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The 7 Emotional Needs of Children

All children are born with emotional needs. These needs must be met by the adults in their life if they’re to grow into confident and independent adults.  The acronym PARENTS summarises children’s needs (Protection, Acceptance, Recognition, Enforced limits, Nearness, Time and Support).

Protection: It’s crucial that all children feel safe and secure. This is essential for their very survival – and all children fear rejection and abandonment.  They need a sense of order and predictability, routine, peace and stability – so they can learn to trust others, and build relationships. However, if trust is absent, and they feel insecure, they’ll start to put up walls to keep other people out, and they’ll find it hard to trust and get close to anyone.

Acceptance: All children need to feel that they are loved and accepted - for who and what they are – without any strings attached. They so desperately want to be worthy of acceptance, and cherished and loved despite their limits and their failings. This is crucial information - for their parent is a mirror who reflects back to them the world’s perception of the child. It should tell them they are valuable and worthy of love – so the child learns to value and believe in themselves. However, if a parent is demanding, harsh or critical then the child will develop chronic low self-esteem.

Recognition: Children have an innate need to make their parents happy, and are desperate for praise, and to hear their parents say: “I’m so proud of you. You did a fabulous job.” But if approval is withheld, so the child feels they are worthless, they’ll likely give up hope, and they will lose the will to try. This may show itself in angry, acting out behaviour … or the child may withdraw, and expect little in life.

Enforced Limits: Children need a sense of predictability. They need to see that rules are followed, so life is NOT chaotic. For the world feels scary and doesn’t make much sense if boundaries are fluid and “just anything goes”.

Nearness: Expressing love is crucial for communicating love - so children need to be held and be hugged by their parents. In a very concrete way, this sends the powerful message that the child’s needs matter, and their parents care for them.  

Time: Children don’t distinguish between quality time and just hanging out, and spending lots of time with parents. They need to be in their presence, and to have their full attention, as that sends the message “I like being with you.” They then believe that others will like and want them, too.

Support:  The outside world is a scary place for children. It’s full of unknown dangers and unmet challenges. Thus, to launch out and discover they can cope and survive, children need to be certain that their parents’ will be there. That is, they need their encouragement, their affirmation, their constant support and their belief in the child. That helps the child to venture into and explore the outside world, so they develop independence and increased autonomy.

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Tips for when you feel Angry

1. Stifle your first impulse to react by saying or doing something negative. Instead, stop and either do the opposite of that, or simply choose to respond by doing nothing at all.

2. If you can remove yourself from the situation, then that is probably the best thing to do for now. That is, detach temporarily and choose to walk away. You can talk about what happened, or the issue, later on.

3. Speak calmly to yourself so you don’t over-react. (Figure out in advance what will likely work for you.) Depending on the person, it could be something like “Just chill” or “Leave it for now” or “This isn’t the right time to talk to talk about this.”

4. If you feel as if the person has really pressed your buttons, make yourself count to ten before you think about responding.  At the same time, focus your attention on slowing down your breathing, and doing what you can to make your body relax.

 5. To help with this, distract yourself by visualizing something that’s relaxing. For example, it could be a peaceful scene like the mountains or a lake. Alternatively, it could be something funny that has happened recently.

6. Speak directly to yourself, and make yourself act rationally. You’re responsible for you and how you act, and what you say. Don’t be controlled by your powerful emotions. You don’t want to end up with regrets later on. 

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What is Emotional Abuse?

An emotionally abusive person may “dismiss your feelings and needs, expect you to perform humiliating or unpleasant tasks, manipulate you into feeling guilty for trivial things, belittle your outside support system or blame you for unfortunate circumstances in his or her life. Jealousy, possessiveness and mistrust characterize an emotionally abusive person”[1].  In summary, emotional abuse includes the following:

1. Acting as if a person has no value and worth; acting in ways that communicate that the person’s thoughts feelings and beliefs are stupid, don’t matter or should be ignored.

2. Calling the person names; putting them down; mocking, ridiculing, insulting or humiliating them, especially in public.

