Many of our emotions are self-experienced; however, sometimes our emotions are carried emotions — emotions that we do experience but that are not ours. These emotions have been given to us by others (our parents, our culture, etc.) and they make us feel like we are living someone else’s life. In this article, I explore the difference between self-experienced emotions and carried emotions, and show how gifted people can gain conscious control over their inner emotional lives.
by Jennifer Harvey Sallin
updated June 2020
Many people assume that their emotions are the same as their feelings and that their emotions/feelings result from external events and experiences that happen to them. In psychology, this lumping together becomes problematic, however, because people often mix up their feelings with their thoughts. It’s almost as if, for many people, there’s a lack of clarity between what constitutes a feeling, emotion and a thought, and how those aspects of their inner physiological world interact with the outer world to create their own sense of individual identity.
We define ourselves moment by moment by remembering who we were a minute earlier, a week earlier, a month earlier, and so on. If you woke up tomorrow and had no memories, how would you think about yourself? Umberto Eco’s The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loanna perfectly describes the scene, where Yambo has lost his episodic memory following a stroke, and struggles to know who he is. He can remember everything he’s ever read, which as an antiquarian book dealer, is extensive; but none of what he has read helps him to understand who he is.
Yambo, or any of us, need to have access to our own emotions (physiological states), feelings (subjective experiential states), and thoughts (mental labels) in order to have a mental representation of who we are.
Emotions are physiological states: they are physical processes and reactions that happen in the body in response to external and internal experiences (i.e. racing heart before public speaking, or racing heart when thinking about having to speak in public)
Feelings are phenomenal states: they are the subjective conscious experience of, among other things, our physiological emotions. They are the experiential, non-languageable bridge to thought (i.e. the scared feeling you get before you go on stage).
Thoughts are mental labels: categories and arrangements with which we organize our experiences. Once we have an emotion and feeling experience, we label it consciously or unconsciously, and put it somewhere in our mind. (This is where the thought “I am scared” would arise). The stronger our emotional and feelings experience, the more vivid the resulting thought will be, and the more “space” it takes up in your short- and long-term mental arrangement ( and in your self-identity).
When you consider any moment of your life, you can imagine that one of three processes has happened:
- Something has changed in your external world (you walked up on stage)
- Your body “automatically” responded with an emotion sequencing (racing heart, flight response)
- You had a subjective feeling experience of that emotion (subjective feeling of your racing heart)
- You organized that experience as a thought (memory, idea, etc) in your mind (“That was scary”)
- Something has changed in your inner world (a memory popped up in your mind of going on stage)
- Your body “automatically” responded with an emotion sequencing (racing heart, flight response)
- You have a subjective feeling experience of that emotion (subjective feeling of your racing heart)
- You organize that experience as a thought (memory, idea, etc) in your mind (“That was a bad memory”)
- Nothing has changed in your inner or outer world
- You experience no emotion sequencing
- You have no subjective feeling experience
- You have no thought
Change – inner or outer – is the catalyst for an automatic feedback loop of emotion, feeling and thought with creates our sense of reality and identity. The keyword here is automatic. If you have a paralyzing fear of public speaking, you don’t intentionally decide for your heart to start beating fast, your palms to sweat, or your face to get red. It happens automatically within you.
Here is how the automatic feedback loop can work against us: If you have a bad physiological (emotional) and feelings experience while going on stage, it is likely that this bad experience will subsequently be organized as a thought in your mental memory bank (filed under “things that make me uncomfortable” or “things I’m bad at”). The next time someone asks you to do a presentation, the bad memory of your last experience(s) which you’ve filed away comes back into your mind, and your automatic emotional sequencing starts an automatic (physical) panic response. As a result, your feeling experience in the moment is not positive, and you likely create a new negative thought memory of the current moment to add to your mental bank (“Whenever anyone asks me to do a presentation, I panic.”). The next time you have a memory of the memory of speaking in public or of the memory of being asked to do so, the now multiple “bad experiences” will come to mind (consciously or unconsciously) and the automatic emotional sequencing of panic will start all over again.
But it’s clear that this process doesn’t start as an adult with your first on-stage performance. Your mental bank and self-identity has been constructing itself your whole life. The process is somewhat analog to the “self-fulfilling prophecy” where, let’s say, your parents often told you and how terribly sensitive and shy your were. Later, it is not unlikely that you grew up to be a terribly sensitive and shy adult, at which point you yourself take over the perpetuation of the self-fulfilling prophecy cycle in your self-identifying explanations: “I’m terrible at public speaking” continues to be true via the feedback loops.
