“If you put a lid on a boiling pot, eventually the contents will rise to the top and spill over. Human emotions are no different. If we push our feelings down and down and try to avoid them, eventually, they will explode out more fiercely than before.” – Lindsay Dodgson
Emotions are never set in stone; they can be all over the place from one moment to the next or even simultaneously. The problem with experiencing emotions like that is when other people don’t understand them, get irritated by them, or dismiss them. When someone tells you “you’re all over the place”, it can potentially be one of the most hurtful things that can be said to you. It can make you feel like something is wrong with you, like your feelings are invalid, or like you’re overreacting. Sometimes if we “act up”, others don’t realize that as much as they might not want to deal with it, we absolutely don’t want to deal with that emotional torture either. The thing is, that person can walk away if they wanted to, if we are “too much”. And that emotional turmoil only deepens, and makes us even more afraid to express our feelings.
After you spend so long being told that your feelings are invalid or overdramatic, the last thing you want to do is express them. Even though you logically know your feelings are valid and there is very good reason for them, the fear of being judged or dismissed makes you want to keep it all in.
“You know what truly aches? Having so much inside you and not having the slightest clue of how to pour it out.”
― Karen Quan
So you begin to keep these feelings in, you start dismissing them yourself. Telling yourself you are overreacting, telling yourself all of the things other people have told you about your feelings. You start questioning your own emotions and wondering if you have the right to feel that way.
Feelings are always valid, no matter how they may be perceived. Another person’s receptiveness to your feelings is nothing you can control; but you can control giving yourself the release and peace of expressing them.
You start acting like everything is fine and nothing is upsetting you, because you are trying your absolute hardest to be “normal”. After so long of trying to feel normal, you suppress these emotions. They don’t even feel bottled up, because you pushed them to the back of your mind and begin to forget they are there.
Then one day, one day when you least expect it, they start creeping back to the forefront of your mind. They start being the only thing you can think about, allowing them to consume your thoughts. Because you never got through them, you never released them. Feelings that were once a snowball went downhill and became bigger and stronger. You weren’t expecting it, you weren’t ready for it, and the person on the receiving end is definitely not ready for them.
You begin feeling resentment, you begin hyping yourself up about how you should have been able to express them. “They should care about my emotions. I can’t believe this, I can’t believe I was afraid to talk about them. This isn’t on me. This is their fault. They kept me from sharing them”.
But the only person who kept you from sharing them, was you.
You feel broken, you feel dismissed, you feel invalidated, you feel disrespected. But did anyone make you feel that way? Or did you make yourself feel that way by assuming how your emotions would be perceived before expressing them?
Then it all comes out, you explode. All of the emotions you never expressed. All of the things that may have been small at the time they arose, are amplified, snowballed, and accumulated.
You truly are a broken soul on the inside. But just as the quote said, you become a scary person on the outside. You become a different version of yourself, full of hatred. Hatred towards the person you felt you couldn’t talk to. You blame this on them.
It’s much easier to hate someone else than to hate yourself.
You EXPLODE. Big time. And when you explode, it’s not only the original feelings you felt, it’s everything, even the tiniest things, that all come out at once. The person on the receiving end is NOT ready at all. They feel like the rug was ripped out right from under them. They’re confused, they’re shocked, they’re hurt. They wonder how someone they love could possibly be acting this way. They wonder how this person who always showed so much love is showing none in this moment. They start thinking this person is heartless and cold.
That tiny feeling, or tiny nagging feeling you felt, that could have been expressed at that moment it presented itself. You didn’t express it because of your own assumption that someone would think you are overreacting.
How do you think they feel now? Now is the time for them to feel like you’re overreacting. They probably wouldn’t have felt that way if you would have just expressed yourself before. But we didn’t give them the chance.
After our big explosion, we our consumed by guilt. Consumed by the feelings of hurting the person we love the most. After the blind rage, we begin to see how we could have approached the entire thing differently. We begin to see how unnecessary the explosion and bottling up was. We begin to realize that us feeling hurt by an imaginary reaction by someone, turned into that someone being deeply hurt in reality.
We do everything we can to fix the situation, fix the hurt the other person is feeling. The situation we caused after making an assumption. We try our hardest to explain, but it sounds ridiculous even coming out of our mouth. Because what we did was not okay. We hope we can be forgiven.
And we learn.