Suppressing feelings and emotions

Why we suppress emotions and feelings, the consequences of this and what strategies we use to suppress feelings.

If we suppress feelings for years in order not to have to feel them, this costs much more energy than if we can let the emotions flow freely. Suppressing emotions costs a lot of energy and strength. When we learn to let the emotions flow freely again, this energy is available to us again. 

As a study in between proves, suppressing emotions can trigger complaints and illnesses, so it makes perfect sense to deal with your emotions, especially if you suffer from therapy-resistant complaints.


Why we suppress emotions and feelings

We were brought up that feeling emotions is not good

We are conditioned as a child by our environment, by our parents, in kindergarten, at school, by our friends etc. in a way that we start to suppress our feelings.

This starts right when we are born. As a baby, we interact with our parents' faces. We do everything to make them smile. Smiling means approval. When we receive the approval of our parents, we know that we are loved, that we are safe, that we will survive.

Because of our upbringing, we learn as children that feeling certain emotions and feelings is not desirable:

  • Don't cry!
  • That's not so bad after all.
  • Do not be afraid.
  • Don't be a coward.
  • An Indian knows no pain.
  • You're already a big boy.
  • Boys don't cry.

These or similar phrases, many of us heard as children. We developed beliefs and convictions about feeling emotions such as:

  • I must not/can not be afraid
  • i must not get angry
  • I must not be sad
  • crying is weakness
  • I must not show any weakness
  • when I feel this, I die
  • and many others

This process is unconscious, we often develop a fear of feeling the emotions, especially the deep emotions like anger, fear, sadness or shame. These emotions become a "no-go zone". We start to suppress these emotions and feelings.

Suppressing feelings - for fear of having to feel

Watching young children, you can see that one minute they are crying, the next minute they are laughing. The emotions just flow through them. Because of our conditioning that emotions are not wanted, we develop fears of feeling emotions.

As a child, we develop the survival strategy of wanting to please our parents and other people in order to gain their approval. As a child, our survival depends on our parents. We learn to do everything to please those around us. Our mind's job is to protect us, to spare us pain. Our mind steers us away from everything that is painful. That is its job.

When it might hurt, our mind tells us stories to distract us from just feeling the raw emotion. These are stories like who did what to us, the mind repeats the story over and over again. We get stuck in this story just to avoid feeling. As a result, we get stuck in thought loops, feel bad and can't move on and suppress the feelings.

At some point we are no longer able to let the emotions flow through us as small children do.


What happens when we suppress feelings?

Emotions do not disappear when we suppress them, they are stored in the body tissue as cell memories. If we suppress emotions and feelings over a long period of time, this can trigger complaints and illnesses, as studies have now shown.

We cannot selectively suppress one or certain emotions and feelings such as fear, anger, shame etc. and allow the "positive" emotions and feelings. Unfortunately, this does not work. If we start to suppress certain emotions because we are conditioned that way, we automatically suppress all other emotions as well.


When we suppress feelings a blanket covers everything

You can imagine it as a blanket covering your emotions. You only perceive everything in a muffled way. You don't feel fear because you have suppressed it, but you can't perceive joy, love etc. properly any more.

Suppressing feelings affects your whole life. Suppressing feelings costs a lot of energy. You are exhausted without having done anything. When we suppress feelings, we lose the connection to ourselves, the contact to our innermost being. You can function excellently while suppressing feelings, but the depth and beauty of life is simply missing.


What strategy do you use to suppress your emotions?

We develop strategies to avoid feeling our strong emotions at all costs. Depending on the type, these can be different strategies.

What strategy do you use to suppress your strong feelings? To avoid feeling them at all costs?

  • Facebook?
  • Netflix or television?
  • Work?
  • Alcohol?
  • Smoking?
  • Food?
  • Sleep?
  • excessive activities?
  • escape into the head?

Why can it help to release the repressed emotions?

Every behaviour is based on an emotion. If we suppress emotions, we develop different behaviour than if we can openly feel and allow the emotions.

If the main purpose of our actions is to avoid feeling emotions, we may do things we don't really want to do or we may not do something we would like to do.

If we allow our emotions and feelings again, we can break out of our patterns and leave them behind. Then we no longer need the above-mentioned strategies for suppressing emotions.

The energy we needed to suppress the feelings is now freely available to us again. We feel alive again. Free.

When we allow ourselves to feel our emotions again, we deal differently with ourselves and automatically with others.


How to recognise if you are suppressing emotions

Are you often triggered by situations or other people? Or do you sometimes feel like you are on autopilot?

If you were able to answer these questions in the affirmative, then it is very likely that you are suppressing feelings.

If we feel triggered by other people, e.g. by the boss, the mother-in-law, the neighbour etc. and we get angry, this means that the anger (or any other emotion) was already stored in us. The person who "triggers" us merely touches the emotion stored in us again, brings it out of hiding. Because we don't know that we have suppressed the emotion, we blame the other person or the situation for how we are feeling and tell ourselves stories about it.

If we can feel emotions in a healthy way, other people can no longer trigger us. We just feel the emotion and that's it.

As mentioned above, all behaviour is based on emotion. When we act unconsciously and suppress our emotions, we direct our behaviour to experience as little pain as possible. This means we behave in ways we might not want to behave or we don't do things we want to do. Just so we don't suppress feelings we don't want to feel.


How to stop repressing emotions and feel and allow them again

When we go from our head back into our heart and feel what our body feels. Not what we think it might be feeling now. Feel what body sensation is here right now. Perceive.

What's here now? Now.

Be still.

What are you feeling in your body right now?

Where in your body do you feel this?

Every emotion is accompanied by certain body sensations. If these body sensations were not there, how would we know what we are feeling?

With this tracking exercise, you can begin to reconnect with your emotions.

I am happy to support you in your liberation with the profound Journey® method to let go of emotional pain, learn to feel emotions again, learn to feel yourself again, forgive yourself and others.

For more information on releasing with THE JOURNEY®, visit Emotional Release Therapy and The Journey® or feel free to call me.

Emotions are stored as cell memories in the body
Stefanie Heinlein
Stefanie Heinlein

Stefanie Heinlein is an expert on narcissism, alternative practitioner & mentor. Her mission: Emotional Release & working with the subconscious. She supports people to free themselves from the shackles of their emotional injuries and traumas, and the related repressed emotions and patterns, regardless of the cause. Her particular area of heart and specialisation is supporting women to release their narcissistic trauma so that they can once again live a self-determined life with self-love, self-worth and self-confidence.

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