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Substitute Feelings

Substitute feelings have a completely different function from ‘normal’ feelings. Although they don’t differ from basic feelings in their subjective experience, nevertheless, in the experience and expression of them they don’t bring about reassurance or satisfaction. So-called ‘racket feelings’ and the behaviour patterns associated with this are learnt in early relationships. Developmentally, it is a natural need to express the feelings which are appropriate to a certain situation. However, if someone does not find resonance with them, and/or makes a negative experience, he will seek other possibilities. He will choose the feeling, and the behaviour pattern associated with it, which brings him the most resonance and recognition. The original feelings and needs are pushed aside, are no longer shown, and later they will not be felt anymore, either. In this way a ‘substitute’ is developed for repressed and forbidden feelings. Substitute feelings and behaviours serve to influence and manipulate others. One’s counterpart is influenced by one’s own behaviour, so that the expected reaction is the consequence: one protects oneself from fear of loss through mistrust and in this way one creates insecurity and distances oneself from the other. Therefore, substitute feelings are no functional answer to the present situation, but they are an aspect of the re-emergence of a learned pattern from the past.

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