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Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Emotionality

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?



When we become stressed or tension is caused, a number of negative emotions may start to build, including anger, frustration, fear, jealousy and so on.

When we display these emotions it can affect others around us, arousing similar or polar feelings. A common social value is that we should not distress others, so many people hold the emotion in, 'bottling up' the stress. This in itself can trigger other coping mechanisms. It can also result in explosive outbursts as we are unable to contain the emotion further.

Some people are either not good at restraining their emotions or are less concerned about the effect on others and more about the personal benefits of emotional outbursts. As a result, they regularly and habitually display extreme emotions.


Teenagers often cannot contain the emotions caused by physiological and temporal development. As a result, they can be very emotional and can contribute significantly to family problems.

A man who has had long relationship problems is given to angry outbursts that both give temporary respite and yet add to the cycle of relational failures.


Emotional outbursts start very young and many infants know little other way to get attention. If they do not learn to manage their emotions as they grow older, they may become an over-emotional adult, still using emotion as an attention-gaining device.

Negative emotions such as anger and hate let us projection our problems onto others. They also make us feel powerful, as if we can control a frightening and uncontrollable world.

People who do control their emotions can also have problems as the emotions do not go away and can explode, leak or otherwise appear in confusing and embarrassing ways.

So what?

When people are often emotional, you might wonder about deep causes and unresolved traumas. People who seem anal and uptight are not free from emotion. Watch out for their outbursts (and subsequent denial of such).

To help people, show them the effect they are having on themselves and others. Help them find ways of harmlessly releasing pent-up emotion and resolve deeper issues.

See also


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