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Do you feel like other's emotions are your responsibility?

2722 Views 18 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  The Nameless Composer
I get this every now and then, especially when there's someone who is getting too close or attached to me. I intuitively know that their feelings for me and mine for them are mismatched and that since I know this, I should prevent them from getting any closer in order to spare their feelings. It's a weird place to be in, because there's always a bit of doubt that comes with these pieces of intuition, so there's part of me that tells me I'm just being cold for no reason. There's also a part of me that obviously cares abut them and wants them to be in my life. So then I get stuck in a position where I feel guilty for staying and guilty for being cold about it because I can't decide what to do... :confused:

Anyway this also happens with things that have nothing to do with me. Like forgiving people or sparing them certain criticisms or thoughts because I can tell where they are in life emotionally and think that it would do them more bad than good. Then others think I'm to easy on people or that I'm spineless because, they take people at face value and I see things that for all I know might not even be there.

Have you guys experienced this before, do you have any words of wisdom to share about these types of situations?
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I really really feel like this at times. It's even worse since I took a few courses on family therapy in University.

What usually helps for me is understanding that even for a small group of people, it gets really complex and undoable for a single person to manage ALL of their emotions.

What also helps to stop that is to understand that everytime you try to accommodate another person like that, you're telling them that "It's okay to do this behaviour and you can get away with it." And do you want them to do what they did to you to someone else?

Do you want to become the only way they have to deal with their emotions?
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What also helps to stop that is to understand that everytime you try to accommodate another person like that, you're telling them that "It's okay to do this behaviour and you can get away with it." And do you want them to do what they did to you to someone else?

Do you want to become the only way they have to deal with their emotions?
Many times I don't see it as something of any enforcing significance but I haven't exactly thought about it at length either. I usually do it when I find there's more of a chance that a less allowing response on my side will prevent their growth in the future.
Other times where I'm more certain about their emotions than mine I just keep us both in a limbo and I'm afraid of causing them pain when I had the ability and opportunity of lessening it. There are also times where I will get involved in some situation where the outcome won't be good no matter what but I will feel responsible and guilty either way it goes. I realize this is irrational, the reasoning just doesn't convince my feeling mind.
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It doesn't convince your feeling mind? That kind of issue doesn't really go away for me. However it can be somewhat reduced.

I do have something that offsets that overriding feeling mind... though it requires imagining a situation ahead of time, figuring out what is good, then going with the plan I have already decided upon. It might not go exactly as planned but it would do well enough.

Also getting into unexpected situations often sharpens your ability to improvise and to feel more confident in dealing with an unusual situation. Especially after all the times you mess up.

Hopefully something I said here helps you out. I tend to be somewhat unreasonable at time.
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I think it's my responsibility to be as kind as I know I can, but given that, I have no responsibility for just how the other will react.
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Yes, I easily take other's emotions as my responsibility but then I remind myself that their emotions is really none of my business.
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All the time, especially when I feel as though I've done something to bother or offend someone.

I talked this out with someone recently and basically asserted that since I like to take credit when I'm able to affect someone's emotions positively (such as make them laugh or smile), I feel I also need to take ownership when I do the opposite and affect them negatively.
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Omg. Not at all. I have a responsibility to be as clear as possible, to not play with people, to not lead them on, to NOT TROLL them, to not lie to them, but.....after I have explained myself or what is going on, fuggetaboutit!, there is no way I want anything to do with your emotions (as in responsible for what you do w/them). Yuck. It actually makes me ill, to think I could be that involved with another human being. I'm responsible for me, not you. Sounds like Drama class 101, you know, where people feed off of each other's *drama* (soap opera). In other words, I think I'm waaaaaay too detached or strive to be detached from others.
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I have little knowledge on the following, so please take it with a grain of salt.

I believe that basically all people are capable of experiencing this, but some just do it more and deeper than others. Such people are often called empaths. I talked to a psychologist who told me about some popular psychology about which sense is the most dominant in people. For most Westerners sight is the preferred sense and so they take everything at face value and have a hard time trusting what cannot be seen. Others might have hearing or intuition as the dominant sense, and then some experience the world through feelings, which is the case of the empaths.

Empaths are quite likely to believe in auras since everything to them is bathed in emotional atmospheres that determine the quality of the air they breathe. To them cold people can seem like wearing a gas mask to distract themselves from the emotional pollution they have caused and blame others' coughing on weakness. It is like sitting in church at a funeral where the average of the relatives' emotions are blatantly obvious to everyone, except that to the empath this clarity is present in almost every moment and all too hard to get distracted from.

