Welcome to “Love and Sex Today.” I’m Dr. Doug Weiss and our topic today is a very important one—“The Emotional Externalizer.” Our next topic is going to be “The Emotional Internalizer.” This comes straight out of my book, “Emotional Fitness,” which is a great tool to help anyone go from wherever they are emotionally, to emotionally successful.
I have four degrees and I have realized there is nowhere in our culture where we learn to handle our feelings—to identify and communicate them intelligently. This can affect all of our relationships, our love, and yes, it can affect our sex life as well.
Basically, there are two ways to do your emotions: externally or internally. Today, I’m only going to cover the external emotional person. This is someone you may know, someone you work with, someone in your family, or someone you’re married to. It may even be you.
The externalizer has eleven key ingredients and core beliefs. Number one is they’re not responsible for their feelings. Somehow, they are not responsible for how they feel. Now that’s an interesting belief.
Number two: others make them feel. “You make me angry. You make me crazy.” They aren’t accountable for their own feelings as if they don’t have control of them.
Number three: the emotional externalizer will tend to blame, not just about feelings, but most things because they push their feelings out into the environment. They’re not looking inside, they’re looking outside. So if they are blaming you for their feelings, it is a very common dynamic. If you feel blamed a lot in your relationship, you might want to look at my book “Intimacy Anorexia” as well.
Number four: being the victim. Somehow, even if they’re the one who perpetrated the issue, created the problem, or were irresponsible, somehow they are the victim in this set of circumstances. I am amazed at how rapid this comes up in the externalizer, where they can play the victim almost instantaneously. Somehow, their brain figures out how they were victimized, even though they were 100% the perpetrator of the irresponsibility or the issue at hand.
Number five: being critical. Because they’re looking at their environment, they’re constantly critical of others in their life. If you’re married to someone who’s constantly critical, you know the wear and tear it has on your soul. You can’t win because the object is to find the photograph where you did something not up to their standards or their belief system. Then they start kind of picking at you. It’s a very, very painful relationship to be in. The emotional externalizer is very adolescent or younger, emotionally, even though they might be 70 years old.
Number six: they’re very easily offended, especially if it comes to trying to bring up an issue about themselves. Basically, they’re wonderful and you’re supposed to be validating that, like you would a child. Not saying hello to them can offend them. Not being included in something that would be irrelevant for them to be included in can offend them. Any sideways thing, their feelings get hurt. It happens really easy and they get really offended.
Number seven: primitive responses. This is the 50-year-old who’s slamming doors. This is the 60-year-old who’s cursing up a storm. I’m talking about primitive responses to life and challenges of life. Sometimes you’re in a situation publicly and you see this 50, 60-year-old man or woman going off like a teen-aged child. It’s like, King Baby. It’s like, really? If you want to see the externalizer, just go in an airport that’s shutting down because of weather. I mean, these people act like the whole world revolves around them. It’s really crazy stuff.
Number eight: as a result of the primitive responses, anger and sadness is common. Anger is the attempt to try to get things to shift, to move into a new direction, and if they don’t, they pout. The emotional externalizer is very challenged emotionally, and this makes them very vulnerable to a lot of things.
Which takes me to number nine: it makes them gullible. Because their emotions seem to be outside of them, someone can manipulate them really quickly—emotionally, sexually, financially. Other’s opinions carry more weight than they probably should.
Number ten: They’re prone to medicate. Now, this takes us down the road I deal with every single day in my work—addiction. They might medicate by sitting in front of a television all day. They might hoard. They might smoke. They might do pot. They might drink a lot. They might medicate through other means, but some form of medication.
I met a young man recently, in his thirties, who couldn’t go through his day without activating three or four addictive behaviors. He would definitely be an externalizer as far as emotional fitness. He can’t regulate his emotions so he uses addictive processes to medicate his daily existence, and his life isn’t that hard. But, because he can’t manage feelings, can’t control, identify, or communicate them, he stays in a constant state of emotional constipation. He’s in a constant state of externalizing emotions to those around him, and he’s not fun to be with. Not fun at all.
Number eleven: Passive aggressiveness. The externalizer will tend to be passive aggressive in their relationships. Maybe they won’t confront you verbally. They might be even more passive and not pick up after themselves. There are piles of laundry and they won’t do anything. Or they’ll see things that need to be done, but they won’t do it. They won’t help you with the kids. They won’t get off the computer. They have to be with their friends, as if they’re 16-years-old.
So the emotional externalizer is someone who is really emotionally stuck. And if you’re married to this emotionally stuck person, it can be extremely wearing and tearing on your soul. So for some of you, you feel married and alone. For some of you, you feel like you have another child. I can’t tell you how many men and women have told me their spouse is like another child. You never know when they’re going to go off. You can’t make them happy. There’s always something wrong. They’re blaming and critical. It’s constant and the wear and tear on the soul is huge.
So if you’re married to someone like this, you might want to get support for yourself before you take on the challenge of them. If you need to talk to a counselor at our Heart To Heart Counseling Center, the phone number is 719-278-3708. We’d love to chat with you. Or, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an emotional externalizer, it’s time for you to really evaluate this because you’re hurting people. You’re hurting yourself. It is hard work to initially start learning how to identify, communicate, and feel your feelings. But once you can feel your feelings, you can mature, move forward, be stronger, and be more helpful in your relationships. You can be more authentic because you know you’re able to manage your feelings.
This is hard work, but it can be done in 60 days with my book “Emotional Fitness: From Challenge to Champion in 60 Days.” This book has been changing lives all over the world. You can change your life, which can change your relationships. I can tell you, if you are the emotional externalizer, it takes a lot of effort to be in a relationship with you. A lot. You’re asking a lot for other people to keep helping you grow up instead of taking the time to work on yourself.
Maybe you have some past issues: family of origin, some sexual abuse, abandonment, or there’s been some other trauma you’re not dealing with, so it keeps you kind of jacked up emotionally. It’s time to get some counseling and move through that so you can be awesome and reach your potential as the person you are meant to be.
I’ve worked with many people who’ve done the emotional fitness work and have been able to manage their feelings. For some, it was fear. For some, it was anxiety. For some, it was not feeling safe. For some, it was other strong feelings. Once they realized they could feel them, they could hold them, and they could shift them, it totally changed their life to be able to become more emotionally mature.
Our next post will be on the emotional internalizer. It will be really helpful for you to see these two back to back and compare them. You can see who you are and who your partner is.
Please go to loveandsextoday.com, subscribe there, and get a free chapter to one of my books. Review us on iTunes and one of you will be chosen for a private conversation with me where we can really connect and help you feel encouraged in an area of your life. There’s a place on our website where you can ask questions. I would love to hear your real, heartfelt questions and address them so everyone can benefit from them. Please do that. We’re really looking forward to hearing from you. Remember; always have great love and great sex today.
The book Dr. Weiss mentioned in the podcast, Emotional Fitness, is available for purchase at http://www.drdougweiss.com/emotional-fitness.