Appropriate Expression of Feelings

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Expressing honest feelings in a kind way

Sometimes it is difficult to express honest feelings to another for fear of causing them undue pain. Part of a healthy codependency recovery is to learn to express true feelings in an appropriate way to make unpleasant messages as painless and palatable as possible for the recipient. A person with poor emotional boundaries might have a hard time delivering a necessary painful message because they don’t want to cause undo pain. However, sometimes painful information is necessary so it is timely to learn how to deliver messages in the most humane way.

It’s down-right mean to tell an ugly person they’re ugly or call a dumb person dumb, but unpleasant honesty is called for in some situations and there’s no way to avoid invoking negative, hurtful or disappointed feelings in others.

Examples: “I don’t feel the same way towards you as you to towards me, and I want to break off the relationship,” or “I don’t really care for the gift you gave me and I’d like to exchange it for something else that would work better for me” or, “You didn’t get the scholarship.”

This can be devastating news, but there are times the messages must be told. The rule of boundaries says you need to let that other person be responsible for handling their own feelings, but the rule of decency says you can state what what needs to be said in the most palatable way possible.

Under these awkward or difficult circumstances, state the honesty in as kind a manner as possible, using a pleasant tones and a kind look on your face. Use “I” statements (assertive training chapter) and sandwich the negative statement with a “positive” before and after the unpleasant honesty needing to be delivered.

“I really liked you’re interview, and I’m sure you’ll make a great employee (compliment), however you have not been selected for the job (unpleasant honesty),
But with your qualifications and professionalism, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a good job soon.”(compliment)

“I think you are an amazing person (compliment), but unfortunately I don’t feel the same way about you as you do about me (unpleasant truth). I’m sure you’ll find someone wonderful because you deserve only the best.” (compliment)

“Thank you so much for the gift, it was so kind of you to give it to me. (compliment) However, there is another article in the same store that will suite my needs better so I am going to exchange it (unpleasant truth). Thank you so much for the kind thought and for making it possible for me to get this other article that will work better for me.”

A common codependent trait is to avoid confrontation or take the brunt themselves in an attempt to save the other person from having to experience unpleasant feelings as a result of your response. Codependent people may even take on something violating to themselves to keep others from having to feel painful emotions. Example: Larry marries Jennifer because she says she will kill herself if he doesn’t.

In this example, Larry is sacrificing his true desires to insure that Jennifer doesn’t feel so badly that she ends her life. He felt it his duty, but with good emotional boundaries Larry would have realized that if Jennifer decides to commit suicide, it would be of her own doing, not his. With healthy emotional boundaries, Larry would let her be responsible for her own feelings and let go of the need to sacrifice himself to save her from killing herself.

Jennifer's desperation was probably just a manipulative ploy to keep Larry in her life, however there is a chance she might actually carry through with the act. Is it Larry’s fault if Jennifer kills herself because he doesn’t marry her? Absolutely not!

By giving in to a manipulative ploy, Larry would be dishonoring himself. Part of codependent recovery is to let others be responsible for their own feelings. It may seem cruel, but when unpleasant truths are expressed in the most appropriate way, you have done your part in being fair. There are times that all you can do is be as kind as possible with your message. Learn to manage your own feelings and allow others to manage theirs. With good emotional boundaries, you are responsible for you feelings and you allow others to be responsible for theirs.

Do not do the following with feelings:

  1. Don’t shut down feelings
  2. Don’t compare your pain to someone else’s
  3. Don’t try to talk someone out of their feelings (Example: Don’t talk to me about how

much your ( ) hurts, I experienced far worse pain when I .......”

Don’t vent negative feelings on others unless you know they have strong emotional boundaries and will not personalize them. Find a way to vent first, that will not hurt

you or others or property, then talk to the person rationally, expressing feelings in a

moderate way.

Don’t suppress feelings

Don’t punish others for their feelings, simply refuse to discuss the issue until they

have their feelings under control and and talk about them rationally. (Set emotional

Boundary). Wait until that is possible.

Don’t cover one feeling up with another one (Anger to hide hurt or shame, Happy to

hide disappointment, grandiose to hide shame, etc.)

Don’t dismiss or diminish your feelings or others 

Law of the Garbage Truck

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. 

We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and misse the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his headaround and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. 

So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruinedyour car and sent us to the hospital!’ This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, ‘The Law of theGarbage Truck.' He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. 

As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. 

Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. 

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so ... Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don’t. 

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it! Have a wonderful, garbage-free day! author unknown - random email

~Author unknown

Defuse Anger before Assertive Confrontation

by Helen Bair

The purpose of Assertive Confrontation is to resolve difficult issues in a peaceful, constructive way. However, if your anger level is high you need to make sure you properly vent those feelings before attempting your confrontation or it may be anything but peaceful. If your anger is at at 10 on a scale of 10 to 0, vent your feelings first so you can remain logical and rational during your confrontation. Otherwise, you may be tempted to take out your anger on the other person and start a battle, rather than information sharing and seeking for resolutions. 

Look for creative but safe ways to defuse anger before a confrontation. You could talk to a neutral party about the problem (make sure this person will not spread your problems to others) or write about it. Venting on paper has an advantage because if you destroy the paper afterwards, you can say ANYTHING you want. Write down ALL thoughts and feelings that come to your mind. Spare no words. No one is going to get offended because you will be destroying the writing later so it can never be read by anyone else. Put it in a paper shredder, burn it or rip it into tiny pieces and flush them.

Avoid venting on a computer because then there is a permanent record of everything you’ve written. You best not have your toxic venting there for anyone else to find.

If you don’t know what to write about events, just write the emotion over and over again. Example: “I feel angry, angry, angry, angry...” over and over again. If you want to say something mean to a particular person, write it on your paper until the energy is discharged but don’t ever say it to that person.

Talking to an empty chair is another good method of venting. As if the person in question is setting in the chair, say exactly what you want to say and spare NO WORDS!!! If there is no chair available, just say or think the words as if you are telling them directly to the person. Spew, vent, discharge, feel the feelings, swear, whatever helps you get it out! Just get it out.

When venting emotions it is best to use words like, “I feel angry,” rather than “I am angry.” The reason is that “I am” is a statement of creation and you don’t want to be creating more anger. “I feel” is just a feeling, which means it can be released.  Also, keep in mind that you are only venting feelings with the intention of defusing your anger, not ever intending to use it on other person.

If you do not have time to vent before your Assertive Confrontation, wait until a later time. Then use the Assertive Confrontation model shown in Chapter 3.  Proper venting ahead of time can save you big regrets later. 

~The originator of many of these flyers, unknownBack to BLOG


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