Thursday, 23 June 2016

Emotional Narrative

Last Time on Humbabella's Gamery:
Sometimes that makes me feel angry or sad, and my emotional narrative is well summarized by this tweet...
When I google "emotional narrative" I get tips on writing emotionally charged scenes, one particular person's idea of "emotional narrative psychology" that doesn't seem to be backed up by other literature, and some stuff about the history of emotions. The term, as coined by me, means the narrative that your emotions have to justify themselves.

That's not the narrative that you have to justify your emotions, so if you are one of those people who identifies with your emotions or integrates your emotions as a part of your "self" then you simply don't have emotional narratives in the way I'm talking about.

This fits into my self-concept as a person who hears voices. I don't know if I've mentioned that before. First of all, I do literally sometimes hear voices in my head, though this often happens when I'm tired so they might be microdreams. But I don't restrict voices to actual voices anyway. Sometimes it's more like I am seeing movies in my head.

There's the voice who screams things like, "It's fucked!" There's the voice that plays me movies of my children dying. There's the voice that counts and starts sentences with, "Let's think about...". And there's the voice that rambles on about things that don't even concern me.

I recently applied for a job and had an interview. For days after the interview I was pretty stressed about it. In fact, when I think about things I said in the interview now it makes me feel a little nauseous. The person who is married to me could tell I wasn't feeling well and asked me if something was wrong. The words that were primed in my mind were, "I wish I hadn't applied for that job."

But was that true? I'm not exactly happy that I applied for the job, and having applied for it was definitely causing me distress, but would I actually prefer the world where I didn't apply? I'm not sure I would. I might even say I probably wouldn't.

So that's what I mean by an emotional narrative. I had an emotion that wished I hadn't applied for the job and it was ready to feed me lines, but I don't really think that emotion speaks for me. It's just like having an emotion that you want to do something violent but then restraining yourself because violence is bad. Except you regard that emotion as a sort of thing that you have to live next to rather than a part of yourself and it is telling you stories instead of impelling physical action.

I don't know how relatable this idea of emotional narratives is, whether it might be better to call them "the narratives my emotions provide me" for clarity, and how much it depends on my voice-hearer status. At least twice, though, it's been useful to me as a way to separate emotion-justifying nonsense from real thought about something.

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