Friday, February 26, 2010

"Are Feelings Facts?"

 By Sandra L. Brown

Women don't know whether to trust what they feel or not. Are you confused over whether feelings are factual or if they are fiction? You're not alone. Women struggle where to draw the line between believing what they think and questioning it. 

On one hand, feelings can be red flags in the beginning or in the midst of the relationship. Red flags can be emotional, physical, or spiritual warnings of what is happening or what is yet to be. 

Emotional red flags are feelings you get while in the relationship--constant worry, dread, wondering, suspicion, anxiety, depression, or obsession. Often the emotional red flags are quickly noticed by other people in your lives who point out that you have changed since the relationship--and not for the good. Lots of times women don't want to 'hear' about their emotional changes since being in the relationship. 

Other times, women already KNOW they are having emotional red flags about him or aspects of the relationship.

In either case, it's important to know that emotional red flags can be GOOD PREDICTORS OF THE POTENTIAL LONGEVITY OF THE RELATIONSHIP. Many women notice that the red flags they had at the beginning of the relationship ARE the reasons the relationship eventually end. So emotional red flags can be great tools and often accurate. 

Waiting for feelings to become 'facts' before you act on them can be very dangerous. In the case of emotional red flags (and your intuition), responding NOW instead of later can help you exit the relationship quickly. By the time a feeling IS A FACT, many things could have happened.
(For more info on red flags, see the first few chapters of the Dangerous Man book.) 

ON THE OTHER HAND (there's always 'an other hand' isn't there?)--women wonder if the intense feelings they are having are an indicator of 'true love' or why would they be having them? Women often experience confusing emotions when trouble starts in the relationship. She either becomes confused when the relationship turns bad or she becomes confused when she has ended the relationship. This confusion takes the form of "if he was so mean to me, why do I still have feelings for him? I must still love him if I can't stop thinking about him even if he did bad things. Do my feelings mean I should go back with him?"

In these cases 'feelings' are not facts. It is human nature to seek attachment and bonding. When that is ripped away there is an emptiness that happens. Women often think that 'means' that they were in love if they experience the aftermath of 'loss.' It just means you are feeling the loss. 

Women often think that since they 'miss the good times of the relationship' they must miss him. What women actually often are missing is the 'feelings' that were generated in the relationship when it was good. Women miss feeling of being 'in love' or 'attached' or 'wanted and desired' or 'safe and secure.' When women can separate out what they really 'miss' they often can see that 'he' represented those feelings she was having. She misses the feelings of the illusion of being in a good relationship.  

Missing 'him' might not really be 'missing him.' Who is 'him' -- the dangerous man/cheater/liar/or pathological? You miss that 'him'? No. You miss the feelings of being in love. 

Tell yourself -- "What I am missing are the feelings of being in a good relationship.' Remind yourself of that when you mis-interpret those feelings as meaning you 'want him back.' Often that isn't the case. Recognize that this very 'feeling' thing is what propels women right back out there seeking to 'feel loved' again and attach to those feelings you are missing. It places women very 'at-risk' of repeating the same mistake. 

Here---try this. Draw a line down the middle of the page. On one side, list the feelings you miss having. On the other side, list the dangerous man traits/behaviors/incidents. 

Now take a look. Which do you really miss? 

Feelings can be accurate when we are getting red flags in the relationship. Feelings can be inaccurate when we are gauging whether to return to relationship because we think we 'miss' him when in fact, what we miss are the feelings that were generated in the relationship. 

Feelings can be inaccurate when we are gauging the intensity and equate that with love or something healthy in the relationship. Understanding the importance of 'feelings' in all stages of a relationship can help you recognize just 'what' your feelings are telling you and when to heed them and when to be a little suscipious of their messages to you! 

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