When Emotions Get Complex

When you were small, living with your family of any kind, there is very likely to have been one or more of the four primary emotions that your whole family were uncomfortable with feeling, noticing and expressing.

Some families just don’t DO sadness, they have  a ‘stiff upper lip’ or ‘pull their socks up and get on with it’!

Some families just don’t DO anger. They are ‘nice’ people and they resolve conflict by avoiding it or pushing it to the back of their minds.

Some families just don’t DO  fear. They are brave people and they don’t let  ‘silly’ fears stop them from doing the things they want to. 

Some families just don’t DO joy. They think joy is ‘silly’ or ‘frivolous’ or ‘childish’ and they carry on being serious and grown up.

Which one of these descriptions do you resonate with?

When we are not permitted to feel or express an emotion, we will learn how to cover it up with another…

Imagine you are not allowed to feel fear and you learn that showing anger instead will get some of your needs met…you will feel good when you make right the wrongs, but you will not work toward feeling safe. A good example of this particular cover up is road rage.

Can you think of examples of joy, anger and sadness being covered with another emotion?

Getting some of our needs met is better than getting none at all of our needs met. Covering an emotion with another helps us to do this. Covering an emotion with another also leaves us always slightly hungry for what we REALLY need. This can invite us to ramp up the cover up emotions so that we get as much as we possibly can in exchange for a display of that emotion.

Note your reflections so that you capture what you are thinking and feeling before you move on.