Tag: emotional highjacking

Strong Emotions Make You Stupid!

When I was training to be a hypnotherapist, I remember being told Strong Emotions make you stupid!

Now, there’s a thought. It took me a while to think about mistakes I’d made in my life and, sure enough, they’d all been linked to strong emotions (quite a few of them hormonal!). The amygdala, the bit of the brain that regulates our behaviour, gets highjacked by strong emotions. This means that our decisions may be flawed and we may not behave as sensibly or assertively as we would like.

Here’s an example. Tracey and Julie had been friends for many years. Both single, they’d always hoped for the right relationship, but neither had achieved what they wishes.  Still, they enjoyed being young and single and spending time together.

Unexpectedly, Tracey met Mr Right at a conference, and they soon become a couple. Julie was upset; let’s face it, her amygdala was overwhelmed and she became terribly jealous. Her friend was no longer available as readily as before, and Mr Right had to be taken into consideration with all planned get-togethers.

Instead of assertively discussing her fears, and finding a new way for the friendship to continue, Julie acted sulkily and became demanding. Tracey felt torn – her new partner was wonderful company, but she wanted to give Julie attention too. Increasingly, time with Julie was no longer fun. Her sulks and demands made her just hard work. Tracey tried for a long time, and several times tried to address the issue assertively with her friend.

Unfortunately, Julie was not responsive. Eventually, Tracey gave up and withdrew from the friendship. Julie’s lack of assertiveness caused a self-fulfilling prophesy to come true. She lost her good friend. Not because of Mr Right, but because of her own behaviour.

*** Try this***

If you have issues you need to discuss with someone, plan ahead for the conversation. Write yourself a script or practice with a friend or in front of the mirror. Use calming techniques if you need to. Choose a quiet time when you are both calm and unlikely to be interrupted. If you are not sure how to word things, you may well find ideas in my book How to be Assertive, available on kindle. You’ll also find some calming techniques there.

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