Interpreting Feeling Making constructive meanings from emotion BY: Troy Murphy |January 2018
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We experience emotions. Living is a feeling experience, attracting and repelling. Our emotional reactions to events are followed by an interpretation created by the "story-telling" brain. The brain automatically answers the posed question, “Why am I feeling this?” The brain retrieves memories to create a coherent explanation around a felt emotion.
Intimate relationships that are essential to well-being stir strong emotions; these emotions have the kindest and harshest interpretations.
We need vigilance guarding against faulty interpretations, creating meaning from emotions is not perfect. The story-creating mechanism helps us understand what we like or dislike, creating a framework from the past to organize new experience. A subjective process tainted by bias. When childhood fears intrude on adulthood, the slightest event prompts anxiety. Unrealistic fears can be intense, requiring interpretations. Often the cause of the emotion is imbedded in the psychological past. The programming operating beneath awareness is seldom point to as the cause. The emotions still rage demanding explanation; the mind assuages the demands by blaming elements in the present.
With the underlying causes untreated, the emotion continues disrupting our relationships, waiting ready to erupt. Often many causes for life controlling impulses remain hidden inside the broken soul. The meanings, falsely created, are adopted, accepted and protected. A partner’s benign actions seen through brightly colored and tainted lenses are interpreted as deep character flaws, needing to be fixed.
Many insecurities that were established in childhood or from past relationships, live on—thinly covered, and pleasantly decorated. Excessive dissatisfactions points to the past, new actions trigger past fears, and we then wrongfully project emotions onto the current partner. The obnoxious fears disrupt opportunities for the new relationship to grow. Partners tire of being blamed and defensively react. A cycle begins, we react to their reaction and they react to ours. The fear of aloneness and abandonment becomes a destructive agent, constantly disrupting as we blame the partner.