PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Emotions (Part 1)
SITE: Emotions Are Physical (& breathing)
NLP = Neuro – the mind & how we think
Linguistic – how we use language & how it affects us
Programming – how we order our actions to achieve goals
• Emotions (Es) represent a large part of our interchanges with others. If we leave out feelings, or if we communicate them inadequately, we fail to get across an important chunk of what we mean.
NLP tells us that the Verbal part of Communication is only one part of the message we present, the others being our tone & body language. Words are important & have power – they can inspire or they can do great harm. But it’s tonality & body language that convey emotions
• Being too expressive in public is usually looked down on or made fun of – in the theater it’s called ‘chewing the scenery’ & think Captain Kirk – but it’s OK if we’re at a ballgame or rock concert. We remember how Jackie Kennedy was endlessly praised for her stoicism at JFK’s funeral.
At the same time, when someone shows NO sign of emotion, it will be read by others as an indication that:
a. the current situation is not important, as when someone expounds on a topic too intellectually, or is just BS-ing
But it’s also true if someone talks in a monotone (flat affect), neutral or pleasant voice, about very painful events — the way many ACoAs talk about their traumatic childhood, or a newscaster reports a tragedy. The listener may just gloss over it or not actually ‘hear’ the info!
b. OR – an event or person is disapproved of, like when there’s complete silence from an audience toward a performance, a public figure, a friend or spouse…..
c. OR – a person is considered ‘cold’, heartless, even a psychopathic, such as not having an emotional reaction to the news of their child being horribly killed, or being told they’ve lost everything in a disaster
• Regardless of the actual reason for a person not adding emotional subtext to their communication (shock, terror, shyness, shut down….), the average observer is looking for some cue to the value & relevance of what they’re hearing from or seeing in another person – which would help them know how they themselves should feel & respond
Everyone telegraphs their true emotional reactions – even the reticent & the repressed – by micro-expressions of the face & throat muscles (as well as other physical signs like a clenched fist, leaning forward or back, slouching….). Normally, both sender & receiver of these tiny movements are unaware of them but astute observers can pick them up anyway & respond internally, if not outwardly. As in the “Lie to Me” TV series, anyone trained to read them can consciously identify what someone else is feeling / experiencing
• because involuntary muscle contractions are such subtle cues to someone’s emotional state, and –
• because ACoAs were trained to ignore their actual experiences (intuition, emotions & thinking), unfortunately:
— we’ve become numb to this level of information, OR
— if we do pick up the cues, we don’t trust what we’ve seen, & then talk ourselves out of their implications.
This is one reason we are greatly handicapped in understanding & dealing with others. Fortunately, we can change this!
This makes it harder for us to know :
• what someone is actually telling us (easily misread their meaning or motives)
• what we feel emotionally about their communication (we react from internal wounds instead of responding to present info)
• how to respond appropriately (our actions are too harsh or too weak)
Because of our ‘limited vision’, when someone is verbally insensitive or mean, we don’t feel the emotional punch in the stomach until sometime later, & then end up getting angry but blaming ourselves!
NEXT: The Body & Emotions (Part 3)