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What are your acting skills like? Can you put on a happy face?
May 19, 2007
1:19 am
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How do you keep a happy (or nuetral) face when things are brewing? Or when you are down and don't want people to know? How do you keep yourself from the verge of tears when they come on?

Sometimes I'm excellent at this. I can't say why. I summon my "pretender" and other times I can't find her anywhere. It's scary. So far my big victory is to not have cried in front of anyone at work in the midst of a deep depression. But I have hid out in the ladies room for a good cry. How does one gain composure in these moments?

Anyone?

-ella

May 19, 2007
2:45 am
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courage to change
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Hi I am a teacher

Am having to do this all the time with students It is extremely difficult.

But I normally I put my feelings in a jar ( on hold), until i have time in the day to deal with them.

But the important thing is to deal with your feelings regularly, otherwise you suppress them.

Hope that helps

May 19, 2007
3:28 am
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lovemedo
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I'm a teacher too so have to keep in together in the classroom but I've done the ladies loo thing too. I'm lucky because my colleagues know I am somewhat fragile emotionally and so they look out for me. Last year when I split up (again) with M I had a bit of a breakdown and a couple of colleagues arrived and got me into hospital. So now they all look out for me and my closest friends there tell me he's no good for me. It's funny, this thing about keeping it together when with people. Many times, I feel OK, function perfectly well, do my job, go about my business. Then, the minute I arrive home and close my front door, the tears start straight away as if a dam has burst. I mean, it comes out of nowhere. No build up, nothing. Like, shut the door then wham. The mask slips. Funny but I can remember doing exactly the same thing as a teenager still living with my parents. We'd all watch TV together, I'd go up the stairs to bed then be overcome with tears. Maybe I'm an inherently unhappy person. Nothing going on at home as a kid to account for it. Mystery.

May 19, 2007
3:41 am
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lovemedo
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BTW....... I am actually an amateur actress as well so used to playing many parts!! I also think I play many parts in my own life and am never quite sure which one is me. My sense of identity is so closely linked with whoever happens to be around me at the time. That's why on another thread (co-dependency and self esteem) I was talking about my loss of identity now I've lost M. I wrote a poem about this.

Who shall I be today
Depends
On who I happen upon
As the seconds tick.
Here today
Gone tomorrow,
That's me!
Some transient persona
Acting out the fantasy
Of an unconscious mind.
Expressing it
As bad art.
Reality is sacrificed
Like the face worn today -
One more battle to create
Something
From nothing.
And so I masquerade
As the person I was
Yesterday.
Recognised by most,
Believed by none.
Incubating the real me.
I'm hiding
Somewhere
Inside my head.
Waiting.
Waiting to be illuminated
By someone who
Can see me
For what I really am.
Who shares my hunger
For verification.
A mutual recognition
Can pierce the soul,
May kick start a life,
As an identity is born.

M. gave me that identity. He lit up my life and bought out the best in me. Today I have to think about moving on to another production!

May 19, 2007
3:42 am
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lovemedo
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Sorry, the thread above is "What's wrong with me"

May 19, 2007
3:43 am
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courage to change
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Hi loveme do

I really dont think there is anything wrong with letting our feelings out. This is how we grow. So I think it is perfectly normally to have a good crying session when at home. Ive done it many a time.

After all, its very hard work, being a lecturer and having to put a face on in class.

Best wishes. x

May 19, 2007
3:50 am
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doubleloss
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i should be getting an Oscar for best actress.

how do I do it? I'm not really sure, I guess I just think "it has nothing to do with them...."

it's a good skill to have but personally i've taken it too far, and now that i'm letting my emotions flow sometimes is hard to let them go or to control them. I teach too and also deal with a lot of clients, so there is no room for being unprofessional.

May 19, 2007
4:05 am
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courage to change
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It is difficult.

But I allow myself to come down, after work. And yes, sometimes I find it difficult to have boundaries around my feelings when by myself. It all very overwhelming. But I guess its the other extreme of putting a face on. I guess, I have just got to learn to love both sides of me. I do give myself a hard time though, when Im not always happy.

Am feeling good at the moment, and i do know that I need to be gentle, but firm. Difficult eh! x

May 19, 2007
8:43 pm
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Tiger Trainer
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I have had lots of practice in putting on a happy face because in my family you didn't show sadness, anger or any other 'negative' feeling in public.

I am a teacher too. I find it easier to keep my happy face on in the classroom because it takes so much concentration to teach. With friends and co workers I become unnecessarily flippant when I am trying not to show sadness or anger. That doesn't work. It's best to have a mental image to go away to for a few minutes so that you can compose yourself.

May 20, 2007
11:08 am
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chelonia mydas
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Ella,

Its a balancing act to stay professional and not let your emotions overwhelm and take over at work or in public- but also to not supress them into submission. You have to let them out sometimes. I too have cried in the ladies room a number of times. Did it on Friday and will probably do it a few more times before this month is over.

I know what you mean about loosing your "pretender". It seems that sometimes when things are really bad I actually appear outwardly more put together than other times when things were only mildly falling apart because I just couldn't find the fake happy face I usually put on. Not sure what is up with that. All though I think for me it has to do with how busy I am. If I have a lot of work related things to dive into my pretender seems to be there stronger, than when I have minimal tasks and more time for my mind to wander and think of the troubles I have.

