Emotional Time Bombs

Roy Masters

Modern psychologists, justifying their own emotional hang-ups, advise their patients to vent their emotions and avoid painful repression.

But if we follow that advice, we may experience some relief from emotional build-up within ourselves, but we are creating an emotional problem for our family.

They take on our problem by reacting to us and the way they react to us restimulates our problem. We are all veritable time bombs and not only do not know how to defuse ourselves--we don't know that we are about to go off.

And the tragedy of it all is that we should never have allowed our moods and feelings to be affected by others in the first place.

Now we must find our way back to a state of dignity and self-control of which we may have no memory, thanks to our having been pulled off our emotional center so early in life.

On top of that, few of us can really look at ourselves objectively because we are all addicted to something and whatever that something is, we cannot see our addiction to it as an addiction, partly because it is so exciting to us and partly because we look upon the relief it gives us as such a "simple pleasure."

Once something disturbs us, we subconsciously learn to need the disturbing presence as a turn-on, even though we may have no real tolerance for it as a human being. We may blow or we may not, but if we don't, we feel the pain of suppression.

At such times, we may find ourselves reaching for an old "friend," or even a new one, to make life bearable and pleasant and to help us forget what we have done, felt, and imagined under the spell of our emotions.

"When we blow off steam,

we pass our emotional problems

on to our children."

When we blow off steam, we pass our emotional problems on to our children. And if we implode, instead of exploding, we make a mess of our own psyches.

Soon we may find ourselves spending so much time and money on our efforts to repair the damage, that we cannot relate properly to the members of our family.

We find the relative innocence of our children particularly disturbing because it contrasts so sharply to our own state of emotional turmoil.

Their light is blinding to us, and we feel unconsciously compelled to put it out by doing some unfair petty thing to upset them and whittle them down to our own low level. Sometimes we see how wrong we are in our emotional dealings with our children and sometimes we don't.

Either way, our exciting or unconsciously mean behavior (because we have escaped from seeing it) provides them with the trauma they need to start them out on the same road to misery and oblivion.

This little drama being enacted daily in every home in the nation has created an unholy tension in our entire society.

Because human adrenaline is flowing so freely everywhere, some of us are looking to large-scale social reforms to solve our problems, but our common sense should tell us that we can't expect social action to provide solutions for a problem that begins--and has to end--in the tender psyche of individuals.