Therapy can help you sort through confusing feelings and sensations. Have you heard of the fight or flight response? This is when the emotional nervous system feels triggered or overwhelmed. Often, these feelings are accompanied by the urge to either fight or run away. Either way, it’s a response to feeling out of control and afraid. Emotional flooding is similar. In this case, the sympathetic nervous system detects a threat to safety. It may be that the threat is imagined or that it feels imminent due to previous, traumatic experiences. Whatever the cause of the threat or the actual danger posed, this feeling can cause a person to react.
When experiencing this, the person affected will feel overwhelmed, as if the emotions they’re feeling are too intense to be contained. Indications can range from the feeling of a constricted airway and a rapid heartbeat to heavy breathing and sweating.
Sometimes, experiences in earlier life that were traumatic can cause a person to develop a deep sensitivity to the emotions or circumstances associated to that trauma. When something comes up in later life that reminds, or triggers, the person to relive the memory of the trauma, they can forget that their circumstances are no longer what they were when the initial trauma occurred.
Someone who is triggered can forget where they are and feel, suddenly, like they’re back in the situation and circumstance that they were in when the original trauma happened. This can cause the triggered person to stop thinking logically. They become overwhelmed with memories and feelings to the point that they are unable to really process the reality around them in the moment. They are brought back to the time and place that they were traumatized.
Who it Happens to
It may strike anybody at any time. If you have emotions, you’re certain to be overwhelmed by them at some time. People who have had specific life events, on the other hand, may be more prone to emotional inundation than others.
According to certain research, males are more prone than women to suffer emotional inundation. It’s possible that this is related to cultural pressures on males to hide their feelings. Because males have as many emotions as women, the strain to keep them bottled up within might force them to explode when they reach a breaking point.
Adults who have lived in households or relationships where they have suffered trauma, abuse, or dysfunction are also thought to be more prone.
When a person is triggered to relive a previous emotional trauma, they may feel so many feelings that they are unable to process them. This is called emotional flooding. When someone is experiencing it, they may have trouble communicating clearly about what they’re experiencing or about what they need. When this happens in the context of a relationship, it can make communication very difficult.
Because communication is one of the key requirements to maintaining a healthy relationship, It can be a source of difficulty, both to the person experiencing it, and to their relationship. If you feel that you are experiencing this with a partner, couples therapy can be helpful in learning to cope.
External events can also create it, which might be triggered by recollections of prior trauma. When a person is hungry, weary, or overloaded, they are less robust to harsh emotions and are more prone to experience it. If a person has had unpleasant or traumatic experiences with abandonment or rejection, their partner’s conduct that feels like abandonment or rejection might induce it. Emotional triggers are highly personal. This implies that they will be unique to each individual. Learning to recognize your partner’s emotional triggers and knowing why and where they come from can be examples of love language in partnerships.
When it occurs within a relationship, it can cause stress. A cycle of stress can occur. First, the person experiencing this may feel misunderstood by their partner. They may also experience a sense of shame once the flooding has passed for the way that they acted while their parasympathetic nervous system was activated.
The partner of the person experiencing this may, themselves, may also feel confused and unsure about how to handle the situation. They may worry that it will happen again. They may not understand what is happening or why it’s happening. All of these potential circumstances are likely to lead to confusion and a sense of isolation.
By working with a qualified therapist, couples can process the experiences that led to it and work on ways to mitigate the effects or causes in the future. By being aware of potential triggers and also of their partners’ original trauma, members of a relationship can work to strengthen their bond.
Method to Deal with Emotional Floods
The best method to deal with emotional floods is to seek skilled treatment via couples counseling. A qualified expert can assist you and your spouse in learning to process emotions so that they do not overwhelm and flood your system.
There are certain things you can do on your own or with the help of a therapist . The first step is to learn to recognize it when it occurs. This can be problematic because one of the symptoms of emotional inundation is a difficulty in being aware of oneself and one’s surroundings. This, however, may be accomplished with practice.
Take Care of Yourself
The biggest thing that you can do to prevent this, and to work through it when it occurs, is to take care of yourself. Make sure that you get enough rest, eat healthy foods that make you feel good, and get enough exercise. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take time away. If you need a break, take one. If something doesn’t feel right, address it. When we have been stuck in unhealthy coping patterns, it can be hard to break out and really take care of. Therapy can help you with this.
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If you’re interested in learning more, contact us by calling 925.324.4514. We have the experience and expertise to help you find your way.