6/8 The Nine Major Family Groups of Emotions

Counsellors, Therapist and people who have studies emotions can give us a list of Nine Basic ‘Emotional families’.  Most of the studies have gone into recognising the ‘unpleasant’ emotions.  I would suggest there are more ‘families’ of the ‘pleasant’ emotions that are list here.  Could you think of other pleasant emotional families?

1. The Family of Anxiety – This group is marked by apprehension, dread, worry, panic, obsessions and phobias.  Most anxiety is rooted in past psychological damage.  The challenge is to bring the damage to God for healing.  Denial, unbelief and low self worth are the common barriers for this to happen.

2. The Family of Fear – the emotional distress when we feel our well being is being threatened.  It is disease producing and will gradually destroy your potential and effectiveness in life.  It can be also demonically sourced.  Unhealthy fear isolates us from our Creator and others.  It taps into the same principles as faith.  However, we can choose which we yield to.

3. The Grief Family – one of the most common and painful emotions, grief comes with loss of any kind.  If this emotion is repressed, it will grow and fester.  Grief has different stages that must be worked through, such as shock and denial, anger, depression, sadness and finally, acceptance for health.

4. The Guilt Family – A major emotion giving rise to many others, guilt is that nagging sense we have done something wrong.  We must see the difference between true guilt and conviction by God and the false, pathological guilt to make this complex emotion into a friend rather than a driving enemy.

5. Rejection and the Inferiority Family – One of the biggest influences we battle with up to 99% of people affected at some time.  It can sap our strength, self-confidence and self worth.  Some will do anything to receive other’s approval, even destroying healthy boundaries.  The roots are found in a childhood without the nurturing love and acceptance that every child needs.

6. The Anger Family – Usually comes with an instinct for self-preservation or a feeling of invasion of one’s rights for justice, anger must be faced honestly and dealt with for healthy relationships.  Knowing the three levels of anger – the sudden explosion, the slower impatience or exasperation or the settled, ongoing attitude of anger – must be treated in different ways.

7. The Loneliness Family – Without the ability to experience true intimate relationships, this family exists even in the middle of crowed places.  As the God-given need to belong is within us all, this common complaint must also be solved God’s way.  Lifestyle, attitudes and self care can improve this issue.

8. The Family of Jealousy and Envy – This family creeps in when we compare ourselves with others, when their accomplishments seem to out-strip our own.  Ungodly jealousy grows when we are not secure in our own relationship with a loving God.  Its roots are most often in insecurity and inferiority.  Godly jealousy may bring a sense of zeal, a building of a better life.

9. The Family of Contentment – This family grows as we use the tools of not judging others, forgiveness, trust and faith in a God of Love.  The roots are in the Lordship of Jesus, abiding in His principles and growing in His Way.

Adapted from “Life’s Troublesome Emotions”, Selwyn Hughes, Everyday With Jesus, May/June 1996 and Unit 12, “The Psychology of Jesus”, Christ Centred Living Course, by Daniel and Susan Fengler, 1999.

Susanne Fengler, Blog Author



Leave a Comment