I am not only talking about how others are feeling - there can be an emotional aura to non-anthropomorphic things like sunsets, looking out the window and watch a leaf fall slowly to the ground, the colors of stones or when looking at abstract art.
This is something all people experience in one way or another. Many will fully let go to the loud bass music at a disco, but miss the tragidy scarred on the faces of the three beggars sitting on the street on the way back home. Therefore the empathic trait is connected to high sensitivity, making them react strongly to stimuli, which makes it harder for them to shut out the world.
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Only when an action of mine directly influences the emotion of the person I feel responsible for putting that person into that emotional state.

However I don't feel responsible in situations such as @mrgreendots describes. I cannot make someone love me. I cannot make someone like or dislike me. Those feelings come from inside the other person, from their core. I cannot influence them thus I will not take responsibility for those feelings. What I will do though, when the mismatch of feelings threatens the relationship, is take responsibility for the relationship and I think we would need to talk about our feelings in an honest way.
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Yes i do, I have the feeling/idea that I have to make other people happy... and that I need to please them, do things for them. And I'm afraid to say ''no''. And the be clear to other people of how I think and feel about it, and not being unclear... I also have a very big problem/difficulity to set defined boundaries between me and other people. Many times I've been in situations with people who crossed them and it got all blurry and I said yes many times but actually not want to say yes. A part of me wants to make people happy but on the other hand i feel used and trapped by them. I hope this is a bit understandable, this is one big thing i need to work on in my relationships with other people. I see that the sense I'm a nice and caring person so I have the feeling I kind of invite these people to take advantage of me. Its so weird the see it happen that I can't say no, my automatic response is yes and do things for them, stay with them, get involved with them. I also have a great deal of pity for them because most of the time these are people who have gone trough a lot in life, are really depressed and or kind of apathic the don't actively change their situation... I want them to be happy but I don't know what to do with it... Rationally I feel I have to distance myself... but I don't know, maybe if my own adittude changes maybe they also act different to me... or maybe see them really once in a while and not such anymore. Because I also getting to take over their emotions, feeling depressed ect because of their situation... I have a lot of issues to work on within my own personailty (I don't mean the INFP part) but the things i said above, boundaries, being clear, giving my own opinion and stay with it, and more like that.
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I get this every now and then, especially when there's someone who is getting too close or attached to me. I intuitively know that their feelings for me and mine for them are mismatched and that since I know this, I should prevent them from getting any closer in order to spare their feelings. It's a weird place to be in, because there's always a bit of doubt that comes with these pieces of intuition, so there's part of me that tells me I'm just being cold for no reason. There's also a part of me that obviously cares abut them and wants them to be in my life. So then I get stuck in a position where I feel guilty for staying and guilty for being cold about it because I can't decide what to do... :confused:

Anyway this also happens with things that have nothing to do with me. Like forgiving people or sparing them certain criticisms or thoughts because I can tell where they are in life emotionally and think that it would do them more bad than good. Then others think I'm to easy on people or that I'm spineless because, they take people at face value and I see things that for all I know might not even be there.

Have you guys experienced this before, do you have any words of wisdom to share about these types of situations?
The mismatch, as I believe I have discovered, is in the fact that I have no real idea of how close other people expect me to get with them. I dislike being called upon to be an emotional support for others even though I can empathize with their loneliness and desire to connect with others.

It seems to me that I'm drawn to those who also are uncomfortable with closeness and when I reached out to them in the past, they have shown a cold or disappointing response and it never develops.

I take what seems to be the easiest and most natural paths with people (forgiveness comes easily, sparing them criticism) because I want relationships to be as effortless as possible. when they get overly demanding or leading me into an uncomfortable direction I immediately begin to back away.

I don't like this about myself, but I have learned that I am of no use to anyone if I try to accommodate the role they seem to be demanding of me.
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My answer to this thread could be a tread on it's own... I wonder if other ppl would get in the same situations as I did... And what did they do to make themselves and their boundaries stronger... and the thing of attracting (emotionally) unhealthy people. Maybe it's because I'm also unhealthy, but they are further off the path as I am... And they are older, I'm 26 and the two people I talk about are 37 and 55.... So yeah maybe it's not very nice and unfair but I secretly, I don't want to end up like them. But I don't like it when people judge them to harsh, you don't know the life situations they been trough. And i also see good things in them, and when the were younger, I don't know on some weird level I can relate to them, being rejected many times. But it seems to me that they aren't good companions because I also get sad from those situations, and these are also ppl of a distance, they never really worked on themselves emotionally or no that's not true, they did try, but it didn't work out... and they kind of gave up, living the isolated life.
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Is this weird? I also have 'normal' friends...but when I'm also in depression mode I gravitate to these people. Sorry for bringing my own stuff up so much.
Everyone is responsible for someone else feelings to SOME degree.

