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Emotional Debts: (3) Identifying debts and Resolution
Articles - Relationships
Written by AnJ   
Friday, 03 November 2006 00:00
Welcome to part 3 of this series. In this section, we talk about how to identify relational debts in four simple steps.

1. Are there Problem Behaviors?
“I have never seen her so angry.”
“Everything she says drips with sarcasm.”
“She is exceptionally agreeable of late. She does everything that i like but that she hates…”

In such situations, it is important to feedback to your partner (or whoever you are dealing with) about her behavior. For example:
Ellen: “Why have you been so critical and irritable of late?”
Carol: “Nah, you are probably being over-sensitive.”
Ellen: “That’s not it. This morning you yelled at me for being 10 minutes late. You have never been angry over waiting.”

Ellen cites a specific incident and points out the discrepancy between Carol’s normal behavior and the problem behavior. This is a crucial step to recognizing that something is amiss. It also prevents the discussion from sliding into “you are over-reacting… no, you are really behaving strangly” cycle.

2. What are the underlying emotions?

Behaviors are an indication of emotions that lie beneath the surface. Some are more obvious than others. Example: Smashing of items generally reveals anger/frustration. Others are less apparent. Example: Being silent may reflect sorrow, anger, avoidance or fatigue.

Looking at the link between behaviors and feelings requires a sense of honesty. (Surprised?) Not all of us are self-aware and those of us who are… may not be self-aware in all situations.
Sometimes we are sarcastic but we pass it off as genuine laughter. Sometimes we tease out of resentment… but again, we may not be aware of the root emotion.

3. Determining if you are a creditor or a debtor.

How you feel is the best indicator.

Resentment: Irritation, Annoyance, Anger, Contempt, Rage, Hatred, Vengefulness.
You are a creditor.

Guilt: Sense of responsibility, Inadequacy, Regret, Remorse, Embarrassment, Shame, Self-hate.
You are a debtor.

4. Locating the origin of debt.


You can ask yourself: “What’s pissing me off?” Or.. “What am i trying to pay back?”

Examples of some answers to these questions:
“She pushed me into doing something i wasn’t comfortable doing. Friends do not behave that way.”
“I cannot get over the fact that she tried to kill herself over what i said. She almost died, thanks to the careless remark i made.”


Debt Resolution
Now that you have identified the source of the debt, you can go about debt resolution.

1. The very first step to debt resolution is to realize that it is all about perceptions. How many times have you heard people say these:

“I know perfectly what you mean.”
“I heard you say that with my own ears!”
“I never said that! Don’t out words into my mouth!”

People frequently argue about who is right, who is wrong, who did what, who said what and what these mean. Each of us have unshakable faith in our own objectivity. Any discrepancies is due to mis-interpretations on everyone else’s parts. This attitude of “I am always right!” need not be consciously endorsed for you to behave this way.

Thus, when we go about solving interpersonal problems, we need to do so with humility and respect for perceptual differences. Changing the way you phrase things would help tremendously.
“It felt like you were telling me to…. when you said… “
“I may not be getting all the pieces of the puzzle, but it seems like… “

The limitations of human perception also means that we can be absolutely wrong!
It takes courage to accept this position.

2. The second thing we need to know is accepting that a debt exist does not mean that the debt is valid. That means that your partner’s perception may be unjustifiable under the circumstances… but that does not mean that the sense of debt is not real.

When you are caught in such a situation, you can:
a. appeal to third party/parties for (hopefully) a more balanced judgment
b. appeal to normal or typical behavior in that specific circumstance

But keep this in mind:
It’s not so much about being right and wrong, as it is about having one’s thoughts and feelings valued and respected by others.

When the debt is valid, you can move on to specifying how you want the debt settled.
The currency of payment can be anything the creditor can think so, as long as it is within the means of the debtor.

Examples: flowers, hobby products, increased affection,, foot rubs, stop smoking, make phone calls from work, change hair-style, clean the house.

However, things are not always as smooth.
What happens when you are faced with a debtor who cannot pay up or who refused to pay up? Or when you have a creditor who pursues you relentlessly with an exorbitant repayment price?

We will cover this in part 4 of this series.


Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:22


# Newseater 2010-02-02 21:10
Newseater - Adult Edition » Blog Archive » Emotional Debts: (3) Identifying debts and Resolution said,

November 3, 2006 at 5:26 pm

[...] Original post by Sayoni Speak [...]

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