Inner Work With MaryAnn Walker: Life Coach for Empaths, Highly Sensitive People & People Pleasers

Emotional Calm vs Emotional Charge

March 28, 2024 MaryAnn Walker Episode 93
Inner Work With MaryAnn Walker: Life Coach for Empaths, Highly Sensitive People & People Pleasers
Emotional Calm vs Emotional Charge
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode  we discuss the differences between communicating from a place of emotional calm versus approaching conversations with heightened emotional charge.

Examples of Emotionally Charged vs. Emotionally Calm Responses:

  • Emotionally charged: "You're avoiding me to punish me."
  • Emotional calm: "Hey, I'd love to get together, I miss you."
  • Emotionally charged: "You must not like me very much."
  • Emotional calm: "Hey, I haven't heard from you as much lately, what's been going on?"
  • Emotionally charged: "Our friendship doesn't matter anymore."
  • Emotional calm: "I noticed we haven't been spending much time together, is everything okay?"
  • Emotionally charged: "I guess I can't count on you."
  • Emotional calm: "I'm feeling overwhelmed with work, could use some support, are you available?"

Reasons for Emotionally Charged Responses:

  1. Past Experiences: Previous negative experiences or traumas shaping interpretations.
  2. Insecurity: Low self-esteem leading to negative interpretations.
  3. Lack of Communication Skills: Not having the skills to communicate effectively.
  4. Projection: Projecting fears or insecurities onto others.
  5. Defense Mechanisms: Becoming defensive to protect ego.
  6. Emotional Triggers: Strong reactions based on past experiences.
  7. Cognitive Bias: Seeking and interpreting information to confirm existing beliefs.

The episode emphasizes the importance of emotional regulation, pointing out that it ultimately boils down to our ability to manage our emotions in order to communicate effectively. Consider instances in your life where emotional regulation might be a challenge, particularly in relationships. By recognizing these patterns, individuals can strive to approach conversations from a place of emotional calm, leading to more constructive dialogue and healthier relationships.

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Well, hello and welcome back. So today we're going to be kind of exploring the idea of communicating from a place of emotional calm. Or Communicating through a place where we're really feeling emotionally charged. And I want you to kind of just observe in yourself if maybe you were the one who is responding to other people through this place of emotional charge. Or if maybe you're engaging with people who tend to engage with you. Through that lens of feeling emotionally charged. So first, what do I mean by emotional calm and emotionally charged? So when we're calm or able to approach things yeah. From that place of calm. Right. That makes a lot of sense to people. When I say to be emotionally calm people know what that means. But what does it mean to be emotionally charged? Emotionally charged is oftentimes when we're kind of buzzing, our emotions are elevated. And you can really feel a push behind how it is that you're communicating. And yes, there are instances in life where that push is really needed. In order to get your point across or an order to communicate with somebody, sometimes the push is helpful, but sometimes it gets in the way. And today we're going to be talking about it. Through that lens of in reference to the times when it can kind of get in the way of getting what it is that we really truly want in that moment. And, and honestly, what it all comes down to is basically emotional regulation. So as you listen, kind of think about, okay, well, which instances in my life, in which relationships do I find myself struggling to be emotionally regulated? And how can I get to that place of emotional regulation so I can approach it through a place of emotional calm, rather than through that lens of being really emotionally charged. So I'm going to kind of give you a few examples here, and I want you to kind of see if you've experienced this before, and you might be on either side of the spectrum here. Play around with the idea of, oh, have I shown up in that way or do I engage with someone on a regular basis that is showing up that way and just kind of use it as information? So someone who is feeling emotionally charged. They might make a comment. Like, look, I know that you're trying to avoid talking with me because you're trying to punish me. Now that feels very emotionally charged. You can feel the accusation behind that. Whereas someone who is approaching somebody experiencing the exact same situation, they might approach it a little bit differently. Through the lens of emotional calm. So instead they might just be a little bit more clear and direct. They might say, Hey, I'd love to get together. I miss you. They are not assuming where the other person's at. It's not accusatory. It's not going to create defensiveness in the other person. It's just being proactive and doing your own personal work to identify what is it that I really want? Because oftentimes when we find ourselves being emotionally triggered, like in this instance where it sounds like they're not getting what they want from their friend, they're not getting the level of communication that they're hoping for. But they're tending to make it about the other person when they're acting through that lens of being emotionally charged, it's making it about the other person. It's their fault. It's about blaming and shaming. Whereas when they're able to approach it through that place of calm, they're keeping it about themselves. It's the I-statements it's Hey, I would love to get together. I miss you. It's being proactive about filling the need that is underneath the insecurity. Okay, let me give you a few more