When Is It Helpful To Share Your Feelings?

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When Is It Helpful To Share Your Feelings?
When is the sharing of feelings important information & when is it manipulative?

"I just have to tell you how I feel. I'm very upset about what you did."

"I'm really angry with you."

"I just want to be honest with you. I'm so hurt by what you said."

Each of these statements is a sharing of feelings. Yet the chances are the person at the other end of this sharing of feelings will feel attacked and respond defensively.

So what's the problem? Aren't we supposed to share our feelings?

Well, yes and no. It depends upon your intent.

When feelings are shared from the ego wounded self, then they are being used as a means of manipulation and control. The message behind the above sharing of feelings is, "I'm upset, or angry, or hurt and it's your fault. You are responsible for my feelings. Your unacceptable behavior is the cause of my painful feelings."

When feelings are shared from your loving adult self, the intent is to learn about yourself and the other, or to just give information. For example, if you say, "I'm very upset about what you did, and there must be a good reason you did it. Can we talk about it?", your intent is to learn rather than blame. Instead of being a victim of the other person's behavior, you are interested in understanding the situation. Or, you might say, "I'm really angry at you, and I don't want to take it out on you. So I'm going for a walk and see if I can get through this." In this case, you are taking responsibility for your own feelings, your own reactions, and just giving the other person information about your behavior.

Our wounded feelings of anxiety, depression, hurt, anger, unworthiness and inadequacy, come from our thoughts, not from others' behavior. For example, let's say that your friend tells you that she wants to get off the phone because she is feeling judged by you and she doesn't like it. There are many things you can tell yourself about this, and what you tell yourself will determine what you feel.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.
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Dr. Margaret Paul

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Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process - featured on Oprah, and recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Take our FREE Inner Bonding course, and click here for a FREE CD/DVD relationship offer. Visit our website at innerbonding.com for more articles and help, as well as our Facebook Page. Phone and Skype sessions available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Location: Pacific Palisades, CA
Credentials: PhD
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Couples/Marital Issues, Depression
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