Dealing with frustration without shutting down

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HeroOfHyrule
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12 Jun 2022, 6:36 pm

My therapist has been probing me more and more lately when I mention getting frustrated and stressed out by things to explain to her what I do to deal with it, which I don't usually have an answer to because I don't actually deal with it and just sort of shutdown. During our most recent therapy session she pointed that out to me, and set a goal with me to try to figure out ways to deal with my frustration/stress without just shutting down and repressing it, but I don't really know what to do other than that. I'm not used to being allowed to properly express emotions like that and I dislike feeling them, so I the only way I've coped with them is by forcing myself to ignore them and distract myself. I've even started to drink alcohol a lot more often since it's getting harder and harder to ignore my stress and frustration when I'm sober, which isn't a good coping mechanism at all.

Does anyone have suggestions on some proper ways to deal with emotions like this?


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IsabellaLinton
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12 Jun 2022, 8:17 pm

Holy smokes. That's your therapist's job, Hero. They can't just tell you to figure it out on your own. If you always shut down it's likely a trauma response or something biochemical in your brain causing the fight / flight / flee / fawn cycle. Shutting down is a type of freeze or stagnation that happens when you can't process the emotion or the stimuli. It's not like you can just will this to stop happening without considerable support.

Their job is to help you identify triggers and calming strategies. They should also acknowledge that it's OK to shut down at least temporarily. That's your body's defence mechanism against things it's not equipped to handle.

If I were you I'd be honest and say I'm not ready for that step. If you take baby steps the first step is understanding why your body reacts the way it does and learning to work with the skills you already have.



HeroOfHyrule
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12 Jun 2022, 9:55 pm

I should clarify that the goal to find new coping mechanisms is more of a long term goal, and that I'm not expected to figure it out by myself, or by our next session, or anything like that. Though she does want me to start thinking about why I am getting frustrated (+ what specific emotion I'm actually feeling besides for just "frustration") when it happens, and of ways I can deal with those situations better + how I feel about them afterwards, besides for just shutting down and repressing my feelings.


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I use he/him pronouns.

I watch a lot of cartoons and anime. I also have a cat and a rabbit as pets. I like to learn + catalogue information about other organisms, especially rodents (+ related animals) and great apes.

I don't often respond to PMs, unless I interact with the person that's PMing me a lot on the forums.


IsabellaLinton
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12 Jun 2022, 10:04 pm

Sorry for that, Hero. I overreacted a bit it seems. Whoops!

I had some really bad experiences with therapists years ago.

It sounded like she was asking you to do CBT.

Carry on -- my apologies. :oops:



Edna3362
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12 Jun 2022, 10:17 pm

Experience tells me to just observe it.

It doesn't have to be acted upon.
If expressions related to that reaction cannot be helped, do observe your thoughts and behaviors while at it.

And not judge yourself as it happens.

Reacting to and judging your own emotions and reactions -- including denying, dismissing and resisting said emotions, creating secondary emotions in which feeds onto itself like a loop.

It's very much the difference between "processing" and don't ended up doing something foolish because of emotions from "ignoring" and suppressing your emotions altogether.

People just tend to not able to say the difference between 'ignoring' and 'suppressing' from 'processing' and 'maturity', the precise words and steps of being able to redirect and reinterpret perceptions instead of outright denial and invalidation.


Also takes practice. :?


Why I suggested such?
I don't even have the option to be able to ignore my own emotions.
I can't suppress mine at all, despite wanting to be inexpressible, despite wanting to be in control knowing the right time and place... My emotions knows no time.

All I get is be exponentially emotional by making secondary emotions, because shutting down or ignoring it isn't an option for me as much as I would've preferred had I have that option.


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HeroOfHyrule
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12 Jun 2022, 11:07 pm

I think the only reason that I can even "shutdown" and repress my emotions is because of past trauma, and not being able to acknowledge feeling "negative" emotions without it upsetting my parents. I also shutdown sometimes because I feel like I'm going to have a meltdown and I can't remove myself from the situation, so I have to force myself to do that instead. It affects my productivity at work because I often dissociate when it happens, which worsens my issues with my processing delay. Lately I've been having to repress quite a few meltdowns, so I've been dissociating a lot at work.


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I use he/him pronouns.

I watch a lot of cartoons and anime. I also have a cat and a rabbit as pets. I like to learn + catalogue information about other organisms, especially rodents (+ related animals) and great apes.

I don't often respond to PMs, unless I interact with the person that's PMing me a lot on the forums.


ThisTimelessMoment
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13 Jun 2022, 12:31 am

^ what edna3362 said is good advise.

I would say awareness is always first. Learning to have part of myself in observer mind. That is, watching what's happening without judging it as good or bad. Difficult emotions are totally allowed. Suppressing them to keep parents happy is common but unhealthy long term.

As per what Edna said about secondary emotions, this is where we can wind ourselves up even more. A very wise meditation teacher I know refers to this as hifawif. Pronounced hif-a-wif. Which stands for: How I Feel About What I Feel. When I'm upset I will often get upset at being upset. This just adds to the general overwhelm and makes dissociation more likely. This is part of the issue that I actually have quite a bit of control over and buy realising it I can try to move back into not judging myself for having feelings. Then it's just the original feeling. This also makes it easier to name an emotion as there are less emotions to deal with. Frustration for me is often frustration at myself for not dealing with the emotion better.


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ToughDiamond
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13 Jun 2022, 10:48 am

I tend to do a lot of planning to pre-empt frustration in the tasks I take on, and I'm always reluctant to do anything that I haven't thought out beforehand, anticipating the snags and figuring out some idea of what to do if they happen. I'm unlikely to bite off more than I think I can chew unless I've kind of psyched myself up to the fact that I'm about to take a calculated risk.

I suppose I don't expect my plans to work very well, so failure doesn't take me by surprise very often. And I tend to be aware when I'm feeling frustrated these days, which I think helps me to keep the feeling under control.



Nic na Mara
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14 Jun 2022, 11:27 am

Observing yourself with mindfulness is a good start. In my free time, I study "The Atlas of Emotions" compiled by Holiness the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman:

http://atlasofemotions.org/

I have already read his book "Emotions Revealed". It helped me a lot to understand and deal with my own feelings and to understand the strange behavior of NTs. People who say that and then act differently. It's quite confusing and frustrating.



MBlokzyl
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02 Aug 2022, 5:19 pm

I am frustrated all the time; it’s practically a career. I sometimes have to take between 2-8 hours of meditating and seclusion to avoid a complete meltdown. My communication with my wife is poor I have realized and that is a lot of my problem. It’s nothing that she’s done it’s just because of my poor communication.
Alcohol is very helpful for this but not helpful for every other part of my life so I rarely use is for the purpose of numbing my brain.
I try to plan things out so I won’t get frustrated but I never seem to have all the variables so it hardly ever seems to work out.
Trying to stay grounded and in the present moment