|Emotional Debts: (1) Shattered Unspoken Promises|
|Articles - Relationships|
|Written by AnJ|
|Monday, 30 October 2006 00:00|
Have you ever heard these:
“It’s not fair after everything that I’ve done for her!”
Frequently, couples who go for counselling with pain, indignation, sense of betrayal and confusion have this in common: emotional debts. Deep emotional debts that were never noted and addressed.
This results in guilt, resentment, bitterness and hostility. (If you see yourself experiencing these, this series is for you.)
All of us have emotional needs and wants that we seek to satisfy. We seek satisfaction, excitement, acceptance, connection, spontaneity, freedom and gratitude with the one we love. When relationships are dominated by emotional debts, resentment and guilt reign. People flare up over the smallest thing, being easily irritated. Sometimes incidents that are not addressed will carry over, such that the reaction to the next incident looks blown out of proportion.
How many of us walk away from our relationships having this feeling:
Whenever our expectations are not met, we feel disappointed. That’s when blame comes into the picture. The conflicts that come out of this is can be harsh and taxing on both partners.
Are we disillusioned? Are our expectations over the hill?
Existing debts can arise from positive or negative incidents from the past to the present. But no matter what the attributes of this debt, one partner consciously or unconsciously experience being either the debtor or the creditor.
Let’s illustrate this with two examples:
The positive incident- a sacrifice for the relationship:
The negative incident- infidelity:
So we see that emotional debts can come out of either helpful (positive) or hurtful (negative) incidents. It is also important to note that relational debts depend on individual perceptions, not some objective truth out there (does this even exist anyway?!).
So who determines the debt?
Case 1: The self-perceived debtor
Case 2: The self-perceived creditor
In case 1, the debt is defined by Angel, the debtor. In case 2, the debt is defined by Jackie, the creditor. You can see that debt needs not be acknowledged by both parties in order to have a deleterious effect on relationships.
In concluding part 1 of this series, emotional debts impact our relationships- whether romantic or platonic. Therefore it is important for us to learn to identify these “debts” and resolve them. In part 2 of this series, we will look at characteristics of people who frequently fall into the roles of creditors and debtors.
-End Part 1-
Concepts from “You Owe Me- The emotional debts that cripple relationships” by Eric J. Cohen and Gregory Sterling.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:20|