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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Reflecting on Gut Feeling to Deal with Sadness and Loss in Love Relationship

This post is for anyone feeling the sadness of a loss of a relationship, but it is also for anyone dealing with the feeling of sadness in general. Sadness and the feeling of loss are connected to depression, so this may also be helpful if you are tending toward depression due to a feeling of aloneness that is accompanied by sadness. There are some techniques for dealing with sadness that successfully dimension it and actually use it as a gateway to self-awareness. We talk about these in this blog post.

We thoroughly look at the anatomy of emotional feelings in our book What’s Behind Your Belly Button? and give a new twist to the understanding of these emotions as having a combination of a feeling component coming from the gut feeling of emptiness (generally not fullness as needs satisfaction brings intuitive knowing rather than emotion) and a thinking component coming from the thinking brain. If we experience an emotion like sadness, we can be sure that our thinking brain (CSN) and our gut brain (ENS) are at odds with each other and not communicating completely, although they are certainly trying to do so. We need to separate them further so we can identify what each is saying to us, and that will allow us to bring in some fresh information about ourselves that will set the course of a natural unity of body-mind. In simpler terms, we have to center on how we are feeling emotionally and allow ourselves to look at both the thinking part of this emotion and the purely gut feeling part, then trace the source of those in our understanding of the impact of our experience.

Generally we found in using the Somatic Reflection Process with people who were experiencing sadness and loss, that the sadness was related to a past experience in which they assumed some guilt for the loss, blaming themselves. The sadness that we encountered in the hundreds of people we counseled was found in somatic reflection to be largely related to a feeling of guilt. The feeling of guilt is the same feeling of emptiness whether a person has taken on the thinking judgment that they did or did not do something particular that caused or contributed to their loss or whether they took on the judgment that they were too small and inadequate, unprepared, ill-informed, not-good enough or unaware to act in a manner that would have avoided the loss.

Often, when we ask people for the first time if they can see a relationship to their feeling of sadness to the feeling of guilt, they think we mean something they have done wrong, for which they will say “no”. But once they examine their feelings, they see their sadness has a thinking component of how they think they were “not powerful enough or good enough” and this identity of a “less than” feeling or guilt opens a door of perception up. It is much easier to deal with one’s guilt from the past and find the source of the judgments that we have put upon ourselves (generally back in early childhood where we originally accepted judgments from authorities or others who did not understand how we felt inside) than it is to deal with a profound feeling of sadness and loss for which we have no control or think simply relates to some event in recent times or adulthood.  Generally, our adult romantic losses trigger feelings unresolved from earlier life and are even set up to happen because we have not cleared our understanding of ourselves in this earlier event. It does take quite a bit of reflecting on the impact of life upon you, your gut feelings, to reassess your past and understand that you are perfectly human, caring in your instincts., and always have been caring. But until we do find our caring and loving nature inside, we will not feel we deserve love and happiness, and that is our biggest loss. 

We often find that people write us and say that they have a breakthrough as they read the dialogues and discussions in Chapter 3 and generally this is a profound feeling experience in which they find some peace and self-acceptance, and sadness and aloneness begins to shift toward hope and a feeling of soundness and peace inside. Here is a short excerpt from Chapter 3 of What’s Behind Your Belly Button? on the "Anatomy of Feelings". This excerpt introduces the dialogues of authentic sessions of the Somatic Reflection Process:

“People commonly experience the awareness of feelings as a combination of logic and feeling rather than a purely instinctive gut feeling of necessity. The inner instinctive feeling is surely there but our conscious awareness is so distracted toward the outside situation through our senses that the instinctive human feelings are available to us only in a combined form with some outside authoritative thinking we have accepted. In contrast to the purely instinctive somatic feelings of the human organism, this type of common feeling experience or level of feeling consciousness may be called psychosomatic feeling.”

“We experience the psychosomatic level of feeling to be allied with our attachments to outside authority. In situations where we are conscious of the importance of what other’s think or how we perform, we become aware that our basic feelings are set side-by-side with the logic of the external authority in the situation and we tend to judge our position in terms of that outside view. Invariably, we come up short and lose in that comparison. We experience the tendency of the logic to judge this type of feeling position to be weak and unreliable. The weakness seems to be related to the logical compromise of our instinctive feelings. Compromised feelings are inevitably unreliable because in such a situation we find we are strung-out away from ourselves. From the point of view of the Self, we find in reflecting on what is important to us that it was the logic system that we accepted that were unreliable. We find it always unreliable to accept outside principles that do not satisfy the instinctual feelings when we apply them to our inner needs.”

“It is helpful to remember that if the feeling is named—fear, hostility, guilt, jealousy, joy, sadness, etc.—it is not a basic instinctive feeling since the act of naming by the logic system attaches the feeling to an outside judgment even though it is related to emptiness or fullness on the inside of us. And it is the inner instinctive feelings with which we need to deal not the outside person, situation or thing with which the named feeling is associated. Often the outside situation is not even a real factor with which we can deal. We can project on a host of fantasies in the outside world while the real problem lies deep in our inner instinctive feelings of necessity.”

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  1. Martha, this was a wonderful and informative post which , like your book, I enjoyed immensely!! I also love the way your site looks. I thought I was a subscriber to you but I just subscribed again so we'll see. Here's my link if you aren't connected with me. I hope to read more such articles soon. I wish you'd write something on the latest report out now that is about people getting overly concerned with their symptoms to the point where it has become a mental illness. Yes that theory has raised its ugly head again.

    Love, Micki

  2. Aloha Micki,

    Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting. I hope you got included in the connections and will try to check on that.

    Micki, there has been a big teeter-totter between the philosophies of people like Freud and of people like Carl Jung for the last century. Freud diagnosed the patient from his external point of view and Jung would ask the patient how he/she felt and then would actually listen (which was a first in his time), listening to the person;s internal view and opinion as important. This idea you speak of in reports you have seen lately that people have a mental illness because they are so worried about symptoms sounds like an external view of the person, Freudian, and sure to be inaccurate. It takes more time to listen to the patient but in the long run is far more practical. My guess would be that the majority of the mental anxiety of a patient who has fears about symptoms would be that they would not be believed, respected for their opinion, and thus feel both a loss of acceptance and control in relation to the ones who they would otherwise look to trust as healers.

  3. Besides the truths that this article contains, what I most like about it is the clear language used to explain some pretty difficult psychoanalytic concepts. Your comment about the differences between Freud and Jung in your answer to Micki is worth gold. I'm a Lacanian by training, but quite eclectic regarding what is better for different people. Thank you so much for shedding light on these issues!

  4. So happy to have you with us on this blog, Marta, as you have a very valuable perspective with your Lacanian training and vast experience working with people. Please feel free to tell us more about your interest in Jacques Lacan's work.

    And I so agree with you that in trying to explore and understand the human psyche, we need to draw on the knowledge given us by all our giants in the field of Psychology. I am quite fascinated with anyone's studies of the human being from the perspective of the unconscious, but also enjoy research in Trait Theories of Personality looking at the relationship and differences between human personality characteristics. If we stand back from it, all these theorists add an important piece to the puzzle.


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