It is important to know what emotional responsibility is, especially if you feel that there is not enough communication and mutual care in your relationships.

Are you one of those people who suffer from not being able to express what they feel? This is likely due to the lack of emotional responsibility, which is very important for a good performance in relationships, friendships, and family.

If you seek to base your bonds on dialogue, respect, empathy, mutual care, and choosing a learning path, you will know how important it is to be an emotional responsibility.

I write my essays for people to learn to better understand themselves and relationships, so this post will show you what emotional responsibility implies, so it will be easier for you to develop and establish healthy and honest bonds. We will also address its importance and talk about how this concept helps you deal with relationships today.

What does emotional responsibility mean?

Emotional responsibility is a way of understanding interpersonal relationships that are based on taking care of the feelings and emotions that arise within the framework of a relationship.

According to the Medium portal, it is about being emotionally aware of the impact of your actions on others. Only by being emotionally responsible can we create lasting and, of course, healthy bonds. To talk about the importance of emotional responsibility, we must start thereby empathizing with the feelings of the people we relate to.

Before delving into the concept of emotional responsibility, think about how you expect and want people to treat you in the different relationships you participate in; it can be in a relationship, in a friendship, or even in the family.

Emotional responsibility is to be clear, respectful, and empathetic with what the other may feel. [Although emotional responsibility is not exclusive to couple relationships] In a loving bond, we cannot be selfish and think only of our pleasure; the healthiest thing to do is to establish agreements that both of us respect.

Now, if we analyze what emotional responsibility is with this definition, we will know why it is so complicated to be emotionally responsible in the different relationships of life.

Let’s see what aspects are involved in being emotionally responsible.

What does emotional responsibility imply?

Unfortunately, and it must be said openly, in many relationships, we assume that any action or word is okay, so we forget that there will be things that will bother or hurt others. Basically, we underestimate that any action will have a consequence, so a lack of emotional responsibility is a factor that can erode a relationship.

In essence, when asking ourselves about what emotional responsibility is, we need to understand some fundamental aspects:

Understanding that a relationship goes beyond oneself: putting selfishness aside and being empathetic is fundamental. There is another person involved, with its virtues and defects, so you must learn to deal with what it means to share with another being in the best possible way.

Every relationship brings conflicts with itself: we all have the right to make mistakes. But something essential that you must understand is that being emotionally responsible, we must take responsibility for our actions, ask for forgiveness, and forgive the other. However, this cycle should not be endless because, if so, you could be dealing with what we know as toxic people.

Take charge of your emotions: basically, it is to understand that you cannot blame the other person for what you feel. You have to understand where those feelings come from and what they mean.

What is not emotional responsibility?

As we mentioned before, talking about emotional responsibility does not only include couple relationships. Any type of bond can be affected, such as your ties with:

  • Family members.
  • Friends.
  • Coworkers.

Within the framework of this concept, we must also clarify what is and what is not emotional responsibility. This concept is often misrepresented, so it is essential to clarify a few things.

Emotional responsibility is:

  • Communicating or expressing our expectations and feelings about the relationship.
  • Establishing limits, mutually, with the intention of maintaining respect for each other.
  • Mutual care.
  • Understanding the weight of our actions and how they affect each other’s lives.
  • Maintain good communication. Especially if we are going to discuss an issue that bothers us.

With this in mind, we must understand what emotional responsibility is not. In this way, we do not make mistakes (as far as possible) when establishing bonds with others.

Emotional responsibility is not:

  • Invalidating the other person’s emotions and preventing them from expressing them.
  • Going beyond the established limits.
  • To behave in a way that leads the other person to be deluded with possibilities when we do not intend to get involved.
  • Believing that the other person must guess what we feel, need, or think.
  • Keeping relevant information related to our feelings hidden.

If you feel that you are incurring any of these last actions, it is time to review and rethink how you are handling the bond with the person you love. And although emotional responsibility is not something that works from one day to the next, applying it constantly in your daily life will help you to sustain better ties with others.

