Yes, you read the title correctly. There really is a payoff for every emotionally-driven behavior and thought. And to a certain extent, these are controllable elements of your life. So when you behave or think in a way that is directed chiefly by emotion, what actually happens in your favor? Pouting, giving in, refusing to give in, self-pity, yelling – they all have payoffs. Let me explain and you may find a little bit of yourself by the end of this post.

How Do You React Internally And Externally?

When you are faced with a challenge or conflict, you are likely to have an emotional response. You are also likely to have thoughts that reflect your beliefs and life priorities. From those elements, you will officially have some kind of reaction. It may be shock, disgust, anger, despair, confusion, or any number of other emotions. Something is running up against your comfort zone and what you know how to handle.

Let’s say for example that you have expectations of going out with your spouse or special someone. You have anticipated happy feelings, laughter, and closeness to come from the experience. Instead, your special someone seems bored, uninterested, and says that you are making too big a deal of the evening. They have had a tough day at work and haven’t been feeling well all week. They are fine with spending time with you, but they have no big plans and are irritated that you would expect more of them. Well, that’s a fine how-do-you-do.

There are a number of ways to respond to this situation. Let’s assume you are at the very least disappointed and surprised at their response. You could become mad and verbalize your frustration right back at the other person, resulting in a fight. You could step back and hold your anger at a slow simmer, making passive aggressive comments and behaviors all evening. You could retreat inside your dismay, becoming sullen and distant. Or you could shake it off after a little while, trying to make the best of whatever they are willing to do with you.

And The Emotional Payoffs Are -

Oh wait, look at the time. Guess I won’t be able to tell you what these emotional payoffs are after all. You’ll have to read my next post. I guess I teased you a little there. What? You don’t like being emotionally manipulated like that?? Then you’d better come back soon, as the departed Paul Harvey would say, to hear “the rest of the story.”



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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Mar 2009
    Published on All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Krull, E. (2009). What Is The Payoff For Your Emotional Choices?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from


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