examples. Emotionally charged might sound like you must not like me very much, because I haven't been hearing from you as frequently. Whereas emotional calm sounds like, Hey. What have you been up to it encourages curiosity, right? So when we're being emotionally charged again, it's that accusing of other people. It's like, I know why you're not talking to me. It's because you must not like me very much. We must not be friends. Instead of being proactive about, oh, Hey, I haven't heard from me if as much lately what's been going on with you, how have you been? It opens up the dialogue a bit more. It creates space for shifting the narrative when we're approaching something through that lens of being emotionally charged. We have one narrative in our mind and remember that the brain, it wants to be right, even more than it wants to be happy. So if you're thinking that this other person has been intentionally avoiding you, you are going to see all of the evidence. So that person has been intentionally avoiding. Voiding you, whether they happen or not. Right. You're going to be reminding them of all the times. Well, I sent you a text and you didn't respond to it. And it doesn't open up any space for a new narrative. Whereas if you can just ask them like, oh, Hey, what's she been up to? It's as simple as that, it can open up that space to open up that dialogue. And shift the internal narrative to something that is actually more supportive for the relationship. It's seeking to nurture the relationship rather than seeking that validation that whatever we are thinking is true. Okay. Another example here. You're always too busy for me. I guess our friendship doesn't matter anymore. Again, it's prickly. It stings. It's kind of emotionally manipulative, right? Because it's kind of forcing the other person to prove their love and devotion, even though in their mind, there was no question of it in the first place. Whereas someone who is approaching it through that place of emotional calm. Then they might say something like, Hey, I noticed that we haven't been spending as much time together lately is everything okay? Again, it creates space for a new narrative. When we're emotionally charged, we have one story in our mind. It is a very narrow view of the world. Whereas when we're emotionally calm, we're able to open ourselves up to the possibility of what else might be true. We know that there might be multiple reasons why we haven't been hearing from them as often, but we can just genuinely ask from that place of compassionate curiosity, rather than through that lens of judgment and insecurity. Alright, emotionally charged. You never offered to help me when I'm busy. I guess I can't count on you. Now again, you can feel the judgment. You can feel the prickliness, it feels very defensive, and of course, it's going to create that defensiveness in the other person. Whereas if you're feeling calm, you might be able to just be a bit more proactive about getting your need met. You might actually say, Hey, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with work lately and I could really use some support. Are you available to chat? It's being proactive about what is underneath the insecurity. I cannot emphasize that enough. Oftentimes our insecurities, they really do get in the way of actually communicating effectively. And this is where coaching can be very powerful is it can help you to really peel back the layers and see, okay, what is underneath it? What is it that I really want? And is my neediness and clingingness and insecurity. Is it getting in the way of what I really, really want? Sometimes we have to remind the brain that we really do actually want to be happy more than we want to be. Right. Because your brain's default setting is going to say no, no, no, no, no. I am right about this. You're avoiding me. You have triggered an insecurity in me. It's all your fault. And we need to step into that lens of more emotional maturity and just be proactive about filling those needs. I know a lot of this stuff, like I keep repeating it, but that's because this is something that really needs to be repeated. We need to keep talking about it so we can retrain our brain to really help us to create a life that we really truly want. Okay. Last example here. You never listened to me when I talk. It's like, you don't care about what I have to say. Now again, it's putting the other person on the defensive, it's making the other person responsible for how we are feeling and how we are showing up. But the truth is we are the ones responsible for how we feel. What we're choosing to think about and how we're choosing to show up in the world. It all comes down to us. It is not on the other person. It is on us to show up in these ways. Right. So I acknowledge that, that, yeah. Okay. My brain wants me to show up really immaturely right now. How can I self-regulate those emotions and then step more into that calm. So if you're approaching the same scenario through that place of emotional calm, You might say something like, Hey, I noticed that we have different communication styles and I want to understand yours better. Can we talk about how we can better communicate. They might not even have a clue that there's a problem for you. We've talked before here on the podcast about our manuals that we have for other people are invisible list of instructions. For how people should show up for us. But because we just assume that everybody knows how we want them to show up. We never actually talk about it, but here's the thing. You have your manual for communication and they have their manual for communication. So while you might be thinking something is wrong in the relationship, because we aren't talking as often. They might be thinking, boy, I sure love that. We can take a break from communicating when I'm busy and I know that we're still okay. And that we