“I Didn’t Mean It!” – Communicating Big Feelings

This post talks about something that happens throughout our lifespan, but it comes up most frequently when I am talking to kids: saying things we don’t mean when we feel angry, scared, upset, or any other Big Feeling.

I wrote this blog as a script to use with children. Take what helps you, change what you need to, and ignore anything that doesn’t work for you.

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Sometimes when we have a Big Feeling, we don’t express it in the best way. This is because, to sum up in very simple terms, the part of our brain that is in charge of feelings overrides the part of our brain that is in charge of words, logic, and thinking before we make a choice.

When you are feeling something really strongly, the part of your brain that decides what to say is not fully online.

That’s why we sometimes say things we don’t mean when we feel upset. The feelings part of our brain is throwing words out there without checking with the language and decision making part. Think of a time you said something you didn’t mean. How did you feel later, after you calmed down? Did you feel sorry or guilty?

Every single person makes mistakes, but the good news is, we can fix our mistakes or make up for them. When you realize you said something when you had a Big Feeling, you can apologize. But you also need to work on making a different choice in the future. We understand that Big Feelings make it harder to use kind words, We are still responsible for what we say regardless of how we were feeling when we said it.

How can you tell when you’re starting to have a Big Feeling?

What brings those feelings down without hurting anyone’s feelings?

How can the people who love you support you in making good choices when you’re having a hard time with your feelings?

Published by Dr Marschall

Dr. Amy Marschall received her Psy.D. from the University of Hartford in September 2015. She completed her internship at the National Psychology Training Consortium with specializations in assessment and rural mental health. Currently, she specializes in trauma-informed and neurodiversity-affirming care, and she is certified in telemental health. Dr. Marschall runs a private practice, RMH Therapy, where she provides individual and family therapy as well as psychological assessments across the lifespan. Dr. Amy Marschall is an author and professional speaker.

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