The Hidden Problem of Ignoring and Suppressing Your Emotions

Learning how to stop ignoring your emotions will help you have peace when things get hard.

Scarlett O’Hara is (in)famous for declaring: “I’m not going to think about that today, I’ll think about it tomorrow.” Many of us, myself included, live our lives just like that. When things are going hard or life happens, you tell yourself that you’ll deal with whatever emotions are coming up at another time.

You ignore or suppress how you feel about the things that are happening, which is not a great way to deal with things. It doesn’t get dealt with when you ignore or suppress what’s going on.

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Today, we’re going to look at ignoring and suppressing your emotions: why that is not a good thing to do and what you should do instead if you want to manage your emotions well when life happens.

I’ve been talking about learning how to manage our emotions by getting to the root of things, and a big part of that is understanding why you ignore and suppress your emotions. Doing that is really about pushing them aside or just flat-out denying them altogether instead of acknowledging them, owning them, accepting them, and processing them.

This can look a variety of ways. We’ve talked a bit about spiritual bypassing. One of the side effects of spiritual bypassing is the suppression of emotions. You might also be the kind of person who distracts yourself with different things – overdoing whatever that is.

You might put on a mask or facade of toxic fake positivity, pretending everything’s great and awesome because you’re ignoring what’s going on when you might be sad, angry, afraid, worried, and all those things.

Why do we do this? Why choose to ignore your emotions or deny them instead of feeling them, processing them, and growing?

Root Causes of Ignoring Your Emotions

Society’s Expectations

One of the reasons we do this is societal expectations. Society is all about the highlight reel; we just want to see you living your best life. You’re doing all these things. We have this idea of perfect Christianity that we talked about which is also something society puts on us. 

When you look at social media, you’re seeing everybody’s highlight reel. Everything’s great, wonderful, and perfect. They’re not showing the truth. There are no negative emotions or being vulnerable and honest with what that person’s life looks like. 

You begin to think that’s how your life should be too and then start striving for that facade.

Fear of Vulnerability

You’re also afraid of being vulnerable. We are very afraid of being judged, rejected, or belittled if we express our true emotions. Often this comes from experiencing this in the past. 

The last time you were open and honest, you were belittled, made to feel like there was something wrong with you, judged, and rejected, and you don’t want to experience that again because it hurts. 

Your Culture or Background

Sometimes your culture or family background plays a big role in this. If in your family or culture, emotions are not something people deal with, then that’s what you grow up doing, and that becomes your normal.

I can’t think of a single example from my family growing up of someone who managed their emotions well. Who had really healthy coping mechanisms, and did those things well. Instead, there were a lot of people around me who were out of control.

Because they were out of control, I didn’t have any examples of how to be in control. So, I grew up also being out of control. And then being shamed, judged, and criticized for being out of control when I didn’t know how to do anything different. 

I had to take it upon myself to learn to do better. To learn the healthy way to process emotions and deal with hard things in life because I didn’t want to be that example for my children.

Low or No EQ

This goes along with a lack of emotional awareness. Some of us have no EQ (emotional intelligence). No skills or awareness to identify what you’re feeling and express them effectively and healthily. So, when you don’t know what to do with something, you just ignore or deny it.

Trauma

A final reason that you tend to ignore suppressed emotions is trauma. It’s too painful to acknowledge, too painful to experience. As a way to keep yourself safe, you shut it down to keep yourself from further pain and trauma. 

If that is the case, you may need a lot of help and support. Go to your doctor, go to your mental health professional, get counseling, get therapy, get all of these things to really deal with that.

Impact of Ignoring Your Emotions

Your Mental Health

So what happens when you are in this habit of ignoring and suppressing your emotions? One thing is that your mental health will suffer. When you ignore or deny how you’re feeling, you are contributing to anxiety, depression, and a host of other mental health issues that come from unresolved feelings and trauma.

