Emotional Health: Understanding Our Primary & Secondary Emotions

Emotional Health: Understanding Our Primary & Secondary Emotions

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This is a discussion on Emotional Health: Understanding Our Primary & Secondary Emotions within the General Psychology forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; Primary and Secondary Emotions Understanding Primary Emotions Primary emotions are in- the- moment emotional responses to a pleasant or unpleasant ...

  1. #1

    Emotional Health: Understanding Our Primary & Secondary Emotions

    Primary and Secondary Emotions

    Understanding Primary Emotions

    Primary emotions are in- the- moment emotional responses to a pleasant or unpleasant stimulus. They happen as a direct result of an external cue that affects us emotionally. That is, they occur in close proximity to the event that brought them on. Primary emotions are important because they provide us with information about our current situation and get us ready or motivated to act in some way.

    Primary emotions can be extremely pleasant and they can also be extremely unpleasant. Crucial to understanding our emotional reactions and how we behave, either in a healthy and self-actualising way, or conversely in an unhealthy detrimental way, is being aware of our primary emotions and that they all have value. They are important cues to our humanity and growth on a personal level as well as interpersonally and socially.

    We can look at our primary emotions as a human survival mechanism. If we do not allow ourselves the expression of our primary emotions, we at best fail to thrive and live a meagre detached existence, and at worst, when the primary emotions become secondary emotions (which they inevitably do), we cause damage to ourselves and others.

    Primary Emotions:

    Joy
    Happiness
    Satisfaction
    Fulfillment
    Contentment
    Peace
    Fear
    Shame
    Sadness
    Hurt
    Guilt
    Frustration
    Dissatisfaction
    Disappointment

    It's interesting that we, in most cases don't have a problem recognising, accepting and expressing the pleasant emotions. Although, in some instances people do inhibit the expression of pleasant primary emotions. However, it is most often the case, that the unpleasant emotions cause problems for people. Why is this? Why do we have a problem giving validity to something unpleasant. It is a crucial cue or piece of information for us.

    To analyse this response, it's interesting to note that in some instances we have no problem responding. For example, if we're crossing the street and a car is going through a red light, our fear kicks in and we react immediately to save our life.

    But what about other fears? Fear of losing someone. Fear of exposing yourself too much. Fear of looking needy or weak? What do we do with those nasty fears? What about sadness, shame and hurt? What happens when we feel those and then don't express them?

    What happens is something kicks in to stop us after we feel the primary emotion. Our inner dysfunctional voice starts up. This voice is not our best friend. It's our enemy. It warps and destroys our natural God-given (or whatever you believe in) ability to thrive as humans. The voice has a lot of power if we give it power. It convinces us that we are being smart by listening to it, because isn't a voice (something that uses intelligent "rational" thought) much better than listening to our instincts?

    But, aye there's the rub! Is it really smarter and better to listen to that voice? What is it telling us?

    You're not allowed...
    You don't deserve...
    You will lose....
    You are a loser
    .....will hate you
    .....will leave you
    You are weak
    You are stupid
    You are incompetent
    You are selfish
    Do not believe what you feel

    !!!! Don't trust yourself. !!!!

    Understanding Secondary Emotions

    Let's look at the above statements. These statement do not help us to achieve. They do not make us better people. They disguise themselves by making us think we'll be better if we listen to the voice. But, in fact what they do is destroy our sense of self and demoralise us.

    If that were not bad enough, in the long term, we get into a pattern of not even recognising the primary emotion anymore because the dysfunctional voice has infiltrated completely. What happens then? Not a pretty picture. Because the primary emotion never goes away. It gets buried, but we need it to survive. It makes us human.

    This brings us to our secondary emotions. These are very familiar. We might mistake them for primary emotions if we're not self aware. For example, anxiety is often due to fear. We may not be aware that we're afraid, or even what we are fearing (it could be many things), so it becomes expressed as general anxiety. The thing about secondary emotions that will be a tip off is if you can't alleviate it without digging deeper.

    Secondary emotions are not there to help us. They hinder us. They are the emotions we have in response to a primary emotion not being recognised or expressed. Secondary emotions can be analysed by listening to our inner dialogue. When we feel uncomfortable with the expression of a primary emotion, our inner judgemental voice kicks in. What does it say? Whatever that voice is saying will be a cue as to how we our turning our primary emotion into a secondary one.

    A secondary emotion is what occurs when we don't value, listen to respond to our primary emotions. If we do not express the primary emotion it does not go away. We may not express it for a variety of reasons. It may be because of habit from our past (emotional blocks from childhood, family, school, society or relationships and past hurts), or it may be because we are in a social or work situation in which it is not acceptable or safe to express the primary emotion, or it could be because our current situation blocks us from expressing it (ie. it is not accepted by a partner).

