What an incredibly brave and powerful person, to have left that relationship under such threat. I feel for you so much as you work through the process of reforming yourself well beyond that relationship.
Getting a sense of how we tick on a physically emotional level can definitely be challenging. Plenty of folk speak about emotion from a mental perspective (I'm happy, sad, angry) but they often don't study how the body is experiencing the emotions of happiness, sadness or anger. Emotions are very physical experiences until we can't feel them, then we may refer to our self as 'feeling numb' or 'detached'.
It is even said that we store emotions in our body which tend to resurface under certain circumstances. I have a pal who has faced many challenges in life and, not long ago, became overwhelmed by the inability to tolerate anymore challenges that came her way. She now has an amazing counselor in her life. He asked her a couple of life changing questions last week, which she said led to the strangest sensations, once certain revelations hit her. She said she first felt light headed, then euphoric, then her body felt incredibly light like she was floating. Then she started crying. She couldn't make sense of the experience. I asked her if it felt like she let go of something significant before experiencing an overwhelming sense of peace, to which she replied 'Yes'. In this case you could say her body let go of years of tension before she felt peace as a physical emotion. Now she knows what an overwhelming sense of peace feels like, physically.
A lot of the time we don't feel physical emotion until it becomes noticeable. Then we may say 'What is this? Why am I suddenly feeling this way?' Sounds kinda weird but listening to what our body is saying is like learning a new language. Learning the language may involve asking questions such as
- What does tension feel like, physically?
- What does complete detachment feel like?
- What does lighthearted/joy feel like?
- What does heavyhearted/sadness feel like?
- What does being shaken up or sensing a threat feel like?
- What does a rise to courage, through fear, feel like in various parts of my body?
The list goes on when it comes to identifying physical sensations (energy in motion).
Becoming a conscious observer can mean becoming sensitive enough to catch our self in the beginnings of a work up to intense emotion/hyperactivity.
Exploring the topic of 'physical emotion' might be of interest to you.