General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Do you do emotions?

Asked by wundayatta (58367 points ) April 19th, 2009

Some folks grew up in families that never expressed any emotions in words, and possibly not in body language. Others were emoting all the time. What was your family’s style in terms of emotions? Have you changed since you grew up?

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49 Answers

hearkat's avatar

I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve. I guess I am glad that my mother did allow us to talk back to an extent.

hearkat's avatar

Oh… to answer the second part: What is different now is that I no longer allow my emotions to overwhelm me or to dictate my actions. I am better able at expressing them verbally with restraint (which doesn’t make them any less intense, just more dignified).

Darwin's avatar

My parents were fairly non-demonstrative. My father’s parents still held on to a number of behaviors brought over from Europe that reinforce the “stiff upper lip” and my dad was raised in a British boarding school (albeit one located in South America) so he really never shows emotion. My mother did a slight bit more but not much as she has always been a bit of a tomboy.

OTOH, today I tend to be quite flamboyant (and embarrassing to my kids). I also hug people a lot – I remember when I was a kid how I sometimes would long to touch other people or be touched by them.

ru2bz46's avatar

I had never considered the lack of sharing positive emotions in my family while growing up. I figured everybody else was the same. Once, I was on the east coast visiting the other side of my family. Standing next to my mother while talking to my aunt (from my father’s side), I casually reached over and placed an arm around my mother. My aunt suddenly broke down in tears because she was so moved to see us display affection for each other. She said that there was never anything like that in her family while she was growing up. Everything was very cold. After that, I started appreciating the life and family I was dealt much more.

SeventhSense's avatar

My family always talked about being open and free with emotions but years later I found out that I was the only one being open so I stopped doing it so much. I will still open up selectively but find that I’m considerably more circumspect. We were always and still able to say I love you to each other and to express affection with a hug and a kiss.

asmonet's avatar

We had waves of it, but generally yes.

And I’m a product of that. I have my emotions, I keep them to myself. And sometimes they all bubble up to the surface. Then I start over. It works for me.

KatawaGrey's avatar

My mother and I are hugely touchy-feely and always have been. If I go into the kitchen, I’ll touch her arm as I walk by. We hug about a million times before I actually leave the house. I kiss her a bunch and we even get goofy with our touchy-feely-ness sometimes we run at each other and belly bump.

I have not changed since I left home. I hug everybody and touch everybody affectionately. The only thing that has changed is that I don’t kiss my friends’s cheeks very much anymore because it’s considered “flirting” when really it is just another show of affection.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

My family doesn’t express emotion well. I’ve learned to do it on my own but big emotional displays makes everyone in my family feel uncomfortable. As a group, we tend to attempt humor to diffuse emotional expressions.

Jayne's avatar

I have no feelings. My soul is as black as a bottomless pit full of very black stuff. Which is pretty darn black.

Really, I will express moderate levels of glee, and commensurate amounts of annoyance, but I am generally not comfortable with anything beyond that. Of course, I have never had occasion to feel anything worse than mild annoyance; I’ve been pretty lucky so far. And I’m just not a squeaky kind of guy. Now, the real question…why is my serious answer in whisper?

James_Mal's avatar

I’ve grown up not being able to share my feelings. I’ve been punished for expressing any discontent with the situations we’ve been in. I have changed in the sense that I talk to me friends any they seem to allow that. It does feel nice to be able to talk things out.

kenmc's avatar

All emotions (good or bad) in my family have always been exposed as anger. It’s really quite sad.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I never thought about it in terms of my parents
my father had to be ‘manly’ and so was never emotional
my mother was strict, is strict, still but at least she sometimes cries now
I was told crying is weak for all genders

in general, I do do emotions but I don’t let it rule my life or overwhelm my logic

Jayne's avatar

@SeventhSense; no, I’m such a heartless person that I’m really in the dining room, stealing their chandelabras.

Facade's avatar

My parents hold things in until they reach their breaking point. I’m very emotional.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Jayne
Ok I didn’t go back far enough. The depth of your depraved soul baby photo.

zephyr826's avatar

My mother’s family is very demonstrative, always hugging and telling each other how much they cared about each other. Every time they get together, there are always tears, good and bad, both on arrival and departure.
My father’s family was the opposite (good German Lutherans from Northwest Ohio) and did not outwardly express affection until I was in college. When I was little, my grandfather would rather tickle us until we were gasping for breath than hug or kiss us goodnight. It all changed when my cousin was killed in a car accident. It was as if there was a clog, and all the emotions suddenly poured out. A little overwhelming for a few years, but now I think they’re much healthier.
I take after my mom’s side

Jayne's avatar

@SeventhSense- Now that’s more like it.
What the hell is it?

asmonet's avatar

It looks like a suicidal tarred teddy bear. :’(

Jayne's avatar

Band name, anybody?

cheebdragon's avatar

Ive always been more or less emotionally detached.

classyfied's avatar

My dad is and has always been very stoic. I have trouble expressing very touchy-feely emotions because of this. It makes me rather uncomfortable to get hugs or express my feelings to a significant other, unless I’m angry. The anger issue I got from both of my parents. My dad is stoic unless he’s angry and my mom is not stoic but she is short-tempered as well. Thanks to my friends and other positive influences, I am much better at dealing with my anger now, though. I have become pretty comfortable with expressing my feelings to certain family members, too.