can come back and pick up where we left off. They might be thinking something completely different. So just because we're thinking something, it doesn't make it true. We really want to believe the thoughts that we are thinking, and we want to prove them right. But again, there are multiple factors at play. There are multiple stories that we could be telling ourselves. And some of the stories that we tell ourselves are going to be creating that insecurity and that clingy energy that really doesn't create connection. It might create like a little bit of solution in the moment, right? So maybe we are acting in these emotionally charged ways. And in the immediate moment, it is fulfilling a need. Right. The other person might be saying, oh, I didn't know. You felt that way. Here, let me help you with that. But it's not a sustainable solution is not a sustainable solution to have to accuse the other person. Anytime you want to have your need met. And also it's just unkind. So work to just check in with yourself, recognize, okay, am I clearly communicating or am I emotionally manipulating? And kind of just notice that yeah, there is a difference. And again, this is something that is easier to see in other people it's harder to see in ourselves, but as your practice becoming more aware of it, Then you'll become more self-aware as well. And then you can show up in these more positive ways. So now that we kind of have shown a little bit what it can look like to be approaching a problem through that lens of being emotionally charged. I want to talk about why we show up this way. Understanding our why can help us to have some self-compassion. And also help us to get to the root of the issue so that we can show up in these more emotionally mature ways. So understanding the why it's really taking ownership of the situation. It's taking ownership of why we respond in emotionally charged ways, and that can help us to be more compassionate towards ourselves as we really work to create that change. So here are a few reasons for why we might respond in more charged ways. And remember that even though these might be our why they are not excuses for our behavior. Once you become aware of what is coming up for you, it is your responsibility to fix it. So please don't take this to your partner and say, oh yeah, well, this is why I do this. I mean, you can say that, but please also attach it with, and now that I am aware of this, I'm going to really work to improve. Okay. So a few reasons why we might be showing up through these emotionally charged ways. One is just past experiences. So maybe you had some previous negative experiences or even some traumas that have shaped how you interpret different situations. So if someone has hurt or betrayed you in the past, Then you might be more likely to assume negative intent with new interactions. So even though your conditioning has nothing to do with the person that is here in the present, It is still having an impact and just raising your conscious awareness that, okay. Oh, I get it. It's because I was abandoned in that previous relationship that now I'm allowing it to impact me in my current relationship. And then you can start the process of really looking at your current relationship to see. Okay. So are they really abandoning me? Or are they clearly communicating, oh, Hey, I'm running late from work or, Hey, I'm going to be out with my friends or. Letting you know that. Oh yeah. I'm not going to be able to be present for you when I usually am. But I'm coming back. Am I getting those reassurances? And that can help you to rewrite those internal stories into something that is more supportive. So that you can be more at peace in the present moment. Again, it really comes down to that emotional regulation, right? Acknowledging that I have this past wounding and I'm working to heal it. And I'm looking to see evidence for this current situation. Yes. You can allow your past to inform you and kind of look for red flags in your current reality. That's a very important part. Of human development. And also really look at your current situation and see where things do and don't match up. Okay. Just use that current information. Okay. Another reason why we might respond to any emotionally charged ways is just due to insecurity. And we've already talked a little bit about that, but individuals who struggle with insecurity or low self-esteem, then they might interpret more ambiguous situations in a really negative. Light. So they might assume that the other person is intentionally trying to hurt. Or reject them because they are already feeling unworthy and unlovable. So remember, we tend to look for evidence that whatever we're thinking is true. So if you do have that low self esteem, and if you're already feeling unworthy and unlovable, your brain is going to want to give you all of the evidence that you are unworthy and unlovable. But remember that just because your brain says it, just because it sounds like it's in your voice, it doesn't make it true. So really working on your own self esteem can really help with that. And if you would like helping support come and work with me, I would be happy to support you on your self-worth journey. Alright, lack of communication skills. Now some people, they simply lack the skills or the self-awareness to communicate effectively. And so, yeah, this has a bit about emotional immaturity, but also as just life experience. And I think also in this day and age where so much communication happens via text. We are actually able to see the other person's facial expressions or hear the tone in their voice. There are so many factors at play when it comes to communication. And so they might not have actually developed the skills in how to actually communicate with other people. And so having this lack of awareness, it can really impact the communication and the