Emotional Structure (ES)

Sign of a mature Emotional Structure: You produce tenderness when perceiving vulnerability."--MB






we cannot say:

"Do the emotional labor"

"Just go through it"

... because

it is too much

it is overwhelming



prepare us for emotional labor

otherwise impossible

it does not happen by itself


transgenerational trauma


Emotional Structure (ES)


"Emotional Apparatus"

seems overly "mechanistic" although sometimes reflects the actual perception quite well

Related Terms

Personality (Structure)


In simple terms:

Your Emotional Structure is ...

... the way you react to everything.

stuff happens to us

>> we produce an emotion

... what tells you what is/feels "right" or "wrong" for you.

... your inner reference.

The intrinsic mechanisms present at a given time that produce an emotion as response to a stimulus.


The Emotional Structure is by definition located on a deeper functional level than the cognitive/rational/logic parts of our minds.

One's Emotional System is a result of the specific physical properties mainly of the structures of the nervous system, i.e. the brain and peripheral structures, like the plexus solaris and others.

integrate this into definition

The stimulus can be internal or external.



The time between stimulus and response can vary ...


even if not expressed immediately

The emotional response can be empty, i.e. there can also be no response.

This can be because ...

... the stimulus

The expression of the emotion can be influenced consciously ...


time / delay

intensity and form

Other meanings:

The term "emotional structure" is being used in the advertisement industry.


Why was a different term necessary?

How is "Emotional Structure" different?


Maturity is a qualifying feature of someone's Emotional Structure.

Post-Traumatic Emotional Structure (PTES)



"emotional structure"

"don't tell me how to feel"

emotions can work against our interest = they usually have a root in trauma

How to change one's emotional structure

almost never



the more we dissect it the more we can avoid the emotional labor

ES that is characterized by "trauma" will not change by itself


in that area

has parts

we can be mature about one thing
very immature in another


lawyer who is in abusive rel.

rational approaches


"I have talked about it - I don't want it anymore."

I have cried so much.

illusion of understanding = change

/understood it/figured it out..."


Features of the ES:





The Musical Instrument Metaphor

Our ES can be compared to a musical instrument:

The fingers, playing the instrument represent the external stimulus.

The instrument itself reflects the ES.

The resulting sound represents the emotion that is produced by the ES.

Like for the sound of most instruments, the emotions which our ES produces are shaped by external factors:

Many instruments are sensitive to temperature and humidity, among other things.

In the same way, there are many influencing factors for our ES.





Types / Directions

increase of Empathy

/ sensitivity

decrease of Empathy

Numbing / increase in (emotional) numbness


the experience of pain is the main reason for changes of one's emotional structure

both an increase and decrease of empathy are happening exclusively through the experience of pain:

an unconstructive experience of pain, i.e. associated with helplessness, being overwhelmed etc. leads to a decrease of the ability to experience Empathy

a constructive experience of pain, i.e. happening in a context of sufficient emotional resources, etc. the Emotional Structure will change towards the ability to experience more Empathy

it is central to Emotional Processing to purposefully create these

One's emotional structure cannot be changed by "wanting" or "deciding" so.

Popular belief is different:

There are countless examples in popular culture to express the notion that "I want to feel less (or more)", for example. The fact that this is expressed to frequently might lead us to believe that it could work. In fact, it does not. The expressions describe the emotional situation of a person and the pain which this person experiences may or may not cause the change, but the "wishing"/"wanting" of the same had little to do with it.

The emotional structure of a person changes over a lifetime by natural processes or maturing. This is influenced by environmental factors which include interpersonal relationships (also with animals) above all.


mostly attributed to influencing factors



it can change - it is not constant

Processing of emotions is an example to deliberately catalyze a change in the emotional structure

Processing (of Emotions)

Change "naturally" happens related to growth


Influencing Factors

Physical state of the body

hormonal state



a person's emotional structure can have all degrees of maturity - the scale is continuous

Features of a mature Emotional Structure:

You produce tenderness when perceiving vulnerability.




In order to experience a different emotion towards a specific stimulus (and react differently as a consequence of that) one should aim for a change of the Emotional Structure.


Changes of the ES

can be achieved through

can only be learned through going the emotional path. and emotional processing.

can not be achieved through

(only) talking / rationalizing about them

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