The emotional ball game

Emotions, feelings and internal states are just pockets of energy, and can be easily transferred from people to people. Not only do you have your own internal states that you can transfer, but you can also catch other people’s emotions and states, which can have a very negative impact on your own mental health if they continue, and are not good or loving emotions. I like to call this ‘The emotional ball game’. 


What is the emotional ball game?

Just observe for a moment how you are feeling inside. Are you feeling negative or positive? Now, imagine those emotions as a ball you can hold. Imagine holding this ball in front of you now. Imagine what colour it is; is it a big ball or a small ball? Does it have any texture to it? Just make it as vivid as possible. This is the ball that, should you choose, you will be carrying around with you today.

The ‘emotional ball game’ is where we pass our own internal state whether it be negative or positive onto other people around us. We subconsciously create a ball of emotional energy, which can be transferred from person to person. We all suffer from it; we all play it; and we play it with the people we live with, people we love and we can even play it with complete strangers.
Couples and families love to play this game. Have you ever been in a situation where you are arguing with your partner? They say something that upsets or annoys you; you then retaliate and say something back. By doing so for that short moment you feel relieved, you have come back with something that has maybe upset them too; which temporarily might make you feel stronger, better about yourself or release some tension or frustration. But then they say something back to you, which is even worse, and once again you are left holding the ball. This game can go on for hours; days; months, and even years!

So let's take an example situation:

Imagine your partner has had a bad day at the office. They come home and, as soon as you ask them about their day, they start snapping at you for no apparent reason. They really are in a bad mood today. But what you don’t know is your partner could have created this ball themselves, due to a story they had told themselves, or they could have caught it from someone else, who had, in turn, caught it from their partner, friend or even a stranger earlier in the day.

You, on the other hand, have had a wonderful day. You achieved everything you wanted, maybe the sun was shining, and everything was just going well, you are filled with joy and really looking forward to your evening.

What you don’t know is that your partner is holding a stress ball, and is unknowingly playing the emotional ball game with you, they have been playing it all day! They are holding the ball, which is making them feel stressed and angry, their emotional state is in turmoil, and the ball has been getting bigger all day. They can’t help it or control it, it’s just how they feel and they are desperate to get rid of these feelings and emotions.

So they snap at you, maybe overreact to a situation or question, get mad for no reason or are short-tempered and generally unkind. They have inadvertently thrown that emotional energy ball squarely in your direction.

This behaviour is completely subconscious, they don’t even know they are doing it; they are just trying to get rid of the feeling. For a very short moment once they have thrown the ball they might feel relief, that feeling of helplessness has temporality gone. But guess who is holding the ball now! They have passed that emotional ball and transferred it over to you.

But you are in control of your own mind, emotions and feelings and you also have a choice. Do you catch the ball, react to their rude behaviour and let them know in no uncertain terms that they need to leave their problems at the office and not bring them into the home? Or do you give them a gift - ‘the gift of time’ - the time they need to gather their thoughts, process their feelings, and drop the ball? You can choose to ignore their rudeness and harsh comments and continue in your own present emotional state.

Most people’s first reaction will be to catch the ball and then throw it right back. But what has been achieved? They still feel the same way they did, and probably worse now, but you now also feel that way, which only amplifies the emotions and feelings, intensifies them, and makes the ball bigger, giving it more strength and power!
So, do you throw it right back at them and allow the cycle to continue, so that they can once again add to its power and throw the ball at you or someone else? Or do you make the decision to take control of the situation and protect your own internal state, and allow the ball to drop at your feet?

Breaking the cycle

So when this happens to you, take a moment to imagine and see that ball coming in your direction and make a choice. Break the cycle; chuck that ball away from you; stamp on it and squash it. Do not take on others people emotions, as they do not belong to you. Give other people time to heal and recover, and then ask them how they are feeling, in a gentle kind loving way. You will find the benefits of this will strengthen your own internal state and give you more inner power and strength, and allow peace to remain in your heart.

Hypnotherapy Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Staines-upon-Thames, Berkshire, TW19 6HG
Written by Charlotte Howard, (DHP LAPHP) - Face2Face at my Private Therapy Room or Zoom
Staines-upon-Thames, Berkshire, TW19 6HG

As a clinical hypnotherapist, I am not a writer, doctor, or scientist. I do not have any magic powers; I am a normal wife, self-confessed serial-learner, and mum of 2, who is just trying to live her best life. This has driven me to explore everything about why people think, react or believe what they do, and why we all experience it so differently.

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