It works the same way with positive automatic feedback loops, of course. If you, let’s say, work hard to improve your public speaking skills, you initiate positive physiological (emotional) reactions, subjective feelings and thoughts. Instead of a racing heart, sweaty palms and blushing cheeks, you may start to feel high energy, warmth in the heart, and a sense of lightness. Speaking will feel good, and thus you will file away positive thoughts about it. Those thoughts of pleasure in action will create positive memories of competency, courage, pride and commitment to add to your mental memory bank (and identity). The feedback loop becomes regenerating instead of destructive.
SELF-EXPERIENCED EMOTIONS VS. CARRIED EMOTIONS
But what about when you can’t seem to get control over your own identity feedback loop? What if, no matter how hard you try to overcome your fear of public speaking, you remain entirely paralyzed? In that case, it’s likely you are dealing with carried emotions – emotional sequencing that we “inherited” or learned (or some combination of the two) from parents, caregivers, and important adults in our society and culture. Carried emotional sequencing leads us to react to the situation that is happening to us now as if it were someone else’s situation in the past, as if we were carrying the emotional sequencing of someone else’s past into our present. By “carrying” others’ emotional sequences with us, we don’t have access to our own authentic emotions, own feelings, or our own thoughts about a situation, which in turn doesn’t allow us to create our own identity related to that situation.
In our own emotional reactions, our bodies register neutral and important information about the change in our internal or external environment. If we see physical or emotional danger, for example, our heart starts pumping faster in order to send blood to the whole body to give it the energy it needs to respond to the fight or flight intuition. This information generates for us an intuition or instinct about what we need to do, which often shows up as an inner voice or vision. We see a man on the street fall over in pain, we hear the voice in our head “call the police!” and we obey. The emotion and the inner voice that accompanies it serves to help us act positively, efficiently and appropriately.
The hallmark of a carried emotional reaction, on the other hand, is that it doesn’t give us any instinctively helpful action to take. When we are in danger, our carried emotions might cause us to act in ways that are self-destructive and/or harmful for others. With carried emotions, we often do get an “intuition”, but it’s more like an “inner bully” than an “inner compass”. We see the man on the street fall over, we stand back and watch, frozen, and can’t seem to find the courage to act. The inner bully tells us we’re not capable of handling the situation, or that we’ll look dumb or arrogant, or that we’ll be in danger if we step up to help.
The problem is not only that we don’t act in the moment, it is that, with carried emotions, the story is never finished. Later that evening, we berate ourselves for our incompetence and worry that we’ve contributed to the death of an innocent man. Then, as a consequence, we drag others into our carried drama by awfulizing our story or our position, seeing ourselves as hopeless, or worse, projecting our carried emotions onto others and seeing them as the “cause”. Perhaps we pick a fight with our partner, or complain about the government, or are harsh with our children or employees, pointing out how incompetent they all seem to be. We do this unconsciously so that we can project our blame onto someone else, and feel (temporarily) relieved of the painful carried feelings of incompetence that we are carrying inside ourselves. Whether they externalize it or not, people with carried emotions believe consciously or unconsciously that, as individuals, they are to some measure bad, stupid, unworthy, worthless, shameful, “not good enough,” unlovable, incapable, inferior, or superior. At the extreme, they can come to believe that life is hopeless, scary, unfair, or exhausting.
Here’s how you can learn to recognize the physical and psychological signs of emotions and carried emotions, and how you can differentiate between the two:
SIGNS OF NEGATIVE (CARRIED) EMOTIONS
Shame as your own reaction generally produces a body sensation of heat or redness around the face, neck, and upper chest. This instinctive physiological reaction serves to prompt you to excuse yourself, apologize, try again, or otherwise improve your behavior. Embarrassment, humiliation and having our weaknesses exposed are some feelings labels you could use to describe the mental experience of the physical emotions of shame.
