The Uncontained: Being Out of Control
For some people, it can be hard to contain and control how they feel and how they act. This is extremely frustrating for the person and can cause difficulties in relationships with other people, leading to the uncontained person being excluded and judged. If this describes you or someone close to you, it might help to understand where this comes from and what you can do about it.
We generally have an expectation of other people that they will know how to control and contain themselves. When they can't, it is often assumed that they just need to be told to do it – and that this will solve the problem. When it doesn't, hostility and exasperation can arise in relationships and these relationships can get damaged. None of this is helpful to the uncontained person; all they feel is judged and more hopeless.
How we learn to contain ourselves
Sadly, it isn't very well recognised in society that we learn how to contain ourselves from other people, particularly our early caregivers. It is from our childhood interactions with a parent who has learned how to soothe us, that we eventually become able to learn to soothe and contain ourselves. When this interaction doesn't happen – when a parent is unable to deal with the strong feelings of the child – then our ability to soothe and contain ourselves as adults is compromised. If we can't soothe ourselves and we aren't lucky enough to find a partner who can help soothe us, then life can be difficult.
This is one of the things that brings people to long-term therapy. Psychodynamic psychotherapists are trained to deal with people who have difficulty soothing and containing themselves. We are used to dealing with strong feelings, such as rage and fear and to take it in our stride; and it is through the long-term work of psychotherapy with a psychotherapist who learns to soothe and contain you, that you can learn to soothe and contain yourself.
– Tim Hill
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