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Understanding our emotional framework allows us to build a healthy self awareness and get our needs met in effective and productive ways. We can build healthier, more sustainable relationships by looking at our emotional framework and understanding how we operate in terms of balancing our needs with the needs of others.
Every relationship depends on a healthy relationship system. With a healthy relationship system, each person is able to express their feelings and needs and respond to expressed feelings and needs in a way that leads to genuine, authentic, and deeper connections.
When we lack awareness around our emotional framework, we can harm ourselves and our loved ones by overlooking needs, mis-communicating feelings and intentions, and invalidating expressed feelings. Practicing awareness and evaluating the methods and behaviors that arise in our communication lets us cultivate a healthy framework. We’re able to discard harmful methods and implement healthy ones.
The Manager of Our Emotional Framework
When we interact with members of our care community with healthy boundaries, a kind of triangulation takes place.
Our feelings exist, our care partners feelings exist, and something inside of us sorts, categorizes, and balances those feelings. We make decisions about how to react to certain communications either consciously or subconsciously, sometimes we offer the benefit of the doubt, sometimes we use tough love. The decisions we make are either based on our feelings only, our partners feelings only, or a balance between the two (the healthy option).
This decision-maker is our inner manager. We may be aware of our manager and how they operate or we may not. Our emotional framework is crafted with various auto-pilot behaviors which can obstruct our awareness. We don’t always realize our responses or behaviors are based on personal perspective and experiences, rather than being universally shared.
Interacting with Our Care Community
Each member of our care community should have their own inner manager. And they have a responsibility to us to have awareness of their own emotional framework and communicate through their inner manager.
But what does it look like when we’re interacting with someones manager versus someone who’s operating in their feelings?
- When we express our feelings, does our care partner follow with immediately expressing their own?
- Are expressed feelings met with questions, empathy, and a desire to understand?
- Are they responding to our questions with questions or genuine attempts at answers?
- Are accusations, concerns, or complaints being mirrored?
Communicating with someone who is not using their inner manager to regulate behavior and communication can cause us to feel lost in an argument. We may feel unheard, misunderstood, sometimes alone, or like we can’t rely on this person to engage in a healthy relationship.
Using Our Emotional Framework to Meet Our Needs
If a manager is not involved, our initial feelings will not be addressed and our partners feelings will not be addressed. The key to mutual validation is healthy and open communication. Expressing our needs by first identifying and validating our feelings internally, and being honest with ourselves about our needs, allows us to communicate with our care community in a way that lets them to consent to care. The people we love are able to choose how they want to empathize and respond to our needs, using their internal manager.
When we set the stage for honesty and open communication, we’re able to better evaluate how well someone can empathize with and help us meet our needs. Using our manager is a form of establishing our own boundary about how we release our feelings and what we expect in response. Awareness and management of our emotional framework encourages healthy relationship building, expanding our care communities.
Identifying the Manager in Others
If someone is making an honest attempt to understand our needs and maintain connection with us through respectful and empathetic communication, we can usually trust that they’re not operating in their feelings but are instead using their inner manager. They’ve regulate their emotional needs and want to learn more about our own. This is a healthy process.
Sometimes we express healthy communication and request that our care partner express healthy communication in return but they don’t have the skills developed to regulate their emotions or behavior. They may not yet be aware of their own emotional framework. If that’s the case, we use our inner manager to evaluate whether or not this person is a healthy member of our care community.
Our inner manager is the maker of our executive decisions. If a relationship is unhealthy due to our partners lack of awareness around emotional regulation, our manager allows us to disengage without guilt or blame. Our inner manager allows us to love people from a distance and evaluate how we choose to interact or when we choose to stop.
Healthy relationships operate on a system. In all healthy relationships, we should have the ability to offer constructive feedback to members of our care communities. Awareness of our emotional framework and employment of inner manager helps us communicate our feelings in a respectful way. Our care partner’s manager allows them to filter the information they receive from us in a balanced way so they won’t process it as an attack but instead an expressed need. Their inner manager helps them regulate actions and behaviors.
Stable ground in a relationship requires healthy communication and is a team effort. It always takes more than one person to cultivate a healthy, fulfilling relationship. We’re able to rely on our inner manager to protect us from getting lost in a relationship that impacts our health and wellness in negative ways.
Our inner manager protects our care communities from our unhealthy communication or acting out our feelings. It allows us to speak with clarity by identifying our needs more easily.
Our inner manager also protects us from allowing people into our care communities who may not be safe for our vulnerability. Expressing our feelings and needs in a way that asks for others to care is a vulnerable position. We protect our vulnerability by using our manager to make executive decisions about our interactions with another person.
If they are not a healthy participant in our care community, we have the option to revoke our vulnerability. We have the power to stop releasing our feelings and needs to a person who may not be emotionally safe. We can then redirect our energy to people who understand emotional framework and regulation so we can make our own care communities a safe place.