If I told you that you have a range of sensations inside you, and you will allocate sensations like hearing a certain phrase from another person even if they didn’t say it because that’s what you expected to hear from them, you’d call me crazy. If I suggested, that whenever you touch a hot plate, you’re supposed to feel it to be just right for starting cooking, because that’s what a stove is meant for, you’d call me crazy. And yet, when people suggest to you that you are supposed to feel love for a person because they are your mother, or feel romantic feelings toward a woman because she is a woman who wants you to be her boyfriend, you nod and say well… All women deserve love. While that maybe true, YOU might not feel love towards her, and that is where we get into trouble.
Feelings are like sensations, like hearing, touch, or seeing; you SENSE an emotion, not produce it. You react to your environment, not produce an expected emotion in an expected situation, right? If a person is being nice to you, you experience a certain emotion. If that person starts to snipe at you under their breath, your emotion changes. The fact this person maybe your mother, doesn’t stop you from feeling ill to your stomach when she’s being nasty, even though your societal conditioning dictates that you will have to feel nothing but love towards her or you be a bad son or a bad daughter, does it?
Yet, that is more or less what is expected to happen: There are these people who you are supposed to feel a certain way for, regardless of how they treat you. And you are NOT supposed to feel another way towards certain people, because if you do, you cannot contain your emotions; it’s like saying you’re supposed to see your favorite color worn by everyone at all times, because, well, you’re supposed to like everyone at all times.
Making you feel guilty for an emotion another person causes you
The reason why people wish to control the way you are feeling is to remove their responsibility over how you feel. This is particularly visible currently in the way we react to domestic violence situations, where men are expected to be 100% in control of their feelings at all times – DESPITE what she says or does in the relationship. A female has the full reign; she is even allowed to get physically abusive, but if he raises his voice, he is being verbally or emotionally abusive towards her and therefore deserves to be condemned. At the same time, when people accuse him for being abusive, and the argument is raised that well, he only hit her once or similar, the accusants claim that “even emotional abuse is abuse!” However, that same argument doesn’t seem to fly if it’s a woman who is being emotionally abusive. Men are supposed to take it, swallow it, ignore it, and rise above it… Because they are supposed to control their feelings, and still, regardless of their treatment, see pink when they are seeing flaming red.
And I know every instinct in your body is screaming I am on the wrong side here, saying the wrong thing. MEN ARE SUPPOSED TO BE IN CONTROL OF THEIR EMOTIONS and women have to have the right to say whatever they like and do whatever they like because… Well, women don’t need to be in control of their emotions or responsible for them – that is the assumption and expectation.
This post isn’t about domestic violence, however, but the list of expected emotional responses go further than that, and also they give you THIS situation:
A nice person is always supposed to be nice
If someone, particularly a woman, has a reputation of “being nice to everybody”, then people expect that to be the case. She is seen as some kind of a safe haven, an eternally loving mother character who others can go to and always expect the same emotional response, no matter how she feels about the words, attitude, or treatment she receives. If she then reacts accordingly, people may feel she’s breaching a contract of sorts. “You were supposed to be the person who we can all air our feelings for…” But what they didn’t realize is that those feelings should be discussed, while she was not supposed to be the object of emotional transfer due to the fact the emotions were not supposed to come out in the presence of another person – like the mother.
Further, someone, particularly women, are always supposed to be nice with each other, and when a woman lashes out to one person, treats them cold or whatever, the hiss goes out: “She’s not a very nice person. She’s a bit fake.” And, obviously, all of this is wrong, we are not machines programmed to always give a specific emotion to a specific person regardless of how they treat us; our emotions react to the EXACT situation that we are in, on a level that our cognition cannot really comprehend, necessarily: I call emotions “the bug report”; if the emotional response isn’t the way one would assume, you have picked up on something that is ‘off’, and you react to that feeling. It is usually best to start examining the early bug reports before you allow the relationship to progress – should you be in a position where you can choose this relationship or leave it – with family members, the early reports are likely to be far behind us.
I am not supposed to feel this way
If this thought has ever occurred to you, realize that yeah, you may not be supposed to feel the way you are, but, regardless of it, you are. Feelings do not come out of nowhere. I know there are a lot of people who would argue differently, but I am saying feelings do not come out of nowhere. What DOES happen is that while one person is trying to be loving and caring, they may be completely overbearing and suffocating to another person – to give you a common example. Therefore THAT TYPE OF LOVE doesn’t suit the other person, and THEY NEED TO get out of that situation, no matter who that person is.
Emotions are valid data. That is what you need to start treating yours as. If you feel a certain way, assume there is nothing wrong with you, but there is A RELATIONSHIP issue at hand. Your emotional response is a different one to what was the expectation, but that doesn’t mean YOU are faulty, it means you and the person or the persons or the company you work for or whatever, think differently about emotions. I hold a strong belief that not all people will be able to feel good near each other, but that the relationship must be either ended or the dynamic has to be changed somehow – added new people, changing the power dynamic the other way around, or who knows what any given situation needs, just that it should NEVER be the expectation, that one party suffocates their emotions and feels guilty for having the wrong ones, while the other is given a free range to express theirs, because his or her emotions are “the right kind”.
