One main difference between facilitative emotion and debilitative emotion is intensity. Facilitative emotions contribute to effective functioning, while debilitative emotions hinder or prevent effective performance. For instance, irritation or slight anger can decrease the performance of a person. However, if this emotion intensifies, it turns into rage, which is often destructive.
The difference between the two emotions is the degree to which they occur, not the quality of the emotion. The same holds for fear. Job interview jitters may improve performance, but extreme nervousness may lead to errors. Couples who are suspicious of each other may become effective communicators. One study revealed that couples who were suspicious of each other were better at sensing dishonesty than couples who were trusting.
The second main difference between the two emotions is their extended duration. Feeling depressed for a short time after the loss of a loved one or breakup of a relationship is natural. However, long-term depression is not healthy. In the same way, holding a grudge for a wrong done long ago hurts all parties involved.
Debilitative emotions are more intense than facilitative emotions. Thoughts cause feelings; therefore, irrational thinking and debilitative emotions arise from the acceptance of fallacies or irrational thoughts. For instance, the fallacy of approval is the mistaken belief that it is important to get everyone’s approval.