Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

6 signs that confirm you are suppressing emotions

There are many reasons why we end up suppressing emotions. Negative emotions are threatening and don’t make us feel good. Sometimes, suppressing emotion is easier than confronting the true source of our problems – be that an unhappy relationship, trying to please others in general or feeling frightened and scared about life. When we confront emotions, it feels uncomfortable and frightening. When we deny the negative emotions, we can live ‘normally’ for a while but suppressed emotions are energy that will find a way to manifest. They will ‘leak out’ in ways that cause you stress and in the long-run cause you more problems than if you had dealt with your emotions in the first place.

Emotions are our compass – they tell us something so ignore them at your peril. Here are six things that confirm you are suppressing emotions:

You have a low tolerance for frustration

Do you have road rage? Do you feel tearful at the drop of a hat? This is often a sign that you are burying your troubles instead of expressing your fears and dealing with your trouble in life. Our tolerance for distress and frustration lower when we suppress emotions. Our body becomes overloaded with this negative energy and results in our inability to cope well with any added pressure or stress. When you express yourself and when you are assertive about what you need you let go of some of that inner pressure. Feeling like a ticking time-bomb is definitely a sign that you are internalising problems instead of dealing with them in a more helpful way.

Your sleep is disturbed

Our dreams interpret our brain waves and the unconscious makes these images into a story in an attempt to work through our worries and anxiety. The unconscious doesn’t work the same way as the conscious mind and that is why dreams are so haphazard. Nightmares and distressing dreams can result from suppressed emotions and affect the quality of our sleep. We may also find it difficult to sleep if we internalise our fears and anxiety instead of dealing with them openly and in a healthy expressive manner.

You have physical symptoms such as IBS, headaches, skin conditions

The body has to find a way to deal with negative energy too. When we suppress emotion that energy goes internally and can cause physical symptoms. It is well known how anxiety affects our bodies.

anxiety symptoms

You feel hopeless

Suppressing emotion can lead to depression and “learned hopelessness”. When we stop problem-solving and just try to deal with problems on our own, we end up in a destructive cycle that leads us to feel more powerless and alone. When we speak to others and share, we connect with the world again and feel less alone. A problem shared is a problem halved.

You feel numb

The more you suppress emotion, the more disconnected you become from the world and others. Internalising your issues creates barrires and reinforces loneliness and a feeling of being different to others. You aren’t any different but because you don’t share what you are going through, you feel isolated. Numbness comes from dealing with stress for too long. Eventually your mind and body will shut down and you will be existing not living a full life. It isn’t weak to ask for help. We all have issues and we all get to breaking point at times. It’s what you do about it that matters. Stop trying to make it on your own.

You engage in many escape behaviours

Escape behaviours lie playing online games, spending too much time on social media, spending money, drinking alcohol, gambling etc are all examples of escape behaviour. If you are avoiding dealing with issues, escape behaviours do the trick but not forever. Those issues won’t go away until you confront them and deal with them. Escape behaviour just prolong the process.

Do yourself a favour and express yourself, ask for what you want and don’t be shy to admit that you are human like the rest of us with fears and insecurities. Accepting this is the first step in moving forward and joining the human race. You will be amazed at how liberating it feels to talk to someone and feel that you can share what you are going through. If you don’t want to tell someone close to you, try a counsellor who will be nonjudgemental and keep your worries confidential. Don’t suffer in silence.

Mandy X