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S2 EP146 – I Have a Right to my Feelings

Episode Summary

How often have you shared your feelings, and the other person became angry and defensive? When is the sharing of feelings important information and when is it manipulative? Discover how important it is to be aware of your intent when sharing your feelings with a partner, friend, or family member.


Hi everyone. Dr. Margaret Paul here with the Inner Bonding Podcast. I recently had a client who said to me, after dumping his feelings on to his wife, “I have a right to be frustrated and angry.” This is what I’m addressing today.

How often have you heard that it’s good to “share your feelings”? How often have you shared your feelings and it backfired on you? Perhaps you find yourself saying “But I’m just sharing my feelings!” or “I have a right to my feelings.”

Of course, you have a right to your feelings – your frustration, anger, impatience, irritation, stress, and so on. All your feelings have important information for you. It’s not about whether or not you have a right to your feelings – it’s about what you do with your feelings regarding taking responsibility for them or dumping them on others.

The problem is that you can share your feelings for a number of different reasons, depending upon your intention. The question to ask yourself is, “Why am I sharing my feelings? What is my intention?”

Sometimes we share our feelings just to give information, such as “I’m feeling really stressed. I’m going to go out for a run.” In this case, you are sharing your feeling of being stressed, and letting the other person know what you are going to do about being stressed.

But what if you just said, “I’m feeling really stressed.” Why would you want your partner or someone else to know that?

If you say, “I’m feeling really stressed. I’ve been doing some inner work and it’s not helping. Could you help me explore what this stress is about?”, then your intent is to learn. You want to take responsibility for your own feelings, and you want help in doing so. The other person may or may not be able or willing to help you, but your statement is not a pull on them to take responsibility for your feelings.

However, if you just say, “I’m feeling really stressed,” and you don’t ask for help or tell the other person what you are going to do about it, then the statement is a pull on the other person to take responsibility for your feelings. The other person might feel demanded of and engulfed by the statement and withdraw, or they may feel irritated and get parental and judgmental with you.

How often have you said things like this to a partner, friend, or family member?

“I just have to tell you how I feel. I’m very upset about what you did.”

“I’m really angry with you.”

“I just want to be honest with you. I’m so hurt by what you said.”

Each of these statements is a sharing of feelings. Yet the chances are that the person at the other end of this sharing of feelings will feel attacked and respond defensively.

When feelings are shared from the wounded self, then they are being used as a means of manipulation and control. The message behind the above sharing of feelings is, “I’m upset, or angry, or hurt and it’s your fault. You are responsible for my feelings. Your unacceptable behavior is the cause of my painful feelings.”

When feelings are shared from the loving adult, the intent is to learn about oneself and the other, or to just give information. For example, if you say, “I’m very upset about what you did, and there must be a good reason you did it. Can we talk about it?”, your intent is to learn rather than blame. Instead of being a victim of the other person’s behavior, you are interested in understanding the situation. Or, you might say, “I’m really angry at you, and I don’t want to take it out on you. So I’m going to do an Inner Bonding process and see if I can get through this.” In this case, you are taking responsibility for your own feelings, your own reactions, and just giving the other person information about your behavior.

Our wounded feelings – such as feeling angry, hurt, frustrated, irritated, inadequate, or unworthy – come from our thoughts, not from others’ behavior. For example, let’s say that your friend tells you that she wants to get off the phone because she is feeling judged by you, and she doesn’t like it. There are many things you can tell yourself about this, and what you tell yourself will determine what you feel.

If you tell yourself that your friend is in a bad place and is projecting her judgments of herself onto you, you might feel compassionate toward her.

If you tell yourself that you can never do anything right and that you are a bad person for judging, you might feel inadequate, unworthy, and rejected.

If you tell yourself that your friend has no right to say this to you, you might feel angry.

If you tell yourself that you might be judging and there might be something important for you to learn here – that there must be a good reason that you are judging, you may feel open and curious.

If you tell yourself that only a really good friend would tell you her truth, you might feel grateful and appreciative of her courage.

If you tell yourself that you are not judging, that it is your friend who is judging, and you take her judgment personally as an attack, you might feel hurt.

If you tell yourself that your friend is unkind, crazy or off the wall, you may feel righteous.

I hope you can see from these examples that, regardless of what someone else is doing, it’s what you tell yourself about it that causes your wounded feelings. It is so easy to believe that it’s another’s behavior that causes these wounded feelings. And then, if you believe that you need to tell them your feelings as a way to take care of yourself, you will likely dump your feelings on them.  But this is the opposite of personal responsibility – it’s being a victim and using your feelings as a way to blame.

