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Why Emotional Flooding Can Hijack Relationships

Emotional thoughts and feelings can lead to acting out through behaviors that might be regrettable later. Sometimes it feels like they are unstoppable emotions that are out of control. With recovery, there is a lot of work that has to be done but emotions are part of the challenge. The giant waves of negative feelings that can take a person out and are not rational typically fall into the realm of emotional flooding. They turn a person into an emotional mess and they feel incapable of dealing with the emotions rationally. Find out why emotional flooding happens and how it hijacks relationships. 

Flooding Versus Emotional Management

Emotional flooding is not discussed as much in recovery because there are many other things to deal with that take time like detox, recovery 12-step processes, and managing triggers. Flooding versus more manageable emotional experiences is different in order of magnitude. Therapists look at it as ‘emotional hijacking’ when the nervous system goes into overdrive and a person experiences ‘fight or flight’ responses. The sympathetic nervous system is in action, preparing to take flight. People can lose some capacity for rational thought. Instinctive reactions make the situation worse but the fight response primes people for angry words and behaviors. They might run when they feel emotions come on. Triggers can be difficult to manage when a person is not able to think rationally and use healthy coping tools. 

Healing from Emotional Flooding

Recovery is difficult for people who need help with addiction. With the right tools, they can learn to deal with those difficult emotions and find hope and healing. Here are some healthy tips:

  • Commit to self-soothing emotions. It is not easy to hold back from speaking harsh words or reacting negatively. Find some help to get some tips and tools to learn how to switch the narrative from catastrophizing to coping in a healthy way
  • See everyone as a partner in healing. Picture moments where the people who are loved have everyone’s best interests at heart. Formulate this picture each time that person does or says something that is frustrating and captures the best response possible. Reintegrate this into a healthy space of acknowledging ways to deal positively with whatever emotions come up, one at a time
  • Don’t feel shame or blame when it doesn’t work. This work is hard and takes time to integrate into habitual behavior. Don’t feel shame or blame for not being able to do it every single time an emotional response occurs. To learn how to heal, it takes growing a new way of thinking and letting the brain and body heal. In the time it will get better.

One of the best ways to cope is to ‘hit pause.’ Stop, breathe, and use the tools that come to mind in that moment. Focus on positive energy and working through the emotions the best way possible. Continued therapeutic support can help with emotional flooding. Learn how to navigate this journey one step at a time to make it manageable. Healing is a lifetime journey so go slow and rest knowing change will come in time.

The Guest House Ocala helps you navigate difficult emotions. Even if you are struggling with emotional shifts, mental health issues and more, we are here to support growth in recovery. It takes time which is why we provide a space to get started. You are not alone. Call us to find out how to get started: 1-855-483-7800