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whatnot's avatar

How do you know which feelings to keep to yourself and which to share?

Asked by whatnot (589 points ) July 15th, 2010

This question isn’t about me, even though I’m muddling through personal stuff right now and I’m trying to figure out how to differentiate between my feelings and reactions to a current situation. So, I do not intend on sharing details of my situation or my feelings within this question. Also, I do not intend on answering questions about my situation or feelings. (Not that I do not want to share or do not plan to share. Instead, I want to learn something about how other people interact with their feelings and situations. This is more of a “how to” quesiton, not a “please share private details” question.

I’m curious to hear how others tell the difference between feelings affected by their current/recent situation vs. feelings resulting from physiological issues. I’m not looking for specifics (i.e., I’m not asking for folks to share private, personal details), rather I’d like to hear the concrete actions or processes others undertake in order to identify their feelings.

I realize it is often impossible to separate the two (e.g. physiological feelings interacting with situational feelings, one magnifying or minimizing the other, etc.). With this in mind, I’m not expecting to hear a checklist of “these feelings belong entirely to physiological” and “these feelings belong entirely to situation.” Instead, I’m hoping to hear something to the effect of, “when I am in a stressful situation, this is how I interact with my feelings so that I know which feelings I need to keep to myself, and which feelings I need to share with the person involved in the stressful situation.”

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14 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

For me it depends on the situation. If there is something stressful going on that will affect my marriage, I don’t keep any of my feelings to myself. I talk to my husband about them and we figure things out. Things that aren’t going to affect my family (like being stressed about finishing school) I tend to keep to myself because there is little anyone else can do to help me get through it.

dpworkin's avatar

It’s called having intact executive functions. Normal people have them by age 8 or so.

Pandora's avatar

I will only share negative feelings if its something that can be repaired or if something else can come of it that will help me in some way or maybe help someone else.
If I know that nothing possitive will come out of what I have to say then I keep it to myself.
As an example. I hated my former boss. She was a lush, a shrew and an all around lazy person who thought of no one but herself. She has been this way for years before I met her. No point in telling her that I detested her since I was leaving in a few months. Had I told her I would’ve simply been unemployed and I liked my job. Just hated her.

jazmina88's avatar

@dpworkin I disagree. At 8 you dont have the maturity to hold all those feelings in, especially around puberty. You need to discuss them. Especially if your childhood is not easy.

not everybody gets a “normal” life, and perhaps they hide too much, angst or such.
The problem with people and relationships, they dont communicate. or try to understand with it’s like on the other side.

masters in social work, come on,now…where’s the compassion?? You will not be working with your “normal” families. and to get over dysfunction, you need to discuss most of your feelings, or become dysfunctional for your entire life.

dpworkin's avatar

@jazmina88 Sorry, I was being sarcastic. What I meant was that this should not be a problem for an adult.

jazmina88's avatar

Sorry, I prefer open and honest and trying to deal with situations, unless it is badmouthing people.

Negative emotions can make you ill, so if you work them out, instead of being a pent up, cold natured eel.

the negative is part of life, it is not all rose colored glasses.

dpworkin's avatar

That’s what executive function means- deciding when to be vulnerable and open, and deciding when to protect your own privacy.

jazmina88's avatar

and 8 yr olds have not a clue.seeking protection, will they voice their parents are doing serious drugs, making meth…...abuse?. probably not.

if we have doubts, disappointments, we should share them. the age of responsbility or reason is 12 or 13, where we become accountable for our actions. but feelings are much harder to deal with. and we always need a healthy outlet…..

venting over. rant finished.

@Whatnot – i will listen to you, good bad or ugly. Open up…let it free.

anomisme's avatar

Do and say what you feel, People will talk about you anyway. If you say something bad they will say :o my god did you hear what he just said” if you say something good then ” He thinks he a know it all. eather way you are going to get it. So speak up.

jazmina88's avatar

@dpworkin executive function is for Presidents. not useful for the real people.

and certain Presidents should be cattle prodded for their secrets.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I figure if it will not help the situation, the info stays inside. There is no reason to burden someone else if they already have enough to carry.

whatnot's avatar

@dpworkin – so according to your first two answers, someone giving an obnoxiously sarcastic answer to seriously sincere questions would be an example of an abnormal, immature adult?

dpworkin's avatar

Oh, aren’t you clever!

angelique_1's avatar

if the feeling that you share will hurt you or others, then you should keep it to yourself. before you say something ask yourself, will this hurt me of the other person? will it help me or the other person? because once you say it, you cant take it back, you can say im sorry, but it has already been said or done.

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