3. Controlling through fear and intimidation; coercing and terrorizing them; forcing them to witness violence or callousness; threatening to physically harm them, others they love, their animals or possessions; stalking them; threatening abandonment.

4. Isolating them from others, especially their friends and family; physically confining them; telling them how they should think, act, dress, what decisions they can make, who they can see and what they can do (limiting their freedom); controlling their financial affairs.

5. Using that person for your own advantage or gain; exploiting their rights; enticing or forcing another to behave in illegal ways (for example, selling drugs).

6. Stonewalling and ignoring another’s attempt to relate to and interact with them; deliberately emotionally detaching from a person in order to hurt them or “teach them a lesson”; refusing to communicate affection and warmth, or to meet their emotional and psychological needs.

[1] http://www.focushelps.ca/article/addictions-abuse/verbal-and-emotional-abuse/emotional-and-verbal-abuse?gclid=CNvZx7vP6rACFWQ0QgodTEvatg

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10 Types of Emotional Manipulator

  1. The Constant Victim - This kind of individual will always finds a way to end up as a victim in their relationships.
  2. One-Upmanship Expert – This person uses put downs, snide remarks and criticisms, to show that they’re superior, and know much more than you.
  3. Powerful Dependents – They hide behind the mask of being weak and powerless – then use their helplessness to dominate relationships. That is, they send the subtle message “you must not let me down.”
  4. Triangulators – This person tries to get other people on their side. They’re quick to put you down, and to say some nasty things. They separate good friends or drive a wedge in families.
  5. The Blasters – They blast you with their anger or they blow up suddenly. That stops you asking questions - in case there’s a showdown.
  6. The Projector – This person thinks they’re perfect and others have the flaws. They take no ownership – because they’re never, ever wrong.  
  7. The Deliberate Mis-Interpreter – They seem like a nice person – but they twist and use your words. They spread misinformation and misinterpret you. Thus, they deliberately present you in a false, negative way.
  8. The Flirt – This person uses flirting to get their way in life. They want to be admired and to have an audience. However, your feelings and your needs are of no concern to them.
  9. The Iron Fist – They use intimidation and throw their weight around, to use you for their ends, and to get their way in life.
  10. The Multiple Offender – This person uses several of the techniques we’ve described – and they’ll often switch between them if it suits their purposes.

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What is Emotional Detachment

1. This is an inability to connect with others in a deep and meaningful way.

2. Thus, although the person may be physically present, they are not emotionally present in the relationship.

3. In fact, sometimes the person will dissociate, or experience emotional numbing.

4. Emotional detachment makes it hard for the individual to empathize with others, to share their own feelings (which they may be unaware of), or to appear emotionally engaged in a conversation or relationship.

5. Often the person will intellectually analyze situations, but they will not be able to identify, understand or share any feelings.

6. In most cases, emotional detachment is related to a psychological trauma in the person’s past – something that occurred in a relationship with someone important to them.  As a result of this trauma, the person (usually unconsciously) has chose to protect themselves from future pain by refusing to allow anything similar to happen again. Hence, they can’t relate on an emotional level.

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Tips for Managing your Emotions

1. Practice mindfulness

2. Play, laugh and enjoy the simple things.

3. Develop an attitude of gratitude.

4. Invest in, and nurture, your relationships.

5. Give up your attachment to outcomes. 

6. Decide to be adventurous and try new things.

7. Choose to live life at a slower pace, and don’t be driven by a sense of urgency. 

8. Give up the need to be in control.

9.  Accept that you are human and life won’t be perfect.

10. Don’t compare yourself to others.

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How to Master your Emotions

1. Get in touch with, and learn to recognise, emotions. There are lots of different feelings – but the most basic ones are joy, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust and anger. We experience these to different degrees, depending on our personality, family, culture and environment.

2. Recognize that emotions don’t just come out of nowhere. Try to pay attention to what you are feeling, and the subconscious emotions that are building up. For example, throughout the day ask yourself: “How am I feeling right now?” Notice, too, how certain people and situations give rise to predictable, habitual emotions.

