Emotional expression is critical to the relationships and resilience within a family. It can also be difficult for families who have experienced trauma or really difficult situations to express their emotional experiences.
When we have bad experiences, there is a tendency to want to avoid any memories that remind us of the event, including emotions. This can cause a person or family system to be shutdown. Their emotions can become over controlled and create significant distance in relationships. The individual can be difficult to connect with or to feel close to.
Allowing for emotional expression within families is critical to creating a sense of safety in the family relationships. When individuals are able to express their feelings and be seen, heard, and understood, relationships grow deeper and there is greater resilience.
Supporting the expression of stronger emotions that are more difficult may seem counterintuitive. Sometimes people think that if a person expresses these emotions, they will just continue to get stronger and more difficult. In fact, the reverse is often true.
When difficult emotions are expressed and the individual feels understood and heard, the intensity typically decreases and creates a sense of relief.
Although strong emotions may be overwhelming, particularly when trauma is involved, expressing these feelings is still an important part of the path to healing.