Here is another example: Someone gets angry with you and says some unloving things. Instead of seeing that the other person’s unloving behavior is his or her issue, you take it personally and feel hurt. You feel upset with them for hurting you and then you tell them your feelings, saying, “I feel hurt by what you said.” Your intent in telling them your feelings is to make them responsible for your feelings. They may respond with, “That’s your problem!” or get defensive and explain their behavior to you, justifying their unloving behavior. In either case, you do not feel better. The other person might apologize, and you feel better for the moment, but the real issue of you taking things personally has not been addressed, and you will continue to be a victim of others’ behavior.

If you were to take responsibility for your own feelings, you would be very compassionate toward yourself for the heartache of another’s unloving behavior, allowing this sadness to move through you. The sadness of another’s unloving behavior is very different from getting your feelings hurt due to taking their behavior personally. Then, if you think the other person might be open, you can approach them with an intent to learn, saying, “I feel sad that you said that to me. There must be a good reason you said it and I’d like to understand.”

Anytime we share our feelings with the intent of getting someone to make us feel better, our intent is to control rather than to learn and to take responsibility for ourselves. We are making another responsible for our feelings instead of doing our Inner Bonding work and discovering our beliefs and behavior that are hurting us and causing us pain.

The next time you are upset with someone and want to blame him or her for your feelings or ‘share your feelings,’ stop and notice your intent. Be sure to ask yourself why you want to share them – to control or to learn? If you discover that your intent is to blame the other person for your feelings, you might want to go off by yourself and do an Inner Bonding process instead!

One of the things I’ve struggled with is that I tend to be a sponge for others’ feelings. I’ve learned a long time ago not to do this with my clients. With my clients, I take in their feelings with compassion and then immediately give them to spirit, silently saying, “God, I give these feeling to you. They are not mine. Please help this person with these feelings.” But in my personal relationships with family and close friends, I have a hard time doing this, especially when someone is upset and dumping out their feelings. Instead, I tend to absorb their feelings and then I want to take responsibility for their feelings and find a way to make them feel better. I learned to do this as a very young child with my parents, and I still need to be vigilant to not to take on the responsibility for the feelings of those I love. As many of you know, being an empath can be very challenging, especially when in relationship with a family member who frequently gets angry, frustrated, hurt, or irritated.

Sometimes I have clients who are struggling with anxiety, and they have no idea why they are anxious. Sometimes, it’s because they’ve absorbed or are taking on others’ feelings.

My client, Jessica, was a bright, perceptive, open, 16 years old, who consulted with me due to intense anxiety. She had been anxious ever since she could remember.

“A therapist told me that I was born with my anxiety and that I will always have it and that I need to learn to live with it,” she told me.

I knew this wasn’t true, and I was appalled. Due to what this therapist told her, Jessica believed that she was destined to always live her life with anxiety. Her guidance came through to me loud and clear – it was not her own anxiety that she was born with. Being a highly sensitive child, she had absorbed her mother’s anxiety while still in the womb.

“Jessica,” I said to her, “what that therapist told you is not true. You are a highly sensitive and empathic person, which means that it is very easy for you to feel and absorb others’ feelings. You know that your mother was very anxious during her pregnancy with you and when you were born, and you know she still struggles with anxiety. But you also know that she has made great strides in healing her anxiety.”

I did a brief visualization with Jessica, asking her to go back to her birth and make up the experience of absorbing her mother’s anxiety. She was immediately able to feel this. Then I asked her to imagine her mother’s anxiety drifting out of her like smoke and being released into spirit.

“Wow! I feel so much lighter!” she said. “I’m so excited to know that anxiety is not in my genes!”

I could certainly identify with Jessica, because I knew that, as a small child, I had absorbed my mother’s anxiety. By the time I was 5, I was a wreck, with many nervous habits to deal with the anxiety. Of course, I had no idea I was absorbing my mother’s feelings and neither did she. She took me to a psychiatrist to “fix” me. Too bad the psychiatrist wasn’t in touch with his guidance! I don’t think it even occurred to him to notice how anxious my mother was.

If you are anxious or depressed, I encourage you to think about whether you are taking on someone else’s feelings – especially someone who tends to dump their feelings on to you. Highly sensitive and empathic people do this naturally without realizing they are doing it. As I said, it’s been a challenge for me to not take on the feelings of those I love. Now, when someone I love is having a hard time, I still feel their feelings within my own body and I’m able to feel my deep compassion for them, but I also know that it isn’t loving to me, or to them, to take on their feelings or take responsibility for their feelings in any way. So I consciously release their feelings out of my body, giving the responsibility to God.

