Relationship Blog

Who Controls Your Feelings in Your Relationship?

who controls your feelings

Have you ever heard someone say to you, “You made me angry.” or “You hurt me.” Or another variation where someone has told you that you made them feel a certain way?

Have you said that to someone or felt that way?

Lets first ask the question, who controls your feelings? If your answer is “I do.” Then I agree and commend you on your answer and acknowledge you for taking ownership and responsibility for your feelings.

If you disagree or are a bit confused by this concept, or in your head understand it but for some reason it does not quite sit right with you, try this simple exercise.

Feeling Exercise

Take a moment on your own, preferably quiet, with no people around.

  • Take note of how you are feeling at this time. Are you feeling a sense of being at peace, or are you still carrying some feelings you had before you take this moment? Perhaps you are feeling uncomfortable? Just use a couple of words to describe how you are feeling.
  • Now close your eyes and take three really slow deep breaths. Open your eyes and how are you feeling now?
  • Now close your eyes and think of a time when you were happy. See how much you can remember, the people, the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the colours, what you were doing, where you were, the temperature. Now how are you feeling?
  • Repeat this for a time when you were angry.
  • When you were sad.
  • When you were in love.
  • When you felt joy.

Each time you brought up a memory, did you feel something different?

  • Now I just want you to think about your Mum? What do you feel?
  • Think about someone that ‘gets under your skin’.
  • Think about your Dad?
  • Think about something someone said or did that hurt you.
  • Think about someone you are really close to?

Again do you notice the feelings change.

So what have you observed?

  1. By thinking of different people and situations you created feelings.
  2. Feelings come and go.
  3. The feelings are inside you.
  4. They each have their own flavour.
  5. They are associated with memories or past experiences.
  6. You can control and change your feelings by your mind and what you think.

Just by doing this exercise can you see that feelings are created and experienced inside you?

In other example I use with someone I am working with who has a challenge understanding the concept is…..


I pull out an actual big red button with the work ‘NO’ on it ( I have not found one like the image here yet ), and place it on my chest. “Imagine you have a button like this, or many buttons like this on you. Someone does or says something that ‘Pushes your button’ and you react. They may have done it intentionally or simply by accident. All that has happened is that someone has pushed one your hot buttons. The reaction occurs inside of you, triggered by a thought, which typically fires up a whole lot of memories that helped create the hot button. This is all happening inside of you. If you become aware and take on the possibility of this is how it works, instead of simply reacting, (as you probably have done in the past), you can now start to choose how to act. The goal here is to ‘flatten the battery’, to take the energy out of the hot button, so that if someone pushes it you are in control.”

Happy Gilmore

As I am writing this I am reminded of the movie Happy Gilmore. Happy is someone who has a few emotional issues around frustration and anger. In one scene at the mini golf, Chubbs (the Golf Pro with a wooden hand) is teaching Happy to putt and asks Happy to go to a “Happy Place” to change how he is feeling. Later on in the movie, Happy is again getting caught up in his emotions and his Grandma just tells him she just wants him to be happy…. And he goes to his happy place again. He quickly goes from frustration and anger to being happy.

So do you have a happy place to go too when feelings and emotions seem to be controlling you?

I acknowledge that we can be affected by what other say and do. I am sure there are many times you have been around a person that is angry and ‘felt’ the vibes of anger. Have you been in a room where there is tension, where you could cut the air with a knife. We certainly can pick up on feelings and emotions around us. These are the emotions of others, they are generated inside other people. We are little feeling generating machines. Just like times you may get frustrated, angry, or feeling loving toward someone else these vibes go out.

Do you want to be in charge of your life, how you feel, or are you willing to give your power away so others can control you by pushing your buttons? Ultimately the choice is yours. I am going to suggest it is better to work at taking 100% responsibility and ownership of your feelings and emotions. Rather than be the effect of others, whether it is how they are feeling or pushing your buttons.

controlling your feelings

Returning back to the beginning, can you see that using and believing statements like “You hurt me”, “You made me angry” are disempowering? Can you see you are giving your power away to others when you think this way? Even the statement “You make me happy” is disempowering, because if someone can make you happy they can make you unhappy as well.

The key here is to acknowledge exactly what you are feeling. Your feelings and emotions are inside your body, not anybody else. Only you can feel what you are feeling.  The movie “What the Bleep” describes emotions as a chemical reaction generated in our body, initiated from our brain. If you google “What the Bleep Emotions” there are number of YouTube clips that explain the process.

I believe we all have hot buttons, I know that I have many. People have an uncanny ability to push our buttons. Your choice is to either let the hot button control you or you empower yourself and take control back.

P.S. In my next blog I will explore the Rejection and what you can do about the hurt and pain it can cause.

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So if you’ve got any questions regarding this blog or any aspect of your relaionship, why not take advantage of the complimentary 30-minute session I offer. Contact Me to see how I can help you have more healthier and happier relationships.  Until next time.

Marriage Counsellor and Relationship Counsellor - Keith Flynn

Keith Flynn BSc, Dip. Hyp.


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One Response

  1. My realization of who was in control of my emotions came one morning when my ex and I were going for a walk, he turned to me and said “you give me the shits”, I looked at him and said “well I would rather have the shits any day because you bind me up, and you can die from being bound up”. I had finally spoken my truth,and recognized how I had allowed him to control not only my emotions but every aspect of our relationship.I needed to stop relying on him for my happiness and peace.

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