Release destructive emotions

 

The Antidote for Too Little or Too Many Emotions

 I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“It’s a feeling. It’s just a feeling. Feelings are meant to be felt. That’s why they are called feelings. So feel your feeling for a while and then do a release technique on it!” – Lynne Namka, Parents Fight, Parents Make Up: Take Good Care of Yourself

There is a continuum from having too little to too much emotion. Yes, we can have too much or too little and the middle ground is the place to strive for. Successful living is learning to express feelings when appropriate but not go overboard. Learning about ways to deal with feelings can be taught just like anything else. Feelings can be studied and understood just like any academic subject. Here are some ideas for you to become a “Feelings Family!”

Feelings emotions positive communication skills

Many children do not have positive communication skills or a vocabulary for their feelings (other than angry) so they act them out in negative ways. Children learn from the verbal behaviors they see modeled in their parents. Refer to your feelings and emotions often and your child will learn the feeling words automatically.

1. Develop a Language for Feelings
People who can express their feelings have healthier behavior. The psychological research shows that getting feelings out in appropriate ways helps prevent acting out behavior (anger outbursts, alcohol and drugs) and acting in behavior (depression and withdrawal.)

Many children do not have positive communication skills or a vocabulary for their feelings (other than angry) so they act them out in negative ways. If you refer to your feelings often, chances are your child will learn the feeling words automatically. During frustrating situations say, “I’m feeling upset/irritated/annoyed right now.” Children learn from the verbal behaviors they see modeled in their parents.

2. Developing Awareness of the Feeling
Awareness of the feeling is a necessary step. A simple formula for getting in touch with feelings is “Feelings are sad, mad, glad, bad and scad. Scad is a made up word for scared. Disappointed, frustrated, frightened, upset, stubborn and pissed are all feelings words.” Help your child learn to distinguish thoughts from feelings. For example, “I feel like going home.” and “I feel like I am a failure.” are not feelings. They are thoughts with “I feel…” added to the first of the sentence. Feelings are connected to an event and a physiological state in the body.

So after expressing your own feeling, turn it around and ask your child what he is feeling. Or play guess the feeling: “I’m scared right now and guess that you might be feeling scared too.” Don’t worry about being wrong on this one. Most children love to correct their parents about how they feel.

3. Label and Expressing the Feeling
Help your child catch the negative feeling in the moment and deal with it. For example, say “You are angry. You look like you are feeling mad right now. Tell me when you feel angry. I can hear you if say it without yelling. We can give words to our feelings in our family”

This statement gives the child a label for what is going on internally so that he can learn to express his feelings verbally with positive communication skills instead of acting it out with meltdowns. Children need permission to be angry as well as cues, which will put limits on their acting out behavior. Cues from adults prompt a child to make good choices.

             How do you feel right now?

            What do you need to say to help yourself feel better inside?

            Write a story or a poem about it.

            Take care of yourself by talking it out.

            Make a good choice to share your feelings of anger and hurt.

            We can’t hurt others, but we can talk about how you feel.

Add these cues to your repertoire gradually by practicing one cue for several days until you hear yourself saying it automatically in response to specific children’s behavior. Post several cues around your room for yourself to assist your learning.

4. Learn to Allow Some Internal Feelings of Discomfort
This is the necessary skill for young people who have excessive emotions that they discharge by talking and talking and talking about them. Feelings are only feelings. They are meant to be felt. Learn to sit with uncomfortable feelings to watch them and see them through.

Teach your child that he does not have to fall apart just because he is upset or anxious. All he has to do is breathe deeply down into the belly and watch what happens. Other stress management techniques, which help release feelings, are The Emotional Freedom Technique, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and the Tapas Acupressure Technique. There are many other stress management techniques that help decrease strong emotions. We all need several of these tools in our mental health box to pull out and use when feelings become overwhelming.

Talk to your child about the purpose of feelings. Feelings are only a symptom which indicates that needs some attention. They are a goldmine for you to dig deeply in to find treasure in finding out something important about yourself. When you are visibly upset, demonstrate to your child how you can smooth your feelings out by taking a time out and doing deep breathing. You can model belly breathing when you are agitated to show your family members how to calm down.

The children in my anger management group used to call me “The Lady who Knows About Mads.” My book, Parents Fight, Parents Make Up: Take Good Care of Yourself helps children deal with their overwhelming feelings that come up during family arguments. See www.angriesout.com for more about this book and working with angry feeling.

Feeling Too Much: The Opposite Side of the Emotional Coin

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Parents who try to own all of their child’s problems are in for a life of grief. When you protect the child from the consequences of their behavior, you are preventing them from learning.” – Robert and Jean Bayard

Some boys and girls do just the opposite of shutting their emotions down. They wear their feelings on their sleeves and announce them dramatically to the world! They blurt out their feelings to anyone near and think that others are completely interested in how they feel. They are too much in touch with their feelings and spew them out all over. Everything becomes a crisis or a drama they can’t handle on their own.

