Our actions and reactions are influenced by the four perceptual styles: Audio, Feeler, Visual and Wholistic. These styles have Empowering and Limiting Tendencies. When you function through your Limiting Tendencies, your hot buttons are easily pushed, which triggers emotional reactions. These reactions are stimulated by your fears and fueled by your perceptions.
As you react, a specific emotion is triggered depending on your primary perceptual style. For instance, the first emotion that Audios feel is anger when they think someone is trying to control them. Maintaining personal control is of utmost importance to them.
The initial emotion Visuals feel is frustration when they can't get you to see their reasons for doing things in a structured step-by-step fashion. Perfectionism or having high standards as they see them is of utmost importance to them.
The first emotion Wholistics feel is resentment when someone keeps them from “getting started. " Being able to jump-start what needs to be done now is of utmost importance to them.
For each of the perceptual styles, there are four major fears that stimulate the reactive emotion. This article is devoted to the fears that stimulate Feelers’ reactions. The first emotion driven by these fears is indignation. Therefore, when Feelers are operating through their Limiting Tendencies, there is an undercurrent of indignation waiting to vent. What fears drive this indignation?
Fear: Feelers are afraid of not being appreciated. Feelers do kind and thoughtful things for others because they would like it if someone did it for them.
Reaction stimulated by the fear: They feel you don't appreciate them and take them for granted. If you did something nice for them, they would show appreciation and say “thank you" so why don't you? So they become indignant: “After all I've done for you and this is all the appreciation I get?"
Fear: Feelers are afraid of not being liked or loved. Giving and receiving love is of top importance. Their “giving" includes not saying no to your requests. They do this because they like the feeling of belonging, whether it’s the office clique or being loved by their family.
Reaction stimulated by the fear: By putting their own needs last, they become the martyr and wallow in self-pity: “Nobody loves me. I do everything I can to please you, but what do you do for me?" They feel like they're being taken for granted.
Fear: Feelers are afraid of making a mistake or being blamed for it. They don't want you to show disapproval for their actions. Feelers feel awful when they displease you or you're dissatisfied with their work.
Reaction stimulated by the fear: They get depressed, down on themselves. “What will others think?" They will vacillate between blaming themselves (How could I have been so stupid?) to blaming others for the mistake (It wasn't my fault. ) even though they made the mistake.
Fear: Feelers are afraid of being hurt. They want to feel secure in a loving relationship. They're afraid that you might not love them as much as they love you.
Reaction stimulated by the fear: They often get hurt because of unspoken expectations, such as, “because I do kind loving things for you, even though you didn't ask me to, you should do nice things for me too without having to ask for it. " They also are easily hurt by your tone of voice, such as sarcasm. Hurt can cause them to become emotionally stuck - they can't tell you why they're upset because of the lump in their throat and holding back tears.
Charles Finn shows us in his poem, Please Hear What I'm Not Saying, that we all wear masks to hide our fears. (His poem is printed with permission in my book Stop When You See Red. ) When Feelers are really hurting, the mask goes up to conceal the tears and hide the pain if they don't want to make waves in a relationship. If the hurt is intense, they will clam up. They want you to suffer as much as they are.
How can you help Feelers remove their masks? Reach out to them with love and acceptance. Create a safe environment by gently asking them what’s bothering them. At first they will deny they are hurting, but your gentle persistence will finally break through the protective armor. Be prepared for the dam to break because many masks will fall, which covered fears or hurt they were hiding for a long time. They will fling those past hurts to you in an accusatory tone. If you react defensively, Feelers will clam up even more. Let them get it out of their system and out into the open. Listen to what they're not saying, “I just want to know and feel secure that you love me and care about me. "
If you respond by simply hugging them and telling them you're sorry, it might be all they need. Maybe you believe you did nothing to hurt them, but you're still sorry that they're unhappy. Often one apology to show that you care is all it takes to remove the mask. It makes the other person feel better and you both win.
Carol Welsh, M. S, . is the author of “Stop When You See Red. " She has over 25 years of experience as a speaker and is a frequent guest on talk shows. Her Web site is http://www.stopred.com . She can be contacted at email@example.com