My wife, rightfully, gets
frustrated when I cannot share my feelings with her. Frankly, if I knew my feelings I would be
glad to share them. This probably sounds
ridiculous, but is there any way for me to know my feelings so I can talk about
them? My wife does this so easily, but
it is as if someone is asking me to speak Greek. Any suggestions?
people lack the vocabulary to distinguish and describe the subtle shades of
emotions; you are not alone in this struggle.
Men particularly, were often not encouraged as children to pay attention
to feelings but rather were encouraged to “keep a stiff upper lip” or “don’t
be a sissy” or “be a brave little soldier.” I have two suggestions for gaining an
emotional vocabulary and for identifying your feelings.
sit down with a pencil and paper and list as many feelings and words as you
can. After you have completed your list,
ask your wife to do the same. Combine
the lists so you have a reference sheet.
This can often be useful to look at from time to time and see what
“feeling word” best fits for you at a particular time.
read the following feeling vignettes and fill in the “feeling word” that feels
right for you. There is no right or
wrong answer. Refer to your list of
“feeling words” if it is helpful.
wake up in the night and hear a strange noise and feel…
discover your child has just shoplifted, you feel…
are talking with an employee, knowing you have to fire him and you feel…
get a letter from your father and feel…
watch your child in a talent show and feel…
car in front of you is going 35 in a 55 mile zone and there is no place to
pass. You feel…
you love touches you and you feel…