A Healthy Bond between People: Affect and Autonomy

How many times have you been described by a person as dramatic, exaggerated, or indifferent to your needs and emotions?

A Healthy Bond between People: Affect and Autonomy
Affective Responsibility and Personal Self-Awareness. Photo by Helena Lopes / Unsplash

People must learn to accept responsibility not only for their actions but also for their feelings. This is known as a lack of affective responsibility, and it is part of a growing problem among young people and adults.

Affective responsibility fosters healthy bonds, and healthy bonds allow us to experience security through affection while also fostering personal autonomy by perceiving and feeling interdependence between people.

Emotional responsibility is about exercising your freedom in your relationships, taking care of yourself and the other person. It is composed of consensus, care, and dialogue, and it is aware of the impact of our actions on other people.

It is not about reciprocity; it is about being honest, respectful, not hurting the other person's feelings, and being genuine. It's about understanding that what means nothing to you can mean everything to the other person. It is about valuing other people's feelings.

Some examples of a lack of affective responsibility

One example is ghosting, which is the act of abruptly terminating a relationship by cutting off all communication, causing the person they "ended" to feel insecure. Another term for this is gaslighting, which means invalidating a person in every way, from their feelings to their physical appearance.

More actions that can indicate a person who does not accept responsibility for their feelings include making promises they will not keep, giving false hope, hurting their partner and those around them with actions or words, and invalidating their partner and those around them.

Affective responsibility can be found in a variety of contexts, ranging from common social relationships to couple relationships. Perform the following reflective and learning exercise with the following points as one way to practice affective responsibility:

Identify what you like and dislike.
Understanding that the other person has feelings and needs.
Awareness of being listened to.
Improve your assertive and empathetic communication.
Understand that we are not competing for the same life story.
Nothing is obvious, we must be careful with assumptions.
Establish limits and agreements from self-love, we must know when to withdraw from someplace.
Tell the truth.
Learn what is your responsibility, what is not, and what belongs to others.