relationship. So instead of expressing their feelings and needs clearly, then they might resort to assumptions or accusations, and then that can lead to more emotionally charged interactions. So sometimes it really is as simple as reading a book on how to communicate more effectively. It's a very simple thing that can have a huge impact, but again, it takes that self-awareness of, okay. Maybe it's my communication style that I need to work on. Right. Taking that ownership so that you can start taking those steps. All right, projection. Now, sometimes individuals, they project their own fears or insecurities onto other people. So, for example, if somebody is feeling guilty about not reaching out to a friend, they might also assume that the friend is thinking about them just as much as they're thinking about them. Does that make sense? So they might just assume that, oh, I know exactly what's going on for that friend. And they're now projecting the story. Or these emotions or these beliefs onto the sprint. And they haven't even had a conversation with the friend. They haven't asked any questions. They haven't actually checked in with them to see what's going on with them. They're just. A hundred percent assuming the story. And it's projecting their own emotional reaction onto them, essentially. So again, it's that, that we want to be. Right. Right. So we're going to have this story in our head. We're having this narrative and we're projecting onto the other person and we're making it the other person's responsibility to approach and to fix something that they may or may not even be aware needs fixing. So be aware if you were placing a disproportionate amount of the problem solving onto the other person. All right. Defense mechanism. When individuals feel criticized or challenged, then they might become defensive. As a way to protect their ego. So this defensiveness, it can lead to emotionally charged responses where they blame or accuse the other person. And now this defensiveness, it really is very similar to what we talked about earlier with the insecurity and the low self-worth. Honestly, a lot of these have some overlap where there could be multiple things happening. So if somebody's self-esteem is already really low, it's going to be really, really hard for them to accept any criticism at all. And so they're instantly going to be put on the defensive, which is going to be basically stonewalling the other person. Where it's like, no, like I can't receive this. There's no way my ego cannot handle it because my self worth is already so low. I have to be right. If I'm not right. I don't even know who I am anymore. And it's going to cause this whole identity crisis, right. It might not be that extreme. But just notice if defensiveness is coming in for you, because that can be a big sign that you might be acting through emotionally charged ways. Defensiveness is something to really raise your self-awareness around because it can have such a huge impact on the longevity of the relationship. In fact, I'm pretty sure that defensiveness is one of the four horsemen that did the Gottesman Institute talks about. That is one of the major indicators for divorce. So just be extra aware of defensiveness when it shows up. All right, emotional triggers now, certain topics or behaviors, and they can trigger a strong, emotional reaction based on those past experiences. And we've kind of talked a little bit about this, but just be aware of these emotional triggers and how they might be showing up for you. Sometimes we're conscious about these triggers. We know exactly what triggered us. Maybe it was a tone of voice that someone is using that has now triggered us because of a past experience. Or maybe it's seeing a yellow convertible because that's what our extra love, or maybe it's a smell then we're just highly aware that yes, I know exactly what that trigger was, but there might be other times where the trigger is more subtle and we are not consciously aware of it, but our subconscious is reacting in a very strong way. And now we are emotionally triggered. Now, if you find yourself being emotionally triggered quite often, then I will share with you some questions that I heard at one of my coaching seminars that was so impactful for me. But they said, if you find yourself feeling really in fight or flight, essentially to ask yourself two questions. First ask yourself, am I safe? This is a big deal one because when we're feeling that fight or flight response, our brain is essentially wanting to tell us that we are not safe. And so asking yourself that question, am I safe? It can help to bring that prefrontal cortex back online. So you might ask the question. Am I safe? And then kind of look around your space and it's slow right now. I could say, yeah. Okay. I'm safe. I'm in my office. I'm safe. It's just me and my computer. My door is closed. Nobody's barging in. I am safe and I'm in my office here. And I can remind myself that no, right now I am safe. And then the next question to ask yourself is, do I feel safe? Because sometimes we might be physically safe. But emotionally, we do not feel safe. But just asking the question can raise that awareness and again, bring that prefrontal cortex back online to help us to distinguish that. Okay. I am currently safe. But I don't feel safe. And then you can ask yourself the question. Okay. Why, why don't I feel safe? And that can bring so much self-awareness around these past triggers around what's coming up for you where you can recognize. Okay. Yeah. That's a really interesting that I am physically safe, but emotionally I don't feel safe. And then you can really increase your awareness to really work through that. All right. And then the last one, cognitive bias now human brains are wired with cognitive bias that can influence how we perceive and interpret information. These are our