Shame as a carried reaction generally produces a body sensation in the gut, rather than in the face, neck and upper chest. And it isn’t just a sensation of redness or heat, it is a heavy sense of worthlessness felt in the abdomen. Rather than just embarrassment, the feelings that result from carried emotions are more severe – self-doubt, feeling like you’re not worthy to try again, and other similar value judgments that attack your value as a person. Repeated over time, they cause you to have a negative identity, and experience yourself as a “shameful person” rather than just a “person who made a mistake”.
Fear as your own reaction is experienced physiologically as a tingling in the upper stomach and/or a tightness in the upper chest. Apprehension, threat and overwhelm are the associated feeling. Your own fear reaction prompts you to ask for help, to face your fears, and/or to seek safety.
Fear as a carried reaction is experienced as a numbness and/or tingling in the arms and legs, and as panic (this is the panic in panic attacks). Whereas fear as a self-experienced emotion allows you to take action and protect yourself from threat and overwhelm, fear as a carried emotion makes you freeze and sometimes literally “go numb”. You can’t move to protect yourself or to ask for help, and repeated over time, you come to feel that “life is threatening” rather than that a particular situation was threatening.
Anger as your own reaction is felt as a strong neutral power throughout your entire body, giving you the energy to act positively. You can use this energy to express yourself, protect yourself, or whatever action might be appropriate for the given situation. Feelings labels include frustration, irritation and annoyance.
Anger as a carried reaction is felt as an intense pressure and sense of rage in your abdomen. In this case, you will tend to have more extreme thoughts of revenge, rage, violence, and maybe even hatred in response to a given situation. And while this will certainly give you energy, it will not be a neutral energy that you can use to act positively. Instead, your carried anger may turn your energy against yourself (in fact, depression is often described as “anger turned inward”). Even if you do externalize the anger, let’s say, by starting a verbal or physical fight to dissipate the rage and pressure in your gut, you will not likely leave the situation satisfied with yourself or with a feeling of resolution and closure. Repeated over time, carried anger leads to seeing “stupid people everywhere”, arrogance, depression, and other chronic forms of dissatisfaction with the world and the people in it (often including yourself).
Guilt as your own reaction is experienced in the belly as a gnawing sensation. With this neutral discomfort, you might realize the mistake you made and go apologize to the person you have hurt. You may seek help to understand why you did what you did, and how you can behave differently in the future. Feelings labels include remorseful, regretful, and contrite.
Guilt as a carried reaction is about feeling physically stuck and unable to move – the sensation of the bottom of your feet being stuck to the ground. Carried guilt is in some ways a prison sentence which removes your permission to go forward and continue living fully. With your own guilt, you get to excuse your behavior and try again. With carried guilt, you might deny you did anything wrong, blame others, justify your actions, claim that you are the real victim, or perhaps just stay quiet, not seek help, or not change your behavior. Repeated over time, you see yourself or others as “guilty people” rather than just as forgivable humans making progress, and learning from our mistakes as we go.
Pain as your own reaction is experienced as a hurting in the lower chest and heart area. Your own pain allows you to grieve, have gratitude for the good even amidst suffering, and eventually integrate loss into your life. It allows you to physically, emotionally, and mentally process change and loss in a healthy way. Feelings labels are grieving, suffering, longing, and sad.
Pain as a carried reaction is felt in the gut as a pressure and as a profound sense of hopelessness. Carried pain doesn’t let you grieve or move on, it stays in the belly and threatens you with the hopelessness of life. In this case, you might refuse to accept that death, loss, disappointment, hurt and pain are a part of life, and you may avoid taking action to grieve and move on. This often leads to severe depression or physical illness as an externalized expression of the carried pain.
SIGNS OF POSITIVE (CARRIED) EMOTIONS
We can also, in a way, carry positive emotions. The expressions of positive carried emotions are generally more identifiable by noticing what other emotions accompany the positive carried emotion. One might, for example, profoundly love their child; however, feeling embarrassed by the profound love they feel, they might then feel carried shame and be unable to express their love clearly to their child. Or one might feel carried guilt whenever they start to feel passion or joy, because they don’t feel that they deserve to feel good when other people are still suffering in the world. Essentially, whenever it feels bad or uncomfortable to feel positive emotion, there are usually carried emotion or emotions at play.
Love as both self- and carried emotion is experienced as a warmth and swelling in the chest area. Carried love can trigger other accompanying emotions as listed above, notably fear and shame.
Self-experienced and carried joy is felt as a lightness throughout the body. Carried joy can trigger to other accompanying emotions as listed above, notably fear, guilt and shame.
