REPRESSING Emotions (Part 2)


PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Emotions #3

POSTS: Secretly angry ‘nice’ people

SITE: “What Is Repression?



– deliberately trying to forget or push away painful Es or unwanted thoughts (blow them away)
Repression – Unwanted Es & thoughts are unconsciously sunk into a psychic garbage pit (the swamp).

Are you emotionally repressed? (cont)
When asked “How do you feel, ACoAs will typically answer with information (head) rather than emotions (Es). They’ll tell a long story, give an explanation or excuse…… But if asked directly ‘What are you feeling emotionally?” a Repressive will predictably answer : “I don’t know”.

HOW can you tell ?
a. One hint is if you experience everything as rather GRAY. You may only feel a bit off, as if something’s wrong but don’t know what it is. You’re lonely & dissatisfied with yourself, your life & others around you.
It’s like being allergic to something in the air or mold in the walls – it’s making you sick but you can’t see it.
🧎🏽‍♂️You’d benefit from learning to soothe your wounds!

bOr it’s a deep sense of anger & disappointment, with no immediate or obvious cause. But sitting on decades of built-up pain (frustration, loneliness, rage, terror, sorrow…) is a lot like a normal-looking mountain that’s really a volcano, with gases trapped & bubbling underground, waiting to erupt.
📛 You may want to find the right kind of pressure-valve, with activities that won’t add to the suppression but also won’t harm yourself or others

a. Many studies have made the connection between suppressing Es and OCD, PTSD, auto-immune illnesses & panic attacks.

b. Other studies have shown that deliberately trying to push painful Es out of  consciousness can lead to a ‘rebound effect’, setting up a vicious cycle :
🗡You have a painful emotion. You try to push it away. That lasts a few seconds – or more  – & then rushes back in
⚔️ This leads to more pain, which you try to push away again….
Since you can’t stop it from repeating, you start mental recriminations “I can’t do anything right, It’s hopeless, I can’t cope, I’ll never get better” ….

Ways we circumvent Es to hide them under the carpet (semi-conscious) :
• bury anger under a mask of “peace & love – positive thinking” OR hide vulnerability under expressions of anger, cynicism & sarcasm
• compulsive activities – overly busy, on the net too much, excessive tv watching, exercising, dumb-reading, careless sex …
• ignore or pretend something hasn’t happened that upsets us
• isolate, live in our head – constantly intellectualize / analyze
• keep all conversations superficial, especially around someone who is expressing Es, always make something serious into a joke….
• stuff ourselves with food, or ingest things that dull the mind & senses (sugar, wheat, fats, drugs, alcohol…..)

Re. Women
People refer to ‘being emotional’ as a bad thing. It’s unfortunate that this expression refers mainly to crying or being ‘dramatic’ – as if those are the only emotion people have, even though – when we’re excited, angry, pleased, scared, feel sensual ….. we’re also being emotional!

And even worse, this accusation is targeted mainly at women, who are taught to repress anger, which gets turned in on themself, & then into depression. Outwardly, this can show up as the compulsion to rescue, fix & change the very people who are hurting them, because they don’t have the right to express their outrage directly, or leave.
Re. Men

Men are not supposed to show fear or sadness, or any other form of vulnerability.
But since men have all the same Es as women, eventually their repression can also turn into depression. And since the ‘softer’ Es are often covered over by aggression & busyness, they’re harder to identify. Drinking too much, working all hours, & casual sex are obvious escapes.
But as for male depression, one way to spot it when it’s not obvious, is when they develop a sexual dysfunction with no physical cause, such as lack of libido (loss of interest) or ED.
Of course men can be sexually active & still have walking-depression.

REALITY : “The only way out is thru!” No method of avoidance is successful – emotions do not  evaporate when we ignore them – they just go underground – & fester!

NEXT: Purpose of Es- Survival

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