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Cunprrn 4

Why Do My Emotions Hurt SoMuch?

We'veestablished emotions that havefunctions and uses, so what?you may be hav_ but ing sucha rough time with yout emotions that you think no survivalfunctionis worth the intensityand chaos that you feel.But iet me tell you, it,s not just the sensitive people who feelpainful emotions sadness fear-we all do. However, experience like and we our emotions with varying degrees intensity, of and thereare factorsthat may be mcreasrng the intensity with which you feel thern. The factors to consider include: . Biology . . . Vulnerabilityfactorc and secondary emotional responses Judgments Modelingand leamingfactors, and other environmental factors

Biology and Emotion

As we've said,your emotions in part biologically you can,texpenence are hard-wired. your emotions without your brain gettinginvolved.And when your brain is involved thele arenumerous hormones neurotransmitters get involved,too.Tlle way that and that


R Don't Let your Emolioks n Yotlr Life

by is our eachof ns experiences emotions affected the shapeof particrtlarparts of tl-re by are and all of these alfected orrr diet, another, or brairLcertainlevelsof onehormone tl.rat sleephabits,and so forth. I-aterwe will look at chanSes you can makein your lifein your emotional For resilience. now, herearesomeof the chemicals our stvleto increase bodiesthat are involved in emotion: and Cortisol.This hormoneis imPortantin helPingthe body mctabolizcProteins that suggest Recent studies and and carbohydrates is telatedto copingwith sh'ess fatigue. to predisposed postof individuals with lower baselines Productionof cortisol are (PTSD), problemswith attention,and imPulsivity ln some traumaticstressdisorder into the brain at the time o{ a individuals,unusuallyhigh levelsof cortisolare released to traumaticevent.With prolongedstressor trauma,cortisollevelsaPPear droP, but to the amounts heightened sensitivity an individualsdemonstrate especiaily traumatized to and this may havesomerelationsh,ir the e\Periences in that are produced theirbodies, of flashbacks.

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includingemotioncontrol, has a wide array of functions, This hormone Serotonin. who suffer For events. tlLose to and perceptions, mood modulahonin response stressful or it from depression is thoughtthat thei brainsdon't produceenoughserotonin usc it and mood.Carbohydrates contribute Thesedeliciencies effectively. Sreatlyto depressed reuPtake known as serotonin levels. The anli-depressants serotonin help increase exercise serotonin the brain and urakernoreof it avaiiable in recycle inhibitors (SSRIs) endorphinsare Producedin Endorphins.Relatedto feeling good and pleasure, "runner'shigh," this is a shortIf to response touch and exercise. you've ever heardof Endorphins and human endorphins. of hand way to talk aboutthe experience increased who aren'tregularlyheld and touchedare touch are so imPortait to us that newborns than thosewho ale. more likelv to die prematurely


to your reactivityand suscePtibility being too emotional VulnerabiiityIactorsincrease are unflappable Evenpeoplewho are generally suffering. or and impulsive, to emotional vulnerableto being overly emotionalwhen they are fatigued,becomingmore easily If Well,in this case, sleep. you'vebcenampingup on angered irritable.Theantidote? and coffeeall day you will be more likely to fidget or becomeanxious. and factors and check that apPlyto yor'r, all Look at the followinglist of vulnerability of then add othersyou rnaybe awareof but that aren'ton the list. By building awareness your vulnerabilities, you learn how you can then reducethem. Vulnerability factors includer Too much or too little sleep Too much junk food Dehydration Too much cafleine

H Why Do My Enotions tt SoMuc)1?


Hunger and Poor nutrition

o Overeating and under eating . . . . . . . . . . . . . Injuries or wounds or Physical medicaliliness problems Financial or Underemplo),rnent unemployment Overworking Eatingtoo much suSar Eatingtoo much fat losses accidents or Recent naturaldisasters Recent difficulties Recentrelationship rape,theft, etc.) Beinga victim of crime (assault, Lack of exercise Fatigue

o Dweliingon recentpersonal failure Other:

Self-Talk,and InterPretations fudgments,

for Vuherabilitiesalso affectour thoughtProcesses the worse.The mme run down ot you feel,the more likely you are to think lessof yourself lf you're a man, and reactive fear sadness, may you as you think of yourself a sissyfor experiencing or for experiencing but feel worse.Your emotionwon't simpiy be fear or sadness, fear about fear,sadness you judge yourselfas and about sadness, maybeshameaboutboth of these.PerhaPs "lost it." Your automatic thoughtsand judgments crazy,or having being weak-willed, judgmentsoften lead to And these your emotions. witl affectthe way you experience or which don't helP us with survival,socialconnection, general emotions, secondary well-being. that your judgments aboutyour If you thoughtaboutit, you would likely discover throu8hmocleling how io exPress, from your environment corning are emotions leamed, eitherimplicitlyor explicitly. WhatjudgThiscanhappen control,or thinl aboutfeelings. ments do you have about your emotions,and where did they come from? the Takea momentto check itemson the followint list that you identifywith. In the oI write the source this belief.Then write out the pros and consof blank next to each, to holding that belief.Proslor holdingany beliefmight includethat it's just easier hold


