Emotional pendulum, from silence to screams

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Robert Maurer


Emotional pendulum, from silence to screams

Suppressing anger is never a good idea. When we hold negative feelings inside, they build up and create an emotional pendulum that first swings silently and then unleashes uncontrollable aggression.

Last update: Augusts 02, 2020

It is no exaggeration to say that we are all a little illiterate when it comes to emotions. Generally, we are educated in knowledge and values, but not in emotions. Ethics and morals are supposed to guide us, but we often reach adulthood without knowing how to manage what we feel inside. It is the so-called emotional pendulum.

The latter concerns the treatment of anger, one of the most misunderstood emotions. The emotional pendulum develops when a person decides to "swallow" his malaise, to let injustices go by. However, over time, it all builds up and becomes a kind of pressure cooker. The pendulum then swings between two extremes: silence and screams.

It is harder to respond with grace and tranquility than to be silent with contempt. Sometimes silence is a bad answer, a very bitter answer.

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The emotional pendulum belongs to those who are afraid of their feelings, in particular of anger. These people are not very clear on how to set limits on the behavior of others, which leads them to oscillate between two extremes, in the total inability to adequately manage their aggressive feelings. This is not a serious and unsolvable situation: you can always learn to manage everything.

The emotional pendulum and self-control

The concept of self-control is not always understood in the most correct way. Generally we tend to confuse it with repression, but we are dealing with two very distinct realities. The first is the fruit of conscience and awareness, the second of conditioning or fear.

The first major difference between self-control and repression is that those with self-control usually develop this ability before finding themselves faced with an emotionally intense situation. In other words, all work is done related to the goal of preserving a state of serenity. It is a lifestyle, the result of self-awareness and self-care. It is difficult for a person with self-control to be upset by a certain situation.

Repression, on the other hand, involves an effort to hold back. The feelings are very intense, but you avoid expressing them. In this case there is a sort of break between the inner and outer dimensions.

Sometimes it is necessary to resort to repression to prevent a situation from escalating. People who get used to holding back would like to express what he feels, but for some reason he can't.

The cycle of the emotional pendulum

Those who repress their emotions more often experience the reality of the emotional pendulum that swings from absolute silence to incessant screams. People who hold back don't know how to express their discomfort, at least if not through anger. As a result, all of this leads to conflict, which is exactly what they would like to avoid.

They do not feel entitled to express their disagreement or annoyance. One way or another, they are convinced that their feelings are not valid or legitimate enough to express them to others. They shut up and hold back because something or someone made them believe they shouldn't say what they are feeling.

This inner discomfort builds up to bursting. At that point the feeling of anger takes possession of the people who until then have repressed it like a time bomb. The consequences could be disastrous to the point of becoming a further reason for inhibition and relapse into the vicious circle of repression.

Less repression, more assertiveness

There is only one solution for not falling into the so-called emotional pendulum and it is obvious: say things the moment you feel them inside. You don't have to wait for the best time to do it or the right reason. If we immediately express what we have to say, avoiding waiting and accumulating anger, the emotional charge will be less heavy.

Keeping everything inside is a kind of emotional trap. We get to a point where it is materially impossible to be assertive because there are too many emotions built up. Assertiveness is the ability to say things so that others can understand them in the right way. It is about being clear and at the same time respectful, but above all consistent in saying exactly what we think or feel.

When so much anger builds up and explosive situations arise, it is virtually impossible to be assertive. Anger and resentment blind us. They do not allow us to communicate, but rather push us to return the offenses received and accumulated with the aim of hurting. Repression is never the right choice, on the contrary, it poisons us inside and ends up hurting others as well.

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