Emotional Debts: How To Deal With Them?

Emotional debts: how to deal with them?

Emotional debts have a similar effect to material ones : they anguish, generate guilt, and become a ballast that numbs life. The difference is that while the economic debts are concrete and have agreed terms, the emotional ones are usually the result of the imagination and, for this same reason, are confused and deceptive.

An emotional debt appears when one promises oneself or others to do something that is not accomplished. Sometimes this commitment is explicit: we say aloud that we will do it. However, in other cases, the debt arises unknowingly and we are not even sure whether or not we have to do what they expect from us, but that we never really wanted to do.

What is certain is that once you accept, consciously or not, that you “owe” something in emotional terms, a permanent self-need takes shape in order to fulfill what is promised. If we don’t do it, as it usually happens, messages filter inside us that constantly remind us and torment us, making us feel guilty.

We repeat ourselves in different ways to “have an unfinished business”  to the point of even transforming it into a powerful force that conditions our actions and prevents us from being and getting what we want.

The different emotional debts 

Emotional debts can arise from situations that, for one reason or another, have remained pending. An example is when you say something offensive, unfair, or biting to a person you love, who suddenly disappears.

This sudden disappearance can be the cause of a death or voluntary removal that you cannot oppose. There remains, therefore, the regret of not being able to apologize, explain your attitude or make peace.


There is another type of emotional debt, more complex and imperceptible, which originates in commitments implicitly made with others or with oneself. Perhaps as a child you thought that one day you would be great doctors and that you would save many lives. It was your dream. However, you have grown up and your life has taken another direction. The dream has remained “soaking”, but today you are haunted by the idea of ​​having defrauded yourself, of having betrayed an essential mission of your existence.

It also happens that your father, your mother or another figure with whom you have a very intimate emotional bond is assigning you this task.  Maybe it was someone else who wanted you to be great doctors, magnificent dancers, or successful sportsmen. However, you have pursued other goals and something within you bothers you and leads you to think over and over that you “owe” to these loved ones.

Finally, emotional debts can also arise as a result of traumatic or negative experiences. For example, you were mistreated at school: a group of classmates intimidated you and you did not react. Over the years, you blame yourself for not defending yourself and feel indebted to yourself.


There is no debt that is not paid …

The popular adage states that “debts are never forgotten”. Emotional debts easily translate into sadness without, apparently, there is a reason  or anxiety, an imprecise anguish that we do not know where it comes from and that, in any case, remains latent within us. This also applies to emotional debts.

When you accept that you owe someone something, whether you know it or not, you will look for a way to keep your word. It is as if you were in “defect” and this translates into negative emotions and perceptions about your person.

You can also turn into irritable, pessimistic or envious people or into that kind of people who are always angry and, at the same time, are ashamed to do and not do, to say and not to say. In summary: there are numerous ways in which an unresolved debt enters our life.

If there is a build-up of emotional debt, there will also be a build-up of sadness, anger, resentment or distress. If you are feeling overwhelmed by negative feelings, but cannot understand why or the reasons you find do not satisfy you, it is worth analyzing the possible emotional debts in your life.


Is there any situation that you haven’t closed properly? Is there any expression of affection, rejection or indignation that you have not digested? Do you have any fantasies about who you might have been or what you were supposed to do but didn’t accomplish?

You have to ask yourself these and other similar questions. When you identify the exact situations that led to emotional debts, you will have to settle the bills. Remedy as concretely as possible and symbolically repair what is impossible to change. 

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