The Potential State Podcast - Enriching Relationships

What is your emotional range? Are you surviving or living?

February 21, 2021 Galit and Assael Romanelli, Ph.D.
The Potential State Podcast - Enriching Relationships
What is your emotional range? Are you surviving or living?
Show Notes Transcript

Imagine all the human emotion would be spread out from 1 being deep despair, all the way to 10 being extreme ecstasy.
What would be your range?
Which numbers (feelings) are you less familiar with?
Many of us are 4-6'ers. We live "between the 40's", keeping it safe, functional but also somewhat numb.

In this talk, Galit and I talk about the natural 4-6 phenomenon and its impact on relationships through examples from our own marriage and the clinic.
Practical tips will help you expand your emotional range now.


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Speaker 1:

I'm feeling sad. Yeah . And I hate feeling

Speaker 2:

Sad.

Speaker 1:

I'd rather feel like myself, which is positive and happy and excited. And I, this feeling of like down in despair and I don't, that's not, that's like way too out of my comfort zone. I'm a , I'm a three to nine, or I'm not a

Speaker 2:

One to 10 or so today we're going to talk about an emotional range and why that is crucial for your individual and relational health. Hi, my name is Dr. Several Minnelli and this is that potential state. And today we're going to talk about what's your emotional range. So we like to talk about the emotional range of ranging from one, which is deep despair and 10, which is extreme joy and ecstasy. And what I've noticed in the clinic, and I also have noticed about myself is that a lot of people are living between in the four to six. We call them the four to six hours . They live in the range. They're not, they don't feel too high. They don't feel too low. And it just kind of surviving their functioning. Or as one client told me, he lives between the forties and the football metaphor, not close to any end zone. They're numb, they're emotionally numbed . And I've noticed there's two types of four to six years. There are four to six years. I grew up in violent or emotionally volatiles how homes and they decided I don't want that. I'm just going to narrow myself and not myself. And there are people like me that grew up in houses, in homes that were four to six. And he's comfortably numb places where you talked about feelings, but you're not necessarily experienced the whole range , whether it's high conflict or high joy or excitement.

Speaker 1:

You just talked about the feelings

Speaker 2:

And the gains of being afforded sex years . Obviously survival is functioning. You don't get deterred so much. You don't get flustered. You don't get stuck. There's less drama. You can function. But the , the loss of that is that there's no vitality. There's no fun. It's just like, everything's one lot to do list day after day. And you're not really touched. And even , um, this 46 or says to me , even when he was taking drugs or if he's drinking, he says , it's a high intensity version of myself. So he's still a four to six. So he's just more intense. And then slowly realize the four to six is a survival mechanism, but the one to 10 is living.

Speaker 1:

It's the full range. It's the full range of emotion that we have.

Speaker 2:

And so you said you're more of a three to nine, right ?

Speaker 1:

Yeah . Yeah. I, so I have a very hard time accessing my, I think my , um, my hurt, my pain. Um, I have a really hard time crying. And I know that sometimes, especially since we've kind of started talking about emotional range that I know from the times that I was able to access the one to three days and kind of have one of these like very , um, you know, ugly shoulder crying type scenes that I've felt an immense release afterwards, but it's very hard for me to access that that's not something that I kind of moved towards and I can see the gains of having that release a feeling that release kind of, there's almost like a clarity. I feel like, you know, after like a really good cry, you really feel the wave of like the cloud of, of emotion and tear pass you. Um, and if we talk about kind of the cycles of emotion, I feel like with a really good, healthy cry, I felt it that's where I can really, like my K really feels it, but it's very hard for me to get there and I'm not comfortable getting there. And , um, and I , I, I know that that's kind of closed me off from, from, from the full range of, of experiences.

Speaker 2:

No, for me as a two to six or two to seven, it's like, I'm very familiar with the pain, despair and all of that, but it's, it's the joy that's harder for me to feel. And a lot of times we talk about, we said , it's a scale, but actually it's a circle. So the one to 10 are connecting. And the beautiful example of that is laughing and crying at the same time. And oftentimes in the clinic, it's those moments where we hit a deep despair and we just let it be, I mean , we kind of embrace it at this, this natural laugh or an improv. We say to people, go through all the emotions at the height of joy, there's going to be fear or whatever. Then the , uh , the height of fear surrendered , the fear of the next thing is going to be ridiculed . There's always another feeling behind that feeling and for a lot of people. And I remember once working with the person who was a second generation four to six, or , and he's like, why, why would I want to feel more pain? And how do we just function ? I convinced . But then I said to him, but you're also not feeling joy. And you can reference the episode on the key to your joys and your pain, but you're not feeling, and your wife is basically losing interest because there's no, there's no range. And your kids are growing up with a very limited numb survive , a functioning adult. And that's just, that's just not fun being around.

