Our personal relationships, even more romantic relationships, are one of the most intense and complex experiences of our lives. We find well-being, very deep bonds which persist over time and condition your life and your decisions, and at the same time the greatest difficulties arise: fears, insecurities, guilt, jealousy or frustration. One of these difficulties is emotional responsibility.
But… When is there really a lack of emotional responsibility in our relationships? How can we fix it?
Understanding emotional responsibility
Although we tend to think that most of the needs to go to a psychological consultation or to go through a process of change are related to anxiety, discouragement or emotional or self-esteem problems, experiencing difficulties with our relationships is the main reason. In fact, it is the difficulties of our relationships that ensue they can trigger self-esteem or emotional issues.
However, the solution is not to blame the other (which unfortunately is very common in our digital and social media world) but to work on your own personal change (since your well-being depends mainly on you).
What is affective responsibility or lack of affective responsibility? To what extent have you experienced it or are you experiencing it? How could you resolve this difficulty within a relationship?
My name is Rubén Camacho, psychologist and coach in Human Empowerment, and this difficulty is more and more frequent in the processes of change where I accompany people in marital difficulty. Sometimes the problem is how we approach the relationship, and other times how we deal with certain emotions. which lead us to this lack of emotional responsibility or, on the contrary, to knowing how to set limits and manage uncertainty.
The goal we have in this article is not just to read tips, but to delve into what this problem really is, where it comes from, and above all that you can solve it through your own personal change. , because it is what will give your well-being, your self-esteem and your security. Let’s go for that.
Affective responsibility and myths in the digital world
In our digital world, many myths are published and spread. It is important to understand our context: we live in an era of information overload via the networks, which means that everything that is published is not true. Concepts as common as ‘toxic people’ or the inappropriate use of ‘psychopathy’ or ‘narcissism’ are becoming increasingly common and undermine our understanding of relationships.
However, emotional responsibility is a real difficulty that arises in consultation and often, although not in the way they are usually told in small sentences.
Emotional responsibility is the ability to be consistent in our affective relationships. If we make an appointment with a person at a specific time and we do not show up (except for a major cause which prevented it) we have not fulfilled our common responsibility. In similar relationships, it happens the same way. We are emotionally responsible when our communication and actions are consistent and we are aware of the implications of our actions on others. And that doesn’t always happen, which generates uncertainty and anxiety in the other.
When this emotional responsibility does not exist, promises are made that cannot be kept, or on the contrary, they are meet the expectations of the other too high but only for a timeto finally isolate themselves emotionally.
What can cause a person to lack emotional responsibility?
The reasons can be very varied. Sometimes it’s about responding to someone else’s expectation to secure the relationship, this habit being impossible to maintain over time. At other times it is about how fear and insecurity are handled, which is why emotional and affective isolation is generated.
What do we do if we reach out to someone who you think has this difficulty? What if you feel it? How do we solve it?
Let’s first see what is not a lack of emotional responsibility (so as not to confuse you with networking) and how you can solve the problem if you are in a relationship where the other behaves with a lack of emotional responsibility or if this happens to you a ti .
What is and is not a lack of emotional responsibility
To solve the common confusion that causes our digital world today, we will specify which is not a lack of emotional responsibility:
- Silences after discussions
- Look for spaces of solitude
- Isolate yourself from certain conversations or debates that generate stress (not that the person does not want to get involved, but makes his authoritarian decision or seeks the right way to do it according to his possibilities)
- Make your own decisions that aren’t couple-related (but don’t directly affect you)
- Not meeting your expectations (because they usually cannot be met)
If a person has these characteristics aloneare due to the usual difficulties of the relationship, and it is not a lack of emotional responsibility.
When we have a lack of emotional responsibility, the following happens:
- Making exaggerated promises or statements that cannot be kept (the “typical moon promise”)
- Promising absolute and unconditional support (which can also be unrealistic or frustrating)
- Wanting to experience the benefits of a relationship but moving away from or isolating oneself from shared responsibilities (household, commitment, etc.)
In short: a lack of emotional responsibility involves an isolation from the emotional and affective implications that arise in relationshipswhich generates uncertainty, insecurity and even anxiety in the other.
What to do if you’re dealing with someone with a lack of emotional responsibility
If you believe maintaining a relationship with a person with this difficultythe first step will always be to focus on your learning instead of blaming the other.
When we focus too much on the other (even blaming them or seeing their problems), we deposit part of our well-being in an external factor that we cannot control, hence the difficulties with our self-esteem. self.
Your personal change leads you to the following lessons:
- Learn to communicate assertively: to set clear boundaries, reach concrete agreements, express what you want, what you don’t want, what you can, what you can’t, etc. Assertive communication brings clarity and security in the relationship
- That your well-being depends mainly on you: this is the key to a self-esteem that works. If your well-being depends mainly on you, it will be easier to cope with these kinds of difficulties
- Learn to understand and manage your emotions: especially the emotions of fear, insecurity, uncertainty and anxiety, so common when we encounter problems in our relationships
What to do if you find it difficult to live with emotional responsibility
In this case, it is also not useful to blame or consider that the discomfort of the other person depends on you. On many occasions, I accompanied people who felt guilty in their relationships and we discovered that it existed an excess of badly managed guilt.
To work on this problem, you need to focus on three aspects:
- What’s holding you back from living your relationship in an emotionally responsible way? Emotional responsibility does not mean giving more than you can or want, but asserting yourself with yourself and your possibilities. It’s usually fear and vulnerability we feel in relationships that keep us from this emotional expression.
- Learn to communicate faithfully to what is happening: also with confidence and empathy, to demonstrate honesty and clear boundaries
- Experiencing a process of personal change to leave behind fears and insecurities, as well as to deal with other emotions such as impulsiveness or guilt
In many cases, difficulties in behaving in an emotionally responsible manner they are due to not having developed certain skills due to our character traits (like a tendency to introversion). These skills can be harder for some people to develop, but with hard work and time they can blossom.
The solution is in your own personal work
One of the most important lessons we can learn in our relationships is that we can’t control each other. In our relationships, we share well-being, but we cannot control that well-being or connection. Hence the appearance of fears, insecurities and other emotional difficulties that, if we do not know how to manage in time, cause us anxiety, self-esteem or anxiety.
The only solution is in the personal work itself. Whether you’ve been in a relationship with someone who lacks emotional responsibility or it just comes to mind, the only solution is focus on your own change. What would have to change or grow in you for everything else to change?
Living a process of practical and profound change is not a decision for extreme or urgent cases, but above all a learning process of discovery and self-knowledge that helps you to set limits, to know what you want and to manage everything you feel in relationships so that your emotions are in your favor rather than against you.
For this reason, a change process must have a constant expert company, where you feel this company at all times and not finally, and also flexible and with various tools (not just sessions). If you want to experience this process, a first step would be to schedule a first exploratory session. In this session, which you can have from home and with free schedules, we know each other, we can deepen your problem and find a stable solution: that is, that helps you feel better now, but also that you can internalize and serve for the future. You can comfortably schedule this session in Human Empowerment.
I send you a lot of encouragement and especially curiosity for you. Each relationship and experience helps us to know ourselves, to learn and to move forward.
Thanks for thinking of you,