Emotional Impotence is the inability to understand or speak about or deal with emotions. Emotional Impotence is most often seen as the inability to comprehend and express one’s own motivations and feelings coupled with blindness toward the sensitivities of others. Emotional Impotence is not black or white, you have it or you don’t condition. Rather Emotional Impotence should be thought of as a RANGE of ability (or lack of ability) to identify and cope with emotions, both one’s own and those of others.

Emotional Impotence plays out in our culture with abundant Mars v. Venus stereotypes: the male who refuses to go to therapy, the girlfriend who complains about not being “seen” or states ”you just don’t get it, do you?”, Left Brain (Logic Focus) v. Right Brain (Relationship Focus).

Emotional Impotence is related to Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and may be thought of having an under developed EQ. The good news is that EQ can be learned and elevated, even self-taught. Frequently, Emotional Impotence arises from some form of fear (i.e. being vulnerable or exposing a weakness or of not being manly or being embarrassed by feelings we do not think we should have) that we dis-own and bury, try to sweep under the rug. Hiding or running from our emotions is a VERY dysfunctional coping mechanisms; feelings buried alive, never die. You cannot solve that which you refuse to face, the unexamined life is a waste of potential. Why live an emotionally constrained, black and white existence when the full range of vibrant colors are yours with which to explore?

Fortunately, awareness is the first step to emotional growth; many good books are available. Some I’ve found interesting are:

-“I Don’t Want to Talk About It”and “How Can I Get Through to You? Closing the Intimacy Gap Between Men and Women” both by Terrance Real

-“Healing the Shame that Binds You” and “Homecoming: Re-claiming and Healing Your Inner Child” both by John Bradshaw

-“You Don’t Understand’ by Deborah Tannen

Closing Quotes

“Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

“The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy.” – Jim Rohn

If you don’t manage your emotions, then your emotions will manage you.” – Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman, Transforming Anxiety

“Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.” – Jonatan Mårtensson

“Follow your heart if you must but never leave your mind behind!” – Unknown