Telling our Story: What We Need & How We Feel About It

The stories we tell ourselves and others are powerful and can either hijack a conversation and bring it depth and meaning

Stories are based on emotions rather than logic

All of the upheaval of this year have sent families to unprecedented levels of what is called emotional contagion. What’s that? It’s when we are interacting with another person and unconsciously mimic and synchronize another person’s words, tones and body language in a way that without meaning to, creates a set of trigger emotions.

 

Basic Emotions:  Instinct emotions

Positive:

Trust

Joy

Negative:

Fear

Anticipation

Anger

Disgust

 

The following emotions are increasingly complex emotions that are developed according to attachment, experiences, cultural context, and social modeling

Self-Conscious Emotions:

Positive:

Pride

Triumph

Negative:

Shame

Guilt

Embarrassment

 

Cognitively Complex Emotions:

Positive:

Gratitude

Hope

Empathy

Negative:

Envy

Disappointment/Regret

Resentment

Contempt Compassion

Dangerous Stories that Hijack a conversation:

  • The storyteller portrays themselves as victims—deflect blame and avoid responsibility
  • The storyteller portrays others as villains—assigns blame and motive to others
  • The storyteller portrays themselves as helpless and unable to do anything to change the situation in order to avoid accountability

How to modify these dangerous stories into useful stories:

  • Stay in mode of useful storytelling over conveying fact as long as necessary for everyone to feel that they are heard
  • Move from victim into an active participant with ownership, roles and responsibilities
  • Recognize the humanity of the villain by acknowledging their qualities and tough spot they are in
  • Recast the helpless into the empowered with the ability to change the situation for the better

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