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Emotional Reactivity

Not occasional, irrational outbursts. That can happen to anyone.

Forgiveness is easy when there are many good parts of the relationship and when the partner understands it’s not about them.

When it is clear that there is prolonged stress.

When the emotionally reactive person is truly apologetic and owns their behavior.

When they can accept nurturing and understanding to calm down.

How Do People Who Are Emotionally Reactive Behave?

Alternately Push Their Partners Away and Then Pull Them Back Blow up when they are angry, wounded, or scared.

Fighting from a cornered place for survival Feeling like they are misunderstood and have to right the wrongs.

Blaming to avoid being blamed Constantly defending themselves as if they are being forced to live on a witness stand.

Constantly testing their partners so they can break up before being abandoned. Feeling powerless inside and tough on the outside.

Can’t seem to stay calm and centered when threatened or calm down during a reactive situation.

What Causes Emotional Reactivity?

Underlying Depression

Unresolved Grief

Some personality Disorders

Fear of Abandonment

Inability to Handle Stress – Fight/Flight responses

Unresolved conflicts Childhood Trauma or exposure to emotional reactivity

Fear of blame and punishment

If You Are an Emotional Reactor, how can you change?


Understanding what is underneath that is driving it

Not projecting prior trauma on to the current partner if not warranted

Expecting to be left and allowing that insecurity to push for it to be in control

Replacing fears of injustice with embracing fairness Internal repressed anguish

Saying how you feel rather than attacking

Asking for what you need in the moment

Realizing what age you feel when you are losing it

Allowing yourself to feel deserving of love Becoming the protective and supportive parent to the child inside

Finding the right partner and making a plan with them to help you by recognizing when the tension is building and trusting them to share the feelings that are building and what you need to let go before they overwhelm you.

For more articles on Dr. Randi Gunther, visit


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