It took me years to realize my own negative emotions terrify me.
For a long time, I took pride in always having my feelings under control. Even when other people hurt me or treated me badly, I didn’t lash out at them. I didn’t show anger. No matter what the circumstances were — or what someone had done to me — I was almost always cool, calm and in complete control of my feelings.
I finally understand why I did that — and I understand why I feel like a caged animal when I experience negative emotions. I understand now why I want to repress what I’m feeling and get away from whoever has made me feel the emotions I fear. I get it now.
In Alice Miller’s influential book about parental child abuse, “The Drama of the Gifted Child,” she imagines a hurting adult child asking his or her parent a difficult question. The book was recommended to me years ago, but I just got around to reading it this weekend. As I read this question, I felt sick at my stomach — because I already knew the answer for my life.