Don't Izt Yow Eftotions Ruk yoltt LiIe

no your beliefsas they are sincethere's extrawork to be done A.con miSht be that you conhnue in your same old pattems, doing ineffective businessas usual. Judgments and Automatic Thoughts . Emotionsare bad and dumb. RatestrenSth ofbelief:12 3 4 5 l\rheredid this beliefcome fiom' Pros and consof holding this beliefr Pros: Cons:

My emotionsaren't imPoltant. 'l Rate strength ol belief: 2 3 4 5 Where did this belief come from? Pros and consof holding this belief:



Others don't care about my feelings,so I shouldn't careeither. 'l Rate shength of belief: 2 3 4 5 l{here did this belief come from? Pros and cons of holding this beliefr



my Expressing feelings is a sign of weakness. ofbelief:12 3 4 5 Ratestrength 'lAtrere did this belief come from' Prosand consof holding this belief: Ptos:


Ll]rtf So Much? lNhy Do M! Emolioks


Being emotionalis fhe sameas being out of control. Ratestrengthof belief:I 2 3 4 5 Wheredid this belief cornefrom? Prosand consoI holding this belief: Cons:

Anger isn't for women. Ratestrengtlrol belre[ 12 3 4 5 Wheredid this belief comefrom? Prosand consof holding this belief: Pros: Cons:

o Fearisn't for men. Ratestrengthof belief:1 2 3 4 5 Wheredid this belief comeirom? Prosand consof holding this belief:

I should neverfeel afraid ofbelief:12 3 4 5 Rateshength \Arhere this belief cornefrom? did Pros and consof holding this belief:
Co si

Don'tIEt Yo r Efiotios R n YourLik

Being emotionalis a sign that I'm weak. Rate strength oI belrel 'l 2345

Wheredid this belief comefrom? Pros and cons of holding this belief:



Emotionsalways get in the way. Rateshength otbe]i'ef:7 2 3 4 5 l{here did this belief come ftom? Pros and cons of holding this beliel Pros: Cons:

Emotionsare for the hyste cal. Rate strength ot beief: 1,2 3 4 5 Where did tlLis belief come frorn? Pros and consof holding this belief: Cons:

I wish I neYerIelt anything. Ratestrengtholbelief:12 3 4 5 Where did this belief come from? Prosand consof holding this belief:





IMy Do M1J Emalions SoMuch? Htrt


There is never a right time for shong emotions" Ratestrengthof belief:1 2 3 4 5 Wheredid this belief comefiom? Prosand consof holding this belief: Pros: Cons:

I'm afraid of my emotions. Ratestrengthof belief:1 2 3 4 5 Wheredid this belief comefrom? Prosand consof holding this belief:



below to wfite down any thoughtsor beliefsaboutemoUse Any others? the space Make sure to include the in tion you may hold that aren't reflected ihe abovechoices. beiiefsas you think oi them,and inciudethe prosand for sources eachof the additional consof hoiding the beliefs.

Ranking Your Thoughts thoughts beliefs and you haveaboutyour emotions, take Out of the aboveautomaiic blanks(1-5)and rvritein the degree list themin the followingnumbered the top five and iake eachone(1-5). Onceyou finish this exercise, a momentto iook to which you believe "Challenging Your Self-Talk." at chapter9, Top Five Beliefs