Some people tend not to show their feelings and emotions until they reach a point where they can’t take it anymore and explode; as a result, conflicts and fights are generated. In that sense, it is essential to know how to be emotionally responsible, so let’s go to the next section!

How to be emotionally responsible?

Now that you know emotional responsibility, it is time to learn how to put it into practice and enjoy relationships based on trust, respect, and mutual care.

To be emotionally responsible, you must strive to improve some things in your relationship, so we will tell you the signs that indicate that there is emotional responsibility in a couple, a friendship, or a family group.

1. Assertive communication

We have already mentioned it before. However, we have to do it again; assertive communication is one of the most important elements to exercise emotional responsibility. We know that nowadays, it is complicated to express what we want, what bothers us, and what we feel, among many other aspects; however, speaking directly, clearly, and honestly is the solution to prevent and overcome conflicts.

If you master the most effective assertive communication techniques, you should have no problem expressing yourself clearly in any situation.

2. Establishing agreements

No matter what relationship you are talking about, agreements are the best way to overcome problems and conflicts. In the case of emotional responsibility in a couple’s relationship, one way to apply it is to establish what is allowed and what is not allowed through dialogue.

Let’s think of a couple in which one party does not agree or feel comfortable with public displays of affection. Yet, the other party continues to do so because they do not know of this discomfort since their partner has never expressed it.

In this case, an example of emotional responsibility would be that, at the beginning of the relationship, the two parties (or whatever parties they are) take the time to talk about their needs and establish the necessary agreements to have the healthiest relationship possible.

If we think about it better, emotional responsibility is very similar to a negotiation process, in which an agreement beneficial for the parties involved is reached by means of communication.

With all this, we intend to emphasize how important it is to maintain communication in the different types of relationships. Undoubtedly, dialogue is the best way to know what the other person needs and to communicate what we want.

3. Understand that a relationship consists of more than one person.

As we have seen, when knowing what emotional responsibility is, there should be no room for selfishness; that is, it is necessary to forget the idea that oneself is what matters most and start considering others. In this regard, psychoanalyst Adriana Ortiz Barraza, in the program Diálogos en confianza, explains:

“Indeed, emotional responsibility has to do with empathy, but empathy has to do deep down with breaking your narcissism and understanding that there is another.”

On the other hand, our teacher Maia Mazar, in her Conflict Management Tools Course, explains that empathy (the ability to put yourself in the other person’s place) is a tool for solving problems:

“When we cannot reach a solution, a very useful technique is to think about what is happening to the other person. What we can do, in this case, is to think about what is happening to us and what the other person is thinking”.

4. To be clear that any relationship will have complications

Emotional responsibility implies committing oneself to people and understanding that, inevitably, there will be complicated moments, which is not why we are going to disappear.

The best thing to do is to act responsibly and deal with these problems through communication and compromise.

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5. Consider that any action will have a consequence

This point of emotional responsibility encompasses all the previous ones. Keep in mind that any word and action will produce a reaction in the other person; therefore, it is essential to know how to be empathetic and stop to think if what we are doing affects others.

Do not think that emotional responsibility implies acting perfectly because it is impossible. It is about acting and speaking with empathy and respect, establishing agreements (through dialogue) to respect others, and, in the event of making a mistake and provoking a conflict, being responsible and assuming the consequences.

The objective of emotional responsibility is not to make the other person suffer and implies taking responsibility for what we might cause in others, whether family, friendship or partner.

Importance of emotional responsibility

Now that you know what emotional responsibility is and the main points to assuming emotional responsibility in your different relationships, the next step is to know why it is important to talk about and start exercising this way of acting.

Mainly, emotional responsibility will help us face and overcome conflicts with other people. We must be clear that conflicts will not cease to exist; however, emotional responsibility seeks to solve and overcome them.

In this context, our teacher Maia Mazar indicates that conflict is not negative, but rather, it should be seen “as an opportunity” to develop skills to manage it.

In addition, knowing what emotional responsibility is will help you to manage your emotions and feelings better. Your capacity for assertiveness and empathy will develop little by little, which will help you be more stable as a person.