    A defining characteristic of secondary emotions is they do not pass quickly. They tend to stick around for a long time. They do not provide us with a useful way of interacting and growing. In addition, secondary emotions are problematic in that they interfere with us getting information from our primary emotional responses and acting on those emotions in healthy ways. Instead, they simply tell us that we aren't willing to have our valid, primary emotional responses. As a result, they often lead us to try to avoid our emotions and cause damage to ourselves and our relationships.

    Secondary Emotions:

    Disapproval
    Disdain
    Hatred
    Coldness
    Hostility
    Persecution Complex
    Paranoia
    Distrust
    Jealousy
    Worry
    Anxiety
    Insecurity
    Low Self Esteem
    Self-hatred
    Depression
    Anger/Rage

    What Can Be Done?

    The first step in reducing your secondary emotional responses is to increase your awareness of your emotions. This can be done through self-monitoring:

    * identify your emotional responses to a situation
    * stay in the moment
    * be aware of how you evaluate those emotional responses (are you telling yourself judgements on them?)
    * capture what kind of thoughts your primary emotions bring about, as well as how you feel as a result of those thoughts
    * counter those thoughts and judgements with self affirming statements


    Next, practice responding to your thoughts in a different way. You can challenge your thoughts or be more mindful of your thoughts. That is, practice not taking your thoughts at face value or as truth, but simply as a thought you are having only because you have had that thought before -- it is a habit.

    Practicing these steps will help prevent the occurrence of secondary emotions and increase the extent to which you can get in touch with your primary emotional experiences and have a more fulfilling life


    Inky, Kysinor, Psilo and 20 others thanked this post.



  2. #2

    It is worth thinking about. Is this yours or do you have a source?

    cf.

    Emotion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  3. #3

    Interesting read.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    sartreality thanked this post.

  4. #4

    this is pretty neat for the relationship info it offers... and is also cool if you want to learn how to manipulate lol

  5. #5

    PS: I have discovered that my feelings of anxiety are usually due to a cause. It is just a question of identifying the source, which is often in the uncontrolled cognitive processes of the other.

    Apparently, statistically females have better control of their cognitive processes (more mature) than males. I think this is the social enviroment. It is a truism is that you cannot control the minds of another to any great extent.

    Social factors affect best marriage matches. Mainly, the Guardians SJ who just don't like Dragons NP. Daddy is a Dogmatic ISTJ and simply hates his daughter's suitor ENFP (hypothetical example).

    Moral: don't put an ESFJ in charge of anything. They are not rational, can be very quick to judge and as extroverts will act on their emotions/judgement.
    Kevinaswell thanked this post.

  6. #6

    Quote Originally Posted by sartreality View Post



    ]
    There are a lot of things here that are troubling me, if people out there function like this. This seems very unhealthy. And not really in the way you described.

    Primary -in-the-moment emotions I can give you. That all works out okay.

    But that is NOT what your inner voice is for, OR what secondary emotions/thoughts are for at all >.<

    Whenever fear or stress is experienced, it releases stress hormones and your body reacts accordingly (google it, fear is one of the most researched of all emotions because it's so easy to control). THIS is why you can break at the light just fine. There is a reaction for you that is necessary that needs to be accomplished right now.

    However since we are human and DO have secondary emotions and higher forms of cognition (thank you Cortex!!!!), this creates a society with demands and expectations that you need to fulfill, that are STILL relevant to your primary emotions, but in these situations there is no break to step on right away.

    Because your girlfriend is mad. Or you're not doing well at your job. Or you have a test in 3 hours and you're not as prepared as you should. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Etc.

    This releases the SAME stress hormones as a surprise red light would within your body, and it reacts just the same.

    But just like the red light, you're not doing anything wrong >.< No reason to beat yourself up over a red light >.< I mean fuck, even if you RAN that bitch. Would you be like "HOLY SHIT I'M SO STUPID WTF IS WRONG WITH ME GOD I'M A FAILURE!!!" afterwards? I hope not >.<

    What you are describing as secondary emotions is so incredibly negative and self-damaging that it irks me.

    That is not what it's for. Come on guys, be better than that. It is THERE to help you figure out and understand and cope with fears and things you can't express, not beat you down like a school bully for them >.<

    I mean really? Why would you allow yourself to do that to yourself? Shouldn't you have more respect?
    Selene thanked this post.

  7. #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinaswell View Post
    There are a lot of things here that are troubling me, if people out there function like this. This seems very unhealthy. And not really in the way you described.

    Primary -in-the-moment emotions I can give you. That all works out okay.