Sometimes others want you to take on their feelings and take responsibility for them. They may try to guilt you into taking on their feelings and taking care of them, especially if you have been doing this for them in the past. If you have been practicing Inner Bonding, then you know that it is not only not loving to you or to them to do this, but it’s disabling to them, as they never learn to take responsibility for their own feelings. And you are not taking responsibility for your feelings when you disregard how bad it feels inside to take on others’ feelings.

Most of us grew up having no idea how to manage and learn from our painful feelings. Do you have a hard time knowing what your pain is about and what to do with your painful feelings so that you don’t dump them onto others?

Jane asked me in a webinar:

“Like so many others, I am disconnected from my feelings much of the time. When I do experience my feelings, I typically do not even know what emotion I am feeling and instead have tears from my eyes and trembling in my voice when I allow the feelings to come, regardless of what the emotion might be. Is crying truly releasing the feeling/energy or is it another form of resistance and still blocking the feeling? Is it necessary to identify the actual feeling I am experiencing or is it sufficient to just feel the sensations, whatever they may be and allow the energy to flow so it can be released and resolved? I was shamed very early on for crying and in fact my mother boasts that I was such a good baby and rarely cried. Obviously, I quickly learned crying was counterproductive for getting my infant needs met. Then there is the issue of what is appropriate behavior for functioning in this reality. Being in the world and conducting the business of life doesn’t exactly lend itself for having my feelings in the moment, especially with tears seeming to always flow and getting choked up no matter what I am feeling. I would so appreciate your input on this.” 

What I said to Jane is that, for now, let go of trying to name the emotion.

It’s far less important to name the emotion than to be lovingly present for it.

As a baby, you were not seen, valued, connected with, and attuned to. This is very traumatic for an infant. In fact, the opposite happened and instead of being lovingly held when you cried, you were shamed. So I would guess that now, the baby in you cries from the heartbreak of this. And you learned to treat yourself the way your mother treated you, disconnecting from yourself, which is causing your current pain.

Whenever you can, even if you have to go into a bathroom stall at work, take some time to hold your inner baby with kindness and gentleness, rocking her as you would rock an actual crying baby. Just as an actual baby can’t tell you why she is crying, your traumatized infant can’t tell you why she is crying. So, instead of disconnecting from yourself, take a little time to hold yourself with love and compassion. In order to do this, you need to open your heart to spirit and bring love, compassion, kindness, gentleness, and tenderness to the crying infant within you. Assume when you are crying, it’s because your infant feels your disconnection from her.

If, when these tears come up, you can arrange to be held by a loving person who knows what you are trying to heal, and can “mother” you through the tears, this can be very healing for you. Do you have a friend or relative who is a motherly person who can give you some of the holding that your mother didn’t give to you? It’s not always easy to find, but if you recognize that you need this, you might be able to manifest this in your life. Sometimes, a therapist can provide this.

But it’s not enough to just cry and allow the energy to be released.

This would be like just allowing an infant to cry rather than holding and comforting her. The pain gets released and healed not only by crying, but through the feeling of being held, accepted, nurtured, and loved, connected with, and taking other loving actions for yourself.

You might also want to seek out some trauma therapy, as the trembling indicates there may be blocked trauma in your body. I have found EFT (The Emotional Freedom Technique – which you can learn online and do yourself) to be very helpful in releasing trauma, as well as TRE (Trauma Release Exercises). Many have found SE (Somatic Experiencing) or EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to be helpful as well.

I have done many forms of therapy, but none have been as healing for me as practicing Inner Bonding and learning to show up as a loving adult holding myself with love and compassion and receiving the mothering I didn’t receive as a child.

When you practice Inner Bonding and learn to learn from your wounded feelings and lovingly manage the painful feelings of life, you will stop dumping your feelings onto others to get them to take responsibility for your feelings, and stop taking responsibility for others’ feelings. This is essential for developing loving relationships.

Remember, you always have a right to your feelings, but dumping them on others or blaming others for your feelings is a form of self-abandonment that will make you feel worse. Learning how to take responsibility for your own feelings is a major aspect of what makes you feel full, loved, and peaceful inside. Practicing Inner Bonding is an incredibly powerful process for learning how to love yourself and take responsibility for your feelings.

I hope you join me for my 30-Day at-home Course to learn or deepen your Inner Bonding practice: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

You can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books:

And we have much to offer you at our website at

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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