Have you ever displayed impatience or frustration with your spouse, friend, or family member for no apparent reason? This behavior is not uncommon. You probably wouldn't feel safe enough to let your guard down around just anyone. But, the people who love us unconditionally have taught us that it is permissible to throw a temper tantrum in front of them from time to time, knowing full well that they won't hold it against us.
Venting Your Feelings in a Healthy WayIt is healthy to allow ourselves to step outside of our nice postures and exhibit the not-so-nice side of our personalities now and again. Having a sympathetic ear and soft shoulder to lean can be wonderfully reassuring. It is especially nice to have someone who will validate our right to feel the way we do. We can return the favor when it becomes their turn to vent something from the darker sides of their natures. Having an outlet for venting the emotional stuff can be a good thing, repressing resentments... not so good.
Receiving sympathy and understanding from others when we are in turmoil is comforting. However, turning to the people we love with our nasty moods and outrageous antics too frequently to receive constant reassurance is not healthy. We all want someone to acknowledge our right to feel the way we do. But, it is also beneficial to have someone around who can shed a little light on the occasions when emotional concerns have been blown out of proportion. When complaining has grown out of control the refusal to support relentless whining could be a loving response. Otherwise, we might find ourselves caught up in our emotional traps, compounding the initial pain and suffering.
Emotional Checks and BalancesAsk yourself these questions:
- Are your emotions being validated?
- Do you have a soft shoulder to lean on?
- How frequent are your emotional outbursts?
- Is there a codependency element to your relationships?
- Do you return the favor by being the sympathetic listener at times?
- Are you willing to hear that you may not be seeing things clearly?
- Are there boundaries in place as to just how much complaining or ranting will be tolerated?
When you are an emotional basket case a good friend will offer a mixture of emotional validation, unconditional love, measured sympathy, and a wake up call, if needed, to help you recognize when you have gone too far with an obsession or self-destructive behaviors. In a healthy relationship individuals will take turns assisting one another, keeping each other from getting pulled too deeply into the whirlpool of emotional waters.
Paul Bradbury / Getty Images