“If we suppress our emotions as an ongoing strategy what would have naturally been a passing emotion, or emotional process, might be held in the body, causing us difficulties….”
Ronnie Aaronson (Addiction: This being human. Published 2006 p19)
Many of us have experiences of suppressing emotions.
There are may different ways of doing this, such as:
- using humour to deny the emotion
- using alcohol or drugs to numb any feeling
- making sense of things logically, denying the emotional
- absenting ourselves mentally (switching off/going blank)
- throwing ourselves into something else as a distraction (work, fitness, sex, fun)
If this pattern of dealing with emotions becomes the norm, then, amongst other things, it can lead to addiction, depression, anxiety, an inability to have healthy relationships and/or physical ailments.
Often we are unaware of these patterns, talking in therapy can help identify these patterns in a way which is supportive and compassionate. Once identified, they can be understood*, challenged and eventually reduced. This happens as part of the process, through which connecting with your emotions becomes more bearable and defences against them are needed less and less.
*all defences exist for good reason, but sometimes the mind and body activate them when they are not needed.
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