Female emotions are correct, male emotions are flawed – right?
Did you notice how much resistance you put onto the thoughts that MEN should be able to express their emotions more freely – or that they wouldn’t need to have an endless tolerance to the actions of women? I know this thought scares women and men alike, because our society is based on the expectation that men suffocate themselves (their aggression) and women are free to do whatever they like. Nothing about that sentence hits a nerve with you, does it? This is an interesting thing, because we have learned to suffocate certain emotions, and one of them is compassion towards men. We simply do not have it, and that, my dear reader, is a global trauma regarding the treatment of men. We have conditioned ourselves to feel completely cold and indifferent towards the suffering of men and the mistreatment of men, and men are supposed to suffer in silence because we don’t want to think they suffer. “Do not make a noise, we don’t want to know you’re hurting.”
You’re not supposed to love that kind of a girl!
Let’s take yet another perspective to controlling emotions; this time, the sexual ones. Men are dictated how they are supposed to feel about a certain kind of a woman. An openly sexual woman is the wrong type, and a maternal one is the right type. Men get conditioned to think that any love they feel towards a sexual woman is not authentic, while the love they feel for the maternal is right and acceptable.
The same is true for women. They are not supposed to love a certain kind of a guy and are supposed to love the other kind that everyone is comfortable with her loving. For instance, should she be perfectly OK with the fact her boyfriend sometimes loses his cool at her – she is supposed to condemn him forever, dump him, and find herself a nice man (who bores her to death).
Also… There is a type of a person EVERYONE should love. We are dictated the rules on who we need to love and who we are not supposed to love, and we all know what type that is… We also know the person we DO love, may not be really like the expectation dictates.
Emotions react to a person and their treatment of us
As Carl Jung put it, paraphrasing; relationships are like chemistry; you mix two chemicals together and you get a different reaction. He is exactly right. For instance; history of violence is NO real indicator of how a person will react to an entirely new group of people. In Scandinavia, there is a lot of experience in “open prisons” that lock in the worst criminals while it is the prisoners themselves who hold the keys to… Their homes. The reason why this works is that when a person has AUTONOMY as a high personal need they will fight for their right to self-govern no matter what it takes. When a person like this is given enough freedom to do whatever they like, the last thing they want is to approach the people who try to reign them in. All they want is their freedom.
However, the other thinker type values certainty over all others. Therefore they are always trying to establish rules and regulations, as they wish someone would do for them. Their reaction is the American prison model; The more you rebel, the more you must be in need of strict rules. They LOVE being under lock and key and tight state of submission, that is where they feel safe. Unfortunately, apply this to an autonomous person and you create a pressure kettle of absolute explosive violence, while, if you free a person who needs confinement, they will act out and start shooting people just to be put into something they regard as being safe.
In a more everyday situation, the same thing applies to children and spouses, while one child needs freedom, another may need structure, and it’s fairly easy to see which is which. The one who likes his or her freedom will love to play alone, while those who want structure, are likely spending a lot of time pestering their parents for a bit of control. If you apply control on a kid that likes his or her own stuff, you’ll get them to rebel, while giving freedom (ignoring) a structure needing child will make them test their boundaries to coax you to reel them in better.
In a romantic relationship, the same thing applies again, one relationship isn’t the same as another, because, again, while a structure -loving person expects a freedom loving person to feel loved and secured when they give them boundaries, they feel “their spouse exploded OUT OF NOWHERE” even though they’ve always been nothing but loving to them… In the mean-while the freedom loving spouse has been suffocated to death, molly-coddled, minimized… etc etc, and finally exploded after trying to fight for his or her freedom for a duration of time that they felt was more than enough time for the other person to adjust. Then, the freedom lover is going to be told their emotions were wrong because his or her spouse was “only being loving”.
There is no such thing as wrong emotions or the expected emotional response. People NEED TO feel free to feel whatever they feel, even if we do not accept violence as a response, we have to accept that there comes a point when fighting for one’s autonomy IS an appropriate reaction, be it screaming, shouting, running away, violence; or simply breaking up with someone who was nothing but nice to the other person… “Right out of the blue…” On that note, I am saying that we need to truly accept breakups and divorces and ending friendships a lot more than what we do now, because currently, we blame one type of a thinker for having “wrong feelings” while the other dominates all relationship types.
And, for the record, the freedom loving people are FAR from incapable of having BEAUTIFUL relationships, in fact, they make for the most relationship coaches on this planet, because they are actually really good with relationships. Only… They need their equals in theirs, and they cannot be made to perform the role of someone who wants strict rules and scripts to play… Like the other type. This NEEDS TO become the #1 point of considerations in all relationships, business, friendship, love relationships, and choosing foster carers, unfortunately, our parents will be whatever they will be… But at least the freedom loving parents can be trained to treat the structure needing children with enough structure to keep them happy, while the reverse might not be true because the structure needing people tend to be afraid of everything; particularly an emotion that cannot be controlled.