Do you know this couple? When they are upset with each other, they either hide their emotions or assault each other with them. What they don’t do is tell their feelings to each other. They don’t talk when they are upset. They either yell or disappear. Unfortunately, when this couple is upset with each other, sharing their feelings is exactly what they should be doing, if they hope to keep their relationship safe.
Neither hiding feelings nor letting them take over and blasting away at each other helps. Hiding your feelings leaves your partner knowing that you are upset but unable to work anything out with you, because you are not available. Blasting away at your partner usually sends your partner into flight or fight mode, hiding from you or counterattacking.
Sharing your feelings by talking about them and assaulting your partner with your feelings are very different. They also affect your partner very differently.
Two positive things happen when you share your feelings, neither of which happens when emotions run wild. When you talk your feelings, you provide your partner with useful information about what is going on with you and why, in a manner that your partner can absorb.
Plus when you share your feelings, you also experience them yourself, not in an out-of-control way—as when, for example, you are thrown into a rage—but in a way that helps you feel stronger and more in command of yourself.
As a relationship counselor and coach, I see a relationship going nowhere when two people blast away at each other in my office. On the other hand, when they manage to stay centered and talk with each other about what they feel, the impact is exactly the opposite. Then I see two people both positively connected and working on the relationship with each other.