3. Try to figure out what was going through your mind when you experienced a particular emotion. That is, stop and analyze your thinking at the time. Ask yourself: “What was the thought that provoked the emotion?”

4. Look for the evidence which both supports and contradicts the thought that produced the emotion. That is, analyse how balanced your thinking is. Ask yourself “Does it tell the whole story, and reflect reality?” Then, ask yourself: “Is there another way of looking at this - a way which is more rational and accurate?”

5. Recognise we always have a choice in the way we react to people and situations. Often we assume there’s only one way to react, but the truth is you always have a choice. For example, you can choose to not react all – and simply say and do nothing. Alternatively, you could try doing the opposite of what you would normally do.

6. Work on developing, and then maintaining, a positive self-image and healthy self-esteem. If we see ourselves in a positive way, and really believe that we have gifts and strengths, then we are less at the mercy of external circumstances, or the negative opinions and views of other people.

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How to Gain Control of your Emotions

Controlling your emotions doesn’t mean ignoring them. It means you recognize them and act on them when you deem it appropriate, not randomly and uncontrollably.

1. Know your emotions. There are a million different ways you can feel, but scientists have classified human emotions into a few basics that everyone can recognize: joy, acceptance, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation. Jealousy, for example, is a manifestation of fear - fear that you’re not “as good” as something else, fear of being abandoned because you’re not “perfect” or “the best”.

2.Recognize that emotions don’t just appear mysteriously out of nowhere. Many times, we’re at the mercy of our emotions on a subconscious level. By recognizing your emotions on a conscious level, you’re better able to control them. It’s also good to recognize an emotion from the moment it materializes, as opposed to letting it build up and intensify. The last thing you want to do is ignore or repress your feelings, because if you’re reading this, you probably know that when you do that, they tend to get worse and erupt later. Ask yourself throughout the day: “How am I feeling right now?” If you can, keep a journal.

3. Notice what was going through your mind when the emotion appeared. Stop and analyze what you were thinking about, until you find what thought was causing that emotion. Your boss may not have made eye contact with you at lunch, for example; and without even being aware of it, the thought may have been in the back of your mind, “He’s getting ready to fire me!”

4. Write down the evidence which supports the thought that produced the emotion or against that thought. When you begin to think about it, you might realize that since nobody gets along well with this particular boss, he can’t afford to actually fire anyone, because the department is too short-staffed. For example, you may have let slip something that you should not have said which angered him, but which it is too late to retract.

5. Ask yourself, “What is another way to look at the situation that is more rational and more balanced than the way I was looking at it before?” Taking this new evidence into account, you may conclude that your job is safe, regardless of your boss’s petty annoyances, and you’re relieved of the emotion that was troubling you. If this doesn’t work, however, continue to the next step.

6. Consider your options. Now that you know what emotion you’re dealing with, think of at least two different ways you can respond. Your emotions control you when you assume there’s only one way to react, but you always have a choice. For example, if someone insults you, and you experience anger, your immediate response might be to insult them back. But no matter what the emotion, there are always at least two alternatives, and you can probably think of more: (i) Don’t react; do nothing. (ii) Do the opposite of what you would normally do.

7. Make a choice. When deciding what to do, it’s important to make sure it’s a conscious choice, not a reaction to another, competing emotion. For example, if someone insults you and you do nothing, is it your decision, or is it a response to your fear of confrontation? Here are some good reasons to act upon:

a) Principles - Who do you want to be? What are your moral principles? What do you want the outcome of this situation to be? Ultimately, which is the decision you’d be most proud of? This is where religious guidance comes into play for many people.

b) Logic - Which course of action is the most likely to result in the outcome you desire? For example, if you’re being confronted with a street fight, and you want to take the pacifist route, you can walk away—but, there’s a good chance that burly drunk will be insulted if you turn your back. Maybe it’s better to apologize and keep him talking until he calms down.

Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Gain-Control-of-Your-Emotions

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