We usually think that we are quite rational and justified in expressing our emotions.
Some of us hold forth about them at length, given the opportunity.
The big question:
Are your emotions in proportion to the situations, relationships, and circumstances you're responding to?
Is it possible that you have some unmanaged or mismanaged emotions?
Maybe stress? Or anger? Or jealousy?
This is not a simple matter by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, mismanaging emotions can lead to early death. Now, it is not likely that it will happen although the research shows it is a clear possibility in a study from the British Journal of Medical Psychology paper* which talked about the impact of mismanaged emotions:
"Emotional stress was more predictive of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease than smoking: people who were unable to effectively manage their stress had a 40% higher death rate than more emotionally managed individuals."
Yes! That dire, but it certainly gives weight to the need to get help with emotions you cannot or will not manage within yourself or between you and your partner.
How does this apply to the relationship help we talk about in this blog? If you are not being honest about your emotions with yourself, you cannot be honest with your partner. This leads to resentment, anger and out-of-proportion blow-ups that threaten your relationship. Or, if not a blow-up, an implode: you turn your resentment and anger inwards on yourself. Either way it is damaging and unhealthy.
Emotional manipulation also falls in the unmanaged emotions category with its intent being to hurt the other person. The manipulator can seem very calm--almost annoyingly calm--as they tell you:
- to calm down,
- that they didn't mean any harm
- that you are mis-reading their intentions
- that you are blowing their remarks out of proportion
- that you have a thin skin
- that you cannot take a joke.
In other words, they manipulate in expert ways to make you feel that you are the problem. All the while, they are mismanaging both your emotions and theirs!
Passive-aggressive people are very good at this. Because they never want to take responsibility for things, they find ways to make all problematic situations, circumstances and relationship issues your fault. Then, you are left feeling duped, unsure, questioning and in mid-air because the carpet was just pulled out from below you.
So, how about you? Do you have unmanaged emotions? Although you cannot help your partner with that, you can help yourself.
- Do you become very emotional about your point of view and then push it hard?
- Are you stressed to the max and not taking care of yourself?
- Do you speak out and catch folks by surprise with the vehemence of your delivery--yelling, anger, sarcasm and disrespect?
- Are your expressed emotions out of proportion to the issue or event at hand? (For more insights, read the "All-or-Nothing Thinking" blog post HERE.)
- Do you regret your excessive emotions all too often?
- Do you defend your excessive emotions and insist that they are appropriate and expect others to go along with your view of them?
If you have any "Yes" answers above, you would do well to get some professional help to look at these behaviors with you.
It can be very insightful to work with a coach to uncover unmanaged and mismanaged emotions so that they no longer endanger you and your relationships. You don't want to experience the consequences of these behaviors unnecessarily.
Take time now before you blow up something really worth having: a healthy, mutually supportive relationship!
P.S. I'm always happy to help. We can work together in my office in Escondido, CA, or through Skype from wherever you are. Visit HERE for further information.
Rhoberta Shaler, PhD
The Relationship Help Doctor
* Eysenck, H. J. (1988), Personality, stress and cancer: Prediction and prophylaxis. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 61: 57–75. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8341.1988.tb02765.x