It can be quite difficult to distinguish feelings and thoughts when feelings run high. When feelings overwhelm a person, the brain creates a story that accounts for the feelings. It is hard to tell in the moment whether the story is true or not. This is a survival mechanism.
It can be especially hard to control emotionally-based stories when dealing with family members or loved ones. One’s feelings may link to an earlier time in life when one could not protect oneself. Feelings have no sense of time! So a story created by strong feeling can bring the past into the present moment, often with disastrous consequences.
Here is a another way to think about it. Because a horse is a prey animal, even a rabbit crossing their path unexpectedly can cause them to run for their lives. If you happen to be riding that horse, it is imperative that you pull in on the reins and soothe the horse. The reins represent your thinking mind.
When strong feelings create a distorted story about a person or situation, pull in the reins!. The emotions you feel are real, but they may not be the facts. Instead of reacting in the moment, stop and think it through. You will be happy you did.