-Person bullying and humillating me. Yes. Bullies are responsible for the feelings of someone else, having to cope with shame as social - regulating mechanism, because human beings need to belong in the group.
No. I'm not responsible for feeling shame. They are responsible for my feelings in this case.
-Guy flirting, displaying attraction, searching girls attention actively, making me feel things, and then have to take it back, because he already has a girlfriend. Yes. He's responsible for my feelings.
-However: if I feel an old sense of shame crippling over me, because he let me expose myself. He's not responsible for my feelings. I don't have to lash out to the guy because I feel a certain way. I know it's an old coping - mechanism. While I was bullied I reacted - like the normal human reaction, with shame + shutting myself in, to avoid further human rejection. Guy who was attracted and painfully sorried himself. Romantic feelings his responsibility. Yes. He lead me on. Responsible for my emotional reaction of shame, no!
-Me trying to help my depressed friend, and she cutting of the friendship and lashing out to me, because she can't talk about her emotions. Me being responsible for her angry reaction. Hell no.
-Me feeling sad because that friend reacts that way. She responsible for my feelings? Only partly, I can regulate my own thoughts and see it from a different perspective.
-NT - dad says something that offends me, that wasn't meant to be offensive. Is he responsible for my emotional reaction? No.

So am I responsible for someone else feelings? Yes. I am responsible. I can bully people to suicide, I can lead someone on, I can comfort someone, I can make someone happy, I can make someone sad.
Yes. I am responsible for what someone else feels. And do take my responsibility for that as much as I can and don't ever misuse it.
However, when the person has personal issues, or is tuned in the wrong way, reacts in a way, lashes out to me, feels offended, hates me for actual now reason. I am not longer responsible for that persons feelings towards me. It's something inside the person itself.

We're all responsible for our own and each others feelings. It's important to respect the feelings of others, it's also important to regulate the own thoughts and feelings and knowing yourself. Why are you feeling this emotional reaction towards a neutral someone or statement. You can't blame the other party for every emotional reaction they cause inside you. Not everyone else is responsible for your feelings. Neither are you responsible for all your own feelings. Humans are social creatures. When someone mistreats you, you're not responsible for your own feelings. Yet, you have to regulate yourself. You can feel hurt, but you can't stay forever unhappy, because bad things has overcome you in life. You are responsible for your own feelings and mental state to some degree. Because to some degree you can regulate yourself, even when the other was responsible for what you felt.
Responsibility of feelings, is mostly shared.
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@Summery

You do highlight the general assumptions I am making when speaking.

Although the general issue for is remembering that if I really want to support someone, I have to let them take control of their own life as opposed to me directing them in doing something. For me, that takes serious energy to hold back what I want to say.

I don't have nearly enough energy to do this kind of support for a lot of people at the same time. It's just logistically impossible to handle everyone and it's something I have to try to remember.
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I would say that it comes down to intent. If someone deliberately does something to another in order to cause pain or suffering, then they are trying to make the other feel something deliberately. If the feeling is an aside of someone else's intention (which is usually the case in life) then they shouldn't be held responsible for another's feelings. The difficulty with this is that it can be easy for some people to imagine deliberate intent when it isn't there.

I think it can be a way out for others to say 'you made me feel' etc. Imo people should take responsibility for their own feelings.
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I agree with you on the intent. However I believe in a slight adjustment to your last statement.

I believe that people should take responsibility for how they deal with their emotions. I don't believe that we can really control all of our feelings.
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Omg. Not at all. I have a responsibility to be as clear as possible, to not play with people, to not lead them on, to NOT TROLL them, to not lie to them, but.....after I have explained myself or what is going on, fuggetaboutit!, there is no way I want anything to do with your emotions (as in responsible for what you do w/them). Yuck. It actually makes me ill, to think I could be that involved with another human being. I'm responsible for me, not you. Sounds like Drama class 101, you know, where people feed off of each other's *drama* (soap opera). In other words, I think I'm waaaaaay too detached or strive to be detached from others.
I think INFPs value 'emotional autonomy' (a term I just coined) a lot. I think we resent it when people try to manipulate our emotions so wouldn't think about doing so with others (generalisation I know). Well I know I do.
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