Why talking about our emotions still does not work?

As many of us know it’s worth to tell about emotions, but we still have difficulties with good handling of it. A lot of understatements wait for us when we step into emotional sphere. In this field we hurt each other the most. We’re hurt so much that it comes to end of relations. We still use too many hurting words. But, let’s not prolong, and just let’s move on to the title question.

So how is it that your conversations still haven’t ended successfully?

It happens that because we’re still doing those things:

  • using interpretations, judgements
  • believing them
  • accusing somebody of something
  • placing the responsibility and blaming (others and yourself)  
  • closing yourself off to emotions
  • not wanting (after getting calm) to hear somebody out

How we show it to others?

  • “I feel like you stabbed me in the back”
  • “You make me crazy (YOU make me, so I am not responsible for what I feel and for what I’m doing under the influence of my emotions)
  • “You let me down, and you are the worst husband in the world!’ (and after that, husband stops engaging at all)
  • “You ignored me” 

Does it sound like telling about emotions?

Then what is telling about emotions? Well, this:  
  • „I am feeling sadness when I see that you devote 4 hours for watching TV series another day and another”
  • „Honestly, I felt sorry when you walked off without a word, with no explanation”
  • „I got angry when you called me ‘stupid’, it hurts me”
  • „Son, I’m happy to see that you put your toys off after playing with your sister”
  • „I felt resentful when you didn’t come to a meeting”

Namely emotion is WHAT you feel. It’s not “I feel like…”, not “I feel that…”, nor “I feel as if…”. When you say „I feel like”, you interpret the reality which can be inconsistent with the objective reality. This is how you see it, and this is okay, however other person can’t do anything with how you took it. They are not the ones who respond for your interpretation and feeling. The one is your own map of emotions.

Oh, and we better use word “when” like above. Because when we say “I am feeling it because you left crumbs on the table”, we point out to somebody that they are the reason (it stimulates their defense mechanisms), and often the whole thing provokes bigger fight than it’s worth. If you really want get things better, use mild phrases, and don’t highlight somebody’s deed.

I’m feeling WHAT? For example:

  • “I’m feeling longing
  • “My regret is huge”
  • “I felt anger
  • “Joy is something I’m feeling right now”
  • “I was feeling disappointment
  • “A great fear is the one I felt the most”
  • “I’m really surprised”
If we talk in the other way, what will it change?

Well, that:

  • we hurt each other less
  • atmosphere is tense less frequently
  • without blaming and judging there’s a chance for person to open up (you don’t hit them, so they don’t have to defend)
  • you prevent from the complications which can lead to end of a relation
  • you don’t cause sense of danger and loneliness in the person you speak to
  • relations are more honestly, authentic and more comfortable for us
  • it’s easier to understand each other and work things out
  • generally, you avert some problems, and it’s well known that we have many others issues so every one takes our energy and time, then why not to prevent from the further ones?
In summary…

… saying about emotions has to present WHAT you’re feeling. For example, you may feel astonishment, fear, anger, delight etc. However, it is not interpreting facts.

The answer to the title question is: the conversations don’t work, because they aren’t about emotions.


Have you tried the way I was just telling you about? Share your observations in comments.

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Lus Heart
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