When I am upset with you, I either hide my emotions or assault you with them. What I don’t do is share what I am feeling. You are the same way. Unfortunately, when we are upset with each other sharing our feelings is exactly what we should be doing, if we are to resolve our differences.
Neither hiding our feelings nor letting them take over and blasting away at each other helps when we are upset.
Hiding your feelings leaves your partner knowing that something is going on but not being able to work anything out with you, because you won’t acknowledge your condition. Blasting away at your partner usually sends your partner into flight or fight mode; she hides or counterattacks.
Sharing your feelings and assaulting your partner with them 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. 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 about what they feel with each other, the impact is exactly the opposite. Here are two people genuinely working on the relationship with each other and clearly getting somewhere positive.