Do11'I yourhhotions yaw Life Let Run



Modeling,Invalidation,and Other
Environmental Sources
Your secondaryemotional responses sometimesget in the way of your primary responses. canbecome dysregulated you forgetwhat you felt about someYou so that thing in the first place.Instead simplylettingyour emotions their job when approof do priate,or simply validatingthem,you rejectyour emotions invalid, inaccurate, as and ultimatelyunimportant. You treatyour sadness thoughit's a weakness as ratherthanan informantalertingyou to what's importantto you in your life. If you think aboutyour familywhenyou weregrowingup, I'm sureyou cantemember instances how your parents of responded your emotional to communjcations.don't I necessarily meanan explicitmessage "Suckit up." Thenressage$.qiten iike, mbie su6i[.,) For example, *ure yor',",,", spokento angrily or-even threate,inlly whef lou were' crying?That would be a message your parents that disapproved your displayof emoof tion. In my sadlyrealistic example, angryparentdoesn'tsay,"Gee,Timmy, mommy the doesn'tlike it whenyou cry. In fact,I feelangryand would like you to stop crying now.,, More likely, shesaid, "l'll give you something cry about!" to How did your parentsdisplaytheir own emotions? they appearto be terdbly Did reserved and repressed, did they fly off the handleat everyprovocation? or Were they consistcnt inconsistent? or l{hat is modeledto us as children has a profound effect throughoutoul entirelives abouthow to live with our emotions. seemto recordthe We patternsof our parentsto somedegreeor another. You may havebeenthe sensitive, reactive, emotional and one in your family. That,s just the$'ay it is. But if yor displayed neithergoodnor bad,that's intense respunses a m family with a very low tolerance emotiolal displays, for you may have facedrepeated invalidatingresponses your outbursts. to hvalidation would be responses from your family and enviionment that tell you that your private emotionalexperiences, cerand tainly your public communications emotionaren't legitimatein their own right or of worth paying attentionto and are betterstuffedor kept silent. The problemhereis that while you might shut up lor a while, temporarilymaking thingseasier others, doesn'tteach for it you how to effectively solveproblems, doesit nor teachyou how to labelyour emotions. Sometimes, oversimplification your probthis of lemsand emotional experiences thepath to behaviors areso extreme is that they forcethe peoplearoundyou to noticeyour painand takeyou seriously. if you,reaisostruggling So with pa icular behaviorssuch as self-harm, suicide ihreats,rages,or other ways of "acting out" thereis a function within the apparentdyslunctionof suchbehaviors. If you haveengagcd any of these in you behaviors, may noticehow the envtonment "in-your-face'behaviors wiil takenotice, because these canitbe ignored.Whenthe world comes your aid, and l'alidates to you in these extrene moments, problembehaviors the

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WhyDoMy Enntios Llurt SoMu{h?


arestrengthened-reinforced-and likely to happenagain. And rvhy wouldn,t they?The behaviors you validation,which is sornething all needand want. we 8ot

Did You Ever Experience Invalidation?

Takea look at the following statements checkall that you identifywith havinghad and the statement communicated aboutyou or to you. Yodll noticethat somestatements are of while othersaredirectput-dorvns. ideaoI this exercise to help dismissive needs, The is you build your awareness your experiences. of Mark statements only if you can recall receiving statement a consisteni the as message a gooddealo{ yor.rr for lpbringing. If you three or more, there's a good chanceyou were raised in an invaiidating check envfonment, . . . ' . You'rejust a big baby \,{y'hy can't you be more like your brother/sister/friend, etc.? If you dorl't stop crying i'll give you something cry about to Boysdon't cry C.)-g is for sissies

o Your problemis that you're lazy . . . . . . . . . . . . You'rejust good-for-nothing Don't make sucha fuss You're so sensitil,e You'renever happy with anything Shut upl You're so stupid You're such an enbairassment Stop whining, ii's annoying Good kids don't complain 1M1yare you alwayscomplaining? You eat like a pig Are you talking back to me?


42 Don't kt Yon EnotionsRunYourLiJe

that occurred frequentlyin your childhood of Think of familiarmemories situations suchasbeingsadand cryingbut being invalidation, in which you canrecallexperiencing "Boysdon't cry," or being told to shut up "I'11 to giveyou something cry about,"or told, were your internalfeelingsand exPeriences to how your attemPts exPress Or describe for oftenwill makeit easier you to that occurred Usinga situation met with indifference. your of identify your expeiences beinginvalidatedDon't makethingsuP, or exaggerate to what you tried to exPress, whom, how they memoiies. Justdo your bestto remember it you and responded, how you felt and how you believe affects to this date lf you live or believeis invaiidating, currendywhorn you work with sorneone )'ou may use situations from your intetactions with them.

Describing Invalidation

the Describe situationincludingwho and wherc:

Whatwereyou hying to express?

ignored, did you haveyour needs or Wereyou cailednames, How wereyou invalidated?

and did \ 41at emotions thoughts you havewhenyou wereinvalidated?

or Was this effective ineffective? to What did you do in response the invalidation?


with invalidation? What did you feeland think aitertrying to coPe


Why Do My Enotiois Hltrt So Mucltl

affects in your life today? you How do you think this experience

Invalidating situation #2 including who and where: the Describe situation

Whatwereyolr trlng to express?

Wereyou callednames, ignored, did you haveyour needs or How wereyou invalidated? minimized?

and thoughtsdid you have when you were invalidated? What emotions

to Was this effective ineffective? Vvhatdid you do in response the invaiidation? or

{,l-{!at did you feel and think after trying to cope:yt$gyglid"ligtrl

How do you think this experience alfectsyou in your life today?

Don t Let yow Emotiotls Run yaur Lile

Invalidating situation #3 the including who and where: Descdbe situation

What were you trying to express?


How lvereyou invalidatecl? Wereyou callednarnes, ignored, did you haveyour needs or minimized?