Obviously, we cannot assure you that being emotionally responsible will free you from emotional pain. This is a reality that is always present, but if you know how to be emotionally responsible, you can handle problems and difficult situations in a better way.

Likewise, emotional responsibility allows you to help those closest to you so that they can deal with their problems and, thus, accompany them in an emotional way.

Do you understand how important emotional responsibility is in all kinds of relationships? Becoming a better human being, more empathetic and understanding, isn’t that a good goal you would like to reach?

Emotional responsibility in today’s relationships

Before concluding, a question: is emotional responsibility really being exercised in our present day? In a world that has advanced so much in technological and scientific matters, could it be said that it has also advanced in human and interpersonal matters?

Speaking exclusively on the subject of love and relationships, we must say that the themes of monogamy and marriage dominated the collective imagination for a long time (at least in traditional Western thought). However, with the social, cultural, and even economic changes that have taken place, we find that the way in which people establish their bonds has been completely transformed.

Let us see what aspects affect emotional responsibility today:

1. Dealing with “what are we?”

Currently, there are forms such as “casual relationships” or “open relationships,” which have been assumed as new ways of relating to each other, being a valid alternative to traditional couple relationships. We know they have always existed, but now these variants seek to be understood, so the need to reflect on them has arisen.

And this is where emotional responsibility comes in. As we already know, this concept serves to make you consider that every bond has implications for the people involved, regardless of the name we give it or the time we remain in that relationship.

For this reason, regardless of the “title” you have decided to give to your relationship, the most important thing is that you both agree on the basis of that link, are aware of what you want, and maintain good communication without incurring false promises and deceptions. This way, you will be able to make any kind of bond you establish with others work.

2. Ghosting

Believe it or not, there is a relationship between emotional responsibility and ghosting. However, what links the two terms is that they are complete opposites.

As we mentioned earlier, the advancement of new technologies has benefited many people. But, inevitably, they have changed the way we communicate, offering us multiple possibilities. And it is in this context, that ghosting arises, the termination of an emotional relationship, unilaterally (without the need to warn or offer explanations).

The person who is willing to break the link does so only to avoid facing the breakup, so they decide to block any contact with their partner. This situation only reflects a lack of communication and care for the other person, without considering the feelings of the other, believing that just by disappearing, they will break any bond.

The basics of emotional responsibility contradict this practice. It is about being able to deal with the breakup in a sincere way in which, even though it may be painful for the other person, the desire to end the relationship is communicated with great respect.

3. The romanticization of the bond

If there is one thing we have learned in recent times, it is that love is not only in heterosexual and monogamous relationships. Thousands of ways of loving others go beyond the tale of the “better half,” so knowing what emotional responsibility is essential to understanding the dynamics of today’s relationships.

Romantic love, as an idea, sounds very good. However, it is necessary to abandon this idea and stop idealizing the other person as that human being who will solve all our emotional problems since you will only be burdening this figure with expectations.

Emotional and loving bonds do not imply being indebted to another person or even expecting them to behave the way you want. That person is an independent being, with its virtues and defects, so only by understanding this and maintaining a basis of respect and communication can you sustain a healthy relationship.

It is not about expecting the other person to do “what you expect from him/her.” It is about loving and accepting others as they are. Although you cannot guarantee eternal love or “for life,” you can maintain a healthy bond in which you assume responsibilities and commitments to respect emotions (your own and others).

Sometimes, in order to have a relationship in which all the precepts of emotional responsibility are fulfilled, it is necessary to know how to establish clear limits. Of course, this doesn’t happen most of the time, mainly because we don’t take the time to clarify things and talk about what’s important.

But now that you understand what emotional responsibility is and have some supporting texts to back up your ideas, you can begin to set boundaries and build relationships in which you feel that love and respect are paramount.

Now that you know what emotional responsibility is, try to put it into practice in the different relationships you are involved in. We know that it is not easy since all relationships involve difficulties and conflicts, which will be worth handling and overcoming if you are interested in a relationship.

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