From emotional slavery to emotional liberation
Rosenberg says that when we start to get into this process of emotional discovery, it doesn't happen overnight. He proposes a model described in three different stages ranging from slavery to emotional liberation.
Stage 1: Emotional slavery
Here we believe that we are responsible for the emotions of others. We think we should do everything to please everyone.
This is an absolutely dangerous process for any relationship, especially for loving relationships.
It is here that the martyr is born who learns to settle and meet the demands of others without taking his own needs into account.
This reaction is very common for those who experience love as a denial of their own needs in order to meet the needs of the loved one.
An example of how a minimally conscious person would deal with this situation is: “I can't stand it when I get lost in relationships. When I see my loved one suffering, I get lost and I simply have to be free ”.
If it is the case of a person who has not yet reached this level of perception, he could say: "My loved one has so many needs and is so dependent that it is causing a lot of tension in our relationship".
The partner could respond empathetically: “So you're in a panic. It is very difficult for you to maintain the dedication and love that we had without making it a responsibility, a duty, an obligation. You feel your freedom running out because you think you have to take care of me all the time. ”
If she asked instead, "Are you feeling tense because I have been demanding too much of you?" it is very likely that this couple would be in an eternal loop of emotional slavery, one reflecting the other's prison.
Stage 2: Grumpy
Here we become aware that taking responsibility for the feelings of others comes at a high cost. We begin to realize how much of our life we have lost due to this and we are invaded by a feeling of anger. It is that moment when when we are confronted with the suffering of another person we say things like “It's your problem! I am not responsible for your feelings! ”. We were cranky.
Here we have already discovered that we are not responsible for the feelings of others but we still do not understand how we can be responsible towards others in a way that does not enslave us emotionally.
It is possible that we are still afraid and guilty for having our own needs at this stage, which is a remnant of the previous stage of emotional slavery.
Basically this is the stage where we start to learn more about how to take our own needs into account and sometimes we become real brutes by expressing it. It is something natural and cause for celebration. It means that we are regaining our courage to nurture ourselves.
Stage 3: Emotional Liberation
Here we learn to respond to others' needs out of compassion. Never out of fear, guilt or shame.
It is an authentic win-win process where we are nurturing and being nurtured.
Emotional liberation involves expressing clearly what we need while we are equally committed to meeting the needs of others.