Mental health, emotional wellbeing & personal development

How to reverse emotional detachment

How to reverse emotional detachment

We all tend to put up emotional barriers as we wend our way through life. When we get hurt or are left disappointed by people we care for and trust, the wall gets a little higher.

Some people are naturally less emotional than others. For instance, some people are highly analytical and may possess less emotional intelligence than others. I have found (this is anecdotal and I am generalising) that people in analytical careers – such as scientific based jobs tend to be more analytical than emotional (you could always try the Myers-Briggs test to find out your personality type – here is a simlar version to Myers Briggs). My result was: Campaigner ENFP-T

True emotional detachment

True emotional detachment comes from a learned defense mechanism. People do this to escape the pain and the hurt and almost become ‘numb’ to emotional experiences. The problem with this strategy is that you end up “unplugged”. You become an observer of life, not an active participant. When you ‘unplug’ you don’t feel the lows but you also don’t experience the highs. In essence you aren’t really living, you are merely existing.

This is no way to live. You will feel empty and isolated and this will ultimately worsen the situation. It is far better to learn how to cope with the lows than try to avoid them altogether.

How to reverse emotional detachment

As a general rule, the longer you have lived in ’emotional Siberia’ the longer it will take to rejoin the emotional landscape.

Start by identifying emotions that you might be feeling. Some of my clients have been numb for so long that they can’t even identify emotions within themselves.

Label them:  “Aaah, today I felt anger when I was stuck in traffic.” or “I felt frustration waiting in the queue at the bank”. Start to become aware of the emotions – this is the first step.

Begin to ‘sit’ with the emotion. Really feel what the emotion is doing to your body. Are there any physcial symptoms such as a racing heart, sweaty palms? Instead of desperately trying to distance yourself from the emotion, learn to experience it fully. When you do this you will realise that you can cope with it. Avoidance just allows the fear to grow even more. Face your emotions -learn to live with them. They are great compasses in life and help to give us direction.

Emotions help to signal whether we are on the right path or the wrong track. Learn to use them wisely instead of fear them.

Mandy X



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