We all tend to bottle up our emotions. We hope that with a little time and effort, we can figure out things on our own. The problem is that the more we hold things in, the more we feel like we are “just going to explode.” Even the slightest thing can set us off.

When we finally explode, we over-react. We might feel guilty and sorry that we ever said anything, so again we try to bottle up our feelings. This only continues the vicious cycle of holding things in and exploding when it becomes too much to handle.

Some of this has to do with our fear of telling others about our emotions and our fears. Some of it has to do with how we were raised to be “nice” and “seen but not heard” by others. Some of it has to do with the fact that we came from abusive families where expressing anything might evoke more violence, so we learned to “play it safe.”

The real issue is that we have not learned the difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness. We have to learn to express our feelings and needs regardless of what others say to us or want they want to hear. To do this, we have to focus on our own behaviors and feelings rather than what we believe others are thinking about us.

We do not have to overreact. We can talk, discuss, use humor, and be clear about what it is that we want and need. However, we also have to let go of the fantasies that others will change when we start to express ourselves.

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