HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

Emotions Prompt 11

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I’ve used and use suppression as a means of managing emotions more than I probably should, but one time I can really think of it is when dealing with my dad on topics such as religion. When I was younger, I used to be Catholic, but over my middle school and beginning of high school, I slowly grew away from Catholicism. Coming from a family full of Catholics however, this did not go down well. My dad was very unhappy that I did not get confirmed in the church and still to this day occasionally brings up the fact (though I do want to quickly point out that I do love and care for my dad, its just a minor problem at this point). When he first found out my fading faith, he threatened to make me break up with my girlfriend at the time and take away a bunch of my stuff. I was furious at the fact, but instead of lashing out at him and causing serious harm to my relations with my dad, I instead suppressed the anger I had about the issue. I am glad that I did, because I don’t want to cause any problems with my dad, and while I do occasionally gripe about going to church with them when they ask me to, it in reality isn’t much of a problem anymore. So in this case, suppression was indeed the right solution to this issue.

Suppression as an emotion management strategy is an effective method in the right circumstances. While it is good that it may prevent you from blowing up in anger, it can also have the effect of making the situation eventually worse if you do reach a breaking point and explode on somebody. I would say that the most effective way of using suppression is to use it wisely and sparingly. Talking the issue through is the more effective method for dealing with problems, but there are times when using other methods like venting or suppression that are more effective for the situation.

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