Thursday, September 13, 2018

Feelings Are Not Facts

Feeling something does not necessarily make it a fact.

Objective reality. Real situation or person. As things truly are.

When you treat feelings as facts (specially automatically), that's called "emotional reasoning." It's a phenomenon dubbed by researcher/author David Burns.

"My husband is frowning and silent, so he must be angry at me," remarked Inez in our session. "He's always like that, I feel he doesn't love me anymore."

Ramon was depressed in the office as his guilt of missing a project deadline suggested. He felt weak and helpless about his fear of being fired.

Or, in the case of Marie, she'd always feel sad but can find no logical reason. So she dismissed it. Until she cut herself up and attempted to take her life.


Feelings can imprison the mind. Fears and other negative feelings live in a jail in which they must be true. They're seen as facts.

Thoughts can't question them. The harmful feelings tend to omit details and nuances.

Indeed, in a lot of psychologically wounded persons, feelings are mostly confused or mistaken as facts.

This is the reason why tackling one's "emotional reasoning" is one of psychotherapy's tools for trauma-busting and healing.

A variety of things produces feelings. Some are from the present moment. Some come from the past. Still many of these originate from fantasies. Or, lies we tell our selves.

The work of therapy is to differentiate between feelings that come from the imagination and those that are real and verifiable.