In poorly differentiated families when one person gets anxious,
everyone gets anxious.
Anxiety will become like a virus
and what we glorify as giving empathy
is nothing more than infection,
the anxiety grows.
Emotional fusion in families transmits anxiety.
"When Mom or Dad is unhappy, everyone's unhappy."
Poorly differentiated people and families
can appear to function well as long as their anxiety
stays within a range they can handle.
When stressed beyond their limits,
people and families take on each others anxiety.
The result is that one feels compelled to reduce each others anxieties
and avoid triggering new ones.
their thoughts and emotions
when their anxiety start to run wild,
and have their judgment prevail.
Differentiation is the ability to soothe your own anxiety
and to resist being infected with other people's anxiety.
to have feelings and intuitions
in an effective way that fits their goals.
Or they can act on reason and intellect.
The point is
they have a choice.
That is the difference between
having feeling vs your feelings "having you" --
or being run by your emotions.
When you can modulate our anxiety
you are neither driven by your feelings
nor afraid of them,
and you do not need to use your intellect all the time
because you are not stifling your feelings.
The goal is
connection with people you love
without taking on their anxiety.
Passionate Marriage - David Schnarch