5 Steps To Overcome Difficult Emotions In Your Marriage

Updated: Aug 28, 2019


luke dickens marriage therapy in southlake texas

Difficult emotions suck. I do not like feeling sad. I do not like feeling anxious. I do not like feeling ashamed.


I do not like feeling frustrated. I do not like feeling tired. I do not like feeling afraid. I do not like feeling depressed.

I like feeling happy. I like feeling passion. I like feeling energy. I like feeling courage. I like feeling worthy. I like feeling secure in who I am.


But needless to say I will go through life and I have will have negative emotions hit me this week most likely, this month for sure, and the rest of my life.


And same with you, you will have negative emotions hit you this week most likely, this month for sure and for the rest of your life.


And if you are married how you deal with these difficult emotions you experience on a daily basis will determine the quality of your marriage.

A strong marriage is an emotionally connected marriage during the difficult emotions of life.

Because a strong marriage is an emotionally connected marriage. And emotional connection does not just mean you and your spouse connect over the positive emotions. But that you can both connect over the negative emotions as well!


So below are 4 Simple Steps to Overcome Difficult Emotions that you and your spouse can stay connected even in the most negative of negative emotions.


Step 1: Turn Towards Your Emotions


This first step takes a lot of courage. Courage is necessary to be able to feel and not run away from negative emotions.


Turning toward your difficult and negative emotions is not easy, it is hard. It requires you to actually feel what is happening inside of you in the present moment.


  • If you are experiencing the emotion of sadness, you turn toward sadness to feel the sadness and not run away from it.

  • If you are experiencing the emotion of anxiety, you turn toward the anxiety to feel the anxiety and not run away from it.

  • If you are experiencing the emotion of frustration, you turn toward the frustration to feel the frustration and not run away from it.


I need you to remember this, all your emotions are good even the negative emotions.

Courage is necessary to be able to turn toward to feel and not run away from negative emotions.

Now what you do to deal with those emotions might not be good such as

  • binge eating

  • yelling at your kids

  • yelling at your husband

  • yelling at your wife

  • mindlessly watching television

  • pouring a drink

  • etc.

But turning toward your emotions to mindfully feel your emotions means that you are accepting what is happening to you.


And turning towards your emotions rather than away is a great first step to healthfully deal with your emotions.



Step 2: Accept Your Emotions


There is nothing wrong with you for feeling negative emotions. God felt negative emotions in the Bible, Jesus felt negative emotions in the Bible, so why does if feel wrong for you to feel negative emotions?

  • There is nothing wrong with you feeling anxious

  • There is nothing wrong with you for feeling ashamed

  • There is nothing wrong with you feeling hopeless

  • There is nothing wrong with you for feeling sad.


Majority of times people have a mindset that if they accept their emotions this will be their truth forever and they will be ruled by these negative emotions.


Accepting your emotions actually puts you in charge of your emotions, and not accepting your emotions puts your emotions in charge of you.


Accepting your emotions actually puts you in charge of your emotions, and not accepting your emotions puts your emotions in charge of you.

If you try to run away or dismiss your emotions. It is like putting a lid on a boiling pot of water.


Putting the lid on the boiling pot of water will cause the water to overflow out of the pot. This is a lot like your emotions.


If you do not accept your emotions you will allow your feelings to overflow.


Now overflow looks different.


First look of emotional overflow is outward overflow, in which you see the person get super upset, crying uncontrollably, throwing a tantrum,


The second look of overflow is inward overflow, in which you see the person get really still, stonewalled, and emotionally withdrawn. It’s as if they checked out of their body.


These two looks of emotional overflow is what happens when we do not turn toward our emotions and accept them.


Again it is critical to your emotional and relational well being to turn towards your emotions with acceptance if you want to deal with your emotions.


If you want to deal with your emotions you must accept your emotions

Because if you do not turn toward your emotions with acceptance, your emotions will overrule you and you will be at the mercy of what you feel.



Step 3: Realize That Emotions Come and Go


God has designed your emotions like the weather. If you allow yourself to accept the emotions by turning toward your emotions and accepting your negative emotions, your emotions will eventually pass. Just like a strong spring storm, the clouds, rain and wind will eventually pass.


God has designed your emotions like the weather, your emotions will pass just like a rainy day passes

Your ability to let negative emotions leave you has everything to do with if you allow yourself the time and space to turn toward your negative emotions and accept your negative emotions.


If you do not turn toward and accept your negative emotions. It will be the equivalent of one storm after the other hovering over you like a Hurricane.


In which storm cells after storm cells form together over one central location. And a hurricane destroys the land.


If you do not turn toward and accept your negative emotions, it will be the equivalent of multiple storm cells creating a hurricane.

Your hurricane is when you constantly dismiss your emotions, judge your emotions as being bad, try to not feel emotions.


