Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wanted to share...

Came across this post on a board I go to. It was posted by a fellow DoNM in response to a workshop she attended recently. I found it extremely enlightening and asked her if she would mind if I shared it. To my delight, she said I could. I'm hoping that you all get as much out of it as I did.


I attended a workshop recently which explored the differences between feelings and emotions. It gave insight into something that had previously confused me re Ns, and I found it very helpful so am passing it on.

Feelings are different from emotional states. There are only 4 feelings:


Feelings are not negative or positive, they just are. We can control our thoughts but we can't control our feelings. All feelings are valid if expressed appropriately - it's how we express them that leads to positive or negative outcomes for us. Everyone experiences feelings. Feelings are spiritual but can affect us physically (adrenalin, pain etc.)

Emotions are the results of feelings. They come from within our minds. Love, hate, guilt, envy, resentment, shame, frustration, despair, caring, joy and so on are all emotions. We can control them - they are a result of our thought processes and a reaction to the feelings we have, nothing more. We can overlay a negative emotion with more positive thought processes - we have the power within to do that. For example, if we feel anger and fear (thanks, NM) and that leads to thoughts of guilt, that's all it is, a thought. Our tutor expressed it this way "You don't feel guilty, you think guilty. You can learn to think differently by overlaying negative thoughts with positive ones while appropriately expressing your valid feelings of anger and fear."

I found this very helpful on a personal level and hope I've explained it clearly.

Now the Light Bulb. Ns have feelings too. They experience the same 4 feelings that everyone else does:


And that's it. No emotions, just inappropriate expression of the 4 basic feelings. They don't understand how emotions affect us, they are simply well aware that they do. And because they cannot experience "caring", they just don't care. They don't have any negative thought processes to overlay because emotions form no part of their thoughts. They just bulldoze through. Meet my mother. And yours. It also explains one of the reasons why they notoriously use enablers to express their emotions for them - they are incapable of expressing something that - for them - doesn't exist.

I struggled with this for a long time - how could they do the things they do when they are obviously capable of experiencing feelings? Becoming aware of the limitations of raw feelings without the additional human quality of emotions and empathy has gone a long way to reconciling that glaring disparity for me.

Have a great day DoNMs.


It was the last part that especially struck me. I've wondered for a long time, how can my NM say and do the things she does to me? Doesn't she understand how it hurts me? And if so, all the more reason why I didn't understand. So when I saw it explained the way it was above, it suddenly made a lot more sense to me.


  1. Thought provoking...thanks, DA

  2. One Angry DaughterJune 7, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    DA this is great - thanks for sharing! Last week I was struggling to write a post about how anger is not something that should be avoided. Feelings of anger are considered a such a no, no --- don't be angry you often here. And I wanted to write about how anger is a feeling all your own and never bad. It is the actions that you take based on the feeling that have consequences - good or bad.

    This sums it up much better - thanks again for sharing :)

    Nice new background!