Table of contents:
- We are all familiar with the situation when after communicating with one person you feel joyful and strong, and after communicating with another you plunge into melancholy and sadness and thoughts about the hopelessness of life arise. Surely there are people in your environment who masterly know how to spoil your mood. How do you protect yourself from toxic emotions?
- Vampires around us
- Poison exchange
- Disgusting - to joy
Video: Toxic Emotions - Self-development, Society
We are all familiar with the situation when after communicating with one person you feel joyful and strong, and after communicating with another you plunge into melancholy and sadness and thoughts about the hopelessness of life arise. Surely there are people in your environment who masterly know how to spoil your mood. How do you protect yourself from toxic emotions?
Vampires around us
Among the people, the name "emotional vampires" is stuck behind them, and in popular psychology it is fashionable to use the label "toxic people". "Vampirism" assumes that such people "suck" our positive emotions, rob us of our strength, destroy our motivation.
“Toxicity” implies the opposite process, when no one takes anything from us, but we ourselves are imbued with negative emotions and negative attitude to life, which a “toxic” person has in abundance. However, we are dealing with "vampirism" or "toxicity", the result will be the same - we will feel bad (emotionally and physically).
Obviously, "vampires" and "toxicity" are just metaphors. And behind them may be either some special warehouse of a person's personality, or features of communication. In order not to arrange a witch hunt (more precisely, on "vampires"), it is more productive to look for the reasons not in the personality of the interlocutor, but in the peculiarities of communication. Let's try to figure out what's going on …
Any communication between people includes the exchange of emotions. Moreover, this exchange takes place both on the conscious and on the unconscious levels. Communication with another person activates mirror neurons, and the better our empathy is developed, the better we understand the emotional state of the interlocutor and the more we become "infected" by his emotions.
Emotional contamination is based on unconscious imitation. This is the oldest and evolutionarily expedient reaction, which made it possible for a flock of primates to quickly rally and give the same reaction to some significant situation (for example, to be scared by everyone and run away from a predator). Whether we like it or not, an emotional exchange will take place. We will definitely copy (at least partially) the emotional state of our interlocutor.
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Each participant comes into a communication situation with his own mood and with his own unique emotions. Moreover, the source or cause of these emotions may lie far beyond the situation.
The Danish cartoonist Herluf Bidstrup has a wonderful comic strip depicting how emotions are transmitted. The first episode - the boss scolded the employee. He pounced on his subordinate. Then the petty clerk shouted at the typist, she at her daughter, the girl slapped the guy in the face, he kicked the dog, and the dog bit the boss, closed the circle. As you can imagine, the last participant in this chain, broadcasting aggression, is unlikely to understand how he deserved such an attitude towards himself and why such an emotion suddenly "flew" to him.
In life, this happens all the time. We communicate with people charged with other people's negative emotions, who do not even realize how strongly they broadcast this same negative. Moreover, we ourselves can be carriers of "bad" emotions, and in relation to our interlocutors act as "vampires" or "toxic people". No one is immune from this, but you can learn to be aware of yourself (and recognize the interlocutor) in such a negative role and take timely action.
Disgusting - to joy
Emotions in communication are always manifested through expression. Expression can be verbal (the state is expressed, described by means of speech) or non-verbal (emotions are expressed by "body language" - facial expressions, gestures, etc.). Expression can be spontaneous / unconscious or controlled / conscious.
When does “emotional contamination” become especially powerful and dangerous? When one of the interlocutors has heightened emotional sensitivity and developed empathy. And the second interlocutor demonstrates a very strong, pronounced verbal and non-verbal expression, transmitting negative emotions so strongly that the first interlocutor simply has no chance not to notice or feel them.
By the way, why is there so much talk about "vampires" and "toxic people"? Because the question always arises of how conscious their powerful expression is. Do they understand that they are “loading” everyone around with their negative emotions? If they understand, then how can you live with the knowledge that “doing nasty things is a joy” ?! This is already a matter of personal ethics or suspicion that this person is a dangerous sociopath.
Read How to Defend Against Toxic Emotions: 8 Ways to Emotionally Detoxify
But if a person does not realize the power of his expression and does not understand its negative consequences for others? What is the problem with such a "reluctant vampire"? Does he lack emotional intelligence? Does he have problems with self-control and emotional self-regulation? Or does he see the negative consequences of his expression, but can do nothing about it (and himself suffers from such stereotyped behavior)?
Usually, behind such emotional inflexibility (when expression is inappropriate and as a result all participants in communication suffer from it) psychotraumas are hidden, and in order to deal with them, professional psychological help is needed.