I wasn’t raised to keep my feelings to myself. I was raised to smother them, deny them, and feel guilt that I had them. This was communicated to me both explicitly and implicitly by parents who never learned to function in a truly healthy way and religious teachings that emotions were evil or demonstrate a lack of self-control, discipline, or trust in god.
As a result, I’ve never been in touch with my feelings and often denied I had any. This obviously caused issues being in an intimate relationship, especially one with the incorporation of BDSM and D/s. In my opinion, communication is the most important element of a healthy D/s relationship. It’s easy to see then how we had many issues with my communicating my needs, my feelings, or what I wanted from her or even from myself.
To help me identify my feelings and grow in my emotional expression and recognition, my therapist gave me a feelings wheel like the one pictured. It’s been really helpful and I think is probably helpful even without having existing communication issues. It’s been nice/weird/scary/intimate working to be self-reflective in how I feel, what I desire, and how to communicate it. It’s early, but I’m hopeful.