It’s so embarrassing to look at afterward. We apologize. It won’t happen again. But it does, because until we can get a handle on our emotions, what we don’t work out we must act out. But why must we? Where is this coming from – this overwhelming urge to yell, pout, make noise or slam the door? On the podcast today we talk about how to prevent this, but here let’s dive into some reasons…
We need to be heard. To have our reality validated. And when you think of it, “acting out” for an actor means dramatically emphasizing emotions so the audience can “see clearly” what is going on. Some of us have buried anger and fear for years because it wasn’t validated then, and of course we think we are “over it” since it was awhile ago. But it’s there, being tapped every time those buttons are pushed. If you pay close attention you may begin to see the themes that may be triggering you, such as feeling violated, not listened to, manipulated, or ignored. But since we tend to not be in touch with this and think it’s the situation in the present, our emotional response and behavior look disproportionate to the actual events.
Our Inability to Self-Soothe. When this happens, we often look to others to acknowledge our anger and hurt, because we have yet to do that for ourselves, and since this is triggering past history of not being honored, the emotion runs high. We get out of the moment, because we are not being emotionally honest with ourselves or with them. We fear that level of vulnerability due to past treatment, and thus struggle to be vulnerable with ourselves by acknowledging our own feelings, soothing our own hurts and calming down.
We Haven’t Set Boundaries. I think many times our anxiety and anger arises when we are not setting boundaries to take care of ourselves, from saying “No I’m sorry I cannot do that for you” to “I won’t stand here and allow you to twist my reality and hand it back to me anymore” and everything in between. We fear conflict ironically, since by acting out we create a very unhealthy version thereof. But we fear the outcomes of our No, from arguments to feeling rejected or ridiculed.
So we lash out, we shut down or we ourselves act passive aggressively even a day later because we have not taken responsibility for how we are feeling in the moment, why that makes sense – and then most importantly, what do WE need to take care of ourselves. Instead, working toward acknowledging with compassion for what we are feeling, and what we need to feel as though we are honoring ourselves.
Because, when we begin to stop for a moment – in the moment – and notice what we might be experiencing and why, we are less likely to “act out” said feelings for OTHERS to acknowledge and soothe/fix/heal our feelings.