Self-experienced passion is felt as a positive overall power or energy (as opposed the neutral power and energy of anger). Enthusiasm, desire, and sexual desire and arousal are included here. Carried passion is felt as nausea and can lead to other accompanying carried emotions as well, notably fear and shame. Carried sexual passion is felt as an icky, slimy and dirty feeling, and can lead to other accompanying carried emotions, notably fear, guilt, and shame.
HOW I LEARNED ABOUT CARRIED EMOTIONS
I learned about carried emotions at a time when I myself was carrying some paralyzing emotions. I was at the start of my career and in the process of trying to define my identity as an independent and autonomous adult. I wanted people to be happy with me and was eager to please them. And while pleasing others and making them happy is certainly not a fault in itself, in my case, it had become a fault because of my carried fear. When my own wants or needs conflicted with the wants or needs of someone else close to me – which they often did – I sometimes became literally unable to choose or assert what I wanted and ended up doing what they wanted instead. It wasn’t that I chose willingly to refrain from saying what I wanted; rather, I was unable to react – physically paralyzed with numbing and tingling in my arms and legs.
This was the physical sign of carried fear. It wasn’t my own fear – which I would have felt as a tightness in my upper chest or as a tingling in my upper stomach (a neutral source of information and energy prompting me to speak up for myself). Rather, I experienced mental and physical numbness, and was often unable to even formulate the words that I would have needed in order to communicate my own desires or needs. My mind became mushy and often I couldn’t think straight or take appropriate action to assert my own needs or behave in a healthy (non-codependent) manner. The inner voice accompanying the carried emotions told me things like, “You have to do what they want” and “You can’t disappoint them” and “You should feel guilty for wanting something different”. And with that last thought, carried guilt entered the picture. I felt carried guilt in the bottom of my feet, as though I was stuck to the ground – unable to move, unable to choose. The carried guilt induced carried fear, and I started to develop episodes of severe panic attacks.
A fellow psychologist pointed out to me at that time that my adult panic (and other carried emotions) seemed to be carried from my past. She asked me about my mom’s emotional state when I was born, which surprised me as a question – I had thought my anxiety was caused by my own inefficiency in responding well to people’s demands (this is what the inner voice linked to my carried emotions regularly told me). In fact, while my mom had been very excited to have me, she was also anxious about a variety of things during her pregnancy and even suffered a post-partum depression once I was born. As the psychologist pointed out, anxiety had, in many ways, always been with me even in the womb.
As I studied the phenomenon of carried emotions and thought about my own family, I began to understand that I really had been “born into” a general anxiety, and especially into the people-pleasing anxiety of my parents who were themselves people-pleasers of the gentlest kind. My parents genuinely wanted to make everyone happy, which again, is not a fault in itself; however, it had become a fault, and even destructive, because not pleasing others caused them high anxiety.
I unwittingly adopted the same limits of thinking and behaving in my personal relationships. Pleasing others – and having anxiety (panic) in the face of displeasing them – was something I was “programmed” with very early on, and which was adapted into my mind and physical structure, including the physiological sequencing of my emotions in response to it. At key times as a child, when I faced opportunities of displeasing others or asserting my conflicting needs, I unconsciously blocked myself physically and mentally from doing so, sensing that those thoughts and behaviors caused my caregivers anxiety. In more technical terms, my preexisting “emotional sequencing programs” and feedback loops didn’t register or allow for the expression of causing others discomfort. And the feedback loop helped me integrate this instinctively into my sense of identity: I was a “people pleaser” and a “good girl”.
FAMILY CYCLES & GIFTEDNESS
You might be able to guess by now that my parents’ panic was also carried. They conceived and “taught” me to be a people-pleaser because they too were conceived and taught (emotionally “programmed”) to be people-pleasers by their parents. And though I never really knew them, I can imagine that their parents taught this to them as well. And so on up the family chain.
