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  1. #1
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Default Choosing NOT to feel

    Prompted by Gromit's thread on whether we can choose to feel a certain way, I would like to consider what happens when we choose not to feel. By this I mean, not to replace feeling A with feeling B, but simply to stop feeling A. This could be specific and situational ("I don't like feeling defensive when I receive criticism."), or more general ("I don't like feeling angry, or giddy, or . . .)

    Is there a downside to stopping a feeling without replacing it with something else? Is that even possible, or are we always feeling something, even if we do not realize or recognize it? Can we stop too many feelings, such that we end up not feeling much at all? Is there such a thing as an emotional vacuum? If we prevent it from being filled back up with emotions, is it filled by something else?

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    is an ambi-turner BRMC117's Avatar
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    most people wouldn't think that an INFP could do what I do... I cant show what I am feeling but the feelings are still there, when I see a family crying because they just lost there house I cant go over and cry with them. I cant show that I am scared when I am trying to save someone. I cant show that I am mad when we don't save a house. But all of those emotions are still there. I think those who say they can "turn off" some emotions have never felt them to their full extent
    "I put the fires out."
    "you made them worse."
    "worse...or better?"

  3. #3
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Prompted by Gromit's thread on whether we can choose to feel a certain way, I would like to consider what happens when we choose not to feel. By this I mean, not to replace feeling A with feeling B, but simply to stop feeling A. This could be specific and situational ("I don't like feeling defensive when I receive criticism."), or more general ("I don't like feeling angry, or giddy, or . . .)

    Is there a downside to stopping a feeling without replacing it with something else? Is that even possible, or are we always feeling something, even if we do not realize or recognize it? Can we stop too many feelings, such that we end up not feeling much at all? Is there such a thing as an emotional vacuum? If we prevent it from being filled back up with emotions, is it filled by something else?
    Hmm. That's a tricky question. Not becoming emotional over little things can be very good at times. For instance, not geting mad when you're cut off in traffic, is a benefit, because that emotion doesn't gain you anything. I read an article where the author suggested a method of turning 'road rage' into 'road compassion'. That's good example of substituting a positive emotion for a negative one.
    Of course, that works because the emotion isn't the product of abuse or victimization. The negative emotions that are generated by truama, physical assault, rape, mugging, violence, accidents, bullying, or anything that makes a person feel helpless, should not be avoided. Stuffing them down only makes them surface later in unexpected and destructive ways (isolation, addiction, anger, numbing, flashbacks, nightmares, etc).

  4. #4
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    There is a very long thread at the INTJ forum about not being able to feel emotions at all.

    Technically I recall hearing the term "learned apathy" being used.

    I totally do this. To the point that to feel an emotion I have to tell my self to stop thinking, consciously relax, and allow myself to feel. I can feel excited, enthusiastic, logical, precise, happy...but to feel love or deep caring, I have to stop and allow that feeling to bloom up from inside of me. It is very beautiful-but not at all instant.

    Deep down I have very strong ideals and actually physiologically mimic the pain of the other, but I can quickly quell that and try and identify the most logical solution to the problem at hand, as typically logic is correct, as long others are not being harmed overtly.

    The down side is that if put into a very emotionally painful situation, which is rare, those walls can collapse and then I have a hard time processing the emotional overflow with Fi. It is too much, too fast and I try and retreat away from what caused the pain to process further-otherwise it overflows outwards.

    Here is an interesting, but incomplete article about the five levels of Fi:
    The Five Levels of the Four Jungian Functions

  5. #5
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nebbykoo View Post
    Hmm. That's a tricky question. Not becoming emotional over little things can be very good at times. For instance, not geting mad when you're cut off in traffic, is a benefit, because that emotion doesn't gain you anything. I read an article where the author suggested a method of turning 'road rage' into 'road compassion'. That's good example of substituting a positive emotion for a negative one.
    What do emotions ever gain you, aside of a momentary good feeling? I sometimes use negative emotions as a red flag that something is wrong and needs attention, but I don't focus on the emotions themselves, but rather whatever is causing them.
    Quote Originally Posted by nebbykoo View Post
    Of course, that works because the emotion isn't the product of abuse or victimization. The negative emotions that are generated by truama, physical assault, rape, mugging, violence, accidents, bullying, or anything that makes a person feel helpless, should not be avoided. Stuffing them down only makes them surface later in unexpected and destructive ways (isolation, addiction, anger, numbing, flashbacks, nightmares, etc).
    Do you know why this is the case? In other words, why it is not sufficient to address the trauma itself by removing it and processing the consequences? To me, this would be the best way to dissipate the emotions, but I have been fortunate in being spared any real trauma in life.

    Orobas: thanks for the pointer to the INTJ forum thread. I will look it up. The perspective you describe is remarkably similar to my own.

  6. #6
    Junior Member streetlightfancy's Avatar
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    I don't think it's possible to ever replace Feeling A with Feeling B. We cannot control how we feel. The only think we can control is how we react to these feelings - not necessarily just our actions, but how we choose to build upon these emotions.

    When someone is feeling genuinely sad, it is quite hard to simply decide not to be that way. A feeling may be temporarily masked, but it's still there. However, we can choose to let it go (coping, I guess). This act of letting things go is often correlated with the magnitude of the emotion in the first place - I think this is the point where the types diverged. The occurrences of the world send larger waves of emotions to some people.

    I don't know how to quote people here, but to answer this question: "Is there such a thing as an emotional vacuum? If we prevent it from being filled back up with emotions, is it filled by something else?"

    It's quite hard to imagine what you're describing. As someone who internalizes a lot, I am prone to emotional outbursts. I think to truly achieve what results of an "emotional vacuum", one must completely not give a fuck - about anything. It will always lead to one thing - apathy, and hopelessness (which I think would come first)
    That's my 3 AM response

  7. #7
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    I think it's necessary in crisis situations, or if employed in job where it's important to think fast and not be bogged down by feelings. But I think if this mindset were applied to your daily personal life, it would eventually have bad consequences.

  8. #8
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    I think it's necessary in crisis situations, or if employed in job where it's important to think fast and not be bogged down by feelings. But I think if this mindset were applied to your daily personal life, it would eventually have bad consequences.
    Can you be more specific? What would these consequences be, and how would one know that they were occurring? (Can someone tell that it is happening to themselves, or would they be too close to the issue?)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRMC117 View Post
    most people wouldn't think that an INFP could do what I do... I cant show what I am feeling but the feelings are still there, when I see a family crying because they just lost there house I cant go over and cry with them. I cant show that I am scared when I am trying to save someone. I cant show that I am mad when we don't save a house. But all of those emotions are still there. I think those who say they can "turn off" some emotions have never felt them to their full extent
    I agree with this, but as for my situation, at times I don't know what to call my emotion and so I detach and analyze said emotion. I guess it doesn't really cancel out having the emotion, but I see it as an entity of it's own for a while and try to explain why I'm having said emotion and then 'attach' it to myself again and then embrace or deny the emotion.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Can you be more specific? What would these consequences be, and how would one know that they were occurring? (Can someone tell that it is happening to themselves, or would they be too close to the issue?)
    The consequences would probably eventually result in a lessened capacity to love other people, or to even know what you were feeling in any given situation; a sort of emotionally deadened state where you would basically just be going through the motions. I would think it would not only make you feel less alive, but affect your relationships with other people. I also think that in Feeling types - I don't know about Thinkers - this could even result in a nervous breakdown if feelings were stuffed away for too long, and they would just start presenting themselves in odd ways at inappropriate times.

    Also, what nebbykoo said was extremely pertinent.

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