Not Finding Emo; Identifying and Avoiding the Emotionally Needy

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By: Susan Heckler

Do you think you are intelligent?  There are many different types of intelligence, which affect us in many ways.  Intelligence is way more than book smarts.

How intelligent are you emotionally? Do you understand yourself and your relationship with other people? Are you a deep thinker? Existential Intelligence is the understanding and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence.  What is the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here?  Interpersonal intelligence is the gift of understanding and interacting successfully with others. These people smarts involve effective verbal and nonverbal communication, understanding the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability to consider multiple viewpoints.  Educators, social workers, and politicians all demonstrate high interpersonal intelligence.  Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand yourself and your own thoughts and feelings. Also known as Self Smart, this trait can be found in psychologists, spiritual leaders, and philosophers.

People with high emotional intelligence are self-aware, confident, motivated, disciplined, empathetic, and generally possess great social skills. They are typically successful and well respected. These are your ‘go-to’ people.

According to Judith Orloff MD, there are four different emotional types. We can all recognize which one we are and identify our friends and family in these categories too.

Type #1 is called The Intellectual. They are bright, expressive, logical, intellectually oriented, and often take refuge in their mind to cope with problems. They can also be extremely analytical and are comfortable with fixing problems logically and intellectually. They are able to stay calm in emotionally charged situations. Unfortunately, they often have difficulty connecting with feelings and can give the impression of being aloof.

Type #2 is called The Empath. These people are highly sensitive, giving, spiritual and great listeners.  They are passionate and intuitive and emotionally responsive. They also tend to be emotional sponges, easily absorbing others’ negativity. This makes them very prone to anxiety, depression, and fatigue. They need to avoid people who will drain them.

Type #3 is called The Rock because they are emotionally strong for themself and others. They are practical, cool-headed and tend to be nonjudgmental. They get along with nearly everyone, in part because they would rather avoid conflict than confront it. This can lead to frustration and resentment.

Type #4 would be The Gusher. They are spontaneous, direct and know their own emotions.  They aren’t afraid to share them either.  They are typically easily forgiving, make and keep friends, value intimate relationships, and process hard issues easily. They can be dramatic, turn their friends into therapists and seek external feedback rather than relying on own intuition. They can be the bearers of TMI (too much information).

So which one are you and which types do you associate with? You many notice  there are people in your life that are excessively needy emotionally and tend to suck the happiness and energy right out of you.  When you speak with someone or spend time with them, how do you feel afterward?  This question can determine if is a healthy relationship for you.

One of the keys to a healthy relationship, whether it is a friendship, romance or business relationship, is to understand yourself.  If you know what makes you happy and at your best, you are one step closer to identifying who you would be best associating with. What is your self-image? How do people perceive you? We are all dynamic; changing from minute to minute due to emotions, beliefs, viewpoints, and even health.  If you have a headache, you will react differently.  A bad night sleep will change your perspective too.

If you have determined that your relationship with a person is negative, you need to do something to change that. Sometimes it is a matter of redefining boundaries with them.  Are you sensitive to your material boundaries?  Do you mind sharing or lending your possessions? You may need to change this.  Does this person respect your physical boundaries?  Different cultures appreciate different personal space.  Americans typically like to keep their conversations at arm’s length whereas other cultures are more ‘in your face,’ meaning too up close and personal for your comfort.  Most important in a relationship is your emotional boundaries.  These distinguish separating your own emotions and your responsibility for them from someone else’s. Do you carry the weight for someone else? Healthy boundaries prevent you from giving advice, blaming or accepting blame. They protect you from personalizing someone else’s negative feelings or problems and taking others’ comments to heart. High reactivity suggests weak emotional boundaries. Healthy emotional boundaries require clear internal boundaries – knowing your feelings and your responsibilities to yourself and others.

Healthy boundaries allow you to have high self-esteem and self-respect, have a trusting relationship, prevent physical and emotional space from intrusion, share responsibility and power, assert yourself and separate your needs, thoughts, feelings, and desires from others. A healthy boundary allows you to empower yourself to make healthy choices and take responsibility for yourself.

If you need to set or reset a boundary, the best way is to do it clearly, calmly, firmly, respectfully, and in as few words as possible. Do not justify, get angry, or apologize for the boundary you are setting. Your responsibility is to effectively communicate your boundaries respectfully. People, who are accustomed to controlling, abusing, or manipulating you, might test you. Expect it from them but stand firm. This is a new way of thinking for you and it will take time for you to not feel guilty or selfish.  You need to remember you have the right to your own happiness.

The people who control, manipulate and abuse are toxic to your well-being. If being with them leaves you less than cool, calm and collected (the three C’s), you may need to resort to the three D’s.  If they are unable or unwilling to accept your needed boundaries, then maybe the relationship needs some thought. Surround yourself with people who respect you and your boundaries. It is a process, but one that is worth developing.  Detach, disassociate or diffuse a relationship with impossible people.