Emotionally Intelligent Relationships

by Sally R. Connolly, LMFT and John E. Turner, LMFT

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What is it about some people who just know how to be a part of a healthy relationship? For them, relationships seem to be so easy.

Oftentimes, it is that hard to identify quality of emotional intelligence, the ability to recognize and control their emotions, that some people have that gives them the ability to be successful in relationships. Emotional intelligence involves the ability to understand and accept ones’ own emotions and manage them in ways that enhance relationships with others.

Don is someone who has a high EQ. He can identify when he is angry about something and is able to give it a voice in his head and body but to also slow his response to the anger down so that he can calmly and thoughtfully determine a way of handling the situation that caused him to become mad.

Sandy is very perceptive and emotionally intelligent. She can recognize emotions with others and carefully asses how those emotions are affecting her or the relationship. Sandy can talk openly and ask questions in ways that do not invite defensiveness but rather invite others to talk with her calmly.

Ben’s parents are teaching him to recognize his feelings, accept that they are real and, in and of themselves, are not bad or good. They are helping Ben learn how to slow himself down enough to determine productive ways to handle them.

Emotionally intelligent people are able to:

 

 
Handling emotions appropriately is a characteristic of an emotionally intelligent person.
Identify their own emotions. They can recognize when they are hurt, disappointed, sad or feeling vulnerable and do not always immediately respond in angry, confrontational ways.

Emotionally intelligent people know the difference in the nuances of feelings and are able to be insightful enough to figure out what is really going on with them. People who understand their own emotions are better able to make good decisions about their lives from whom to marry to how to handle problems with an employer.

Answer these questions about yourself:

  1. I am able to identify my feelings accurately.          Yes     No
  2. I am not quick to react without thinking or understanding what is really going on with me.                                                                           Yes    No

Manage their emotions and exhibit emotional self control. Emotionally intelligent people are able to be pro-active rather than reactive. They can slow themselves and their responses down rather than jumping into a quick retort. They know how to soothe themselves when upset, angry or anxious.

Emotionally intelligent people can reason with their emotions. Their minds are not clouded by their feelings. They recognize that their emotions give them information and they are curious about the meaning of that information. They bounce back from life’s challenges far more rapidly than those who are not emotionally intelligent.

Answer these questions about yourself.

  1. I am able to remain calm when having a disagreement with my spouse.                                                                    Yes      No
  2. If I find myself starting to get upset when we disagree or he or she is talking with me about a problem, I can find a way to calm myself down, even if it means that I need to take a break.            Yes      No

Recognize emotions in others. Emotionally intelligent people are empathetic and able to correctly identify others’ emotions and keep from taking those emotions personally.

For instance, if a spouse seems preoccupied and distant, an emotionally intelligent person will not immediately jump to a conclusion that there is something wrong with them or the marriage; but rather respect the fact that there may be any one of 10 different reasons for the distance.

Answer these questions about yourself.
 
  1. 1. I can give my partner the benefit of the doubt.           Yes      No
  2. My partner would say that I really understand his or her feelings and thoughts about issues and concerns.                                                                                                        Yes    No

Utilize these skills in their relationships.   Emotionally intelligent people are able to handle complaints and criticism in appropriate ways. They can soothe themselves, think clearly and productively. Emotionally intelligent people are able to recognize others needs while also taking care of their own.

Answer these questions about yourself.

  1. My partner, friends and co-workers would say that they feel respected and appreciated by me.                                               Yes      No
  2. Even when confronted by someone, I can keep my cool and try to understand their concerns.                                          Yes      No


What did you learn about yourself in this brief questionnaire? If you answered 7 out of the 8 questions with a “yes”, then it is likely that you show emotional intelligence and have a high EQ.