Negative or inappropriate reactions are the result of living on the surface level of our emotional world. We are either disconnected from our current emotions out of fear of what we may find, or we are unaware that past emotional upsets or hurts are causing us to react badly.
This post is a companion to “Understanding / Overcoming our Reactive States” see here for link.
Having no true connection to the honesty of our feelings and the depth of our emotions, we react from unconscious emotional states that have no bearing upon current situations, rather than respond to what is in front of us,
Connecting the dots between what we are feeling and how we are reacting can help us overcome negative, inappropriate, and ineffective behaviors.
Worksheet 5b: My Reactions and their Root Causes
Example # 1: I feel hurt: He/she forgot. I feel he/she doesn’t love, value, or appreciate me. I don’t feel loved, valued, or appreciated.
Connecting the Dots:
- I feel hurt when others don’t meet my expectations.
- I need validation of love from people.
- I feel unloved when I don’t get it.
- Others haven’t always loved, valued, or appreciated me.
I recognize now that I am projecting the lack of love and validation that I had growing up into present circumstances and am putting unfair expectations on those around me.
Example # 2: I am impatient and fly of the handle easily: I’m always busy and have lots to do. I don’t have time for anything that delays my plans. I am impatient with people who are calm. It’s not my fault – I just get caught up in things.
Connecting the Dots:
- Being busy makes me feel useful.
- I like the validation.
- I feel I must do everything and for everyone.
- I am impatient because what I am doing is vital to me feeling good – and been perceived as useful – important.
- What others are saying or doing doesn’t help me, so I am impatient with them.
- I can’t say no. I don’t like to say no – as it makes me seem not nice. I want people to like me.
- I feel I must prove myself – and being useful helps this.
- People say I am a busy body and that I have unhealthy boundaries.
- I need to prove to others I am of value – that I am important.
- I wouldn’t feel valued by just BEING.
- i wasn’t valued growing up … OR … I wasn’t made to feel important … OR … I was told I was lazy … OR … I was criticized … OR … those around me were impatient with me.
Example #3: I’m always screaming at my family: No one listens to me. No one helps me. There is never enough time for all there is to do. No one realizes all that I do. When I ask for help, they won’t help, or don’t do it right. It has to be done—and done right.
Connecting the Dots:
- I like organization and structure
- I need to control my environment — to be in charge of everything.
- It makes me feel safe.
- I did not feel safe growing up.
- My environment did not have structure.
I recognize now that I am projecting past emotional wounds onto others and situations, which is not fair to them and causing unnecessary conflict in my life.
Connecting the Dots to Other Possible Reactions
- I get angry when someone cuts me off in traffic; I take this as a personal affront; I had am angry and critical parent growing up. I recognize now that the one cutting me off may just be having a bad day – it is not personal.
- When someone lets me down I feel hurt; this makes me feel unimportant to them; I have been let down often by others and it made me feel unimportant and unloved; I recognize now that things often come up and people can’t always keep their promises.
- I feel taken for granted when my boss yells at me because I work hard; It makes me feel undervalued; I realized that my boss woks hard and may just be stressed or overwhelmed and his yelling at me is just a tension release.
Both post are excepts from Book 1 Why We Are the Way We Are of my new ‘Our Journeys to Peace’ Series. Available in print and e-book from Amazon, see here for About .Cover Image Below.
Copyright ©Rosemary McCarthy. From 2018, updated October 2019.
See here for About my 1st book, “Journey to Peace, Bridging the Gap Between Religion, Spirituality, Psychology, and Science..”
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