Our Old Foe... Expressed emotion

Round and round the wheel spins and here it is, back again… the topic of E.E. (expressed emotion)

I keep reading and I keep looking on web sites and I try to understand when people explain it to me, but my head refuses to absorb it. Talking about how you feel, and expressing emotions is a healthy thing right?

I’ve been in therapy to relearn and express emotions. So what is up with the articles that say it’s a no no for others to talk about what is upsetting them?

Yesterday a confession from my slightly younger brother sent my kid sister into a stomping fit. There was so much stomping that I thought the “Riverdance” troupe had come over.

Today my kid sis apologized for getting angry around me, in the house, and that she shouldn’t have done it. She said she should have been more … NEUTRAL. (bang, right there. The verbiage of our old foe)

Why is all this time and energy going into getting me to talk about how I feel when there are pages and pages about how bad it is for those around me to talk about how they feel?

Someday enlightenment will come.

In the mean time… what am I missing regarding E.E. ?

From what I see on this site, I don’t think you’re missing anything. That is the wonderful thing about you, that you do share your emotions.

Maybe you don’t vocalize your emotions, don’t know, but you definitely show them in your writings and ponderings :smile:


Actually when you put it like that… I agree. Why is it ok for some to be able to express themselves and other’s not too… I think maybe this approach to not expressing hostile/negative emotions when someone’s mental stability is in question does not need to be carried over to every day living when stability is not so fragile. A balance needs to be looked at, not one being priority over the other.

I can’t say I like the term expressed emotion when it is being used to control how someone should or should not feel.

1 Like


There are different aspects of expressed emotion. Some level of expressing emotion is good and potentially helpful coming from the person who has schizophrenia. But high levels of expressed emotion (yelling, fighting, etc.) are really stressful and are correlated with relapse and symptoms in schizophrenia. More info here:

Importance of Avoiding Excessive Emotion and Stress
Research has revealed an important role the family can play in helping in the recovery of a person with psychotic experiences. In particular, attitudes of friends and relatives towards the person, and how they understand and react to the person’s experiences are very important. They can also influence the extent to which the person is able to recover. Of particular relevance to schizophrenia is the level of “expressed emotion” (yelling, shouting, fighting, or critical or hostile comments) and stress that is in the living environment of the person with schizophrenia. Research has demonstrated that individuals from families with high “expressed emotion” are 3.7 times more likely to relapse than in families from low expressed emotion families.


All I’m going to say is that Mom got really excited over how I used to never look anyone in the eye. So I worked on that and now I pretty much stare into people’s eyes. Now they think I’m flirting with them. There is no winning with people. There just isn’t.


My knowledge of expressed emotion is that expressed emotion mostly means drama, to put it simply. Being happy is OK but being around mania or people arguing is bad. Again, that’s the bottom line I got from abnormal psych, not the whole story.

My family is pretty chill most of the time. I do get rather disturbed by arguments and drama, there was a LOT of drama when some of my family found out about my illness by stalking me and finding my posts on this website. They’re conservative catholics and thought that me being an atheist was to blame.

LOL because scz runs on THEIR side of the family and I had oxygen deprivation at birth, as well as genes for it. I have also have trauma, I tested very highly for trauma. My evaluator made me step out the room to explain to my parents that my psyche looks like a combat veteran’s. I have high aggression and high trauma. I personally know a combat veteran and have met another one in my psych program at school, and Im not as traumatized as them but I do have flashbacks and nightmares, just not as much as they do. I deeply respect combat veterans, I wanted to be an officer as a teenager, and besides that they are have warrior’s blood, something I am fascinated by because I seem to have it too. I fight when I feel threatened, it’s fight or flight and I always pick fight. I was in withdrawal from xanax (I was abusing it during finals) and I hit the gym and lifted weights after feeling nauseous, sweating and even vomiting. Like powerlifters say before you set a personal record, “nut up”

I just powerlift and have discipline, they have service records and survived war. I am not equal to them.


Thank you for this… I’m trying very hard to get my sis to see that admitting she’s angry once in a while instead of always being “neutral” and “having nothing to express” is OK. That fancy brained “expert” still makes my day hard.

How do I let her know that it’s Ok to be angry that our brother stole her car and totaled it and it’s Ok to be angry when our other brother acts out violently. If she admits this, I’m not going to relapse.

I’m sort of at an opposite point where I might just loose it if people don’t start being more real. I’m better then I was before. I bet a high drama house would be hell to live in. I admit, there are some siblings who thrive on a high drama diet. I’m glad I live with my sis… very chill about many things.

But if my sis just fought back once in a while, that is not going to instantly send me into hospital.

1 Like

In Recovery meetings, they call expressed emotion “temper” and they say it is due to passing a judgment of right or wrong on someone and the communicating that judgment to them in a hostile way using muscular actions: yelling, glaring. They believe that anger and fear creates and perpetuates symptoms… If you are relaxed without temper you will not experience as many disturbing sensations, thoughts, impulses and feelings or at least they won’t feed on each other as much into a vicious cycle.

It’s better not to form the judgment of wrong doing against another but we are likely to do it anyway so sometimes the best we can do is control our muscles voluntarily so as not to ruffle others. It also helps to have somewhat of a poker face when other people are upset with us.

It always seemed a little strange to me that one has often to be somewhat insincere in order to be polite but I suppose it is ok if it is used to keep peace. An insincere friendly gesture is preferable to a sincere attack :slight_smile:

Accepting peoples quirks and tempers is a lot harder to do… We crave the comfort of being able to predict people’s reactions but some people are just normally very emotional and melodramatic and we sense a bit of danger from observing their behavior.

Temperamental behavior in others also sets up a lot of unpleasant dilemmas: should I yell back? Should I call the police? Should I laugh at them? Should I ignore them? It forces a quick decision from us and you don’t know what the next reaction from the other person will be so one is hesitant to make a mistake in dealing with tempestuous people.

It’s ok for people to get grumpy with each other if both people have healthy nerves but most mentally ill people are a bit hypersensitive and we don’t have a lot of confidence in ourselves because our illness scares us. Egotistical people like Donald Trump can lash out at an employee and not suffer too many consequences… We tend to be on the receiving end of other peoples anger and even when we dish it out we lack a sense of proportion.


I guess the short version of this is that it helps to know a little about acting :)’
A little hostility helps people bond but too much and people won’t trust each other.


I think that its always ok to express your feelings. Its always a matter of how you do it-and when you do it. Tell your sis how you feel-maybe she already knows. Maybe she does get it all out in a different way—or some other place.


Yeah… I think that it’s always good to express your feelings as long as you can do it in a non-accusatory manner. Using humor a lot helps me out with this.


You are right. My son is hypersensitive. Its very hard to talk to him sometimes because he might take something that I say in the wrong way and then-BAM! we are arguing. I know the situation, then feel bad later. Its like walking on eggshells. Expressing your thoughts or feelings on something in the right way takes practice–or acting:)

1 Like