Dealing with feelings.

Essay by tbeattyUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2003

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An extremely important aspect of self-disclosure is the sharing of feelings. We all experience feelings such as happiness at an unexpected gift, sadness about the breakup of a relationship, or anger when we believe we have been taken advantage of. The question is whether to disclose such feelings, and if so, how. Self disclosure of feelings usually will be most successful not when feelings are withheld or displayed but when they are described. Let's consider each of these forms of dealing with feelings.


Withholding feelings--that is, keeping them aside and not giving any verbal or nonverbal clues to their existence--is generally an inappropriate means of dealing with feelings. Withholding feelings is best exemplified by the good poker player who develops a "poker-face," a neutral look that is impossible to decipher. the look is the same whether the player's cards are good or bad. Unfortunately many people use poker faces in their interpersonal relationships, so that no one knows whether they hurt inside, are extremely excited, and so on.

For instance, Doris feels very nervous when Candy stands over her while Doris is working on her report. And when Candy says, "That first paragraph isn't very well written," Doris begins to seethe, yet she says nothing--she withholds her feelings.

Psychologists believe that when people withhold feelings, they can develop physical problems such as ulcers, high blood pressure, and heart disease, as well as psychological problems such as stress-related neuroses and psychoses. Moreover people who withhold feelings are often perceived as cold, undemonstrative, and not much fun to be around.

Is withholding ever appropriate? When a situation is inconsquential, you may well choose to withhold your feelings. For instance, a stranger's inconsiderate behavior at a party may bother you, but because you can move to another part of the room,