These high-drama young people are more sensitive than the repressor types and have an excess of emotions that they cannot tolerate. They handle their anxiety by endlessly talking about situations with great excitement expecting others to be interested in every detail of their life. They are more of the whiners, the hysterics and the drama queens and kings who fall apart at every little crisis. They may turn to mom and dad to get them to problem solve the small ups and downs of life. They can become dependent on parents as human pacificers to help them calm down. By getting external help, they drain them off on others but never learn to deal with excessive their feelings themselves. “You must fix it for me” becomes their mantra but if you give in to this error in thinking, they will never learn to fix it themselves.

emotions drama affect regulation

These high drama children are more sensitive and have an excess of emotions and feelings that they cannot tolerate. They handle their anxiety by endlessly talking about situations with great excitement. Children can be taught affect regulation is the ability to calm themselves when distressed, overloaded and triggered.

The New Buzz Words in Psychology are “Affect Regulation”

The skill needed for young people who are too much in touch with their feelings and want everyone else to be also is to learn to calm themselves. Learning to modulate the emotions and deal with situations in a practical manner is the goal here.

The new concepts in psychology are affect regulation and modulate the emotions. The word affect is just a fancy way of saying feelings and regulation means learning ways to work with the emotions. People who have excesses of anger, fear, guilt, jealously or terror have not learned the skills of regulating their emotions. Excessive emotions are the result of a disorganized internal state which requires some skills of self-soothing. This is where knowing how to do many different forms of stress management becomes a big plus.

John Briere, a psychologist and professor who teaches medical students, reviewed a hundred research studies and concluded that there are necessary skills that people with high emotional distress can learn to gain a functional life. He counsels that everyone learn self-regulation skills that you can learn to act morally and responsibly:

Children can be taught affect regulation is the ability to calm themselves when distressed, overloaded and triggered. This skill requires that you notice you are upset and make a conscious decision to use a stress-management technique to quiet your emotions. Self-talk and self-soothe when stressed! And breathe deeply. Dealing with upsetting emotions are the skills of tolerating feelings and self-soothing when we feel tense.

Want to learn more about regulating your feelings? Part of this article is taken from my book, Your Quick Anger Makeover Plus Twenty Other Cutting-Edge Techniques to Release Anger, which teaches many tools and techniques to calm and release pesky emotions. We are giving away free copies of Your Quick Anger Makeover when you sign up for our newsletters. Get your copy today at www.timetoloveyourself.com!

Mommas Don’t let your Babies Grow Up to be Repressors

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Resisting feeling your emotions is like feeding them and then bottling them up. Emotions can grow fatter and fatter if they aren’t let out in safe ways. If you aren’t aware of your feelings, you can act them out in harmful ways. Or you can act them in and become depressed.” – Lynne Namka 

Sigmund Freud wisely said, “The ego expels whatever within itself becomes a source of displeasure.” A defense mechanism is a habitual behavior that distorts reality to suppress thoughts and emotions that might bring up ego threat. Defense mechanisms function in life to help us deal with stress. However, the defenses keep people from being real and living life to the fullest. They are coping mechanisms designed to avoid the uncomfortable feelings held deep inside, however, the defenses prevent closeness and intimacy with others.

Repression is distancing from one’s feelings. It is a defense mechanism first described by Sigmund Freud, as a way that people keep unpleasant memories out of their conscious mind. Repression is a compensatory style that deals with threat and stress by blocking unpleasant emotional experiences that might bring up anxiety, distress and vulnerability.

repressors suppress emotions

Repression is a compensatory style that deals with threat and stress by blocking unpleasant emotions that might bring up anxiety, distress and vulnerability. Repressors become inaccessible to others when they feel the problem has been solved by their suggested solutions or by just dismissing or avoiding it.

Being split off from their feelings has its advantages as you don’t have to deal with them nor the feelings of others. They avoid talking about and rehashing unpleasant experiences as this adds to their stress. They become inaccessible to others when they feel the problem has been solved by their suggested solutions or by just dismissing it. They are conflict avoidant and cannot tolerate working things out to the satisfaction of their partner. They often deny that there is a problem and have a lack of insight about how their distancing bothers others.

Repressors have a chronic inaccessible filter that keeps them from experiencing the world through their emotions. They feel attacked and then distance and isolate from others when they are stressed. They often resort to anger to get others to back off or use passive aggressive tactics to avoid having to do what is wanted by parents. If they can block all feelings except anger, they don’t have to care about the feelings of the parent who is upset that they are passively avoiding cleaning their room. (However remember, no one ever died from a messy room!) I’ve written an article called Passive Aggressive Behavior–The Boomerang Relationship which is available on my website at this link: www.angriesout.com/couples8.htm.

