Emotional Regulation: What Is Emotional Regulation?


Even though emotions and feelings are something that each of us has, it does not mean that they are easy to manage. For some people, they usually do not cause too many problems, except in the event of a major problem in their life.

And then there are other people who find it extremely difficult to cope with their emotions. It is therefore irrelevant to know what is happening or what is not happening in their lives; as the consequences are the same. Here, we can be completely controlled by them and feel forever at their mercy.

Now, if these emotions were "positive" and uplifting, there would be no need to worry much about whether we are controlled by them or not. It would be something that one is likely to adhere to and not resist. What makes it a challenge is when these emotions are far from pleasant and constitute what could be described as destructive.

In the first example, one is usually able to regulate what they feel. And so they have a reasonable degree of emotional control. But as for the next example, this ability does not exist. Or if that's the case, it's not developed enough for them to handle their emotions.

Two extremes

So there will be people who have the capacity and it allows them to minimize the emotional turmoil that they could live in life. And then, there are other people who feel completely helpless when they experience any emotional disorder.

Then there will be people who are more or less in between. So, they do not feel uncontrollable, but they will not feel quite in control either. In this case, it may concern a person who has become numb.

But to stay with both extremes, it would seem that one person has something that the other does not have. Both are human and biologically identical, yet they are very different emotionally.

Emotional regulation

This gives the opportunity to do at least two things. On one side, it is possible to be in most cases with any emotions. Thus, they must not deny what they feel and therefore repress them.

And on the other hand, it means that we will not necessarily have to act on what he feels all the time. They will be able to resist the urge to direct them to the outside, to people or animals, for example, who are innocent and have no role to play in their emotional experience.

We calm ourselves from the inside; just like a mother could calm her crying baby. If this were not possible, we could then ask the help of a trusted friend or his partner to reserve them space. The bottom line is that they are comfortable enough with their emotions to calm down and if that is not possible they will then ask the help of others.

Missing capacity

If this ability was the norm, then it is likely that many things in this world would be different. In reality, this ability is something that few people have and it has all kinds of consequences. Some of them can be overlooked and downplayed, while others are inescapable and create obvious destruction.


Denying and hiding what we feel could lead to: dysfunctional relationships, illness, physical pain and depression, among others. And being caught by what one feels could lead to reactive and impulsive behavior.

So you could buy things they do not need; enter into dysfunctional relationships; and say and do things that they will regret later. Drugs, sex, food and alcohol could all be used to regulate how we feel.

To be human

But to be human means to be imperfect, normal and to be part of the human experience; there is nothing to be ashamed of. Denying what you feel or act destructively will happen from time to time.

When a person is under intense stress due to the end of a job, the loss of loved ones or the end of a relationship, emotional regulation may give way to internal repression and external destruction. But it will be a short-term challenge and not a way of life.

The challenge is when it's the only way we know and has no idea how to regulate itself. Denying what they feel or relying on external things to feel better could be the only approach they know.

The causes

It's like having a car, but not having room to park the car. In this case, we have emotions, but what they do not have is a way to manage them. So something is missing and even if it has always been the case for someone, there is a reason for it.

And the way we take care of our primary caregiver, baby and childhood, will usually determine whether or not we can regulate ourselves emotionally.

Empathic and non-empathic

The ideal caregiver is one who is empathic and emotionally in accord with himself. This will allow them to reflect, calm and validate what their child is feeling. At this age, the child has not developed the ability to regulate what he feels, so the mother figure provides it until the child has developed this ability.

As this process progresses, the child will gradually internalize the mother's responses. And as a result of this, they will develop the ability to regulate themselves and feel comfortable enough to ask another emotional support.

If the mother is not empathetic and does not agree with her own emotions, then the child will pay the price; unless someone else fulfills this role instead. So, they should be sitting in their own emotions and feelings and at an age when they were not ready to do it.

And unless something is done in adulthood, that ability might never be developed. So, because of the fact that their mother does not provide that, one can end up looking out all of one's life.


This ability could be developed later, if commitment and support are there. What can prevent someone from being able to calm down and simply be with his emotions, is when one has trapped feelings and emotions in his body. And if one has never had the ability to regulate one's emotions, it is inevitable that they have accumulated.

These will have to be released so that one of them can settle down. And working with a therapist or healer can help release them gradually. This will help to be more emotionally balanced.

A therapist or healer can provide the reflection and initiation that he did not have during his childhood, and as this happens, one can develop the ability to regulate himself.

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