Macaulay's avatar

My mother is extremely impulsive and bi-polar. My father comes from an abusive military family. My mother didn’t meet her real father until she was 32 (I was 9). I’m 15 now, and life is hectic as ever, but I see myself as level-headed in complex situations. I do have relationship issues, however. And I have “blue seasons.”

SuperMouse's avatar

My family was never especially demonstrative and I was pretty much the same way… until I had kids. Once I had babies I found I could not hug or kiss them enough. They are getting bigger now, but there is still nothing I love more than holding and hugging and kissing my boys. It has spilled over into other areas too, I hug strangers a lot more now than I ever have (of course I always ask first).

KatawaGrey's avatar

@SuperMouse: I know what you mean! About the strangers, not the babies, though I do love to kiss baby heads. I love hugging people but if I don’t ask first, they act kinda weird about it.

augustlan's avatar

I was raised in a highly demonstrative family. All emotions – the good, the bad, and the ugly – were on full display. Very affectionate, but just as likely to call a kid a ‘dumb-shit’. There was a lot of ‘surface love’, but underneath there was very little action to back it up. I’ve taken the good parts and shed the bad parts (though I do lose my temper occasionally). I’m very open with my emotions and affectionate, but I try to back my words and feelings with action.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Jayne
Now, the real question…why is my serious answer in whisper?
Lest we shine a light behind you, see through your parchment like skin and note the beating of your tortured heart

May2689's avatar

Yes, I am a sucker for emotions. Thanks to an Enneagram course I took, I found out that my personality number is a 3. This means that I have the constant need to be hugged and reminded that I’m loved. And most importantly, to tell other people that I love them.
However, my sister, who was brought up the same way I did, is a personality number 5. This means that she is very isolated and does not like physical contact. She keeps her emotions to herself.

kayysamm's avatar

It’s funny, in my family everyone was very very loving. Always wanted to give hugs and a very emotional. Thats how I was raised and taught. But when I started dating my recent boyfriend his family was nothing like that. Both his parents are anal as can be and don’t even show love towards one another let alone him. So for him growing up in that type of enviroment taught him not to be so loving. He is loving every now and then but not all the time. Shockingly enough I like that he isn’t so loving it gives me and him both the space we need without being on one anothers balls.

dynamicduo's avatar

Psh, emotions do me. I’m very serious. At times my emotions can become so overwhelming that it’s very hard for me to do anything else. This is a major point of contention in my romantic relationship, as my partner is not as emotional and finds my emotions puzzling and confusing.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@dynamicduo: I hear that loud and clear. My boyfriend is so much more mellow than I am. He likes it when I’m very happy but doesn’t know how to react when I’m very angry or sad.

SeventhSense's avatar

@kayysamm
”...space we need without being on one anothers balls.
I’m guessing that he agrees about the former but has no bone to pick about the latter.

Sloane2024's avatar

The only sentiment my father ever showed was anger, therefore, expecting my mom, sister, and me to withhold all expression of feeling as well.

We haven’t lived with him for almost three years, and each of us is beginning to discover what it means to genuinely manifest our emotions.

aprilsimnel's avatar

The only emotion outwardly shown where I was raised was anger, and only one person was allowed to show it. That person was not me. I’m still learning how to be OK with showing my all emotions without fear of judgement, ridicule or punishment.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Our family wasn’t physically demonstrative or verbally affectionate but I knew where I was loved. As a young adult I had to learn to balance because physical stuff was overwhelming and addictive. I do emotions but am still cautious with physical affection.

unused_bagels's avatar

I do emotions. I bend them over and do them every ni—-
**cough** oh, right.
I am very verbal and physically expressive with my emotions, except when I’m having to deal with a superior in the workplace. They don’t seem to like them, and they get you nowhere.

augustlan's avatar

@dynamicduo I’m finding it hard to imagine you being overly emotional. You’re always so calm and logical on here!

cak's avatar

We had a weird mix. I always knew my mom loved me, but she wasn’t the most affectionate person, which is changing now that she’s getting older – especially since my dad passed away. I do know that I get my non-touchy ways, from my mom. I am working on it, I want my children to know that I’m not the odd mom that has a hard time hugging. I never deny affection, but sometimes, yeesh! I’m just bad at it. Anyway, the one emotion she didn’t have a hard time with, was anger. Major temper. Again, she’s mellowed. That is something that I’ve worked hard on to keep from the kids. I hated never knowing if my mom was going to blow. I didn’t tell her things, because of it. I went to my dad. I figured it out, though. She dealt with fear, shock…well, any adverse emotion, with anger first, and then she would come to us and approach it in a reasonable manner. Tough for a 7yr old to understand. I’ve been able to not mirror that way of handling things.