What emotions and thoughtsdid you have when you were invalidated?

What did you do in response the invalidation? to Was this eflectiveor irlcffective?


What did you feel and think after tuyingto copewith invalidation?

How do you think this experience affects you in your life today?

Reflecting Inaalidation on
. One problemwith having experienced invalidationduring your fonnativeyearsis that you probably weren't taught effectiveskills lor identifying your emotions,selfsoothing, probiemsolling. Invalidationtreatsyour problemsas lrnimportant, or and an invalidatingenvironment may attribute your lackof problen-solving skills to someundc, sirabletrait such as iaziness stupidity.This can be very frustrating. or


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Wh! Do My E totios Hurt SoMuchT

Anotherproblemis that you cantake these messages invalidaiionwith you into of your adult life, and begin to invalidateyou$elf. You may developpattemsof second_ guessing yourself, not takingyour own problems seriously, becoming or overlydepend_ ent on your enyirorunent decidervhatyou shouldbe doing,thinking,feelirg, or even to wanting. Takea momentto reflecton whetherand how you nay haveintemalized invalidation. You may noticethat if you haveintemalized invalidation, that it may have corne over the cource your life, beginning your childhood. of in You may noticethat these past expedences the internalized or invalidatiol]makeit difficult for you to handle certain kinds of people or situations,perhapsbecause thev remjnd you of thosc pasr crrcumstances. Later, in chapter9, we will exploreways to challenge this intemalized invalidation.

Awareness Self-Invalidation of lryhat invalidating messages your upbringing you tell yourself from do these days?

What situations most likely to higger self-invalidation? are

Describe iflhow you hy to iEnoreyoul feelings, thoughts, wants:

Describe iflhow you oversimplilythe problemsand challenges facein your life: you

Descdbehow you thinl your self-invalidation affectshow you feel and thir* about yourself:

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your LIfe R:,'n Don't Let youl Emolions


Your EmotionalRole Models

As a child, you probablyleamedpattemslrom othersby watchinghow they dealt wiih them or denyingthem,or being overly reactivethemselves. expressing their emotions, role modelsin your family, or from your ciildMake a list of the major emotional guardians, grandparents, List rmcles, aunts,siblings, hood and adolescence. your parents, teachers, ciergy,etc. caregivers, My emotionalrole modelswere: 1.

! I tf rl

2. 3.

I tl

5. Other:


Next,rewriteyour list below,usingup to five peoplethatyou tirink were mostint'luential.If your list of the mostinfluentialis shorter, thenwork with that.Then,in the space provided below eachperson's name,list fheir dominantemotionalstyle (thet general emotional trait),thenwrite a briel summaryabouthow you remember these persons. Think through if you rememberthem as angry, peaceful,balance,imbalanced, anxious, Finally,summarize depressed, etc. what you think you rnayhave learnedfrom eachof theseindividuals.For exampie, you learn to ignoreyour emotions? you did Did learnemotional balance? you leam to takeyour emotions Did seriously? you iearnto Did be.out of controlor chronically angry,or how to judge othersfor displayirg their emotions,and so on, You may include in this summaryyour opinion aboutwhether thesemodelsand their lessons have beeneflectiveor detrimental vou. to Emofionalrole model #1: Emotionalstyle: Y/hat I leamedhom this person:




W! Do M! EnoliotlsHult SoM1tch7


Ernotionalrole rnodel #2: Emotionalstyle: What I learnedfrom this personl

Emotionalrole model #31 style: Emotional What I learnedfrom this person:

Emotionalrole model #4: Emotionalstyle: I/VhatI leamed ftom this person:

Emotionalrole model 16: Emotionalstyle: What I leamedfron this person:

Don't Let your Elnotiotls R1111 Lile Yout

Sourcesof Emotional Parn

give pichl(eof why emotions be so intensely I hopethe aboveexercises you a clearer can paintul. To sumrnarize, thereis the biological gearihat you comewith hard-wiredinto you. Whethertherewere in vivo trar.rmas, headinjuries, chronicstressors, nutritionalinfluor a is ences, greatdealof what you experience simplyyour body andbrain doing what they do naturally.Theyhavenothingto do with your good or bad attitude.Next, depending on your general stateof rest,fluid intake,nutrition,medication, unexpected emergencjes, illness, etc.,your general baseiine moodwill be affected. These factors lvill inJhence your arousal and coolingdown, and your own appraisal how you think you may emotional of or may not be ableto cope. Anotherfactoris what you sayto yourselfwhen you become emotionallyaroused, sinceyour thoughtscan affect yow control of emotion.Finally, what you leamedaboutyour emotions from your emotional role nodels providea sortof templatefor how to relateto your emotions. In the next chapter, we'll move from general awareness out emotions the speof to cial kind of self-knowine calledrnindfulness.