Handling Negative Emotions

We live in a society where negative feelings like anger, sadness, upset, frustration, fear, tension, scared often overwhelm our routine life. Emotions are not something that can be easily hidden, whether positive or negative. It invariably finds its expression in some way.

Constructive expression of negative emotions is an effort by itself. It has to be learnt. The earlier the age, the better you learn to express them in an acceptable way. Children and even adults who are introverted, socially inhibited by nature may find difficulty in expressing emotions amicably.

The ability to express emotions in some form, whether speaking, writing, through art, is essential. Otherwise, they may damage the very existence of a healthy living. How to do that? The rule is not do damage you or others but choosing a safe way to express these emotions. Direct verbal expression, writing, painting and your own creative ways can help you to push out these negative emotions from your system, from time to time, before they damage you.

Emotional Balance

Balancing your emotions and reasoning (logic) are like two sides of the same coin. Emotions whether positive (happiness, relaxed) or negative (anger, redness, fear, tension) makes one stirred up or shakes one’s whole being till you express them in some form. Similarly, logic, reasoning or practical problem solving is equally important to handle daily short term & also future long term problems. Both emotions and reasoning have to be balanced.

If one is too emotional, then one might not be rational and vice versa. It is always better to be practical but one should also be able to connect emotionally. The so called emotionally balanced person can live life to the fullest than the extremes of too emotional or too rational or logical people. Too emotional or too logical may disturb one’s smooth sailing.

Willingness to change, a healthy factor in emotional bonding

In an emotional relation (between 2 persons), the suffering person has more need to get relief from hurt and hence will be open towards change. However, change in a relation needs to happen for both sides. For long term healthy relational growth, change in a relation is a basic growth point. If only one is willing to change or both are resistant to change, the relationship stagnates to the extent of rigidity or pulling back from relating further to the person.

Especially in long term relations like couples, siblings, the effects can be damaging for a lifetime. Be open to change & live a worthy relation than stagnate & waste precious life.


Can a close/trusting emotional relationship damage the trusted person?

Can a trusted person be damaged by a close or trusting emotional relationship? Sounds illogical but it is possible. Deeper emotional dependence is often considered unhealthy but is an inborn tendency of humans. It is not necessarily a childhood characteristics that we need to outgrow.

Secure dependency is a sign of a healthy relationship, which helps one to be confident and independent in functioning. The more secure we are, the more independent we can be, rather, interdependent and self sufficient we can be. The availability of a emotionally close person provides comfort and security and their lack of access or unavailability can be distressing or hurting. Closeness with an emotionally unaffected person can reduce anxiety and help healthy unfolding of one’s personality. It gives confidence to take risks, learn new information, deal with problems and manage stress effectively in life.

Accessibility and emotional responsiveness are core of healthy bonding between individuals that help build trusting relationships. Our strongest of emotions arise in attachment/emotional relationships.

Insecure emotional relationships can be extremely distressing with anger and aggression experienced on loved ones. Requests for attention and reassurance from emotionally close friends or persons and their failure to respond can lead to anger outbursts, depression leading to detachment over a period of time. Depression maybe a natural response to lost emotional connections. This kind of response or reaction patterns can happen with any relation such as a parent and a child, siblings, wife and husband etc.

Maternal deprivation where an attachment figure is unavailable by rejection or abandonment or loss can be traumatic in the sense of ones ability to deal with fear and stress in one’s life. Unavailable emotional relationships can create insecure attachment with oneself and one’s world leading to inability to handle stress and their ability to emotionally relate to their loved ones.

On the other hand, a close or emotionally attached person can become manipulative or use ones closeness for their selfish needs of material or emotional gains which in the long run can be more damaging to the affected person than helping him or her to deal with the stress. An over-involved parental figure in child activities such as not letting child explore one’s world for fear of hurt or rejection can be damaging to the child in the short and long term as an adult.

In conditions like schizophrenia, it is a well established fact that over involvement, being very critical of ones behavior by an attachment figure or parental figure can be continuous stressors for the symptoms to reappear over a period of ones life time. Rather, these critical behaviors and over involvement can maintain ones psychological disturbance. Non availability of emotionally close relationship can lead to depression which can be limited to oneself or even run in families projecting relational  patterns in a family relationship with repeated cycles over generations.

The extreme form of malfunctioning can happen with unhealthy personalities, where ones close and emotionally related persons, manipulate emotions to the core leaving the attached person hurt and blunt by the distancing over a period of time. Here, such persons can use emotions and emotionally close persons as instruments of meeting their needs, using them as objects than emotional beings, even without their knowledge. In other words, the quality of manipulating one’s loved ones can itself become their natural personality tendency leading to more and more loss of loved ones over a period of their life time and possibly leading to isolation, denial and ultimately lost relationships.

Emotions and emotional relationships are complex and one needs to invest time and energy to analyze and retrospect in order to live and healthy and secure relationships. If one does not make the effort to invest time and energy into the relationship, one can be left depressed, isolated, and even ill.

“Suffering”-Constructive or Destructive in an emotional relation?

We gather our best resources and are motivated to achieve our short term and long term goals in life including acquiring a valuable academic degree or a decent employment or materialistic benefits.

But, how many of us reflect on the “suffering” we go through in the pursuit of our goals? How many of us reflect on this “suffering” in the relationships with close family members or intimate relationships as playing a constructive and positive role in our growth?

When we are afraid of a particular situation, say writing a competitive exam, the whole world seems to gather its energy to support us and help us keep our courage to go through and cope with the difficult phases. But within the closed doors of our own family, when one is suffering at an emotional level, how many of us know about or care about or offer support to those in need?

It is possible that our own family members, with whom we are expected to connect emotionally, are sometimes blind to or negate our suffering or hurt. In what conditions or situations can it happen? What is the best way out?

Competing or conflicting interests between family members can lead to a lack of understanding of the emotional needs of others. The unmet needs of the family members can lead to a period of frustration, anger, sadness, hopelessness, despair and a whole range of emotions. This may become a positive force by bringing together the entire family to work together for solutions that help everyone achieve their goals. It can become a destructive force where those who “succeed” or those who “fail” become insensitive, blunt, non responsive or indifferent to the needs of others. It is a debatable point if the relations can return to normal once everyone meets their needs once the relationship has entered a destructive phase. It depends on the pre-existing emotional bonding, the bonds that existed before the relations got strained by different needs.  If there is a healthy space between members and clarity on each members roles in the family, it is still possible that the relation can return to normal or at least become more in harmony. If the foundation of emotional bonding is already weak with conflicting roles and confusing expectations from each other, even after a balanced state, the desired emotionally healthy relationship may not be achieved.

The way out is definitely to take time out to reflect, analyze and develop clarity over the strained relationships. Be open to a honest, direct discussion. However, the motivation of other family members to work on the relation is a major influencing factor. Untangling the complexities of relationships can be difficult and lead to more problems and more brooding. It might be better to seek the help of an experienced family therapist who can play a neutral role and help untangle and navigate through the complex relationships and expectations.  However, the results are only as good as the motivation of the family members to work on the relationship!