It is as if we “inherit” the emotional blocks of the people that raise us. So many of us come from generations of “people-pleasers,” or “conflict-avoiders” or “conflict-makers” or whatever theme describes your family line. For example, children of alcoholic parents often tend toward alcoholism. This is in part because alcoholic parents are typically carrying emotions from their past, and not knowing how to face or fix those emotions, they numb them with alcohol. Their children don’t learn from them how to process and resolve carried emotions, but do learn how to numb them…with alcohol. And when, in their turn, they become parents, if they don’t learn how to face and resolve their carried emotions, their kids stand a good chance of not developing the emotional capacity to resolve the carried emotions either; yet, once again, they will know an effective way to numb them – with alcohol. And so the family cycle continues. It is when one individual in the family cycle says, “enough is enough”, and takes the time to learn about what emotions they are carrying and how to resolve them that these “inherited” programs are updated and overcome.
Because gifted individuals often have heightened emotional experiences, the responsibility for breaking these family cycles of carried emotion often falls to them. Everyone who carries emotions experiences the pain of it, but many don’t experience the pain intensely enough to be motivated to take action – this could be called a “slow burn”. Gifted people, however, often experience the pain of carried emotion very intensely – this could be called a “raging fire”. And so the motivation to resolve the source of the pain becomes urgent. Until they find the help and support they need to resolve their carried emotions, gifted people risk being overtaken in the fire (burnout, depression, physical sickness, etc.). Once they do have the support they need, they are able to make amazing changes in their own lives as well as their family systems (and usually, in their entire circle of influence, which can be vast).
One common snag, though, is that they resent being responsible for breaking the cycle. They ask, “Why me?” – as in, “Why doesn’t the responsibility fall instead to my parents or my siblings?”. My answer is always, “Because you are the one who can”. Many times, their parents and siblings are simply not currently able to take the responsibility, or aren’t aware or interested in such a process and may never be. In any situation where there is a need for change, those who have the possibility to change can choose the responsibility. Though it may not always feel fair, healing and personal growth isn’t always a linear process, and it often takes a kind of commitment, determination and courage that continues the journey toward wholeness no matter what.
BREAKING THE CYCLE OF CARRIED EMOTIONS
If you have identified carried emotions you’re ready to let go of, here is the process I have used to let go of my own:
STEP 1: NOTICE THE PHYSICAL SIGNS OF CARRIED EMOTION
Where are the emotions in your body? What are they like? Do they inspire you to constructive action or do they make you feel blocked and paralyzed? Refer to the chart above with the common physical reactions and their accompanying emotions to help you in your evaluation.
STEP 2: LISTEN TO THE VOICE (OR SEE THE IMAGES) ACCOMPANYING YOUR PHYSICAL SENSATIONS
Is there an inner voice or vision accompanying the physiological experience of emotion? Is it encouraging and supportive? Or is it bullying, discouraging, judgmental, violent, rude, or threatening? What, specifically, is it telling you about yourself, the world, or other people?
STEP 3: IDENTIFY THE SOURCE OF THE MESSAGE
Is it your voice you hear, or the voice of someone from your past? Often, the voice you hear (or image you see) is that of a parent experiencing his or her own carried emotions. Who is the message from? What are the emotions they are asking you to carry for them via their message?
STEP 4: VISUALIZATION – GIVING BACK THE CARRIED EMOTION
Imagine them standing in front of you, and imagine putting whatever emotion you’ve been carrying for them in a box and holding that box in your hands. In your mind’s eye, give the box to them and tell them, “Here, this is your [shame]. Today, I am giving it back to you. It is not mine, and I will no longer carry it.” Feel the liberation of no longer taking responsibility for their emotions. If secondary carried emotions arise (such as carried fear or guilt) while you are giving back these primary carried emotions, do this identification and visualization process again, as many times as you need to, until you are able to feel liberated from them all and you can instead hear your own voice and feel your own emotions as dominant in your inner landscape. Repeat this visualization as often as needed. Depending on how ingrained the carried emotions are for you, they may come up again and again, and it is okay to have to repeat the process many times, in order to master the art of letting go.
To give you a real life example of this, I did this exercise with a client of mine who I’ll call Anne – a 50-year-old woman who is exceptionally competent, educated, well-spoken, wise, warm and lovable. She owns her own business and has success in many areas. But this particular day, she was in a panic. She wanted to speak up to a business partner about an inappropriate action that had been taken, but when we role-played about what she planned to say in the meeting, she became physically stuck. She couldn’t find her words and even began to stutter. This kind of “reversion” to a child-like state (pre-verbal) is classic of carried emotion, similar to that of my own example described above. I asked her, “What voice do you hear in your head right now?”
