for their own emotional responses. My suspicion is that yes, you might scare them. But the people you choose to connect with also seem capable of recognizing that while you may be scary, you are worth sticking around for. Love makes you stick around even if you're sometimes scared.

I have similar thoughts about uncontrolled joy being a destructive force. More specifically, I felt like I had a quota of happiness and if I exceeded that quota everything would blow up in my face. I felt like it was such a tenuous balance and so it was (in some way) dangerous to be happy. It's funny what our brains do to our hearts sometimes.
sigh.
delicatexflower ══╣sigh. "in the struggle to find peace"╠══

it's beautiful thing you are aware of yourself to this level. it's a blessing. some people don't even realize the things you do. it's pretty interesting what the mind does for protection. i honestly think you enjoy every ounce of happiness that life gives you. i hope you will be able to enjoy it to its fullest soon. have you spoke to justben about this, yet? maybe it is something you can work on... not just by yourself but together...when you are ready.
rattsu ══╣╠══
This was really interesting. There truly is something terrible in letting go, especially if one has something swimming underneath ones feet, threatening to bite.

I really hope that you manage to find the courage to let go and face what you have buried! Good post.
dawny_darko ══╣╠══
This shows a lot of courage. Thank you for sharing.

I work at creating as many positive memories as I can in that "state" to drown out the negative ones. It's difficult to create those new paths in your brain, the old ones are much easier and deeper and the new ones fade quickly if not tread frequently, but it can be done. Good luck.
onda_bianca ══╣╠══
Thank you for your honesty and openness.:)
phoenixejc ══╣╠══
Oh I so relate to your fears! Thank you for sharing!
baxaphobia ══╣╠══
This must have been hard to write and post to the public. I applaud you for your honesty. I do hope that you can find a therapist that will help.
walkertxkitty ══╣╠══
A really frank entry. You gave me a lot to think about here, because the behavior you describe is one in which I also engage. I'm interested in phasing it out but I've never figured out how.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.