How far can rage take a human being? At the end of September, newspapers published the news that, in Goiás a Brazilian state, a man had killed his two-month-old son when he tried to throw a cell phone at his wife: he missed the target and hit the baby in the head. At the same time and in the same state, a woman allegedly tortured and stabbed her two daughters, aged 6 and 10, to death, desperate because her husband asked for a divorce. In Pernambuco an other Brazilian state, two childhood friends, both in their 50s, stabbed each other in a fight over disagreement over voting intentions, one of whom died.
Before these events, relatives, acquaintances and neighbors of those people who committed heinous acts described them as friendly and loving. Letting emotions dominate us can, as the cases cited above prove, lead to tragedies.
A broad study carried out by the American Psychological Association (APA) defines emotional dysregulation as “any excessive or poorly managed response” to an event or fact that, even if it does not lead to tragedies such as those described, at the beginning of the text, they greatly harm the well-being of the individual and those around him, intensifying ailments such as depression and anxiety.
According to research, different emotions come and go throughout our day and experiencing them – even negative ones – is not a problem in itself, but it takes intelligence not to let them dominate the situation. The most extreme emotional dysregulation can even be diagnosed as part of a mental health disorder (such as depression, bipolar, anxiety, panic and borderline personality disorders), but anyone, even without a disorder, can regret it. their actions by letting emotions surface unchecked.
Even when the lack of control of emotions does not cause tragedies, it makes life more complicated, according to the APA, as it can lead the individual to escape through drugs, self-mutilation, compulsions and risk situations.
The APA defines emotional intelligence as the act of properly managing emotions, so that we are able to respond to everyday or more serious difficulties in a healthy and adequate way.
The causes of emotional imbalance disorders are not completely known to science, as per the APA. Some scholars argue that there may be a genetic component, as it is sometimes a consequence of brain injuries or psychological trauma. Anyone, however, can get out of control if they let emotion take over.
Emotional out of control can be a spiritual issue also. Evil takes advantage of the gap that strong emotions open to settle in, while, if the person has the defenses that faith provides, he will hardly find a home, as Bishop Edir Macedo explained in the program “Palavra Amiga”:
“when we talk about intelligence , this does not mean to say that God calls for people to be more educated, but for us to use our reasoning ability. It’s weighing things, evaluating, checking your faith in the things of life. Living intelligent faith is using reason, not emotions.”
In short: seeking true faith leads to balance.
Signs of imbalance
Emotional dysregulation can manifest itself in different ways, such as:
• strained interpersonal relationships;
• sudden outbursts of anger;
• exaggerated crying;
• accusatory statements;
• grudge accumulation;
• severe conflict prevention;
• sudden changes in mood;
• impulsive behaviour;
• suicide threats;
• substance abuse.
Source: American Association
of Psychology (APA)
In addition to psychotherapy, some simple everyday attitudes can help a lot to gain more control over emotions and benefit even those who do not have disorders:
• regular physical exercises in their most different forms, as they induce, when done correctly, body and mind control, with focus;
• control of deep breathing: when anxious, we breathe quickly and shallowly. Breathing more deeply and slowly helps to improve mood and contributes to tranquility;
• Acceptance: we all have emotions and they must be accepted, which does not mean that they should dominate us, but that we can (and should) identify them in order to know their causes and possible consequences. Being aware of feelings helps a lot in controlling them.