Feeling overwhelmed by feelings with no clue how to manage them is at the core of addiction problems. A central problem of anxiety is being to easily swamped by fears. In depression it is feeling devastated by despair & hopelessness.
Many people are overpowered by their anger as evidenced by the news reports of Alec Baldwin. The intrusiveness of obsessiveness can wreck many people’s lives as evidenced by women who compare themselves unfavorably to everyone else. Perfectionists suffer from a persistent feeling that they are never enough and torture themselves needlessly.
There are soooo many ways to be confused & overwhelmed by feelings, how do you cope or control them?
*The first step is to accept it is totally possible to think & feel at the same time. This would mean deciding not to let feelings take up all the space.
*The second step is to become suspicious of feelings; they are not an inner compass but often, exaggerated & very manipulative.
*The third step is to make a choice to think through your feelings. This means taking time out of your jam-packed life to develop a new habit.
An example: You feel like you are not good enough for your partner. You’ve been dating for 3 years & you want commitment, they seem happy the way it is. This feeling leads you to despair because your Mom left the family home & you behind when you were 12. So when you are with your partner, you start putting up walls & seem easily irritated because they are not choosing you. When you are alone you feel hopeless & in despair.
So thinking all this through it seems clear you need to take some action & not do a big emotional dump that only leads to a dead-end. “OK 1. I’m feeling sensitive due to my past & it’s not their job to make that up to me. 2. 3 years is a good amount of time. Do I want to ask them to decide or free me up to find someone else, not as a threat but as a reasonable conclusion to spending all this time together. 3. Is commitment really important to me, after all?”
THINK THROUGH YOUR FEELINGS is how you control your emotions instead of letting them run rough shod all over you.
Learn about feelings and think of them as tools available to you in the emotional tool box. Even anger when you are in control can be constructive. Consider the opposite of each feeling as a way to get a grip. The opposite of anger is being vulnerable. Anger is self protective which is the opposite of vulnerability.
Another example: the opposite of FEAR is ????? Fear & excitement always travel together. So push & shove your mind to potential excitement in whatever you are afraid of because they are both present, whether or not it feels that way.
Guilt is one emotion that, similar to fear, people allow to run amuck. I am amazed at how people can feel guilty about trying to set reasonable boundaries with an intrusive parent or saying no instead of their usual knee-jerk yes. Here is one way to think more clearly about guilt: When guilt is reasonable it is accurate about an obligation. When someone wants too much from you then it is really unreasonable and the truth is you feel resentful but being nice is too important so you swallow your guilt and then it eats at you from within.
There is a lot of information about emotions on the emotion page of my website.