One way to look at the emotional system is to see emotional energy as a consumable resource, which is also limited by your body’s ability to produce the chemicals necessary to make the resource. It’s like money…you have a limited supply, and everything costs something. So, that means that if you want to keep from going emotionally bankrupt, you need to manage your emotional funds wisely. (does this mean you could also become so emotionally ‘rich’ that you would have an unlimited supply of good emotions? Hmmm).
Emotional energy has to be produced. It is not just there. It is produced by our body. This means that different bodies are going to produce different amounts of emotional energy. Certain types of bodies, with certain types of hormones or other body-produced chemicals, may have more emotional energy available, while other types of bodies may have less emotional energy available. Further, the functioning of the brain determines how much emotional energy we have, so if a brain is functioning very well, it will probably produce more emotional energy than one that is not. So, there are variables at play in terms of how much emotional energy is being produced by that person every day.
Let’s say that the typical amount of emotional energy produced per day is 1000 points.
Then, there is also the issue of expending emotional energy. This is where it gets very tricky, because everything costs energy, and some things are not so obvious. Also, some things seem emotionally cheap, but they end up being very expensive because they go on for so long. Some examples:
Paying attention to someone’s emotions: 10 points
Paying attention to your own emotions: 10 points
Paying attention to multiple people’s emotions: 100 points
Experiencing an emotion: 10 to 1000 points
Happiness: 100 points
Anger: 100 points
Fury: 1000 points
Despair: 1000 points
Amusement: 10 points
Interest: 100 points
Fear: 1000 points
Anxiety: 100 points
Protracted Anxiety: 100 points per 24 hour period
Sadness: 100 points
Loneliness: 500 points
Motivation: 500 points
Helping someone with their emotions: 100 to 1000 points
Protecting yourself from emotional abuse from others: (1000 points per day, beginning with the first day you decide that no-one is going to abuse you again, plus 2000 points per individual incident)
Emotional Abuse from others or from yourself: 10,000 points per incident
Physical Abuse from others, or from yourself: 10,000 to 100,000 points per incident)
Sexual Assault: 100,000 to 1,000,000 points per incident)
If you really focus on this, you will realize all the things you do every day that require emotional energy.
Also, emotional energy is not an unlimited thing. As we have very carefully laid out, there are many things that create a drain on your emotional system, and your emotional system is only able to produce a certain amount of emotional energy every day. Say, for instance, that your emotional system is able to produce $1000 emotional bucks in a day. If you look at the chart, there are a number of things that could quickly deplete your emotional finances for the day. If multiple of those emotions are felt, then you are very quickly in the negative.
Emotionally bankrupt: How does it feel?
We have devised many words to describe that feeling of being emotionally bankrupt. ‘Dead inside,’ ‘meh,’ empty, lonely, missing, depressed, blank, ‘I don’t know,’ etc. It feels almost like you haven’t eaten in a long time, and your stomach is empty, but you don’t have the feeling that it will feel good to eat. And, along with that emotionally bankrupt feeling is a complete lack of motivation. Because, motivation requires emotional energy.
So why is it important not to bankrupt your emotional system?
You do not want to bankrupt your emotional system because you need your emotional currency to function throughout the day. Consider these figures:
Superficial, brief conversation about the weather, or similar convo: 100 points
More in-depth, personalized exchange with someone: 500 points
Deep conversation in which personal truths are revealed: 1000 points
Briefly smiling at someone: 10 points
There may also be things that can provide extra emotional energy, but which can also subtract emotional energy in people who have trauma associated with the action. In such cases, the emotional energy normally gained is instead subtracted. Multiple traumas multiplies the effect:
Hug: +500 points (or -500 points, if trauma-tainted)
Hand shake: +50 points (or – 50 points, if trauma-tainted)
Smile exchange: +50 points (continue same trend as before)
Kiss on face: +100 pointes (or minus)
Kiss on lips: +1000 points (or minus)
It is easy to see that one can either gain a lot of points every day, which they then have at their disposal to use on actions throughout the day, or they can give up a lot of points every day, to the point that they are far into the negative, in terms of their points.
So, it turns out you can be emotionally rich, just like you can be emotionally poor. And, just like rich and poor do not like eachother, it turns out that the same goes for emotionally rich, and emotionally poor people.
What is it like to be emotionally poor?
You just don’t feel like doing anything
Things that require you to focus irritate you
You can’t get interested in anything, including things you used to be interested in
You don’t really feel hopeful about the future
You resent demands on your emotional energy
You have conflict with people about your apathy
You become anxious when confronted with things that require emotional energy
You feel as if you want to be alone
You do not want to commit to any long-term relationship because you are not sure you have the emotional energy to maintain it
You find yourself gravitating towards things that offer the prospect of more emotional energy
You have a ‘single solution’ focus, in which you are looking for one thing that will cure your emotional energy problem, or one thing that will explain your lack of emotional energy. (I.e., “I just don’t love you anymore (when in fact you just can’t feel anything).” or “I’m depressed because I was cheated on(when in fact you have been depressed off and on for many years, which caused you to be emotionally distant, which made your partner think you were cheating on them, which made them reconsider their thoughts against cheating, which led to them cheating on you)”) rather than realizing that there are multiple influences, and multiple solutions that must be used in tandem in order to fully understand and cure the issue.
You resent people who are emotionally rich, and find ways to put a negative spin on them so that they look like fools
You find yourself trying to find ways to turn emotional poorness into emotional richness by flipping every feeling to it’s opposite. Pain = pleasure.