Credit: Roman Odintsov, Pexels
8 June 2021
‘When I feel sad, why do I show anger?’
One of my clients asked this question recently.
In this example, sadness is the primary emotion. Primary emotions occur as a reaction to a trigger, such as a loss. Anger on the other hand is the secondary emotion here, and is the reaction to my client’s primary emotion.
If, in your family or culture, sadness is considered a sign of weakness, you may seek to suppress it and to show that you’re ‘strong’.
In my client’s case he had grown to perceive anger as a more acceptable emotion, so this was how he displayed his sadness. Others may have learned that sadness is ‘bad’ and feel ashamed or guilty for feeling sad. For them, sadness may present itself as shame or guilt instead.
So, although we are born to feel certain (primary) emotions when specific events occur, our experiences influence how we manage these feelings, how we perceive them and how we show our (secondary) emotions to others.
How often do you feel one thing, but show something else?
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