October 11, 2018 Felicia Durling

6 Commonly Mistaken Feelings

Emotions are complex and mysterious, often arising from past trauma, daily challenges, or one’s own internal mental processes.  It’s common for people to misinterpret and mistake their own emotions, resulting in confused behavior and personal conflict. However, by learning to recognize a few commonly mistaken feelings, you can begin to properly communicate with your own emotions and subconscious in ways that allow you to make reasoned choices in how to respond to and express these feelings.

Anger vs Fear

Fear is the primary emotion to anger. Sometimes when we are angry, we are actually afraid. Anger is usually a reaction to a harm that has been done to us or a loved one. Seeing what kind of hurt someone is capable of doing to us, we become afraid of them, and the world, even God. We are afraid that they might hurt us again, or that if they try, we won’t be able to defend ourselves. We are suddenly vulnerable and insecure. There could be more harm-doers out there! We find ourselves afraid that we are no longer safe or protected.


Fear vs Sadness

Expectations lead to disappointments and disappointments are challenging to cope with. Out of our need for survival, we experience fear through our fight-or-flight response mode which releases adrenaline. Being let down may make us feel afraid that something isn’t going to work, someone isn’t who we thought they were, or more. In truth, it makes us feel sad. We are sad that things didn’t work out the way we wanted them to. What to do: remember that you are not in control. Just because we have expectations doesn’t meant that we suddenly control any outcomes.


Excitement vs Anxiety

Have you ever had that knot in your stomach, butterflies flittering around sort of sensation. It may be excitement some of the time, but more than likely it is anxiety. If a situation has any negative fears or memories associated with it, our brains might attach to the positive parts instead of those negative ones. Anxiety is the end result of the brain thinking something is going to go wrong, either because it has before, or something about the situation is reminiscent of a bad situation.


Anxiety vs Panic

How many times have you heard someone say “I was about to have a panic attack” about something relatively trivial? There is a big difference between panic and anxiety, especially when it comes to the experience of an emotional attack. While anxiety does anticipate harm or wrongdoing, panic believes that death is imminent. Panic attacks happen when the brain becomes convinced that it is about to die.


Other commonly mistaken feelings are confidence for false pride, love for attachment, and positivity for avoiding. Learn to listen to your feelings and interpret them with a calm, rational mind so as to avoid misinterpreting your own feelings.


The Center for Life Change believes in the power of emotional education. When we know what we are feeling and are able to identify with those feelings, we experience them fully. Call us today for information on our programs of treatment for addiction 951 775-4000.

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