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What Does it Mean to Suppress Emotions?

woman struggles with suppressed emotions

We all live with emotions that clue us in as to how we are being affected by our thoughts, memories, or current circumstances.  While extreme emotions can be overwhelming or painful, even the most unpleasant feelings serve a psychological purpose. When you choose to suppress your emotions, however, it means that you avoid allowing yourself to feel a particular emotion by either pushing it down and ignoring it, or using unhealthy coping mechanisms to distract yourself.  Unfortunately, ignoring an emotion forever is impossible, and in attempting to do so you are likely to create more tension and stress for yourself and the people around you. One of the major issues that come from suppressing emotions is that it can cause you to arrive at inaccurate conclusions about your life.  For example, if a child is a witness to domestic violence many times growing up, they may begin to suppress their sadness and fear to avoid feeling overwhelmed every time it happens.  In doing so, they become detached from their emotions regarding the situation, and as an adult may view the abuse they witnessed as a reason not to trust anyone or an indicator of their lack of self-worth.  By finding a way to address those suppressed emotions and process them, the child can begin to see the situations for what it was and refrain from allowing it to color their entire life. There are many ways to begin unpacking suppressed emotions, and talk therapy can be especially helpful in this process.  In addition to professional help, writing about your emotions, talking about them with a supportive friend, and finding a creative outlet for expression can all be great ways to help you to let go.  Emotional suppression is also extremely detrimental to addiction recovery. Finding a way to work through painful feelings is essential in managing mental wellness and finding a way to lasting sobriety. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor, you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.