Maybe you absorb/mirror other people’s emotions? I have this problem and it’s still very hard to take a step back even when I realize the emotion is not coming from me. With a small number of people I can deal, but in a crowd with strong emotions it’s anybody’s guess what I will end up doing. Honestly, the only way I can do public speaking is to memorize my presentation and give it as in a trance, and it works quite well. However, that doesn’t work when I start interacting with people and I have to focus on them. So all I’ve got if this is the problem is to recognize the emotion is not yours, or you have an emotional overwhelm.
To know if this is likely to be the problem, you can take an emotional intelligence test (Google search for “test recognizing emotions”). If you’ve done POW work, I wouldn’t be surprised if you have very high abilities in this area. I get 90 or even occasionally 100% recognition on these tests, far from average, and it’s a lot less useful than people think it is. Not only I’m short-circuited by others’ emotions, but it’s also easy to make a conjecture based on somebody’s emotional state that has no bearing in reality. Yes, you can sense if people are trustworthy from the first meeting and you recognize emotional vampires right away, but when it takes everybody months and lots of trial and error to see what you see, you can doubt yourself or feel like Cassandra.