manuals, right? We know how the world is supposed to operate. So confirmation bias, for instance, then it leads people to seek out and interpret information that confirms their already existing beliefs or assumptions. This is what we've been talking about. Basically through this whole episode, this is the perfect illustration of the brain wanting to be right. Right. More than it wants to be happy and it can be so interesting to even observe, you know, a lot of people are talking politics these days. It can be so interesting. To just observe when you are talking with somebody about something political, I'm not going to start that here. But if you're talking with somebody and noticing for yourself and for the other person, or even as you're watching different things, play out online and on the news to just witness. Oh, isn't that interesting? How do people respond when they're brought new information? Are they open to receiving new information? Do they instantly shut it out? Are they wanting to defend their belief or are they open to actually having a dialogue? Something that I find really, really interesting. This is the only thing I will say about politics. Something I find really interesting is it seems to be something with this current climate where people are so invested in their candidate. That they have a hard time looking at the individual issues. And so if their candidate stands on one issue, then they stand with that candidate on everything. Right, but really looking at okay. Isn't that interesting? Like, am I voting for. An individual and just believing everything that they say, or am I really being invested in and being open to the idea of, oh, okay. I feel this way about this issue. I feel this way about this issue. And when someone brings me new information about that to be willing to go, oh, well, that's interesting. I didn't know that. Or even just comparing two different articles from two different news outlets to really have something to compare it to. In fact, I just so wish that newspapers. And he printed them. That they would have two articles side by side. That had the same news. But through the different lenses. Because that could really help to shake things up a little bit where we can come to better recognize our cognitive bias and really see where, okay. Isn't that interesting that I'm tending to lean more this way and that way, because we tend to cling to specific news outlets or to specific candidates. It can be really, really interesting to just notice where that confirmation bias is showing up for us. Okay. I hope that wasn't too political. I try to keep things non political. But I find cognitive bias to be such a fascinating subject to explore. So, all right. In summary. So overall. Assuming intent. And engaging any emotionally charged ways. Then it often stems from a combination of these past experiences, insecurities communication skills, defense mechanisms, miscommunication, emotional triggers, and cognitive bias, and really coming to recognize these factors, then it can help us to become more aware of our own personal reactions, as well as just becoming more aware when someone else is becoming reactive. Of course we're only responsible for ourselves. Right. But recognizing, oh, isn't that interesting? I can see now what it looks like when someone is approaching a conversation or a topic. Through that emotionally charged lens and coming to observe it in yourself and in others, it can be hugely impactful. So for this week, I really encourage you to just really set your intention to show up through that place of emotional calm. And really meditate on what would that really look like? How am I showing up through that place of emotional calm? Oftentimes, if we are engaging with people that are emotionally immature, W it's going to trigger that in us. We kind of tend to mirror other people. And so really being self-aware that, oh, isn't that interesting that in this relationship I am really defensive and, oh, it's probably because they're also showing up with that defensiveness. But just becoming really aware of that. Okay. So just because I like to end things on a positive note, I'm going to restate all of those statements that come from emotional calm. Just to really help you to set your intention for this coming week. All right. So remember when you're approaching it three emotional calm. Not only are you calm, but you're also being proactive and taking ownership of what it is that you want to create. You're not emotionally manipulating other people to get what you want. You're just making a clear statement and taking ownership of what it is you want to create. Okay. So here we go. My emotional column statements. All right. Hey, I would love to get together. I miss you. Hey, what have you been up to? I noticed we haven't been spending as much time together lately. Is everything okay. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with work lately and I could use some support. Are you available to chat? I've noticed that we have different communication styles, and I want to understand yours better. Can we talk about how we can better communicate. So really it could be a little bit of fun to just think about, okay, well, how can I approach this to a place of calm? And if you struggle to approach through that lens of calm, or if you really are engaging with people that have that emotional charge behind them, maybe before you start to engage with them, actually write it out, write down your statements that you want to make from that place of emotional. Calm. And again, if you need help working through your emotions to get to that place of calm, come and work with me, I would be more than happy to work with you. You can click the link in my show notes to apply, to work with me now. And yeah. All right. I hope you have a great week. Here's to a week of emotional calm. See you next time. Bye.