My dad, he would hug – these huge bear hugs. Sometimes, I thought he was going to break my ribs. He showed emotions in so many ways. Humor, hugs, in his words, through his facial expressions. He didn’t hide his emotions.

Even with the differences, one thing my parents did, they let us know we were loved. Not always in the way a child needs to see or hear it, but we knew. What I have learned, is that neither of them had very loving parents – often abusive (on my mother’s side). My parents did a great job with not having parents that showed them a full range of emotions.

dynamicduo's avatar

@augustlan That’s because these are words, I have ample time to compose them, revise them, and refine my message (not to mention writing a message in the heat of the moment and then deleting it). Plus I’m starting to react/post less and less to highly emotional topics posted here. But if we were having a discussion face to face, and it became heated as some of the ones here do, I would likely have tears streaming down my face while still trying to express my opinion passionately. Not crying because I’m sad, crying simply because I am full of emotions of any type and they need to get out somehow. This was actually a hard thing to deal with when I was growing up, this inadvertent ‘crying’. It was very hard for me to have any type of serious emotional discussion with my father because I would end up crying due to the overwhelming emotions, and he would think it was something he did or said even though it wasn’t the case whatsoever. Of course, this has become a non-issue with my dad since I moved out, but is now an issue with my partner… I wold love to have an emotional switch sometimes, to just shut them off when they become annoying.

Darwin's avatar

@dynamicduo – I had the same problem with the emotions and tears. It really frustrated my dad, who was both a guy and a guy raised in British “stiff upper lip” boarding schools.

While maturity has helped some, what really made the difference for me was Zoloft. I do still end up in tears at times when discussing things such as my son’s behavioral problems due to his diagnosis (Bipolar, ODD and ADD) or my husband’s health, but generally I have much better control than I ever did pre-Zoloft.

As far as I am concerned it is a wonder drug.

augustlan's avatar

@dynamicduo & @Darwin Me, too. Crying when I’m angry is the worst.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@augustlan @Darwin @dynamicduo: We should start a club. Last week, I got into a fight with my roommates and I just burst into tears. I couldn’t stop it, it just happened. man, it was terrible. Angry tears suck!

preggers's avatar

I’m really emotional in private and around people that I trust. But in front of people I don’t know very well or in front of people who I feel emotionally vulnerable to (in a bad way), I can be used to be pretty stoic about it. But every since I became pregnant, that’s changed. I’m pretty much a blubbering mess these days. Commercials about babies or family can set me off. I even cry when I’m happy. (I used to think that was really weird.)

augustlan's avatar

@preggers Oh yeah… those hormones really do a number on you, don’t they? It’s ok, just revel in it!

preggers's avatar

@augustlan Oh, boy! Do they ever.

Macaulay's avatar

Emotions certain seem to stem from family and childhood.

seventeen123's avatar

Emotions are pretty high in my family. The odd thing is, out of all the kids in the family I am completely closed off from emotion. It could just be that I tell myself – that nothing can bring me down & i can get to where i want in life..
I think emotions run high when you let them, or you can just be like me..
As far as liking that attitude or not, I’m not sure yet..

Coloma's avatar

I came from a very reserved and conservative family.

Formal dining every night, little talk, strained and always uber serious.

I turned out to be the exact opposite, very extroverted, socially strong, ( am very good at making people feel welcome and comfortable ) and humorous to a fault. lol

I raised my daughter with lots of open communication, humor, forthright discussion yet
the funny thing is, she takes after her dad & his more reserved side.
We share the same interests in many areas, she is bright, articulate and our humor is in total synchronicity…but, she is not comfortable with lots of huggy-kissy stuff. lol

Ya just never know how it’ll turn out.
DNA is a tricky strand to unravel! hahaha

gondwanalon's avatar

It was pure crazy pandemonium when I was young. My dad died when I was 4. I remember my early years were like something out of a Franz Kafka novel. No logic. No adult supervision. Mom was either gone working 3 jobs some place or was home sleeping. Screeming, yelling, crying and constant fighting among me (the baby) and my older sisters who tried but failed to control me (I did poorly in school, I lied, I cheated and I stole). I must have finally worked all the anger out of my system as today I never get mad. People have asked me what it would take to make me mad. I say “nothing that most normal people get mad about”. I learned at an early age that anger and doing bad things doesn’t work for me. It was like I realized the principle of cause and effect. It is much easier to work hard and do good things than it is to me lazy and do bad. My mom is long gone and I rarely communicate with my sisters. I don’t think that they survived their childhood as well as I. God bless them.

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