Unhealthy expressions of emotion

By Dave Henning / November 5, 2013

In Chapter 2 of Emotions, Charles Stanley discusses four unhealthy ways people manage their emotions.

1.  The belief that emotion is a weakness.  When people view expressing emotions as a weakness, they refuse to acknowledge that they experience specific emotions at all.  By rejecting the existence of those emotions, distresses and grievances remain trapped within, seriously affecting their lives, health, and relationships.

2.  The inclination to suppress or stifle emotions.  Here people recognize they have feelings, but refuse to express them.  Like the first group, they repress their hurts, perpetuating their pain and isolation.  Dr. Stanley adds that they may “seek to vent their frustration in covert, devious, or vindictive ways.”

3.  The drive to drown out emotions.  People who do this express their emotions inappropriately, thinking if they numb their feelings long enough the excruciating pain of their hurts will subside.  Sadly, the pain doesn’t go away, but continues to fester.

4.  The need to express all emotions without a filter.  People in this category feel free to vent their spleen to anyone having the misfortune to be around them.  While godly, Christian friends and counsel are necessary, only the Father offers a truly restorative and safe place to express our emotions.  Honesty is essential.  After all, God already knows what we’re thinking and what’s distressing us.

Today’s question: Do any of these unhealthy ways of managing emotions resonate with you?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The root of the problem”

About the author

Dave Henning

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