Your Emotional Wellness

You also have issues with your emotional well-being. A person who is constantly stuffing their emotions is a volatile person. I was this person for a long time. I was so accustomed to stuffing my emotions because they were overwhelming. 

I didn’t know what to do with them. And on the rare occasion that I tried to express them, I was always shamed and judged for it. I was volatile, like a walking volcano on the verge of erupting at any moment. 

I was moody; I’d be fine one minute and then I’d rage two seconds later. This is what happens when you’re bottling this up; you become emotionally unstable, which isn’t healthy.

Your Physical Health

You also have these physical effects because emotions and not dealing with them can lead to things like chronic stress, headaches, and tummy problems. There are lots of things that go on with you physically when you have chronic stress. And chronic stress is often a result of just unresolved emotions and things.

Your Spiritual Health

As a Christian, you might have spiritual disconnection. Part of spiritual bypassing is denying or repressing emotions out of fear that we’re not good Christians because we feel this way. 

All that does is put up a barrier, an obstacle, between you and God. Yes, as a Christian, you need your faith. It’s helpful and supportive, but because you have these negative beliefs, because you’re involved in the spiritual bypassing, you’re actually more disconnected from God because you’re not actually dealing with things.

Other Consequences of Ignoring Your Emotions

So, as you can see, there’s a lot of things that go on here. We’ve talked about how it impacts you mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Let’s take a look at some of these other negative impacts that come. 

Emotional Bottlenecking

Number one is emotional bottlenecking. This is like walking around like a volcano. You stuff and stuff and stuff, and then eventually you can’t stuff anymore, and it just comes out explosively: bouts of rage, uncontrollable crying. 

You’re going to have prolonged periods of emotional distress because it’s all these things that you’ve just built up over time. It’s going to come out. Psychologically, it takes a toll on your mental health. 

Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem. All of these things create a perfect storm for many mental health issues. You could probably avoid or at least lessen the impact if you deal with your emotions right away.

Personal Relationships

When it comes to relationships, you’re going to strain your relationships and mess up the community and your support system because of poor communication. You’re not being honest, you’re not being open, so you’re going to have difficulty in your communication. 

There might be resentment and conflict. People know when you’re hiding things, and they might resent you for it. You might resent them for not listening and understanding. All of that together is going to lead to isolation. 

You’re going to put up this big wall between you and the other people in your life who love you, care for you, and want to support you. Isolating yourself from them because you’re so afraid of being rejected, of being hurt, and it’s too much to handle.

Ignoring Your Emotions Effects Your Faith

Spiritually, your emotions are important because when you’re struggling emotionally, you don’t feel a close connection with God. It’s not just with God; it’s with others. When you are not being compassionate, kind, or showing empathy to yourself, you cannot do those things for other people. 

You have to be emotionally open and authentic to have good, strong connections with other people, and if you’re not first doing that for yourself, you can’t connect to other people. It’s also going to affect your ability to trust God.

Many times, I hear from women struggling to trust God. Honestly, what’s really at the root of that is that there’s some kind of emotion that they haven’t dealt with. There’s some kind of thought or belief that’s keeping them stuck, preventing them from trusting God. 

The biggest one is this idea that “I have to get myself all together before I can go talk to God about what’s going on.” That’s not the case. But we all have stories that we tell ourselves over and over again that cause us to ignore or suppress our feelings.

Practical Tips for Overcoming the Habit of Ignoring Your Emotions

What I want to encourage you to do here is to really think about and reflect on your own life. How have you seen ignoring and suppressing your emotions play out? Has it gone well? Has it not gone well? Are there things you would change?

 Are you noticing any patterns of behavior and things that happen when you ignore or suppress? Take a look at that and really ask yourself if that’s how you want to live your life.

Once you do that, you can move on to the next step, which is overcoming this habit of ignoring and suppressing emotions by embracing them. Learn to acknowledge your emotions and embrace them. 

