Many people feel pressured to bottle up their emotions and keep a calm composure. And you might be one of them.
There can be several reasons why you might be repressing your feelings.
Perhaps the rigid structure of society forces you to present yourself a certain way, or you might recognize yourself as the glue that keeps your family and friends from falling apart.
Or it could be that being vulnerable has hurt you in the past. Whatever the reason, one thing’s for sure, bottling up your feelings (whether it’s deliberate or not), can mess up your relationships and eventually lead to mental and physical consequences.
Here are 8 telltale signs that you’re holding back your emotions. If you relate to any of them, maybe it’s time to think things through and confront your feelings head-on.
1. You Don’t Listen To Yourself
Do you remember the last time you truly listened to yourself? The last time you had an internal conversation and kept in touch with your heart? Maybe you can’t even remember.
That’s one of the first indications that you might be emotionally repressed. It’s been a while since you’ve taken the time to self-evaluate or listen to your subconscious side.
Even when you feel bad and know that something is wrong, you never really try to find the root cause of this negative energy.
You ignore it instead, believing it’ll disappear on its own.
2. You Are Embarrassed By Anger And Sadness
If you’re a guy, you were probably taught that boys don’t cry. You grew up with the belief that men should just confront life’s challenges instead of sulking over them.
And that any display of weakness or vulnerability is not a masculine trait. Throughout your life, you probably internalized these behavioral patterns.
If you’re a female, you were probably taught that girls should always keep their temper in check. You learned that a real woman should never reveal her anger or anxiety.
Though you might not be consciously aware, these views affect the kind of person you are today.
Since you were a child, it’s been instilled in you that emotions such as sadness and anger are negative, and even though you’re older now, you’re still ashamed of expressing such emotions.
3. You Never Talk About Your Emotions
A more upfront by-product of bottling up your emotions is that you never confide in anyone about your feelings.
It’s not that you have to tell everyone around you about your inner dreams, fears, and secrets.
But you probably never reveal your deepest feelings to your close friends and family either.
Even when you burst into tears, you do it alone and out of sight. No matter what your burdens are, you prefer resolving them in private, without anyone else’s involvement.
4. You Are Guarded
Have people ever referred to you as closed off? I’m not just talking about one isolated instance. I’m talking about people actively knowing you as a guarded person.
Now, being guarded isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s simply a part of your personality.
However, there has to be some kind of background or reason for it.
It might be an effort on your part to build a wall to protect your heart, which explains your tendency to be extra careful around others and rarely let anyone in.
This is just another common indicator that you might be emotionally repressed.
5. You Are Always ‘Alright’
If you never speak up when something is bothering you, you are repressing your emotions.
When anyone asks how your day’s been or if you ever need any help with something, you always say that you’re doing “fine” and don’t need anything.
Yet, in reality, everyone has great moments and not-so-great moments. There are plenty of times where we are anything but fine.
Even so, your go-to is to end the conversation by convincing others that you’re doing just fine – rather than exposing any vulnerability.
6. You’ve Been Accused Of Being Passive-Aggressive
Has anyone ever told you that you were being passive–aggressive? If they have, it could be due to your emotional repression.
It comes from the inability to face your problems as they arise since you have a hard time telling people what’s bothering you at the moment.
But your emotions never end up magically leaving you. Instead, they begin to brew inside you, even when you make it seem like there isn’t a problem.
This might subconsciously cause you to hurt those you love by ignoring them or giving them silent treatment when they do something that bothers you.
7. You Hold Grudges
A common habit of holding back your feelings is holding onto grudges for long periods of time.
The reason this happens is that when someone hurts you, you never take the time to process those emotions.
You believe that time heals all anger and disappointment, so ignoring it is the best solution.
However, this method is flawed in the long term because you’ll only suffer emotional buildup, which inevitably results in resentment.
Because you never confront conflicts in your relationships in the first place, you never really forgive those people.
Even if you don’t notice this resentment up front, you become further chained to your feelings and only end up hurting yourself.
8. You Blow Up Over Small Things
If you frequently explode over minor inconveniences, it’s another indicator that you are bottling up your emotions. Think about it.
In your past fights with friends or family, most of them have probably never been about truly important things.
Instead, your pent-up emotions explode over the tiniest things. Of course, people think that you are overreacting or causing a big fuss over nothing.
This might even come as a shock to you because you were probably always known as someone who doesn’t really overreact, much less completely blow things out of proportion.
But, most people might not realize that your outbursts have an innate cause.
They probably will never know either, unless they can somehow read your mind whenever you’re bothered, or you actually speak up.
Trying to confront feelings and open up to vulnerability can manifest itself differently for everyone.
Some great ways to get started involve talking with your loved ones, such as friends or family, consulting a professional, or even trying some mindfulness exercises.
No matter what you do, just start to trust yourself more. Let yourself believe that being vulnerable and emotional at times is totally acceptable. After all, it’s just a part of human nature.
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