I have been thinking a lot about how to take responsibility for my emotions. I think about this for myself and also so I can mentor my kids.
I used to think that emotions could only be weapons if you let them be. But that seems too logical. It’s a mantra that isn’t especially useful in real life.
We are humans and we are complicated, we are not robots. The idea that someone else’s emotions are not your problem only seems to work if you don’t really care about anyone else (so you are emotionally disconnected). I can’t imagine being an island unaffected by anyone else.
If I was angry with my counsellor Deej, I would run it out with him. He is a person I believe can let me own my emotions. He would let me flip flop around in anger. I might scream and lament and go on about how unjust he has been (in a hypothetical circumstance). I can completely believe he would allow me to act inside my own bubble. I might feel liberated afterwards. The feeling of having someone allow you to own your feelings is very empowering (although slightly lonely). But ultimately I would be trying to tell him something; and wouldn’t it be more functional to work that out for myself? Because after I’ve blazed and screamed and eventually found what I am trying to communicate, you can’t tell me that behaviour wouldn’t stick in him negatively, even subconsciously. As I said, we are but flesh and blood.
Asking someone not to use their emotions as weapons is however most likely only half the story. I ask this of my daughter all the time, because she fires out her feelings like poison arrows. But it’s putting all the emphasis and responsibility outside of myself, when the changes or fortifications might need to come partly internally.
What I am saying is it is likely a two-way street or a balance between your responsibility to allow someone to own it (deej style) and their responsibility to be functional with their feelings (my project).
A problem is what is “functional” when it comes to feelings (as opposed to dysfunctional). Turning back to my daughter, if she feels something and needs to release it likely she isn’t mature enough to figure out what it really is. So how is she supposed to be functional with her feelings? Most people probably don’t go to such lengths of analysis. Most people have to try another route.
Perhaps functional can mean letting the pure emotion play out. If she is angry just allowing space to run that. Without judgement or taking that on as my problem. I’m not persuaded running the feeling out has to be with the subject of your feeling though (she doesn’t have to run it out with me), this could be where someone else possibly a counsellor steps in. Or it’s done alone thumping a pillow.
When I say running out emotions I mean pure emotions like anger, fear, frustration. If these things aren’t let out, my guess is that they become mean and rotten emotions like resentment, irritation and hatred. These emotions are typically directed at others and usually they are trying to get a reaction or send a message. They are the weapons is my guess.
Recently someone asked me not to use my emotions as weapons. I admit I am very sensitive about inflicting my emotions on this particular person, because he seems especially sensitive to it. I’m not sure if it’s more work required to see that it’s ok to let me own it (trust?); or a feeling of injustice because he doesn’t put his feelings out on others (injustice?); or an empathy issue where it disturbs his inner peace (pain). Or whether rotten emotions (the suppressed ones like resentment) have before come in his direction and wounded him.
Whatever it is at the moment it doesn’t feel quite balanced. I admit I am disappointed with myself that I am editing out most of my (negative) feelings for fear he can’t deal with it. However also I need to check this disappointment isn’t a tantrum at not being able to follow old habits. I feel though that he is missing some parts of me that feel like they are “mine” (so what’s the problem) and he doesn’t have to be afraid of them (so why is he?). This I have to take some responsibility for; I am letting it happen. Hence this blog to find my thinking.
If you love someone I expect there is an equal amount of positive and negative emotions. With big love comes big feelings. I want my lover to be able to run his anger, frustration and annoyance in a healthy way with me – not to hide it. I don’t mind being the subject, I don’t think, but this I would have to experience. I am not sure anyone ever got really angry at me and I let them own it. If you can prise it all open, let both poles flow without fear, my guess is it opens up for the real love and trust to come in too. More love.
I don’t want him to be afraid of my negative feelings. In fact it’s essential that I run them so they don’t turn rotten. I’ll run them anyway and I can do this alone. Is just nice to have someone you trust to share it with.
So asking me not to weaponise my feelings means asking for me to let out my pure natural emotions of anger, fear and annoyance, and gifting me the space to own it.
Is that where I started? Fucking blog logic.