Men Express Themselves
When we talk about "staying away from negative people" or we say "so-and-so is toxic" - we are addressing issues of safety. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (one of my favorite books!), Stephen Covey mentions a concept called "The Emotional Bank Account". It's a very key one - for reasons I will make clear below.
The Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor used to illustrate the degree of trust that's built up in a relationship. It's the feeling of safety that you have with another human being.
Ways to Add to The Emotional Bank Account
When the Emotional Bank Account is high, there is a high degree of trust.
Advantages and Benefits of Making Deposits
Ways to withdraw from The Emotional Bank Account of other people:
What Happens When an Emotional Bank Account is Overdrawn?
Why Should We Care? My Thoughts on The Emotional Bank Account...
Relationships are the heart of life. The Emotional Bank Account is essential to healthy, positive relationships that inspire you. For relationships like marriage - deposits need to happen on a regular basis. People break up and divorce because they feel victimized -- or in other words, they feel the other person has OVERDRAWN from their Emotional Bank Account for too long. They have had it.
Karma is real.
You get, what you give. If all you are doing is withdrawing from other's Emotional Bank Account, after a while, others will start to get back at you. Fight or flight follows - which will begin draining your Emotional Bank Account.
Stephen Covey gave a great example that I feel, many kids experience:
“Suppose you have a teenage son and your normal conversation is something like, ‘Clean your room. Button your shirt. Turn down the radio. Go get a haircut. And don’t forget to take out the garbage!’ Over a period of time, the withdrawals (from your emotional bank account) far exceed the deposits.
Now suppose this son is in the process of making some important decisions that will affect the rest of his life. But the trust level is so low and the communication process so closed, mechanical, and unsatisfying that he simply will not be open to your counsel. You may have the wisdom and the knowledge to help him, but because your account is so overdrawn, he will end up making his decisions from a short-range emotional perspective, which may well result in many negative long-range consequences.
You need a balance to communicate on these tender issues.”
Now isn't that the most insightful quote you have ever read? Makes a lot of sense. This is why advice like: "Focus on the positive aspects of your relationship" or "you are being too sensitive" doesn't help. The account is going on empty.
Of course Assertiveness Strategies -- what this website is about -- is to enable you to maintain the flow of deposits with each other. To not allow others to withdraw from your account - while also, not withdraw from their account -- is an art!
Deposits or withdrawals can have a long term effect. Children can harbor resentment and anger towards their mothers and fathers much much later in life because of the withdrawals from their Emotional Bank Account when they were younger.
And the opposite is true. Friends who haven't seen one another for so long, can pick up where they left off - simply because the deposits made from long prior, allow for the easiness of the relationship years later.
The choice is always yours. To deposit or withdraw is up to you.