December 8, 2012

Emotional Breakdowns Versus Emotional Meltdowns.

Source: google.com via Savanna on Pinterest

There is a huge difference.

As a junkie of the feminine essence, I am aware of many words at the core of feminine power that possess negative connotations. One of these words is “emotional.”

While emotionality is the foundational experience of all humans, for those of us whose feminine essence is primary (aka most women), how we feel is the deal.

Feeling is where we find our footing.

Thus, imagine what it is like to be emotionally anchored human in a culture that uses “too emotional” or “so emotional” to label someone as out-of-control and irrational.

It’s a petri dish for self-doubt, shame, and emotional negligence.

In contemplating what it means to be an emotional creature and the power of semantics, I believe I see the roots of this conflict: there is a huge difference between emotional breakdowns and emotional meltdowns.

Simply stated, emotional breakdowns are rooted in fear. Something comes onto one’s radar that feels uncomfortable and/or seems uncertain and the wonderful ego rises up to save the day. In a zealous moment, the ego declares, “There is a problem that must be fixed.”

When it comes to problem-solving the ego naturally wants to succeed. It will figure out what’s wrong even if that means making your very self the culprit. The only issue here is that when you make your very being guilty, more fear is created.

In its noble effort to relieve the discomfort and uncertainty, the ego literally breaks you down. Crying, or becoming “emotional,” is actually a place of refuge amidst the assault of one’s own ego.

Yes, during an emotional breakdown, you are irrational and things do feel out-of-control. On the surface it looks like someone is “so emotional,” but the core of the experience is that someone is so afraid.

This brings up an important point; if the emotions are secondary and fear is primary, is it accurate to call these “emotional breakdowns?” Maybe a better term would be “fear breakdowns”? I’ll be using fear breakdowns from here on out.

How do you know if you are in the throes of a fear breakdown? Although you may be a sobbing mess, you are consumed with looping negative thoughts, and fear/anxiety is the predominant feeling.

Aside from tears and a box of tissues, emotional meltdowns are the complete opposite of fear breakdowns. An emotional meltdown is rooted in love. It is vulnerability at its absolute best. Surrender is the portal and truth is the prize. The ego literally melts and your soul sinks down, revealing a deeper level of your being.

In order to release your grief, shed your old skin, and embody the new, you weep… hard. It is how your soul cleanses and regroups.

To describe a meltdown as “too emotional” would be like saying that someone is “too amazing.”

And this brings us to another important point: though we associate “emotional” with mood, tears, and affect, what does emotional really mean? If you google the definition, the offerings are so dry, abstract and vague, you will wonder if a computer wrote them. So I propose this: emotions are energetic currents in your body that are in a constant state of movement. They are spontaneous, rich with your soul’s code, expressive in a variety of ways, and have a profound partnership with your desires, beliefs and heart.

How do you know you’re in the throes of an emotional meltdown? Compassion reigns. Your heart feels peaceful and open. You and your body are one.

I’m not saying meltdowns are easy. Depending on many factors, they can be very intense. However, they are always more workable than fear breakdowns. Even those who avoid vulnerability like the plague will find emotional meltdowns uncomfortable but fertile.

So what does one do if they are in the throes of a fear breakdown?


Almost everyone needs help in order to stop. Psychotherapists, meditation, yoga, intuitives, antidepressants, church, friends, pleasure, acupuncture, orgasm, NLP, prayer, Reiki, spiritual literature, nature, forgiveness…there are many ways to call an ego ceasefire and they are all legit. (Don’t let your ego tell you differently and do let your intuition tell you which to pursue.)

The ultimate goal is cultivating awareness and pathways back to love.

And what do you do if you’re in the throes of an emotional meltdown?


Seize the sacredness of your tender heart and receive support. Psychotherapists, meditation, yoga, intuitives, antidepressants, church, pleasure, friends, acupuncture, orgasm, NLP, prayer, Reiki, spiritual literature, nature, forgiveness…there are many ways to nurture a meltdown and they are all legit. The ultimate goal is surrendering to a greater experience of love.

May all beings discern the turmoil of a fear breakdown from the miracle of an emotional meltdown.


D. Emeri is a feminine essence visionary who sees how feminine power can create a just paradigm for humanity. A student of spirituality and psychology for most of her life, Dara possesses an M.A. in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University. She is also a two-time recipient of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts Pleasure Revolutionary Award and is currently studying the political-spiritual teachings of Marianne Williamson. Dara communicates the power of belonging, desire, self-love, and universal love-ism at DaraMcKinley.com.


Editor: Jennifer Townsend

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