If one person in a relationship has little if any expression of emotions this can make it difficult for the other person to understand them. Our emotions give us directions in our lives as well as meaning. Without emotions, we would have little direction and would seem to wonder aimlessly from one unrewarding experiences to the next. Thus, I don’t believe we are without emotions as human beings but rather those emotions are being expressed in totally different ways for some people. Some of these different ways emotions could be being expressed are in behaviors not so acceptable to others.
Unacceptable behaviors can lead us to believe a person may not care as much for us as they should. A person who shuts down their emotional expression may be full of emotions that are not being expressed in ways that others can understand. For example, a workaholic may be full of emotions but not be able to demonstrate their feelings in a way that others can understand, comprehend, or relate to.
I believe it’s the task of a counselor or therapist to allow for opportunities for couples to develop a deeper, richer understanding of their counterpart’s emotions by first drawing out the emotional experience first and only then formulating the verbal understanding of how they are feeling. In the example of a workaholic, the expression of emotion could create more understanding of how the person working too much is really feeling guilty.
– Ed Chase
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