In a relationship, the emotions of the people involved are co-regulated. However, that does not mean that we are responsible for the way someone else feels. While we can try our best to create a healthy space in the relationship for them to have healthy emotions and be able to express themselves without any pretense, how they feel is beyond our control. Addressing this, Therapist Amber Smith wrote, “How responsible are you for regulating the emotional state of another person? The answer: You aren’t. Hear me out—This doesn’t mean that we can’t co-regulate, meaning that the person experiencing the emotions is doing the work to process and leaning into a reasonable amount of support to process with another consenting person. What this does mean, is that it’s too much to ask of a person to shrink/diminish/overthink the way they present in the world in order to keep another comfortable and safe (aka codependency).”
Overthinking the tone: No matter what we say leads to a conflict, hence we need to be careful of the words and the tone we use to speak to the other person.
Changing behavior: We are not able to be ourselves around the other person at all. We keep trying to change our behavior to suit the other person.
Reading their moods: While we are not able to regulate their emotions, we try to read their moods and understand how we should behave so as to keep them in a good mood.
Putting needs aside: We do not bring up our needs and try to adjust with as little as possible, because we think that may bring up problems in the relationship.
Consulting them for decisions: We feel that we are accountable to them for our decisions, both big and small. We feel that we should always consult them and let them know before making any changes to our lives.
Knot in the stomach: When we think of having to relay any kind of information to them, we feel a knot in the stomach and the sense of discomfort creeps in.