HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

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Suppression as an emotion management strategy

Identify a time when you used suppression as a means of managing emotions. What was the situation? What was the result? What do you conclude about the ethics of using suppression as an emotion management strategy?

My last trip back home to Malaysia over the summer was complicated to the extent that I was thinking of cutting the trip short and wishing for school to start sooner. As soon as I got back, I was forced to work my mother as her restaurant and that was mostly what I did for the entire three months I was there. I was extremely unhappy and had a lot of pent up frustrations. I understood that my mom had a lot on her plate with having to manage the new restaurant and workers acting up, she was unable to accommodate to my needs. As unhappy I was, I sucked it up and soldiered on. In addition, my aunt thought that it would be a good idea to instill the idea of my mom cheating on my dad with an employee that I despised with a passion. I knew deep down that my mom wouldn’t be stupid enough to risk having my brother and I hate her but at the same time I couldn’t help my mind from thinking about it. During those three months, my brain was constantly in overdrive. I was juggling with working in the day and rushing deadlines for an online class that I was enrolled in and one day after peak hours of lunch at the cafe I lost it. I was already a little on edge that day. It was way past lunch time and I was hungry so I was looking for her to buy me lunch. I couldn’t find her anywhere both in the cafe and the adjoining florist. The chef who I hated lived upstairs and I immediately knew where she was. I ran upstairs and I didn’t see her and a part of me was hoping that I was wrong and that she wasn’t upstairs so I ran down and tried calling her but she left her phone charging behind the counter downstairs. At this point I was shaking like a soda can about to explode. I ran up once again and shouted, “MOMMY!” She came out of the room and I was in tears. I gave her an ultimatum and threatened to change my flight and leave earlier if she doesn’t fire that asshole. I just lost all control of my emotions. She tried comforting me but it didn’t work and I was extremely angry about everything. I got into the car and drove as fast as I could to a cemetery that was 45 minutes away where my grandfather was. I said in the nice and air-conditioned crematorium with my grandfather’s door open and just cried my eyes out. The tears a mixed of frustration of the whole situation and also frustration that I didn’t know anyone alive that wouldn’t judge me and also that I was missing him. This experience has proven suppression to be an ineffective emotion management strategy for me. It has only made things escalate to the an unmanageable scale.