How many times a day do you feel hurt by your partner’s actions and restrain yourself from expressing it? How many times do you keep quiet instead of sharing your true emotions with your better half? How often are you busy in your own world instead of being there in the present with your mate? How often does it happen? According to psychology, it is a very normal phase and we all experience it once in a while. The problem begins when it starts becoming a routine matter .
Most of the time, we stop ourselves from expressing our deep felt emotions or honest thoughts because we think that by doing this we are saving our relationship and not hurting the other person. Unfortunately, that may not always be the scenario and that’s where the entire problem of pretending starts. We try to be someone that we are not. We tend to forget that we cannot make someone else happy until and unless we are happy ourselves.
“Repressing Emotions” is not a problem that is only faced in romantic relationships. It can occur in every connection that we hold with other people in our life. The most common example is of today’s generation’s relationship with their parents. Children are afraid of coming out as they are, presenting their choices and opinions fully. This happens because they are afraid of disappointing their parents and of not being accepted as they are by their own family.
An even bigger problem is that we think it is okay to hide our feelings because no one can see them, or no one will ever know what we hid and hence no harm is being done. However, this is not the truth. It is one of the biggest lies we ever tell ourselves.
Repercussions of repressing one’s emotions
- Mental Repercussions:
- Tendency to forget things
- A sense of discomfort or uneasiness when other people around you share their feelings or ask about yours
- Constantly experiencing of low self-esteem, nervousness, and stress
- Extreme emotions (suddenly too happy, suddenly too sad)
- Sudden outbursts
- Anger Issues
Repressed feelings also show physical signs. It is not something many of us are aware of but if we recognize them, it can help us proceed towards healing sooner.
- Physical Repercussions:
- Digestive Problems
- High blood pressures
- Change in appetite
- Sleeping problems (too much or too less)
- Muscular pains
- Cardiovascular diseases
These are the kind of problems that we are at a higher risk of developing when we constantly bury our emotions. Major mental health problems such as anxiety, stress and depression can also occur.
What kind of emotions are we most likely to repress?
We usually hide the emotions that we think are not acceptable by society. These emotions are considered bad or negative if we let out. These include :
We all tend to abide by the so called norms of our society. What we fail to understand is that these norms were set so that we can work on those emotions that can have an impact on people around us, and not bury them deep inside so that they start to destroy us. After all, there is a reason these emotions are tagged as negative. They can never do any good to anyone that holds them. Therefore the most important question is, “What to do about such emotions?”
How do repressed emotions mess up your relationships?
From the above discussion, one thing that can be safely concluded is that when all these bundled up emotions come out, they can do a lot of damage to our relationships. Usually when the outburst occurs, it tends to get out of control, and the person does or says things that are totally out of his/her character.
Burying emotions for so long does no good to anyone. Therefore, it is very important to think and act rationally when faced with such emotions because with one wrong step we can destroy our entire relationship which could have had a good chance of being saved. So, what to do when faced with such emotions?
How to handle all these emotions instead of repressing them?
First, it is very important that we first understand the reason why we bury such emotions. We mostly start hiding our true feelings when we are told that it is wrong to feel them or when we feel that no one will understand us. It usually happens in either our childhood or a greater trauma occurring in later stages of life such as teenage.
If he/she is telling a story for the hundredth time, you should listen to it and appreciate them for having shared their emotions. We might get bored of that story as adults but for them it might be a very big deal. It is important to talk to your teenage kids. In order to do that, you should try to share your life stories with them, let them know that you understand and even if you don’t understand, at least you would have tried. Once they feel that you are opening up to them, they will also reciprocate the process eventually.
Similarly, we should try to have calm and rational conversations with our parents. We should try to open up about our feelings and ask them about theirs. Having such conversations will help one to know their partner in a better manner and instead of making assumptions about their reactions, we will start to understand their actions. It is not possible to know everything about a person but we can observe patterns of their personality by having simple conversations.
How to individually work on your emotions?
Many a times opening up and having conversation does not solve the problem. The other person might not be ready to have a heart-to-heart talk or might still be in denial. What to do then? How to gain your peace of mind?
The first suggestion that we usually make is to talk to a therapist. With professional help, we can understand the causes of our repressed emotions and create a balance to come at peace with them. But in times of COVID-19, it might not be possible. So here are some simple steps to perform and try to express our emotions.
- Ask yourself constantly about how you feel. Try to let out those emotions by doing some art or writing a journal. It will be something for you to keep as it will be your creation, just like those emotions are.
- Stand in front of the mirror and observe your expressions according to what you are feeling at that time. When you come to a conclusion say things like, “I am angry”, “I am nervous”, “I am confused” etc. It will help you to accept your own feelings.
- Make conscious efforts of not judging yourself or anyone. Try to accept your emotions gracefully and be confident about them.
By performing such acts you can let out your emotions in a very mature and rational way. It is important to understand that it is not wrong to experience such emotions. Everyone experiences those. The only difference is that we all have different ways of handling them. We need to learn to embrace our negative emotions and not ignore them. Expressing and accepting will benefit your mental health in the long run.
BUDDY to share all your problems with (even anonymously, if you want) on the FeelJoy Mobile App available for all Android users.