It is interesting that the English language offers over 3,000 words to describe human emotions. What I think is even more interesting is that someone, who can access the full range and depth of their emotions, will behave differently than someone who cannot in differing circumstances.
So many English and other words exist to describe emotions, because the human capacity to feel is actually a spectrum of broad emotional states and micro-emotions. Narrowing the focus to a couple of emotion classifications, or states, and more specified emotions, the following chart can help us understand what emotions an individual can experience.
Furthermore, people cycle through these emotional states on a momentary, daily, seasonal, and yearly basis. As such, an even more useful way to understand emotions would be to arrange these various feelings into an actual spectrum where all the micro-emotions can be included.
As we cycle through our broad range of emotions, i.e. we progress or regress, it is important to recognize most people experience a narrower range of micro-emotions in each emotional state. In fact, some individuals might experience such a narrow micro-emotional range that their emotional spectrum is more like a discrete set of the emotional states while an even smaller number of people may not even experience a complete set of the fundamental emotional states. This explains why on a regular basis a particular individual, who might be happy one moment, suddenly becomes angry; this person does not experience emotions in-between these states.
As the wave and Gaussian forms suggestion, an individual may cycle through some of the emotional states and micro-emotions more quickly than the other states, i.e. a higher frequency for some states, while the ordering of the states may differ for different people. (I would be very interested to see more research on the subject as developing our understanding of how we cycle through our micro-emotions could help us progress in our emotional health.)
A couple of more thoughts on emotions…
Individuals cycle through emotions differently. Behavior, including thought behavior, is influenced by circumstance and personality. A person in an unhealthy environment may gravitate toward the sad or angry areas of their spectrum, i.e. exhibit a depressed or violent persona; whereas, their essence may gravitate toward the more happy end of their spectrum.
People are motivated economically, i.e. pursuit of self-interests including financial reward, social, and emotional. In many respects, the Cold War era forced Westerners to reject, or at least partially reject, thinking outside of capitalism, i.e. the pursuit of self-interest becomes first, thus the decision-making capacity of Westerners, especially Americans, become more economic and shortsighted in nature. One consequence is that we tend to process information economically (cost versus benefit) and in terms of economics, even when we should be processing thoughts emotional or considering the social impact of our actions. It makes me wonder if this has a lot to do with why people have so much difficulty dealing with their emotions honestly and building healthy relationships. Instead of relationships, which are rooted in emotion, people embrace arrangements built on economic factors like comfort, ease, sexual impulse, and financial benefit in order to fulfill basic emotional and social needs.
Looking at how exhausted medical and mental health professionals can become when dealing with severely disturbed individuals on a daily basis over a career, I cannot help but consider how emotionally exhausted children from dysfunctional families or families with disturbed family members must feel. It should be no surprise that most kids from broken, dysfunctional, abusive, and impoverished families cannot function at the same level as their peers from healthy and affluent families, yet it is to most people.
Can people be emotionally raped? That is, will someone respond to a severe emotional assault, i.e. someone’s emotions have been manipulated through deceit, in a similar fashion as a rape victim responds to the violation of their body, personal security, and ability to choose. (Of course, this also begs the question of whether or not someone can be socially raped. For example, a disenfranchised woman or an appeaser is socially pressured by her overbearing parents to date or marry someone.) As a commonplace example of potential emotional rape, a manipulative person lies to a person he knows to be emotionally vulnerable in order to get sex. As another example, someone does not want to have romantic feelings for someone else (not because things didn’t work out, but because he knew it would likely not work out, she didn’t love him romantically, he knew he couldn’t handle the rejection, and she wouldn’t try to make it work), but the girl continuously and forcefully uses deceit to convince this person to fall in love with her. Once the deceit is fully realized, though he is still in love with the lie as he struggles to move on, she then attacks him socially when he tries to confront her with the feelings she forced onto him and the hurt she caused, i.e. silence him, in order to protect her social standing and allow herself to continue to move on without regret. Thoroughly violating someone’s ability to choose and confront the cause of their hurt is very traumatic; I think the response to such a violation can very much resemble rape in extreme cases, especially when exasperating factors exist….she touched me here
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