In the previous post, Coping With A Stressful Situation: Managing Your Emotions, we discussed the importance of not acting impulsively on your upset emotions. When possible, taking a break until you are calm so your logical mind can be in charge is the best strategy.
What you do during that break is important.
There are actions that will help you manage your emotions effectively and actions that tend to increase your emotional upset. When people are angry or scared or experiencing an uncomfortable emotion, they sometimes feed the emotion, like throwing wood on a bonfire, though that’s not their intention.
Whether you’re dealing with an emotional bully (see previous post about adult bullies) or other difficult situation, one of the first steps is to comfort yourself and manage your emotions.
The part of the brain that is responsible for decision-making and planning cannot function as well when you are filled with emotion. Acting on emotions without the thoughtfulness of the logical part of the brain usually means trouble.
Even when you’re in the right about a situation, if you act impulsively and emotionally it’s unlikely others will listen. They’ll tell you to calm down and don’t get so upset. This situation happens frequently for the emotionally sensitive and they soon believe no one listens to them. They also may find themselves reacting first and regretting later.
One type of emotional bully is the person who attempts to use anger as a way of protecting themselves, controlling others or as a form of connection. Anger is often a hurtful emotion for those on the receiving end. For emotionally sensitive people having someone angry at them can be devastating and result in their withdrawing, fighting, acting in unhealthy ways and experiencing hours of emotional pain.
One of the ways to cope with anger is to change your perception (see previous post on No Matter What the Problem, There Are Only Four Things You Can Do). If you blame yourself whenever someone is angry with you, or have an automatic response that isn’t effective, a first step of pausing and considering the reasons for their anger could be helpful.
Spouses who verbally attack, the controlling boss, the critical parent–all may be described as angry people. Bullies are often angry people, regardless of their age. Maybe it’s hard to understand why someone would bully another. After all, being chronically angry has many negative consequences for both the person who lives in anger and those around that person.
Self-Compassion is a form of acceptance, one of the four options you have no matter what the problem you face (see previous post, No Matter What the Problem, There Are Only Four Things You Can Do). Kristin Neff in her book Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, lists three core components of self-compassion: self-kindness, recognition of our common humanity, and mindfulness. These components are all helpful for the emotionally sensitive person.
Self-kindness is being gentle and understanding with yourself. This concept means more than not beating up on yourself and stopping harsh judgments. Self-kindness means to understand and comfort yourself, like you would a good friend. Self-kindness means comforting yourself even when you make mistakes and especially when you make embarrassing ones.