How do I manage my emotions?
July 21, 2012 7:54 PM Subscribe
I am a highly educated 27 year-old female, and I am at a loss as to what to do with my extreme emotions.
How does one manage a burst of emotions so as to deal with the situation in an effective and calm manner? Specifically, I need advices on redirecting or channeling my anger and sadness in a way fast enough that I can still remain in the scenario (even more specifically, when in conflict with my mother)... but one that does not involve self-mutilation.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (23 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I have known for several years that my feelings are a lot more intense than what most folks appear to feel. My highs and lows are both very extreme.
So far, I have been able to manage my emotions in everyday life. I don't scream and dance and jump off the building when I am excited, even though I want to, and I don't cry and cause severe pain upon myself, even though I always feel the urge to do so.
But I still have trouble when dealing with my mother. I have to disclaim first that she is the best mother in the world, and I could not asked for more. But Mum and I have a history of communication where our messages and emotions are misaligned. We are not on the same page, in terms of our modes of speaking and listening.
When I am in conflict with her, usually over very small things, all of my normal techniques of delaying emotions and resolving them fail. I am so filled with both anger and sadness I feel sick. I shake. What I really want to do is calmly and rationally discuss the small thing that set us off, but I often couldn't.
I usually withdraw from the scenario and return later when I am calm, but it doesn't always work and isn't always possible. When I do get 20 minutes alone time, I find that I have to just let all of it out, or else it would take me days to calm down, and I would still be angry when reminded later. This usually means screaming into a pillow until I lose my voice, and cause sharp, physical pain by pinching or slapping myself. And I cry uncontrollably.
When it's impossible to withdraw, in the past I have resorted to inconspicuously cutting. Now I try as hard as I can to hold it in, but I end up either puking, or I blow up-- I scream, say mean things, bawl. Or I pinch and slap, but that always confuses people. One time I thought I would scratch myself lightly with a key, but I ended up making a deep cut with the key. It hurt for days.
In the past couple of years, I have tried everything I can to improve my relationship with my mother, and I have made some progress. I am hoping to break this cycle where we both push each other's button. To do so, I had to first break the habit of screaming to each other, so I have had to swallow my anger whole. This means a lot more cuts and bruises from pinching, and my mum just told me that she is very irritated when I say I will return in 10 minutes and go punch a pillow. She finds that very passive aggressive, even though I swear I was hoping to do that secretly and entirely so that I can calm down.
I need advice on better ways to quickly disperse these super intense emotions-- I've read all the things telling me to do yoga and run, but I can't just pull a downward facing dog in the middle of a gone-sour conversation with my mum.
Outside of interactions with her (or thinking about those interactions), I am generally a happy person, and am rarely angry, and can generally manage irritating or saddening situations very well-- most of the people who's known me after my teens say that I seem to deal with my emotions quite well. I have worked hard to get here, but it seems like all of my efforts are useless when I interact with my mum.
I suspect that I don't know how to cope when emotions are extreme. And based on how extreme I feel when I interact with mum, I suspect that I feel hurt, but I don't know for sure and don't know why. Sometimes I don't even know why I experience the emotions I do when around her.