Weaponizing Your Emotions

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We are terrestrial animals. There are a few things that make us different from the other animal species: We have an erect posture, are omnivores, use bipedal locomotion, have high manual dexterity, and for the most part, can use a more open-ended complex language to communicate. We have a larger, more complex brain with a limbic system interconnected by a neurological structure. That limbic system is responsible for our behavioral and emotional responses. Although sometimes it might look otherwise, we can use reasoning in our actions. We also have the ability to control our impulses and desires, and sometimes, we can forgo immediate satisfaction in favor of longer-term goals.

Humans and animals have a few things in common: both are territorial creatures, driven by instincts. Like undomesticated animals, sometimes, we—meaning humans—also fail to control our instincts.

Something that can make us lose control is our emotions. Automatic reactions to our emotions come from an innate, biological force that impels us to do something, to perform, act or respond in a particular manner very specific to the stimuli in front of us. Also, we can have an automatic, instinctive reaction to any predisposition or motivational force.

Animal and human, likewise, have an automatic response when feeling threatened. One of the most powerful emotions one can experience is fear. This includes the fear of losing emotional control over others.

What happens when the fear of losing emotional control takes over reasoning? We become cursed selfish, egocentric mortals, incapable of rational thinking. More often than not, if we cannot control our emotions, rather than flight, we stay and fight. We let the impulsivity and anxiety that come with fear take over reasoning. We bawl, kick, and scream bloody murder, overcome by a false sense of grandiose power with an exaggerated nonfigurative sense of entitlement.

When that happens, we make everyone involved miserably hopeless, including ourselves. A person can live 21 days without food and water. But a person cannot survive one day without hope. We then become depressed and discouraged, lacking motivation even to breathe, less so to move on.

Here is the thing. Those out-of-control emotions are unpleasant and physically painful. They leave us physically exhausted and emotionally shattered. Uncontrolled emotions are self-destructive because they often lead us to detrimental actions.

Uncontrolled emotions are also a weapon because they can cause significant physical and emotional damage.

Here are a few things that can help us not to weaponize our emotions:

  • Learn how to be honest with yourself because being truthful and upright with yourself will help you to communicate with others, deal with conflicting ambivalent or guilt-ridden attitudes.
  • Recognize your feelings and emotions. Call your emotions by their names. Naming your emotions gives you the control and capacity to analyze and evaluate your emotional states and use that information to make reasonable-sounding decisions.
  • Become a self-agent and self-negotiate with your emotions. Self-compromise. It represents an emotional conciliation between the demands of your ego, defenses, and unconscious wishes. It also protects you and others from emotional uncertainties, feelings of anxiety, and conscious or unconscious apprehensions.

Dr. Iberkis Faltas




Twitter: @imfaltas


Goodman M, Tagle D, Fitch D, Bailey W, Czelusniak J, Koop B, Benson P, Slightom J (1990). “Primate evolution at the DNA level and a classification of hominoids”. J Mol Evol. 30 (3): 260–66. Bibcode:1990JMolE..30..260G. doi:10.1007/BF02099995. PMID 2109087. S2CID 2112935

“Hominidae Classification”. Animal Diversity Web @ UMich. Archived from the original on 5 October 2006. Retrieved 25 September 2006.


Have you ever found yourself on http://www.USAJobs.com applying for dozens of jobs, only to find out that you did qualify for any of them, although you have the required qualifications?

Well, you’re not alone. Even those within the federal government find it difficult to navigate the deep sea of rules and regulations governing the federal hiring process. While there are hundreds of hiring regulations depending the agency’s mandate, governance, branch, and so on, in this article, I will briefly explain two of the most important elements when applying for federal employment: The competitive service and the excepted service.

The Federal Government has four hundred fifty-four agencies and only approximately twenty-five agencies operate under excepted services (ES) regulations. Most of the other agencies operate under competitive service (CS) regulations:

The competitive service consists of all civil service positions in the executive branch of the Federal Government with some exceptions. The exceptions are defined in section 2102 of title 5, United States Code (5 U.S.C. 2102). In the CS, individuals must go through a competitive process open to all applicants. Appointments to the ES are appointments that do not confer competitive status. There are a number of ways to be appointed to the excepted service such as appointed under an authority defined by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as excepted (e.g., Veterans, Recruitment Appointment) or being appointed to a position defined by OPM as excepted position (e.g., Attorneys, FBI agents).

Job announcements for federal employment must specify the type of service announced. If you are a federal employee, you can find your service appointment on your SF-50 Notification of Personnel Action, box 34.

One of the prospective flexibilities of working for the CS is that your time in service and most of your benefits are recognized and honored between federal agencies under the same CS regulations. In general, job applications under CS status allow you to move to the top of the list without competing with the general public, and among the same qualified competitors, giving you a preference status based on your federal government experience, above the general public.

If your employment appointment is under ES, you don’t qualify to apply for job announcements under CS, even when such a job announcement is open to all federal employees. Unless the job announcement states explicitly that employees under the ES status may apply, which means that the agency has an interchangeable agreement with OPM. Suppose you don’t work for the federal government and want to apply. In that case, the competitive or excepted service regulations are less likely to significantly impact your initial appointment, although the hiring process may be considerably different.

I have worked under both appointments, the excepted, and CS. In 2010, I worked at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a federal agency regulated by competitive service. Shortly after the year, I resigned USCIS and went to work at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), an excepted service agency. At the time of leaving USCIS, no one explained the significance of leaving the CS to enter the ES. I had to learn it with anxiety and frustration. After a couple of years at the FBI, I wanted a change. I applied for other jobs within the federal government and was repeatedly rejected. Morally, it was devastating. I have a higher education degree, more than 30 years of business experience, and more than a decade of federal government experience. I felt trapped and deflected. At the time, I didn’t know the meaning and significance of each appointment, and quite frankly, it was disappointing.

Here is what you need to know:

  • If you are interested in entering the federal government, CS or ES is not of the greatest importance, but it is a matter of preference.
  • CS versus ES can limit your federal government career options as CS employees can easily transition between agencies unless there is an interchangeable agreement for ES employees.
  • If you are under a CS appointment transitioning to ES appointment, you MUST be informed in writing.
  • When it comes to job announcements open to ‘all federal employees,’ you ES appointment doesn’t qualify you to apply, unless the announcement specifies that it is open to ES employees.
  • When you apply to job announcements open to the public, you will be competing with the general public, regardless of your time in civil service.
  • CS is under the merit system in the Executive Branch and OPM. ES has its own hiring system, merit, and evaluations.
  • Federal employees with CS hired by ES agencies receive credit for federal service toward retirement, and benefits are subjected to OPM’s rules regarding creditable service for retirement purposes.
  • Employees entering into Excepted Service, even if they are coming from a Competitive Service position, must work 1,250 hours before becoming eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Employees transferring from a competitive service agency who have already fulfilled a probationary period with their initial appointment are still required to serve another probationary period under AOC authority

Iberkis Faltas

Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration


Management & Leadership | Law and Policy Analysis

Emotional Intelligence Psychometrician.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iberkisfaltas/

Instagram: @emotionalintelligence4

Nonprofit: Shining Women

Instagram: Shiningwomen4

Community: Center for Emotional Intelligence & Professional Development (CEIPD)