Boys Shape Other Boys to Become Repressors

Males and females have structural differences in their brain to process emotion. They have different chemicals in the brain that create opposite behavior styles. Boys and men have more testosterone, which encourages aggressive behavior. Girls and women have oxytocin which is the hormone that creates the “tend and befriend” type behaviors.

The male culture shapes behavioral responses to keep children in line with what is expected of them gender wise. Boys start disparaging feminine type behaviors in other boys through selective reinforcement of certain behaviors. They encourage aggressive behavior and discourage feminine behavior by using put downs and name calling. Boys that show androgynous behavior with interests similar to girls are harassed and called gay. It is almost as if males are threatened with other than manly behavior and are determined to stamp it out. Sadly this curbs creativity on the part of many young boys. Expression of feelings is one of the major areas where boys are taunted and punished by other boys.

Since they do not process their own emotions, Repressors don’t have a clue when it comes to understanding emotions in others. They do the worst with partners who are highly emotional and insist on sharing feelings and who try to make the Repressor responsible for their anxiety that remains when there is no clear-cut solution to the problem. They are more comfortable in a relationship with a partner who leaves them alone and who does not insist on their engaging in continual emotional discussion. They do best of all with a partner who does not need closure on problems and has the ability to sweep conflict under the rug, however that rarely happens as they more are likely to choose partners who are in touch with their feelings.

We can teach our children to understand and be respectful of their feelings and the feelings of other. So keep talking and explaining feelings to your children. Goodbye Ouchies and Grouchies, Hello Happy Feelings is my book that shares how to talk to children about their feelings.

Review of my book by John Freedom: “Goodbye Ouchies and Grouchies, Hello Happy Feelings discusses common situations that kids are faced with every day – from doing chores and homework, being reprimanded by parents and teachers, being teased by bullies and siblings – and the emotional fallout of these, such as feeling sad and hurt, scared and confused, or angry and resentful. With the help of Nancy Sarama’s humorous drawings, Lynne illustrates and normalizes feelings as being OK.  Also included are lists of ‘Chill-Out Helper Words’ and ‘Hard-Work Helper Words’ to help kids reframe their experiences and re-direct their emotional energies.

What I liked most about this book is that it speaks directly to kids about the ‘outer’ situations in their lives — chores, duties, conflicts, teasing, etc., as well as their ‘inner’ situations — thoughts, feelings and attitudes — and teaches them healthy ways to deal with them.  It empowers kids to manage themselves with basic concepts of self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-responsibility in a way that is light and fun. Goodbye Ouchies and Grouchies, Hello Happy Feelings deserves to be read and used widely, by parents, teachers, counselors and kids (of all ages).”

Read the rest of this article on the defense mechanism of repression at my www.angriesout.com/threatened.htm.

The Okays about Feelings for Kids of All Ages

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Humans have feelings. Loads of feelings. All kinds of feelings. That’s the miracle of being a human being. We just have to learn to feel our feelings and work with them, that’s all.” – Lynne Namka from How to Let Go of Your Mad Baggage

hurt feelings, upset teenager

It is okay to feel sad and angry when you have been hurt. It is okay to feel confused if you don’t understand. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay for you to take care of yourself.

“It is okay for you to feel any way you feel.

It is not okay to take bad feelings out on others.

It is okay for your feelings to change.

It is okay to feel sad and angry when you have been hurt.

It is okay to feel confused if you don’t understand.

It is okay to feel scary inside. It is okay to cry when you are hurting.

It is okay to ask for help. It is okay for you to take care of yourself.

It is okay to ask for a hug or to be held.

It is necessary that you do something to calm yourself down.

It’s not okay to act out your feelings when you are upset.

It is most certainly okay for you to be yourself.

We can learn to work with our God-given feelings

It is okay for you to be who you are.”

Lynne Namka, Parents Fight, Parents Make Up: Take Good Care of Yourself

Review of my book: “Parents Fight! Parents Make Up!” is a great resource for helping children deal with witnessing parents fighting – an all too common event and one that can be more confusing and even traumatic than is often considered. Just reading through this book can help the healing process, as it gives kids the opportunity to address the problem, and the fun illustrations will also help them relate. There are also a number of suggestions that will help kids deal with this and many other challenging situations – great tools for building inner strength.” – Brad Yates, C. Ht., Author of The Wizard’s Wish and Co-Author of Freedom At Your Fingertips

This book can be ordered directly from Talk, Trust and Feel Therapeutics at http://www.angriesout.com/parents-fight.htm.



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