June 19, 2019 CommunicationSelf Reflection

Reposted from the Parrott’s blog.

Controlling one’s emotions is not easy, but it can be done! Self-awareness is the ability to pull back and recognize the feeling you are having. When you have an emotional response and are able to bring it into your awareness, the chances of handling it appropriately improve.

You can’t expect your awareness to magically appear, you need to will your awareness. The key is to decide with intention to be objective about your feelings. If you are not aware of your feelings and how to handle them, chances are you may be engulfed, suppressed, or resigned. Today, we are discussing these three elements of emotion; how to recognize them, and ways to control them.


What does it look (and feel) like to become engulfed by emotion? Some impulses seem to be easier to control than others. Anger, not surprisingly, is one of the hardest to control because it often prompts us to react. You likely have felt engulfed by anger at one time or another.

This is the feeling of adrenaline rushing that prompts you to react; often out of impulse. It can be hard to step back from an emotion that is engulfing you. In cases of anger, a cool down period is recommended before you react to allow your body to process and achieve some distance from this red-hot emotion.


We’ve all experienced the awkward and disquieting experience of being with someone who sits on their feelings. Perhaps you just spilled your heart out and shared your feelings about an experience you shared with this person. And in return you received a quiet response. You likely felt out of synch when this happened, or that your emotions were unwarranted. This is a case of suppressing feelings.

It turns out some misguided people mistake emotional self-awareness with emotional suppression. Willing your awareness of your emotions has nothing to do with suppressing them. As you become aware of your emotions you don’t stomp them out, you manage them.


Unlike people who are engulfed by their emotions, resigned people know what they are feeling. However, they do little to try and manage their emotions. For example, if a person is depressed they may recognize and talk about it but do little to take steps to fix and address the problem head-on. Despite clarity about their moods, people who resign to their feelings don’t recognize the power they have to alter them.


1. Come to a realization and acknowledge!

“This is anger I am feeling.” That simple self-statement opens the door to freedom. How? It gives you the option not to act on it. It gives you the option to keep it alive or to tone it down. Once an emotional response (like anger, or any other) comes into your awareness – once you pull back and acknowledge what you’re feeling – the chances of using that emotion to your advantage greatly improve.

Through emotional self-awareness, your emotions become tools in your hands allowing you to craft empathic interactions that would have otherwise been lost. The sooner you become intentional about tuning into your own emotions as you interact with others, the sooner you will experience the realization that you can monitor and manage your own emotions.

2. Remember: It’s your choice!

The freedom to choose. That’s the kind of freedom emotional self-awareness brings. Every emotion offers a choice. How will you react when you are presented with a situation? Remember that every feeling also has value. It can teach us something about ourselves. You determine how you will react, and how intense you let an emotion become within you.

Emotional self-awareness can be a challenge. We know that exercising control over our emotions is not always easy. But is becomes easier than we think once we conjure up the will to do so! Emotional self-awareness will give you control over your feelings, and the ability to choose how to handle each situation you are confronted with.

Would you say that you are most likely to be engulfed by your feelings, to suppress your feelings, or to resign to your feelings? Why? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


Silence is a powerful communicator. Whenever we see a marriage that is slowly disintegrating, it’s usually followed by the couple concluding “they can’t communicate” or “they don’t talk anymore.” These couples believe that their non-talking is a lack of communication. When in fact it’s the opposite. When you don’t talk, silence sends a surplus of negative messages. Silence is powerful in its own way.

Silence is not the cause of poor communication – the fear of pain is. It’s human nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain. The truth is people actually avoid pain first, then seek pleasure. And under painful circumstances communication goes awry and silence can set in.

There are four styles of miscommunication that result when a person feels threatened. Placating, Blaming, Computing and Distracting. By understanding these styles and recognizing when they occur, you can ease your tension (or your partner’s) and get to the root of the cause before your communication breaks down and the silence sets in.


The placater is a “yes” person. This person is eager to please and apologetic. You’ll frequently hear placaters say things like: “Whatever you want!” or “Don’t worry about me, it’s ok.” They want to keep the peace at any price, including feeling worthless.

Studies show that placaters have difficulties expressing anger and hold so many feelings in they often become depressed. As a placater, you should remind yourself that it is ok to disagree! If your spouse if a placater, try to recognize these actions so you can help them express their feelings when they are holding back.


The blamer is a fault finder who criticizes relentlessly and speaks in generalizations. You’ll often hear blamers saying things such as “You never do anything right!” or “You’re just like your mother.” Deep inside, blamers usually feel unworthy or unlovable and can get angry at the anticipation that they won’t get what they want. Blamers tend to find that the best defense is a good defense.

If you (or your spouse) are a blamer try to recognize when you feel the need to be defensive. You likely fear dealing with expression or pain – try to let this go. Once you recognize these behaviors, learn to speak on your own behalf, without indicting others in the process.


The computer is a reasonable, calm and collected person. This person usually never admits mistakes and expects people to conform and perform. You’ll often hear the computer saying: “Upset? I’m not upset. Why do you think I am upset?” Computers fear emotion and prefer facts and stats.

If you or your spouse often find yourself computing, then it’s time to open up the communication doors and express your real feelings. Computers need someone to ask them how they feel about certain things. If you recognize this trait in your spouse, having an intentional conversation with them may help.


The distracter resorts to irrelevancies under stress and avoids direct eye contact and direct answers. Distracters are also quick to change the subject. You’ll often hear them saying something along the lines of: “What problem? Let’s go shopping.” Distracters fear fighting, and confrontation can bring this on.

The solution? Distracters need to know they are safe, not helpless. Problems can be solved and conflicts can be resolved. Encourage yourself (or your spouse) to confront problems head-on with productive conversation, rather than burying them.

The next time you find yourself communicating with your partner by placating, blaming, computing or distracting, remember that this is likely the result of feeling stressed or hurt about something. And vice versa, if you find your partner has resulted to one of these methods, ease their tension by being sensitive and trying to get to the root of the issue.

By opening up the communication walls before they completely close, you will be well on your way to a solid and productive conversation.

How do you and your partner communicate? Have you hit any barriers you’ve needed to overcome? We’d love to hear from you!

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