Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!

Are you dealing with Passive-Aggressives? These people fall through on their promises and responsibilities and then blame everyone and everything but themselves. They also have the charming tendency to blame you or bring up grievances when you call them on their non-performance. What is going on with these people? Passive Aggression was once seen as a mental illness or personality disorder, but further research showed that … Read More

How to Ignore People (!)

Last week, we looked at a questionable study on empathy, and many of us took the test the study is based upon. In the comments section, Lorelei shared her high empathy score (68 out of 70) and commented that “it can be a bit overwhelming” to feel so much for and from others. I empathize with that! Before I knew how to manage my extreme empathy, … Read More

Skills You Can’t Get Any Other Way

Hello Again! I’m doing lots of interviews about The Language of Emotions, and people are consistently asking me what makes my work different. First, of course, is that I don’t see emotions as problems to be eradicated. Instead, I listen to the emotions to discover what they’re for, what they want, and what they do. And in the early days, I did that with what I … Read More

But is it really Anger?

You know, I was mistaken yesterday in my post on Tiger Woods and his anger management. Because, I think what he’s got a problem with isn’t anger; it’s shame (which is anger at yourself). From what I can tell, Tiger Woods explodes when he makes a mistake, which means he’s working with shame. And as we all know, shame can be a very tricky emotion. What … Read More

How Much Anger is Too Much?

My friend Jane sent me a link to a Wall Street Journal article about Tiger Woods and his angry outbursts during golf games. Numerous research studies have shown that exploding with anger is not cathartic, as people once suggested. In fact, yelling, steaming, throwing things, lashing out physically, and pitching a fit are not good for you (unless you’re in physical danger, of course!). In The … Read More

Five Year Overnight Success!

I just found out that a sociological study I co-authored with Janja Lalich, Ph.D. (see her books here) has been accepted for publication by a peer-reviewed journal. Yow! It’s so exciting! It’s a study of the lives of gay, lesbian, and questioning ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses. When Janja first told me about the study, I laughed and thought, “Why not do a study on green-eyed male writers from … Read More

Targeting Emotion Work

Ooh, I just witnessed a beautiful example of emotion work and how it can surprise us! I’m standing in line at the Target, and I’m three people back from the checker. Everyone is standing around trying not to look bored. I’m studying people like I always do. The checker is a man in his 50s, slender but rather disheveled, with hair that needs cutting and a … Read More

An Introduction to Emotional Labor

In her excellent 1983 book, The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling, sociologist Arlie Hochschild described what she termed “emotional labor,” or the way that our emotions and emotional states are a part of what we offer (and what is expected from us) in the workplace. For instance, flight attendants must not only understand the intricacies of their physical work on airplanes, but they must also … Read More

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