Speaker 1:

I also think it's not, you know, we're, we're put on this earth to live to our fullest. And part of living to our fullest means, you know, feeling all the feels and that's, that's being vulnerable and being joyful and being, you know , scared. And like, there's a lot of vitality that runs through all those emotions. And when we narrow and limit ourselves, then we're basically bots.

Speaker 2:

Exactly. And then reference the episode. Feelings is what makes us human. So how do we do this? How do we expand the range ? Especially when I don't have that, if I'm a four to six or three to seven, or in my case, a two to six, or how do I expand that range? So the first one is to realize that, and even draw this out with yourself, go to your siblings, go to your parents, see kind of what environment you grew up in, talk to your partner, compare your numbers. And then the first practical tip is just hanging out with kids because children.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they're really great. They're there all the emotions in , in, in one go in one tantrums ,

Speaker 2:

Right? They can go from crying to laughing from zero to a hundred and seconds. Also artists, also people that are kind of feeling the world that can have that extent or expressive. Like they're not afraid. They're not afraid of feeling be with those people, hanging out with these, whether it's children, artists, therapists,

Speaker 1:

And we might be that you find one person that feels, you know, the tire that's in the higher numbers and another person that's on the lower numbers. So I think that it's just a matter of experiencing and seeing how other people experienced those ranges.

Speaker 2:

Exactly . I remember once I was working with a man and he was really good at the one , it was like a one to five. And I said, why don't you start expressing some joy in the beginning, it was very fake to him. I was like, ah, yeah, but after a while it slowly softened up. So how do you expense ? So you can, so there's two ways that we , if you want to experience more of the seven to tens , the joys then referenced the episode, joys of verb, where we talk about that in length. And if you want to feel the one to threes , if you want to start slowly feeling the despair, the pain reference inside out, right. Feeling sadness, the tip would be baby steps. If you find someone you trust, but it's not, who's not going to try to heal you, fix you or cheer you up and slowly touch on those, on those more sad on those darker feelings and come back, touch and come back to them. And I think for a lot of us in lockdown and in COVID, it's been really hard because feeling one to three is a lot with very little seven to 10, but I think over time, the more we can feel it and notice what not, we're not going to die or collapse from it, which is going to touch that and keep on going. And it's the fluidity that matters. I think, I think for also when I'm, when I'm in the clinic and there's a lot of pain, I remind myself that we can also bring some plates. I'm joining these moments. It's not, doesn't have to, everything has to be just one to three. And I remember this is just the week . There was a moment where this man was touching this deep, deep loneliness that he had from childhood and he's threaded so much. And then there was just something funny. He started sniffing, he starts, and then he looked for the tissue and he couldn't find the tissue. And we started laughing and it was something like this laughing and crying at the same time was like,

Speaker 1:

I think, I think the best example of that is , is an inside out where as she grows and as she kind of the main character Riley , and as she kind of feels the full range, then you know, these like sophisticated experiences come with like sadness and joy and, you know, anxiety and excitement. And I think that, that, you know, the way that we, that we interpret experience and process, when we allow ourselves a full arrange becomes more sophisticated. And then we have, you know, things in our toolbox or experiences in our toolbox that we can tap on and use to help us move more swiftly between the rages. So we don't get stuck in a particular range because I think that that's kind of where the danger lies right. In the narrowing or rigidity of it. But if we can kind of like, imagine like a sliding move between, and I think now that you're talking, because when we started this episode, I was very much like I'm not into the one to three. I don't want the one to three. I don't have any purpose of getting to the one to three. But I think that for me, the understanding that it's not staying there, it's not, you know, setting up camp there. It's, it's moving it's movement. It's being able to yeah. The full range of emotion and that, you know, if I feel the sadness, it doesn't mean that I'm going to get stuck.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly. And I think for an once you start expanding your range eight , it's going to feel weird and maybe even strange, maybe even fake and enough , you might have a few more ruptures with your partner because you're not used to those new areas. There's no numbers, but remind yourself and communicate this. This is what life is about. We're not at share . We want to feel alive. So whether it's high or whether it's slow or this too shall pass, this is all part of being alive and being human. So are you ready to live? This was going to be Romanelli essential state, and we'll see you next time.