Originally Posted by Sugarbooger
how do I express myself without losing control and being a nut job?
I think the "emotional workout" analogy best fits. People have emotional "muscles." These muscles are as in-shape or as out-of-shape as you've developed them. When you are triggered or otherwise experience some intense emotions your emotional "muscles" get a work out. If you're not practiced in emotional workouts, your "muscles" will get tired very quickly.
Of course, when either your real muscles or emotional muscles are worn out, it's hard to think clearly or act responsibly. It's easy to lash out in ways you normally wouldn't. You may not even realize what's causing it, and that's a big hurdle for some people to cross--realizing that you may be trying to handle things when you are completely beyond your emotional depth/capabilities.
You have to give yourself time to cooldown (or heal), just like any workout (or injury).
The kind of exercise matters, too... maybe you're very used to the emotions raised by work or the daily commute or the relationship you've been in for years. But, a disagreement in a triad suddenly exercises a completely different set of emotional "muscles."
Once your emotional muscles are a bit more in shape (or practiced with a specific exercise), you'll realize when you're experiencing overwhelming emotions and should give yourself time to process those before trying to talk about or address whatever caused them. You take that time and when you're no longer overwhelmed, you address things then.
Eventually, you might become an emotional ironman/woman who can run feelings marathons before breakfast. You're still going to experience the emotions and their intensity. You might be a crying mess, but if you're really "in-shape" you can say stuff like, "Wow, I'm having an intense emotional reaction to this, and I'm crying, and my chest is tight, but I'm OK to keep talking about it now."
Just like you can't try to run a marathon once a month as a way to get in shape (at least I don't think you can, YMMV), you can't just wait for big emotional explosions to come and think you're going to get better at handling them. You build up your emotional muscles by going back over how you felt and what you thought while you were experiencing the emotions. You catalog the things that trigger your emotions. You unpack your baggage. You introspect. Maybe you need to get a trainer/help because it's not something you can do on your own. You begin to recognize warning signs sooner. You imagine what your feelings might be in different situations. You push your own boundaries by yourself, so that when others push them, you know better what it might feel like. You workout.