Conflicting feelings often cause confusion and can leave a feeling of embarrassment, fatigue and deadlock. The term “conflicting feelings” means that you have many, often opposite, emotions about a person or situation. This happens because you have encountered a new person, new situation, new behavior, or new information to process. Conflicting feelings don't just appear in romantic relationships or new relationships. These feelings can appear with a friend, family member, or office colleague - that is, with someone you already know well. A common example is the love you might feel for your best friend because they are caring and kind. At the same time, you feel jealousy because he is popular and he attracts the attention of the people around him. In order to be able to deal with the conflicting feelings you have towards someone, you need to identify your own feelings, find a solution, and seek help when needed.
Part 1 of 4: identify your feelings
Step 1. Make a list of the feelings you have for this person
Use the PICC (Problem Identification, Choices, and Consequences) model to sort out how you feel. The first step is to identify the feelings you have for that person. For example, you might feel intrigued, insecure, self-conscious, etc.
- Make a list of all the feelings you can identify. Make sure you don't categorize these feelings as good or bad, but instead make a list of pros and cons. Feelings are not good or bad, they all have a purpose.
- For example, you might feel perplexed, respectful, offended, or exasperated with a co-worker or acquaintance.
- For someone closer to you, like your best friend or a relative, you might feel love, disappointment, boredom, comfort, etc.
Step 2. Think about a time you recently spent with this person
It can be difficult to identify feelings. It might be helpful to start with a situation you remember before adding your feelings later. Think about a recent time you spent with this person. Make a list of the feelings you had at that time.
- You might find that the feelings you identify are not about the person's status or your relationship, but the situation you were in or something in particular that they said or did.
- For example, you might get a good impression on a first date. Then that person takes you to a party where you don't know anyone and you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. In this example, the unfamiliar situation or environment made you uncomfortable, not necessarily the person in question.
Step 3. Identify the reason for your feelings
There may be other factors that cause you to feel what you are feeling. It may not be entirely the other person's fault. Try to identify the specific source of each emotion.
- It is even more specific than identifying the situation. Think back to a time when you felt a certain way. Remember what was said or done just before.
- For example, if you remember feeling rejected on a date, you might remember that the person you were with walked away from you as you walked. Perhaps this is what caused the feeling of rejection.
- Next to each emotion and situation on the list, write down what you think is the source of that emotion.
Part 2 of 4: Separate Your Feelings From This Person
Step 1. Examine how you are feeling
Once you identify how you feel about this person and find when those feelings arose, you need to dig deeper into those feelings. Your conflicting feelings may have been caused by different causes. You can make them disappear by understanding these causes.
For example, if you have a bad self-image, you might think that you don't deserve that person, and you don't allow yourself to be committed to the relationship
Step 2. Think about the people in your past
One of the common reasons that cause conflicting feelings about someone is that that person reminds us of another person from our past. We subconsciously associate certain qualities and expectations with this new person based on our relationship and experience with the person from our past in a process called "transference." Your boss reminds you of a mean professor, which is why you don't like to follow orders he gives you.
Think about the people in your life who have caused feelings similar to the ones you now have towards this new person. Try to find a similar pattern
Step 3. Think about how the other person is treating you
Does this person treat you with respect? Is she abusive towards you? When that person treats you kindly before being mean again, it can lead to confusing feelings. Think about how other people treat you. Do you have conflicting feelings when another person treats you the same?
Step 4. Be honest with yourself
Identifying your own feelings that may or may not be related to the other is crucial to understanding how to deal with these conflicting feelings. Once you can separate your own feelings from the feelings this person is causing you, you can identify your own emotions.
Part 3 of 4: find a solution
Step 1. Write down the possible choices that are presented to you
Now you have an idea of what is causing every feeling you have for that person. Now you can determine the choices you are going to make. Write down all the possible ways to respond to the situation. Even if the choice isn't ideal, write it down anyway. This will give you a better perspective on your choices. For example, your list for an office colleague or acquaintance might look like the following.
- Feeling: bewilderment.
- Situation: A friend congratulated me on a project I finished, but the same person criticized me an hour later.
- Possible choices: approach this friend, keep him to myself, tell my parents about it, start a rumor, report the situation to the teacher, etc.
Step 2. Identify the possible consequences
Next to each choice, write down any consequences or possible outcomes that come to mind. Your list might look like the following.
- Choice: discuss the problem with my friend.
- Possible consequence: my friend is offended.
- Possible consequence: my friend receives the message.
- Possible consequence: I feel vulnerable when talking to him about how the situation has affected me.
- Choice: keep it to myself.
- Possible consequence: The problem will continue.
- Possible consequence: the problem could go away on its own.
- Possible consequence: this will continue to bother me.
- Choice: discuss it with my parents.
- Possible consequence: I will feel better afterwards.
- Possible consequence: nothing will change at school.
Step 3. Weigh the pros and cons
Think about all the possible consequences. Think about your comfort level for each outcome. Ask yourself how you will feel when you make this choice. Also think about how the other is going to feel.
Step 4. Make the decision
Based on the possible consequences, choose one that makes you most comfortable. This choice should be the one that produces the best result for you and for the other. Start with a choice that produces a necessary result and a consequence that you are willing to live with.
- In the case of a friend, starting a rumor at school is probably not going to be the ideal solution. The consequences could be painful or could jeopardize your relationship with your other friends. At that point, you might want to keep it to yourself. Maybe your friend has had a bad day and lashed out at you. You might have felt more sensitive that day.
- Be prepared for the consequences you put in the list above.
Step 5. If you are not satisfied, try another approach
If you find that keeping it to yourself isn't getting the result you expected or wanted, go back to your list of choices and try another approach. Make sure the choices you make are made with respect for yourself and others.
Part 4 of 4: Asking for help
Step 1. Think about it with a trusted friend
It can be helpful to have an outside perspective about your choices and their possible consequences. Ask a trusted friend to help you brainstorm your list.
Step 2. Consult an advisor to resolve this particular situation
Explaining and defining emotions is a complex and often painful process, which is why most of the work done in psychotherapy is directed at these problems. A therapist is trained to help you move through the various processes for deeper emotional clarity. He's also good at finding things that don't fit together and that you are often unaware of. These subtleties can shed light on how you really feel.
Step 3. Deal with your own complex emotions
If you find that you are constantly in a situation that you cannot resolve, ask a professional to help you work on these patterns. You should also seek help if you feel that an unproductive pattern is preventing you from approaching certain situations.