Eventually you have negative emotional experience after negative emotional experience not proccessed that is still hovering over you, causing you to experience a emotional hurricane which will feel like you are being destroyed by your sadness, anxiety, depression, because you are dealing with hundreds of emotional experiences in one moment.


But if you allow yourself the time and space to turn toward your negative emotions, no matter how big these emotions might feel and accept these negative emotions rather than judge them. You will start causing the emotional storm clouds to part and you will begin to see the sun.


Remember that emotions are like the weather. And there will be sunny days. And there will also be rainy days. To nature this is natural.

Remember that emotions are like the weather. And there will be sunny days. And there will also be rainy days. To nature this is natural.

You will have sunny days emotionally. And there will also be rainy days emotionally. To your body this is natural.


Step 4: Identify the Trigger


It is important to know what triggered your negative emotional response.


This trigger is starting point to attempting to be able to fully accept your whole emotional experience.


Being triggered is not a bad thing.


You are emotionally triggered in positive emotions as you are triggered in negative emotions.


Positive Emotions Example:

  • You taste your favorite wine = Positive Emotions

  • You taste your favorite ice cream = Positive Emotions

  • You go on date to go see your favorite Broadway show = Positive Emotions

  • You see your child smile at you = Positive Emotions

  • You see how excited your child gets while making cookies with you = Positive Emotions


You were triggered by wine, ice cream, your date night, your child smile and excitement. All these were great emotional experiences that you turn towards and accepted!


Negative Emotions Example:

  • Your husband forgot your birthday = Negative Emotions

  • Your child got bullied at school = Negative Emotions

  • Your best friend was gossiping about you = Negative Emotions

  • Your husband is complaining about helping put kids to bed = Negative Emotions


You were triggered by your husband’s actions, your child getting bullied, and best friend gossiping about you. All these emotional experiences are hard to turn toward and accept! Most of them are anxiously dismissed.


By naming your trigger you can begin to investigate why you were triggered and begin to process this emotional experience in order for you to name your emotional experience.


Step 5: Name Your Emotions


All the neuroscience research has shown that the way to allow negative emotions to pass and for you to find your emotional balance is to name your emotional experience.


We call this Name it, To Tame it.


By naming your negative emotional experience you are allowing your self the ability to tame your emotional experience. By taming your emotional experience, meaning that your emotions can go back to normal rather than stay in that negative state for so long.


If you name your emotions, you can tame your emotions

If you do not talk about your negative emotional experience, your brain and nervous system holds onto that negative experience.


Causing you next time to be even more easily triggered that you were before.


Whenever you experience negative emotions, your negative emotions cause a small to large hit on your brain’s amygdala which will trigger you to go into either a small or large state of automatic fight or flight. This causes your body to go fast.


By turning toward your negative emotions, accepting your negative emotions and naming your emotions. You are allowing your body and brain to slow down and process the emotional experience to make sense of it in order for it to eventually pass through your body.


You must name your negative emotions if you want to eventually be rid of these negative emotions. This means reaching out to someone you trust and talking to them.


You must have the courage to reach out and talk to your spouse when you feel emotional or when you feel shut down, because this is the only way you will tame the emotions inside of you.

This should be your spouse because your spouse is designed to be you safe place for you to confide in.


Naming your emotions means you are describing how you feel.


So if you feel anxious, you might say


“I feel so anxious, I feel as if I am running as fast as I can at work

and no matter how fast I run I am getting no where.

It’s as if I am on a treadmill and I am running

at the full speed and I am not getting to where I want to go.”


So remember if you want to tame your negative emotions, you must name your negative emotions.


Conclusion:


The more you practice this discipline of

  • Turning Toward Your Emotions

  • Accepting Your Emotions

  • Identifying the Triggers

  • Recognizing Emotions Come and Go

  • Naming Emotions, to Tame Emotions

The more emotionally balanced you will be, the more self aware you will become, the more empathetic and compassionate you will become and the more you will feel that you are no longer controlled by your feelings!


Your relationship will benefit because you will be communicating about the truth that is inside of you and your spouse will love this because they will see the real side of you.


Your children will also learn how to regulate their own emotions because they see you regulating your own emotions but also you are helping them to learn how to regulate by being there for them rather than dismissing their emotions.


So remember there is nothing wrong with your emotions! And there is always a way to deal with your emotions in a way that you feel in control rather than controlled by your emotions.


If you want to schedule an appointment for a free 2 hour EFT marriage breakthrough session, you can either call or text me. Or you can fill out schedule form.


Dedicated to your marriage and families success,

Luke Dickens MMFT.




luke dickens marriage therapy in southlake texas










Luke Dickens Luke Dickens is the Founder of Dickens Marriage Therapy in Southlake Texas. He has a scientifically validated therapy that heals marriages that suffer from affairs to communication issues and more. Using EFT couples therapy, there is over 89% success rate with couples going through the therapy process.


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