OK, TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT.
Yeah, but you left out how you feel!
PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Emotions (Part 1)
BOOK: “Your Body Doesn’t Lie“ John Diamond – How the body gives us info via Kinesiology
NLP (Neuro – the mind & how we think / Linguistic – how we use language & how it affects us / Programming – how we sequence our actions to achieve our goals)
• Emotions (Es) represent a great part of our interchanges with others. If we leave our feelings out or if we communicate them inadequately, we will fail to get across an important chunk of our intentions
NLP tells us that the Verbal part of Communication is only one portion of the message we present, the others being our tone & body language. Words are important & have power – they can inspire or they can do great harm. It is our tonality & body language that convey emotions
• Being overly expressive in public is usually looked down on or made fun of – in the theater it’s called ‘chewing the scenery’, & think William Shatner – unless we’re at ball game or rock concert, AND conversely how Jackie Kennedy was endlessly praised for her stoicism at JFK’s funeral
• most of the time when a person shows NO sign of emotion it will be read by others as an indication that:
— a situation is not important, as when someone expounds on a topic too intellectually or in a monotone (with flat affect) like ACoAs talking about their bad childhood, or when giving terrible news in a neutral or pleasant voice, like reporters on TV
— an event or person is disapproved of, like complete silence from an audience to a performance, a public figure, a friend or spouse…..
— a person is considered ‘cold’, heartless, even a psychopath, such as having no reaction to the news of a loved one being horribly killed or being told that one has lost everything in a disaster
• Regardless of the actual reason for someone not adding emotional subtext to their communication (in shock, terrified, shy, in denial….) the average observer is looking for some cue as to the value & relevance of what they’re hearing from / seeing in another person – & therefore how they themselves should feel & respond
Everyone telegraphs their true emotional reactions – even the reticent & the repressed – by micro-expressions of the face & throat muscles (in addition to other physical signs like a clenched fist, leaning forward or back, slouching….). Normally, both sender & receiver of these tiny movements are unaware of them but, as observers, we pick them up anyway & respond internally, if not outwardly. As seen on the “Lie to Me” TV series, anyone trained to read them can consciously identify what someone else is feeling / experiencing
• because these involuntary muscle contractions are such subtle cues to someone’s emotional state, and –
• because ACoAs were trained to ignore legitimate perceptions (using our intuition, emotions & thinking), unfortunately:
— we have become numb to this level of information, OR
— if we do pick up the cues, we don’t trust what we’ve noticed & then talk ourselves out of their implications. This is one reason we are greatly handicapped in understanding & dealing with others. Fortunately, we can change this!
This makes it harder for us to know :
• what someone is actually telling us (we can easily misread their meaning or motives)
• what we feel emotionally about their communication (we react from our internal wounds instead of responding to the present info)
• how to respond appropriately (our actions are too harsh or too weak)
Because of our ‘limited vision’, when someone is verbally insensitive or mean, we don’t feel the emotional punch in the stomach until sometime later, & then end up blaming ourselves, becoming angry & self-hating!
Even tho there are still people who deny the value of having Es, (& some who still flatly deny that animals also have emotions!) fortunately there are scientists who continue to gather data identifying the brain structures associated with emotions & the ways we can use our senses. Maybe it will eventually convince the skeptics!
BLINDSIGHT is a term coined by researchers at Oxford University over 40 years ago – working with blind monkeys & then humans, in the process of testing their ability to sense their environment using other parts of the brain
• In the TV series “Through the Wormhole” the episode ‘Blind Sight’ (clips) shows a scientific study in the Netherlands about the way Emotions travel from person to person by picking up changes in the faces of others. Dr. de Gelder’s subjects were stroke victims who can see with one eye but not the other. To their sighted eye they were presented pictures of people with a neutral expression, while at the same time faces with a variety of emotions were shown to the blind eye
• In every case, each time the unseeing eye was presented with people’s features that expressed emotions, the subjects automatically mimicked those exact expressions in their own face – without realizing it. When asked if they knew what emotion was on the screen, they all said they were just guessing. Clearly they were using some other areas of the brain. For an explanation see the whole program
CAT scans show that we experience many complex interaction we don’t realize & don’t make enough use of, which include the emotion centers of the brain. It would benefit us as ACoAs to learn about these connections & realize they are legitimate parts of us – built into our biological system. We can then become more comfortable with our Es & use them to navigate the complexities of life!
NEXT: The Body & Emotions (Part 3)