Why people try to restrain their emotional pain?

Why people try to restrain their emotional pain?

“The more you hide your feelings, the more they show. The more you deny your feelings, the more they grow.” ~Unknown

No matter how hard we may try to avoid emotional pain, it will show up in our lives at some point or the other. It is just impossible to evade life’s upheavals and the associated emotions raked by such situations. Although experiencing a range of overwhelming emotions like sadness, anger, loneliness, fear, despair, confusion, shame, guilt, etc. are an integral part of the human existence, many people try to hide their feelings behind a staid ‘Fine, Thank You’ response.

People tend to deny or mask their feelings and often withdraw into a shell in response to deep emotional distress due to which one may become unusually quiet. Such silence is not only an indicator of deep distress, but also a defense mechanism aimed at creating a protective cloak to ward off others from inflicting more hurt and pain. Conversely, some individuals might respond to painful emotions by becoming fidgety, restless or hyperactive to distract themselves from the upsetting feelings. They might either lose their appetite or become voracious eaters to numb their pain.

Key reasons behind the concealment of emotions

Unfortunately, many people frown upon the open display of emotions and instead condone maintaining a ‘stiff upper lip.’ Not only have individuals learnt to tolerate their own difficult feelings, but also fail to determine such debilitating feelings in others. Some of the reasons that make people mask or conceal pain are:

  • People have the notion that admitting to one’s pain would reveal his or her weakness and vulnerability to failure. Therefore, people prefer to go into victim mode rather than come clean with their feelings and emotions.
  • People tend to rejoice aloud during joyous moments, but sad moments are cleverly masked. Those who have gone through the experience of sharing their sorrows only to be shamed or demeaned will vow never to share them again with others. Moreover, clichéd responses from well-meaning and not so well-meaning friends and family members are also not helpful.
  • People are afraid to face the storm that their emotions would bring, so they prefer locking them up in their heart instead of acknowledging them. They are afraid that they would be unable to handle the pain and hurt. People are naturally averse to discomfort inflicted by such suppressed emotions and therefore prefer running away from them. They prefer to seek the solace of denial.
  • Driven by the pursuit of material success, people often start becoming numb to emotional pain and hurt. The money, fame and perceived success may present the view that life is moving forward. Although these elements won’t heal the pain, they can mask it long enough to avoid stigmatization. As a result, such people often fail to address their challenges on time.
  • People do not know how to address emotional pain and how to process it because generations have always believed in sweeping it under the carpet. People have witnessed their parents hiding their emotions by not talking about them. Moreover, most of people avoid teaching their children the ways to face their emotions. This leads to the replication of the same attitude by children.

Suppressed of emotions pose dangers to mental health

The suppression of emotions is essentially a stress-avoidance strategy that many people mistakenly employ thinking it to be healthy or right. In doing so, many people expend their energy and build up stress instead of learning the skill to express their emotions in healthy ways, such as crying when sad or being assertive when angry. We need to accept the truth that not being okay all the time is perfectly all right.

The brain controls most of the key mental and physical functions. Some of the important parts of the brain, such as the limbic system, prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia and temporal lobe, regulate and control memories, emotions, feelings, decision-making capacity learning ability and other cognitive skills.

Therefore, the willful suppression of emotions tend to interfere with the natural functioning of the brain and leads to mental illness. People with suppressed feelings suffer from exaggerated and irrational thoughts created by the continuous restraint of feelings. As a result, one may resort to alcohol and substance abuse and addiction for the alleviation of pain.

If you know someone suffering from any form of mental illness, contact the Colorado Mental Health Help to seek information on a range of mental health treatment centers in Colorado. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-899-5063 or chat online for advice on the best mental health rehab in Colorado.