Acknowledging your emotions is saying, “This is how I feel, and that’s okay.” No judgment, no criticism. Just this is how I feel. You want to acknowledge your emotions

You also want to identify your triggers and understand why you are getting triggered in the first place. A great way to do that is journaling. When you journal, you can write down all of these things that are going on in your life to see patterns and recognize your triggers.

You’re going to be able to understand what’s going on and why you’re feeling that way. I want you to get good at acknowledging how you feel. This may take some time, depending on how used to it you are or how familiar you are with identifying your emotions. 

When you have been suppressing and ignoring for so long, it may be difficult for you to identify how you feel. I know there was a time for me when, if you asked me how I felt about something, I would say, “I don’t know,” because I genuinely didn’t know. 

I didn’t know what I was feeling. I didn’t know what was going on in my body. So, I couldn’t tell you. It took me a long time to be able to recognize what was going on and identify what I was feeling.

Allow yourself to feel your emotions. Don’t push them down. Don’t run away from them. Don’t pretend they don’t exist. It’s okay to feel sad, angry, afraid, anxious, or whatever. Those feelings are real. They’re valid. You have them for a reason. They’re signals to you to let you know something’s going on in your life, and you need to address it. 

Give yourself grace and compassion. Be kind to yourself. One of the biggest things that I see, especially in Christian women, is the lack of self-compassion. We are so hard on ourselves. 

We have so much grace for other people but none for ourselves. We need to stop that. We need to have compassion for ourselves. We need to show kindness to ourselves. We need to give ourselves grace.

Finally, seek support. If you’re having trouble doing this on your own, if you’re struggling with this, seek support. Find someone you can talk to who can support you, whether it’s a counselor, a therapist, a coach, a friend, a pastor, someone who can support you in learning how to identify and acknowledge your emotions, learning how to embrace them, learning how to feel them and healthily process them.

As you do these things, you’re going to find that you can manage your emotions a lot better when life happens. You’re not going to be like Scarlett O’Hara, putting everything off till tomorrow. 

You’re going to deal with things right away. You’re going to process them right away. You’re going to be able to move forward in a healthier, more positive way, and you’re going to feel so much better.

So, take some time this week to reflect on how you’ve been ignoring and suppressing your emotions and how that’s been playing out in your life. Then, start taking steps to acknowledge and embrace your emotions so you can manage them well when life happens.

Learn to Stop Suppressing Your Emotions with the Peace-Filled Mind Course

Are you tired of feeling overwhelmed by your emotions but you’re not sure how to deal with them? Do you find yourself constantly pushing down your feelings, hoping that they’ll just go away? 

Ignoring or suppressing your emotions can feel like a temporary solution, but honestly, it just leads to more stress, more anxiety, more inner turmoil, and more of those emotions that you’re trying to avoid. 

Bottling up your emotions can leave you feeling awful, and one day you blow up like a volcano all over yourself, your life, and the people that are closest to you. Can you imagine what it’s like to do that every single day? 

It’s exhausting, and deep down, I am pretty sure that you know that’s not how you want to live your life. You deserve better than that! You deserve better than constantly hoping that you’re not going to blow up because you feel overwhelmed.

This is where the Peace-Filled Mind Group Course will come in handy because this program will give you a pathway to help you embrace your emotions and find inner peace without ignoring or suppressing them. 

Feeling like your faith isn’t enough to navigate through the storm? It’s tough when emotions feel like a tidal wave, and your faith feels distant amid chaos. But what if there was a way to find peace, deepen your faith, and embrace your emotions as a pathway to growth? The Peace-Filled Mind online course is where faith meets emotional resilience.

It’s designed specifically for highly sensitive and introverted Christian women who are going through hard times and are really struggling to manage those emotions. There are teachings and resources all designed to help you develop mindfulness habits, self-awareness, and healthy coping mechanisms. 

It will also help to strengthen your faith so that you can walk through life with the ability to heal, grow, have peace, rest, and hope no matter what life is throwing at you. If you’re ready to embrace your emotions and experience this peace of mind that God promises and that you long for come sign up for the course.

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