Relationships can often be confused because intimate partners don't know how to deal with a reactive emotional style
What someone with a reactive emotional style needs to be aware of is the impact of their behavior on others
“I learned at great personal cost, with the loss of my former wife and twin daughters over 30 years ago, that loud tones, aggression, irritation, and anger – the reactive emotional style – had to go.
I have always been a leader, full of ideas and the energy, persistence, and dedication to carry them out. I used to not take fools lightly and felt quickly frustrated, irritated, and angry when things did not go my way. I could explode like a bomb!
As a man, I was used to summing up a situation, weighing alternatives, implementing them, and looking for results, often all done in my head and without too much discussion, not realizing fully that my behaviors, including loud tones and quick words, impacted on others so adversely.
Karen said to me, “Mike, it doesn’t matter what you say to me, just say it in a normal voice. When someone speaks to me in an irritable tone my perception is that you are cross at me for what I just said and that leaves me feeling unfairly judged”.
This is what I need to constantly be aware of, as a person who has a reactive emotional style, when considering the impact of my behavior on others.
I deal with events as they happen – the reactive emotional style.
I still react to things quite quickly – the fight response – but I’m learning, even in my 60’s, to put a gap between my thoughts and emotions to allow me time to manage better negative emotion generated by my reactive emotional style.
Now I recognize negative emotion in my body on a scale from one to ten, one being low intensity and ten being rage. By the time I feel my negativity rising to level five or six I can usually put a gap in my response and deal with my dis-ease in an emotionally intelligent way, releasing adrenalin from my body.
As I respond to events I recognize that only I can make myself irritated, frustrated, and angry and so I manage my emotional style in a way that elevates my emotional well-being. As a result, I feel much healthier. And Karen is happier for it.”
Knowing how to control your reactive emotional style is one of the most important steps in rebuilding your relationship.
When you’re trying to fix your relationship but your emotions are out of control, you will always end up fighting. It’s time to get some professional help.
You can change this today. I can help you:
- If you have a reactive emotional style – to manage effectively your dominant emotions of irritation, frustration and anger and show you my Anger Scale exercise to help you recognise when the intensity of your emotions are rising.
- If you’re a partner of someone who has a reactive emotional style – to understand how and why their emotions are triggered and some ways to manage the impact of this behavior on your won well-being.
- Understand your emotional brain – learn how your brain effects your personal emotions.