My blog is my unlocked diary. I leave it unlocked because I assume no one will find it interesting enough to read, but I secretly want the world to ogle my most intimate thoughts. My need to express myself apparently trumps all.

So when a stranger who had read a series of my blogs reached out for advice, I was both shocked and elated. My story brushed borders with hers…and while the details weren’t the same, the emotional plots intertwined. I write, in the hopes that I can connect to others. I write to spread my tendrils across the world…silky wisps of hope, interconnection and comfort across the worldwide web.

Her story, like mine, was a case of thermostat malfunction.

emotional thermostatWe all have an emotional thermostat. Some people’s are set to a red hot 195°F, and others to below 50°. (I like to think mine is set to a mild 60° but it fluctuates according to amount of sleep and feelings of satiety.) This woman was having a hard time letting go of her love, but saying goodbye was the healthiest option because their thermostats did not match. His was set to a crazy-making temperature, and hers was set to that of a temperate summer’s day. It’s hard enough partnering with someone who isn’t a physical temperature match—they have the air condition set to a crisp 61° when you’d prefer a balmy 80°—but it’s even more difficult…no, miserable…loving someone whose emotional thermostat runs hotter than yours.

How to Recognize a Thermostat that Frequently Overheats

People with high emotional thermostats typically do not admit they run hot. They will proclaim to hate drama, yet they are always stirring it up. They are difficult…they are judgmental (beyond the ordinary)…there is always someone doing them wrong…and they always let the world know about it. It is never their fault. Someone is picking on them. Someone is treating them unfairly. Someone else is mentally unstable and needs to be on meds…never them. They are expert projectionists.

Why would someone live on such a high thermostat? Why not just dial it down and breath in some peace and quiet? Because…they need to feel the heat in order to feel alive. Red-hot is their comfort zone. It’s the temperature at which they know they exist. As soon as the thermometer dips down a few degrees too low, it’s time to latch on to another crazy catastrophe. Were it not for the drama, how else would they spend their time…how else would they spin their mind? God forbid, they let their mind rest…they don’t want it to get too, too quiet in there. The Devil may be calling.

A Little Challenge May Be a Good Thing 

I am very protective of my emotional thermostat. I am selectively social, I do not have a lot of close friends, and I keep my acquaintances to a minimum and the majority at a safe distance. I’ve always been this way…I am extremely picky with whom I share my energy. Overall, this technique has worked for me…but I wonder sometimes, am I protecting my emotional thermostat, or am I avoiding it?

It’s easy to be well-behaved when you don’t have a lot of people pushing your buttons. It’s easy to like yourself when you’re not face-to-face with crazy every day. But isolation comes with a price…and I fear if I’m not careful my emotional thermostat might someday reach a wintry 45°. Icicles aren’t yet forming, but it’s only a matter of time…only a matter of years. While I will never again love or befriend someone with a high emotional thermostat, eventually, I will have to find someone to push a few buttons….just a few…eventually…

Written by Amy
I am a film, TV and voiceover actress and a fiction and nonfiction writer. You've seen and heard me on television, movies, radio ads and video games. I'm the author of 5 books and counting, and my award-winning short stories have been featured in acclaimed literary journals.

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