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It’s Time To End Emotional Exports

Have you ever heard someone express an emotional concern and then someone else gets busy trying to fix it? Someone might say, “I’m worried about the financial stability of our new investment partner.” Immediately, someone else tries to defend the financial stability of the new business partner, or go find information to help soothe this person’s worry. It’s like others accept the export, take on that person’s emotion, and then try to solve it for them. The exporting of emotions is a pervasive phenomenon that consumes tremendous amounts of time and results in very little positive outcomes. It’s drama.

I quit.

I’m done taking responsibility for other people’s feelings.

I’m declaring a personal embargo on emotional exports.

Don’t get me wrong. I care about your feelings. Nevertheless, your emotional concerns are not my responsibility. Your emotional concerns are your responsibility because your emotions are yours alone. Your emotions are a product of how you are interpreting and experiencing what’s going on around you. They aren’t meant for anyone else. They aren’t ours to fix.

Having said that, I really want to have a relationship with you that is based on compassionate accountability, not the drama of expectations, assumptions, guilt, and innuendo.

A Contract To End Emotional Exports

Here’s what you can count on from me.

  • I’ll listen to your feelings and validate what you are experiencing.
  • I’ll empathize with you if I’ve been through something similar.
  • I won’t judge, re-define, minimize, or try to fix your feelings.
  • I will ask you about your motives.
  • I will ask you if want any support or help.
  • I won’t take action or help without your permission and request.
  • I will struggle with you in a spirit of dignity.

To keep responsibility where it belongs, I ask these things of you.

  • Share with me how you are feeling, positive or negative.
  • Don’t expect me to do anything about it without your invitation.
  • If you want help, ask me.
  • Struggle with me, not against me.
  • I will not accept your emotional exports.
  • I will struggle with you when you ask for what you want.

Things to Ponder

  • Do you experience emotional exporting? How does that impact your sense of dignity and capability?
  • What could be different if you applied this contract with your friends, family, and co-workers?
It’s Time To End Emotional Exports

Nathan Regier

Nate Regier, PhD is CEO and Co-founding owner of Next Element, a global leadership communication firm specializing in building cultures of Compassionate Accountability®. A former practicing clinical psychologist, Dr. Regier splits his time between writing, speaking, training, consulting, and developing Next Element's global network of certified trainers. He is co-developer of the Leading Out of Drama® training and coaching system for positive conflict, and has authored two books on drama and conflict; Beyond Drama: Transcending Energy Vampires, and Conflict Without Casualties: A Field Guide For Leading With Compassionate Accountability. Nate is a certifying master trainer in the Process Communication Model®. He lives in Newton, KS, is married and has three daughters. Learn more about Conflict Without Casualties here.

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APA Reference
Regier, N. (2019). It’s Time To End Emotional Exports. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Feb 2019
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