Perhaps, when you get upset, you tend to shut down. you stop talking, stop making eye contact, and just kind of zone out. You know it’s not the most constructive way to deal with your emotions, but it’s how you’ve coped ever since you were a kid.
And now, even though you’re an adult, that’s still what you do when something bothers you. It’s not the healthiest way to deal with your emotions, but it’s how you’ve always coped. So why is that?
In today’s article, we help you go through a few possible reasons why you use this method of dealing with your emotions and what could have caused it. This way, you can reflect on it and work on the true source or root of this behavior to improve your well-being and find a better way of coping.
5 possible reasons why you shut down when you get upset:
1- You grew up not acknowledging your emotions:
Maybe a good reason for such a behaviour is if you grew up in a family where nobody really talked about their feelings. For instance, your parents would get mad at each other, but they never really talked it out. So instead of dealing with your emotions head-on, you just learned to bottle them up.
You sweep them under the rug and try to ignore them, but eventually, they all come spilling out. It’s like you bottle them up so that you can act like they don’t exist because you can’t take them anymore.
However, when you finally learn to express how you’re feeling, you will find more peace and be happier you did. Feelings or emotions are not weird, annoying, or cringy things that should be ignored at all costs. They are things that make you alive and that differentiate between us and inanimate objects or pieces of furniture.
They’re what makes us human and what makes life worth living. Be it good or bad ones, emotions always have a purpose so allow yourself to feel them, go through them openly and deal with them healthier.
2- Your role models in life didn’t know how to deal with their emotions:
We sometimes idealize our parents or role models in life, and we forget that they’re simply imperfect human beings. Maybe the person you respect the most and the one in whose footsteps you followed doesn’t let their emotions show. Just because they don’t, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Perhaps your role models in life, be it your parents or teachers; never showed their emotions, so you don’t know that it’s OK to express yourself. Maybe you were even taught that emotions are bad or that you should be ashamed of them. So instead of learning how to deal with your emotions in a healthy way, you just suppress them and pretend everything is OK.
But slowly over the years, you realised that emotions build up and come out in other ways; like anger, anxiety, or depression. So now you think it’s important to learn how to deal with your emotions in a healthy way. That’s a good first step and it’s never too late to start living in a healthier and more balanced way, even if it’s uncomfortable at first.
3- You don’t want to be weak and emotional:
One clear reason why you might want to keep your emotions bottled up is that you might not like to show people your vulnerability. When you’re feeling emotional, it can feel like you’re exposing yourself in a way that makes you weak and exposed, to everyone and anyone. As a result, you try to retreat into yourself in order to protect yourself.
Additionally, you might shut down because you don’t want to seem feeble or emotionally unstable. You unconsciously think it will allow someone you’re not that close with to share an emotionally intimate and personal moment with you. Or, you just don’t want to look like you don’t have your things together and so you’re not only very conscious and aware of other people’s eyes, but you also associate emotions with weakness in your head.
So even though nobody is looking, you could still find it hard to express your emotions because you refuse to admit that you’re so sensitive or delicate. In our society, there is a lot of pressure to be strong and independent. As a result, admitting that you’re struggling can feel like you’re failing to live up to that ideal, even if it’s just admitting to your own self.
However, shutting down only makes it harder to deal with your emotions in a healthy way. Giving yourself a break and allowing yourself to feel and express your emotions is not a sign of weakness. In fact, this type of thinking can be toxic and self-consuming.
Emotions, feelings, and sensations are a part of you that you should learn to accept and express rather than suppress and deny. Because there’s nothing shameful or weak about being a little shaken up, emotionally tired, or sad whether you think you have valid reasons or just need a break.
So, allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions, and then let them go when you’re ready. You might find it hard at first, but it will get easier with practice. And who knows, you might even find that embracing your emotions can make you a kinder and more porsitive person. It can also make them a little bit less scary after all.
4- You’re too rigid or strict and critical of yourself:
A last possible reason that we will discuss today is that you’re too rigid or strict and critical of yourself. In this case, you need to learn to be more flexible and tolerant of yourself.
If whenever you’re upset, you tend to shut down emotionally and mentally then it could be because you’re unconsciously too harsh on yourself. Maybe you don’t allow yourself the smallest faux-pas and so allowing yourself to go through your feelings would be too much to ask for.
If this is what is happening to you then you need to learn how to express your emotions in a more constructive way. You also need to learn how to listen to your emotions and intuition so you can better understand what’s causing you to get upset. In any way, it will benefit you a lot to start talking to yourself like you would talk to someone you love. Check this article out to find out more on that.
5- You have been punished for expressing your feelings in the past:
You might shut down when you’re upset because you’ve been punished for expressing your feelings in the past. Maybe you have gone through some type of abuse or traumatic childhood where expressing anger or sadness was too much to ask for, and that you thought you should just bottle it up and pretend everything is okay.
As a result, you’ve learned to suppress your emotions, and now they probably come out in other ways. You might lash out at people who don’t deserve it, or you might become withdrawn and isolate yourself from the people who care about you. Either way, it’s important to find a healthy way to express your emotions.
As mentioned many times before: shutting down only makes things worse in the long run.
It’s no fun feeling angry or sad, so you might try to push those emotions away as quickly as possible. But unfortunately, that often just makes things worse in the long run. When you bottle up your feelings, they have a tendency to come out in other ways; like snapping at friends or family members, or comfort eating.
And even if you’re successful in pushing your emotions down, they’ll still be there simmering under the surface, which can make you feel even more stressed and anxious. So next time you’re feeling upset, instead of shutting down, try to be a little bit gentler on yourself.