Well Being

Seven Signs That You Learned to Inhibit Your Emotions as a Child


Growing up, maturing, and becoming an adult. Could there be a more complicated and challenging process? The answer is no. In fact, as human beings, one of our biggest challenges lies in reaching maturity with adequate personal confidence and emotional intelligence. This is how you develop your potential and are able to establish satisfying relationships.

However, it’s a sad and frequent reality that many adults are emotionally numb. This term refers to the scars, injuries, and psycho-emotional alterations caused during their upbringing and education. It’s often due to having unskilled caregivers, which alters many areas of a child’s development.

As a matter of fact, when caregivers attack or underestimate the needs of the child, it affects their recognition of their own emotions. So much so that it’s common to see men and women unconsciously inhibiting what they feel on a daily basis. They process any internal feeling or sensation with discomfort or even shame. Therefore, it’s crucial to find out if you’re experiencing this kind of emotional numbness.

Emotional neglect is invisible to society, but it’s the kind with the most consequences. 

You usually integrate the emotional inhibition schema in your childhood. It needs deactivating.

Signs that you were taught to inhibit your emotions

A child can be well-fed, go to school well-dressed, and even be diligent in their studies. But, there’s a kind of invisible abuse that tends to go completely unnoticed in society. It’s invisible neglect. In this type of interaction, parents neglect or even violate the emotional needs of their children.

Research conducted by the Massachusetts General Hospital Neurodevelopmental and Psychiatric Genetics Unit (USA) claims that childhood emotional neglect increases the risk of depression during adolescence. However, it seems that children are unaware of this problem.

In fact, if you were born into an environment where your emotional needs were neglected or criticized, you probably normalized this dynamic. After all, you didn’t have anything to compare it with. Consequently, you integrated the kind of schema in which you considered that what you felt wasn’t important.

Moreover, you won’t have realised that anything was amiss until you reached adulthood. It’s only then you recognize that your parents taught you to inhibit your emotions. Here are the signs.

One area in which you experience difficulties due to your pattern of emotional inhibition is in relationships.

1. The feeling of emptiness is a constant in your life

If you had to express how you feel right now, you couldn’t find the correct words. That said, the one image that does arise in your mind is that of emptiness. You experience it on a somatic level: in your stomach, your throat, your hands… It’s an overwhelming feeling that fills you with discomfort and frustrates you as you’re unable (or don’t know how) to make contact with your emotions to understand what you feel.

2. You feel flawed

As you reached adulthood, you realized that there was something wrong with you, something that prevented you from being happy and feeling good about yourself. Consequently, today, you don’t like your character and your way of being. In addition, you compare yourself with others and believe that you lack spontaneity, confidence, and feelings of security.

3. You’re uncomfortable in many social situations

Naturally, you like to have friends, go out, socialize occasionally, and enjoy connecting with others. However, those contexts of relaxation, expressions of joy, and effusiveness don’t go along with you. This means your environment labels you as bashful. Yet, in reality, you’re more uncomfortable than shy. You feel like a fish out of water.

4. Your partner tells you that you’re cold or too complex

Often, your partners become frustrated with you because they say they need more from you. They ask for closeness and emotional intimacy, and for you to express your feelings and connect with them more. But, you don’t know how to do it. It’s a language you don’t understand and you feel lost and even angry.

This means you always wait for your partner to do it for you. Indeed, they have to show you affection and guess what you need. There’s no point in them requiring excessive emotional validation as you don’t know how to offer it.

5. You opt for silence instead of expressing what you feel or need

If you learned to inhibit your emotions in childhood, you’ll really struggle to express your anger and disappointment. Anything that hurts you or causes you sadness or anguish, you keep in the depths of your being. It’s like you’ve thrown them down a well, and never want to see them again.

You suppress what you need because you assume that what you feel isn’t important. And you do it because that’s what you were taught as a child.

If you suffered in this way, you learned to repress your emotions and develop a really high sense of self-criticism about yourself. You feel flawed.

6. You don’t value yourself and put others first

If you think your emotions are irrelevant, you don’t respect yourself as a person either. This is the universal principle of suffering that you must bear in mind when educating your own children. Validating, giving presence and relevance to their needs will make them understand that their experiences are important and they deserve that others take them into account.

If you were raised with indifference, you live with the emptiness of low self-esteem. This often makes you anticipate more what others want than what you need yourself.

7. Poor emotional communication

When you’re used to inhibiting your emotions, your communication becomes immature. For instance, you’re incapable of holding discussions or reaching agreements. You usually get angry immediately and abandon any dialogue because you don’t know how to make yourself understood. You juggle words to try and be assertive with others, but you never succeed.

What’s more, the most intimate conversations make you uncomfortable as you don’t know what to say or how to express yourself. You’d like to master the language of emotions more, but you’re aware that you have serious limitations in this regard.

Angry couple symbolizing the effect that you learned to inhibit your emotions
When you’ve been taught, as a child, to inhibit your emotions, it’s extremely difficult for you to communicate and achieve intimacy with others.

How to overcome your emotional inhibition

The emotional inhibition schema is a distortion that originates in childhood that you can reformulate, heal, and correct. Indeed, it’s never too late to empower yourself in the correct exercise of emotional intelligence. Getting in touch with what you feel, identifying it, and naming it is a great step forward. Next comes the most decisive exercise: knowing what to do with your emotions.

It’s essential to learn some techniques regarding emotional communication and the strengthening of self-esteem. As we mentioned earlier, growing up in an environment where your emotions were ignored or punished makes you invalidate yourself. It’s of paramount importance to repair the vision you have of yourself in order to build healthier relationships and feel worthy of working on your dreams.

The post Seven Signs That You Learned to Inhibit Your Emotions as a Child appeared first on Exploring your mind.


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