Emotional repression is something we’ve all done at one point or another. Maybe you’ve experienced a break-up, and instead of allowing yourself to feel and work through your emotions, you just block out all the feelings and go on as if it never happened. We live in a world that teaches us all to be strong no matter what we’re going through. Here are a few things you could be doing that may mean you’re repressing your emotions too much.
1. You have a rough exterior
You’re that person at the funeral who is probably the only one who isn’t crying. You appear unaffected by your boyfriend breaking up with you. To those around you, you’d probably be described as someone who is unemotional. Believe it or not, there is no such thing as an unemotional person. Even psychopaths experience some sort emotion; it’s just not interpersonal empathy.
But still never you, though, right? Of course not!
2. You have irrational anxieties
You may think that if you bottle up your feelings, they’ll just go away, but that’s not true. Eventually, they’re going to come out in irrational ways. Do you know someone who has a small ailment and then all of sudden they think they have three weeks to live? Yeah, probably not the friend who is the most in-touch with their emotions.
3. You find the positive in every negative
Now you may be thinking: “that’s a good thing! It’s a good quality to be able to find the positive things in a negative situation.” Let’s say that you thought things were going well with you and your boyfriend and then out of nowhere he cuts it off. You meet up with your BFF for lunch, and she asks how you’re holding up. It’s something you’d rather not discuss so you tell her that you’re glad it happened because you didn’t see him as someone you’d spend the rest of your life with. But you both know that’s a lie. Being able to appear positive in every situation could mean you’re never confronting your real feelings.
4. You’re always on the go
It’s pretty exhausting to jump from one thing to the next. You’re one of those people who can’t sit still for more than an hour without starting to think about all the things you could be doing. You’d rather work 60 hour work weeks before taking a day for yourself to relax.
5. You’re famous for pulling the disappearing act
So you’ve been talking to this guy for awhile, and things seem like they’re going pretty well. He’s keeping it cool and low-key and then one day he drops this bomb on you that he’s starting to develop feelings for you. YIKES! That’s just something you can’t handle, so you drop off the face of the earth for awhile until he pretty much forgets who you are and so you don’t have to deal with it.
6. You’re the sounding board for everyone
You know it, I know it, everyone knows it- it’s so much easier to give advice and deal with someone else’s emotions than it is to deal with your own. To take the attention away from your issues, you’re always readily available to take the time to help your friends sort out their emotional crises. And let’s be real- doing that can make you feel like you’re really in touch with your feelings. Here’s a little secret – it’s just a tactic you have to avoid your own.
7. Always dating the wrong person
You always somehow end up dating the wrong person, but you never have to worry about becoming too close to them. If you’re able to avoid that emotional intimacy with someone, you don’t have to worry about dealing with those emotions yourself.
In all seriousness, though, your mind and your body are all that you have. The next time you find yourself feeling closed off and holding in the feelings that you feel you shouldn’t feel, remember that what your emotions are real. It’s okay and you’re okay. There is so much strength in being real.