“It’s not a voice, it’s an image,” she answered. “It’s my dad. I see him clearly at our kitchen table…” It was as if she had gone back in time and was once again a little girl sitting at the kitchen table with her dad. She uncharacteristically began to cry as she told me about her dad’s stoicism in the face of conflict – a stoicism that turned to rage when his “buttons were pushed.” She felt her fear of speaking up to him, but as we explored the scene together from the perspective of her adult self, she realized that while she had always thought she felt her own fear, it had often been his fear she was carrying: his fear of conflict and his fear of being out of control, which, when she really thought about it, seemed more like a fear that he too was carrying from someone else in his past. It was obvious to her that she had been acting out his fear in her adult situation with her business partner (and, now that she saw it clearly, in many other similar life situations when dealing with conflict). This was all the more poignant because her dad had passed away years before. He was no longer alive, and yet somehow his emotional reality had still been affecting her adult decisions and possibilities.
Anne struggled to give her dad’s fear back to him. He was gone now, and in many ways, his fear was all she had left of him. Yet, she knew she wanted and deserved to have access to her own emotions and identity. So, she put his fear in a box and imagined giving it back to him. We sat together quietly for a while, and then, suddenly, it was as if there was a new Anne in front of me. She became inspired to talk again about her situation with her business partner – this time, using her own words and feeling her own emotion. She identified that she wasn’t scared of her business partner or of conflict; she was actually excited to discuss and resolve the issue. Her meeting with her business partner went great: she gave the feedback that needed to be given, without fearing retribution, and experienced a newfound sense of pride and freedom – this time, making good memories of facing conflict and advocating for herself.
In my own case, when I was first working through my carried emotions, I imagined myself giving my mom’s fear of displeasing others back to her. As an initial reaction, I felt incredible relief, feeling for the first time that I really could have my own preferences and assert my own needs. After all, without the carried fear, it seemed suddenly obvious that there was no objective rule making others more (nor less) important than me. It seemed plainly obvious that I had not been born to live someone else’s life – what freedom! But only seconds later, I was taken over once again by a wave of carried fear (as an emotional sequencing).
Interestingly, it is very common to feel intense carried fear or guilt when giving back carried emotions – even though it is a mental exercise, and the person is not physically present with us, we may fear retribution from them for our “disloyalty” (for refusing to continue carrying their shame or other emotions), or we may feel guilty for “hurting them” by giving the shame or other emotions back to them. In my case, as I gave back the carried fear to my mom, and as I passed from feeling relief to feeling carried fear again, I noticed my body freeze up and distinctly heard a panicked voice in my mind, “But she can’t handle it!” (the carried fear I was giving back). I took the time then to reflect on the reality of that panicked voice and where it came from. In fact, it was my mom’s voice from when I was a young child (“I can’t handle it!”). It was clearly what she believed about herself and what I felt to be true back then, but when I thought about it in terms of the present and of who my mom was now, it was no longer true. My mom was no longer the young, stressed mother of three young kids. She had grown up in many ways and now she could handle her own fears, even her own carried fears. So, I put that aspect of old carried fear and overwhelm in a box, and gave that back to her too.
GAINING CONSCIOUS CONTROL OVER YOUR EMOTIONAL LIFE
So, what happens after you give back the carried emotion? Typically, it pops up again and again in different iterations, and you do the visualization again and again, until one day you realize that the inner voice or vision is changing for good. You find you are more consistently hearing your own voice and having access to your own emotions. And your automatic feedback loop is serving you to (re)create your self-chosen identity, moment by moment.
We are each responsible as adults for our own emotional maturity. We cannot continue to carry the emotional weight of others from our past and at the same time have full access to our mind, body, energy, and life decisions. When we take responsibility for our own emotional life, we no longer need to push our emotional overwhelm onto others (often our children), and we break the cycle of passing down carried emotions generation after generation.
With practice, we gain conscious control over the automatic feedback loops which once created ongoing pain and frustration. Life is lived consciously, in the moment, uniquely through our own subjective feelings, and how we “construct” our mind becomes much more a matter of choice and intention than ever before! We begin, consciously, to create our own reality.
If you would like help in identifying and letting go of the carried emotions in your life, feel free to reach out for coaching or mentoring support.
For more information on carried emotions, see the work of therapist Pia Mellody. This article was adapted from her Eight Basic Emotions Chart.