«Donors» and «consumers» of emotional support in relationships

«Donors» and «consumers» of emotional support in relationships

Willingness generously give support or the need to constantly receive it – personality traits that directly affect relationships. Psychiatrist Christine Adams tells how these patterns are formed and what to do if our «double» is next to us.

It’s no secret that we often fall in love with our full opposites. “For example, if for us naturally support, we can attract those who like to receive support,” explains psychiatrist Christine Adams. – If we are used to the fact that they care about us emotionally, then we will look for the fact that who can do it for us «. But why is this happening?

Emotional conditionality

We react very emotionally to the closest people. This happens automatically, on autopilot. We do not think before answering, and this can cause problems


We learn emotional models of relationships in childhood, reminds the doctor Homer b. Martin, and they stay with us and in adulthood too. Psychologists call this emotional conditionality. So, some of us, growing up, unconsciously looking for those who need emotional support. And others – those who take care of themselves. These two types of people with opposite emotional patterns in relationships usually find each other – “donor” meets its “consumer”.

As two drops of water

Nevertheless, sometimes we get closer to those who follow the same model as we. One emotional “donor” finds another, or the “consumer” – the same as he himself. What are the options for developing relationships in this case?

«Consumer» + «Consumer»: when both are waiting for emotional support

Когда оба партнера хотят постоянно получать эмоциональную заботу, а сами не способны оказывать ощутимую поддержку, возникают трения. In such pairs, disputes, quarrels and emotional explosions flare up again and again. It can also be periodically that one of the partners finds emotional support on the side. Often it comes from friends, family or colleagues. A few days later he or she returns to the relationship, and the cycle begins first to lead to the next emotional explosion and its consequences.

Dr. Adams discovered that usually none of the partners analyzes the situation in order to understand the problem and try to find ways to solve it, and at the same time everyone wants to be the main thing in relations: to take care of him, they pamper him. Both compete for the status of the owner of the situation, and not one is ready to show emotional generosity.

«Donor» + «Donor»: when both are used to providing emotional support

At first glance, it seems that such people should not have any particular difficulties, because each of them is able to give. But in practice, two problems arise.

The first is that such partners have no need to receive emotional support in large. To some extent, they even avoid other «donors». Such a person can meet manifestations of comfort, attachment or kindness with anger and indignation: “Do you really think that I can’t cope with this on my own?!»Someone because of this even runs out of the relationship-temporarily or for good.

The second difficulty is that subconsciously, each partner perceives the other as not in need of support. Everyone adheres to the perfectionist standard: “You are like me. I do not need great emotional support – therefore, you do not need it either «. Both judge each other by their standards, not realizing what they are doing.

As a result, they cannot support another even when he needs it. Both think that their way to think or act is perfect, and everyone is convinced that he is higher/stronger/smarter than another.