    But that is NOT what your inner voice is for, OR what secondary emotions/thoughts are for at all >.<

    Whenever fear or stress is experienced, it releases stress hormones and your body reacts accordingly (google it, fear is one of the most researched of all emotions because it's so easy to control). THIS is why you can break at the light just fine. There is a reaction for you that is necessary that needs to be accomplished right now.

    However since we are human and DO have secondary emotions and higher forms of cognition (thank you Cortex!!!!), this creates a society with demands and expectations that you need to fulfill, that are STILL relevant to your primary emotions, but in these situations there is no break to step on right away.

    Because your girlfriend is mad. Or you're not doing well at your job. Or you have a test in 3 hours and you're not as prepared as you should. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Etc.

    This releases the SAME stress hormones as a surprise red light would within your body, and it reacts just the same.

    But just like the red light, you're not doing anything wrong >.< No reason to beat yourself up over a red light >.< I mean fuck, even if you RAN that bitch. Would you be like "HOLY SHIT I'M SO STUPID WTF IS WRONG WITH ME GOD I'M A FAILURE!!!" afterwards? I hope not >.<

    What you are describing as secondary emotions is so incredibly negative and self-damaging that it irks me.

    That is not what it's for. Come on guys, be better than that. It is THERE to help you figure out and understand and cope with fears and things you can't express, not beat you down like a school bully for them >.<

    I mean really? Why would you allow yourself to do that to yourself? Shouldn't you have more respect?
    A person with the secondary emotions sartreality described would look at what you're saying, and their reaction would be:

    "Ohh...I'm a lame-brain for not having figured this out yet. Why am I so messed up? If it's so obvious, how come I don't see that? And my feelings are...harmful? [tenses up, and anxious about the fact that they might be unwittingly doing lots of damage to themselves]"

    If you tell them to have more confidence in themselves and not be so hard on themselves, their thought process is:

    "I don't know how to...it's just how I naturally do things. You're telling me to accept myself, but at the same instant you're telling me that my non-accepting ways of thinking are wrong. How can I accept myself when my normal, natural way of viewing things is wrong? How can I like myself for what I'm not?"

    PeacePassion and Jack Rabid thanked this post.

  8. #8

    Quote Originally Posted by Selene View Post
    A person with the secondary emotions sartreality described would look at what you're saying, and their reaction would be:

    "Ohh...I'm a lame-brain for not having figured this out yet. Why am I so messed up? If it's so obvious, how come I don't see that? And my feelings are...harmful? [tenses up, and anxious about the fact that they might be unwittingly doing lots of damage to themselves]"

    If you tell them to have more confidence in themselves and not be so hard on themselves, their thought process is:

    "I don't know how to...it's just how I naturally do things. You're telling me to accept myself, but at the same instant you're telling me that my non-accepting ways of thinking are wrong. How can I accept myself when my normal, natural way of viewing things is wrong? How can I like myself for what I'm not?"

    No I get it.

    But like....that's how it is with personality disorders.

    Personality disorders are not incurable.

    This is where it all boils down to the individuals will to be content and happy.

    It's in them, yo.

    People make the choice themselves to be self-hating or not.

    Who was it that said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different outcome?

    Reminds me a lot of this.

    People make their own choices.

    Self-hatred is redundancy at it's finest. With that little paradox you just described.

    It's shitty, but it's only up to the individual to fix it.

    F's aren't the only ones with confidence/personality issues, btw. They are represented within the entire population regardless of type.

    This is NOT a temperament issue. People with this type of thinking CAN fix it and DO fix it and SHOULD fix it.

    Don't ignore your secondary thoughts. Just make them your own instead of your enemy.
    PeacePassion and Selene thanked this post.

  9. #9

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinaswell View Post
    No I get it.

    But like....that's how it is with personality disorders.

    Personality disorders are not incurable.

    This is where it all boils down to the individuals will to be content and happy.

    It's in them, yo.

    People make the choice themselves to be self-hating or not.

    Who was it that said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different outcome?

    Reminds me a lot of this.

    People make their own choices.

    Self-hatred is redundancy at it's finest. With that little paradox you just described.

    It's shitty, but it's only up to the individual to fix it.

    F's aren't the only ones with confidence/personality issues, btw. They are represented within the entire population regardless of type.

    This is NOT a temperament issue. People with this type of thinking CAN fix it and DO fix it and SHOULD fix it.

    Don't ignore your secondary thoughts. Just make them your own instead of your enemy.
    Good shit. Sounds good.

  10. #10

    I just want you guys glad.

    :)

    EDIT: Pretend I had cruise control for cool on for that.
    PeacePassion thanked this post.


 
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