People often feel inhibited because they are concerned with how their actions and emotions will affect other people. This is damaging to everyone involved. There are several circumstances when people take responsibility of others’ emotions.
One common circumstance is during important life decisions. Sometimes other people need to be considered if the decision affects both parties directly. Examples of this include marital decisions (ie. moving to a different state) and decisions with other people’s property or children. Life decisions that you are not responsible for other people’s emotions include decisions that affect you directly.
Other people may be affected indirectly, but that is not your job to solve. They can choose their reactions. Examples of this situation include where you go to college, what age and who you marry, what political party and religion you subscribe to, and what you decide to do with your sexual orientation.
All of these choices may affect your friends and family indirectly, but choosing to be a Republican will not irreparably damage your democratic family members. If someone reacts poorly to your decisions, it is not your responsibility to fix their emotions.
Another circumstance is sharing unpleasant news. People are often hesitant to have difficult conversations with people they care about because people feel responsible for their loved ones’ reactions. Imagine a student came home and had to have an unpleasant conversation about grades to her parents. Her GPA dropped just low enough that her school revoked some of her scholarship money.
Her parent’s monthly payment would now increase by one hundred dollars. Of course, her parents will be disappointed and wonder why their child’s grades fell; however, the student is not responsible for how her parents react. She should not avoid telling them because she is afraid she will make them upset.
Sharing what you need with people around you is another common situation where people have issues. This often occurs in romantic relationships. One person may need more communication, intimacy, or quality time spent together, but he or she may be worried that asking will inconvenience the other person. For example, a woman wanted more gifts from her husband on holidays.
Her husband always mentioned the holiday, but he didn’t always get her a gift. The woman's love language was giving gifts, so she always got him something to celebrate. She was afraid that if she asked him then he would think she didn’t appreciate him. Her fear of his reaction could potentially keep her from asking him about what she needed.
Finally, many people feel responsible for cheering up friends or family if they are upset. Caring for others is wonderful; however, taking responsibility for other people’s problems when the problems do not relate to you is counter-productive to both parties.
If you take on too much, then you are stressed and end up having your own problems to deal with. You could potentially lash out at the person and make them more upset. Also, if you always take care of one person’s problems, then that person will never learn to cope with difficult emotions.
Taking responsibility for other people’s emotions is an issue because it adds unnecessary stress to your life. This stress can eventually strain relationships. To fix this issue, you need to set emotional boundaries.
You need to remember that the other person’s emotions are not your concern; you can listen to the person, but let it roll right off your shoulder. It won’t help you to hold on to the extra weight. The only aspects you are responsible for are your reaction and your words.