One, I don't get to talk a lot, or I just choose not to talk a lot, except here. So when I do decide to talk, there's a whole lot to talk about, to get off my chest; and most likely it is feelings I want to get out and I hide my feeling within the jargon. Two, thinking and explaining, and rehearsing all avoid feelings. And that's the problem: lack of direct contact with my feelings. Most of my feeling cues come from outside, not from inside. I have taught myself to deny what I'm feeling, to not assert my feelings, to deny boundaries. I'm changing that as I learn how to do that, and for the time being the habit remains. The difference is I am more aware than before, and not aware enough yet to be responsible to change it totally. It's not either/or, it's a scale. From inhibited to less inhibited to even less inhibited, etc. etc. etc.. What I find truly amazing is that after reading Fritz Perls' book on "Gestalt Therapy Verbatim" I was about to reread it to make certain I understood the parts I do, I picked up another book. This one came from Kay's house when I was packing up her library and asked if I could take some to read. This one (and I'm not finished reading it yet, just starting) is "Narcissism: Denial of the True Self" by Alexander Lowen, M.D..That I've had it set aside for a month or two and finally decided to read it is both timely and appropriate, synchronistic. The fundamentals so far are about the story of Narcissus and the true interpretation of the story. Narcisus fell in love with his reflection, not himself. It was a projection of himself onto the water. The interpretation this author makes is that Nassisus was in love with his false image; much like most of us are to varying degrees. We have an image of how we 'should' look to others, instead of being ourselves, and can invest a great deal of effort into maintaining that image we were taught we needed. One key characteristic is the lack of feeling, not only for others (which is actually a projection on the inner self) but also for themselves. In my case, myself. So you calling me a 'narcissist' awhile back was probably accurate if we're using this doctor's interpretation. However, I will say that I am usually over-concerned with others' feelings, and under-concerned with my own. This is a variant on the theme. Narcissists typically reverse their projections out to others so that they see themselves as beautiful, sly, manipuilative and see their victims as weak and ugly, with no purpose except to worship the narcissist's false image. I believe, in my case, I see myself as weak, ignorant, and helpless so I project out that others are stronger, wiser, smarter, and more powerful. Of course that's not true, but that's the 'game'. By denying my feelings I get to maintain my image and deny learning who I really am. So what does this mean? Nothing, if there's no change. It's nice to know, and knowing it doesn't change anything. Getting quiet, and listening to my true feelings, and not the voices of my negativity and false image, is the way out. Saying "Just stop doing that" doesn't work for me. This isn't an overt activity, it's covert; inside. It's about how I think, and how I've been thinking for about 60 years. That's quiet a habit to change, do-able, yet it takes more than a bumper-sticker motto to change. It takes practice, and it takes practice of knowing what to change, and when. I will say I suspect that this may be why I'm isolating myself right now, and why I need to change that behavior. I spend too much time trying to read other people's feelings to know how I am 'supposed to feel' instead of how I "do feel". I defer my feelings to others. I keep my feelings to myself. I lie, about how I feel; to 'them' and to myself. Now I want to start practicing just the awareness of when this is happening. To be aware of what I'm saying to others, whether it's what I feel, or what I expect them to want to hear. And slowly begin to practice saying what I feel, to even be aware of what I'm feeling instead of what I 'should' be feeling (in order to maintain my image). I do not intend to let the "dam" burst, all of a sudden; this is more about learning how to use the current system for a new purpose. I don't have to re-invent myself (another newer, improved, self-image). There's a lot of 'crud' I still have to go through; repressed anger and resentment that have nothing to do with others, their just my unfinished business according to my perception of events, and may not even be real. So easy does it. Just becoming aware that I HAVE feelings seems like a big step. The resentment also goes for work (which is something I look forward to changing soon). My belief is that, once again, I must stop what I'm doing and bail-out someone else's ass from some neurotic need for happiness by admitting that I must stop caring about my needs, and care about theirs. That there's no middle ground, a win/win situation. That's what it feels like. And I resent believing I have to give myself up again a go to the back of the line to get my needs met while someone else claims their needs are more important than my needs. The good part is that this is just an illusion, and there is a way to get my needs met while helping others get their needs met. The only problem is I won't admit what my needs are yet. They're not important enough to others; and that's the rub. The focus is on waitng, depending, (co-dependently) on others, in my environment to give me what only I can give me, my true feelings. Sad, huh? Not really, just another hill to climb, if you enjoy walking and mountain-climbing. (Maybe I 'should' break this down into chapters, like Hoops. Or would that not be who I am? Don't answer, I can figure this out myself.) Slowly, and surely, it's getting better.