I also seem to have moments when I get in my car or walk in my house where I just start to cry. I think it is because it has been brewing in me all day and needing to come out and I haven't let it. So the first safe place I find, it just bursts out. I don't think there is anything wrong with that, but I still don't like being like that. But I guess the alternative is to schedule in time to cry- which I don't see myself doing- so I will just accept the outbursts.

Sending you hugs and support to get through your day.

May 20, 2007
4:14 pm
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Thank you all for responding. Sometimes you forget that there are other people in similar places, because people tend not to wear their pain on their sleeves. Then sometimes I compound my sadness by criticizing myself for being weaker than most people, etc.

It's interesting how a bunch of teachers responded to this post. I work with children' also, as a librarian. We are all in fields where I guess we are supposed to be seen as perky and nurturing and self sacrificing. Sometimes work is a destraction and other times a terrible drain because I have to keep up this front, even when I am feeling my darkest depression.

May 20, 2007
7:42 pm
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Rasputin
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Good thread and question, as usual Ella!!!

In my case, I wait till I'm back home to cry all by myself or I call a trustworthy friend and open my heart to her.

My worst time is right b4 PMS or during it. I try as much as possible to avoid people, co-workers and try to take it easy. Life is not easy and there will always be bad stuff coming into our life no matter how good or decent we are.

My kitty gives me so much joy. Bubble bath is great way to de-stress after a long day of hardwork.

Prayers and reading something spiritual or motivating, calling prayer line are all helpful tools that help me cope with stress!

May 20, 2007
9:11 pm
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ggfred4
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Thanks ella for such a thought provoking thread. Until the last 6 mos. or so, I too, was a great actress. I even took pride in it. I love having the control of not showing my feelings to others. I did it so much, that I did not cry a tear for YEARS!!! Doing it for so long had its damaging effects though. It has actually been the aac that I have started to feel and let others read about my feelings. I have now SLOWLY began to try to trust people again. I have a few close friends now that I have let my defensive wall down and have shed tears with them. At first, I was scared and ashamed. Now, the tears seem to come at will after years of holding them in.

There is some history about the Olympics in ancient Greece. When a winner from the games would go home to his city-state, they would tear down a section of their protective wall in his honor, to symbolize that there was no need for that protection since they had their hero. I have now torn down a section of my wall to symbolize that I too do not need to protect myself from people I have learned to trust. Am I still on guard a bit, yes, but the trust is in place and it is a wonderful feeling.

May 20, 2007
9:15 pm
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At_it_Again
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I used to be great at hiding my feelings but for some reason lately I'm not good at it, which is a good thing. I would rather the truth be known and quit hiding things. That is what has gotten me into trouble in the past!

I just have to learn to quit fearing what other people will think or feel and deal with being honest.

It is FEAR that makes us great actors!

May 21, 2007
3:02 am
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Rasputin,

The PMS thing is the WORST. Mine is very bad as well. In fact, my doctor has given me a perscription for Xanax XR. She insists it works for everyone. I'm cynical, but I've yet to try it. Though it is time release and a very low dosage, I am afraid to rely on such an addictive drug.

May 21, 2007
3:17 am
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ggfred-

Do you mind if I ask what made you decide you had to emote more freely? Was it stress, etc.?

I've often marveled at people that could numb themselves, rather than looking to outside methods of escapism and ways to kill their pain. I can only imagine some of the effects. I guess one needs a balance and either extreme is not healthy.

-ella

May 21, 2007
3:31 am
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At it again,

A certain amount of fear is healthy though. I don't think it is unreasonable to think that one might have difficulty in some professional environments if seen as unstable.

Sometimes, at work I realize it's best to hide my sadness- not so much from my coworkers- but from the kids.

Years ago I was having a lot of problems with depression, my boyfriend, getting off drugs etc. I was in early recovery and I probably was a little too fragile to be back at work (I soon relapsed). I had to deal with a particularly vile person, someone who threatened to "kill all the --- people in the building," especially me. I don't remember the exact reason- she was out of control and snapped and said something mean to one of the well behaved kids when she was really mad at me. I said "Don't you EVER talk to these kids that way again." It escalated. She got fired.

That wasn't the problem. The sad thing was, when the kids got confused. They saw me upset, they asked me what happened and I got teary and started to cry. Then THEY started arguing. "YOU made Miss "Ella" cry!" etc. I said "NO! It wasn't any of your faults! I just don't like getting angry in front of you." It was sweet they cared so much, but disturbing that I caused them to get so shook up and that they thought it was their fault. That one I couldn't figure out.

May 21, 2007
4:01 am
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ggfred4
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ella,

I have been pondering the answer to your question and right now I do not know. I too am now curious about the answer and will have to give it some thought.

gg

May 21, 2007
5:49 pm
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Rasputin
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Talking about work, unfortunately feelings are considered as "Unprofessional" at work. Mentioning something like being "tired, sad, or having problems with partners or mates" are all considered "Unprofessional." So we have to really be careful and prudent at work.

That's why when couples work with each other and they happen to fight or angry with each other, it is in their best interest NOT to show any sign of being displeased or mad at each other, even if they have to pretend or fake it.

I once worked with a couple who were fighing in front of me most of the time which was not just embarassing, but rather totally Unprofessional.

Wait till you reach home and then you can be vulnerable whether here or with someone reliable.

May 21, 2007
6:13 pm
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I received an email from a friend who suggested looking in the mirror every morning and saying to yourself, "I'M HAPPY"...she said it makes you laugh..and who knows it may help in situations when tears are on the verge. 🙂

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