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Emotional Dysregulation: When “Getting in Touch With Our Feelings” Isn’t the Problem

Emotional dysregulation is a common effect of PTSD and other forms of trauma. When we suffer from it, our feelings become so intense that we lose control. Real damage to ourselves and our Loved Ones often follows. In this video, Anna Runkle offers simple, practical techniques for maintaining control and avoiding such damage.

“The problem isn’t always that you don’t feel what you’re supposed to feel,” says Anna Runkle. “More of the time, I think, the problem is that you do feel your feelings, too much. They get overloaded…. Your life can be dominated by your emotions. Your relationships, your career get dominated… It’s kind of like driving drunk.”

In other words, when our emotions fly out of control, we often lose the ability to speak or act in ways that make the situation better. We’re far more likely to become a human wrecking ball, flinging our pain, fear, or anger at anyone who comes too near. Starting, of course, with ourselves.

Runkle is blunt about her own experience with emotional dysregulation. “I’m someone who grew up in a rough family that was deeply affected by addiction, and all the problems that tend to go with that — poverty, violence, neglect and shame.” After decades of suffering, she came to understand that she was living with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD). This led her on a path to healing, and eventually to teaching others her techniques.

Those techniques are the core message of this 22-minute video. The great news is that they’re straightforward and easy to practice. But as with any skills, practice we must in order to gain the benefits.

All in all, a thoughtful, useful video presentation. We hope it brings you inspiration and peace.


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In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)