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18 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because You're Repressing Your Feelings

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There are many reasons someone might repress their feelings. Maybe you grew up in an abusive environment and suppressing your feelings was the only way to get through it. Maybe you close yourself off emotionally because you fear being “too much” for others. Or maybe you don’t feel like you deserve to feel your feelings, and shame yourself for being “weak” when you experience them.

Whatever your experience with repressing feelings is like, please know you’re not alone. We asked our Mighty community to share what repressing feelings “looks” like for them.

Remember: you deserve to express your feelings in a safe and validating environment. Letting your feelings out (and letting go of shame) is often the first step in working through them. While repressing feelings can sometimes be a short-term coping strategy, we hope you eventually find a way to let them out.

Here’s what they shared with us:

  1. I get extremely quiet and disconnected from everything and have mood swings. People think I have an attitude and don’t wanna be bothered, but my mind just kinda shuts off. It’s blank. And I can’t really engage in meaningful conversations or interaction with others. The smallest things will trigger my mood to switch. I just recently started grinding my teeth/clenching my jaw, especially if I’m lying down.” — Milli M.
  2. “I become uncharacteristically talkative. I get very busy. I try to fix problems that aren’t really problems and take care of everyone else. Anything to avoid having quiet, space and time to feel.” — Jessa L.
  3. “I play therapist. I let people get it all out to me, so I can avoid talking about my own problems and feelings.” — Shawna H.
  4. “Smiling. I rarely have a genuine smile. About 90 percent of my smiles are completely fake and most people never know.” — Susan T.
  5. “I anxiously scratch a certain part of my palm, most of the time not realizing I’m doing so. Some days to the point of bleeding.” — Kayla G.
  6. “Isolating myself. No one gets that it’s not because I’ve a busy life, it’s literally because I’m so overwhelmed with everything I’m feeling and thinking that it leaves me no energy to be social.” — Eesha I.
  7. “I get annoyed and moody, which leads me to lash out at people I love. I don’t mean to, but sometimes it all gets [to be] too much and my repressed anxiety or depression turns into rage and aggression without me being able to control it.” — Jade K.
  8. “I’ll become very quiet, quite unusual to what I’d usually be like, but I’ll make sure to smile and nod when appropriate. If asked if everything is OK, I’ll smile even wider, nod even more and tell them all is fine, I’m just tired.” — Veronica C.
  9. “Clenching my jaw.” — Anita M.
  10. “Overeat and dissociate… my relationship with food is so screwy because of conditioning and relating food to emotion. Plus, I get exhausted so much more easily that I dissociate really badly.” — Samantha M.
  11. “Planning constantly, rewriting lists to organize things (that don’t necessarily exist or aren’t important).” — Adira S.
  12. “I would say I use my humor and tell jokes and puns in order to appear like I have it all together. It’s very isolating and I feel very alone and scared.” — Amy J.
  13. “Being overly cheerful and helpful to others. Distracts from the feelings that want to gush out and drown me. Once they are out, I’m on autopilot, distant and quiet and I snuff the energy and happiness out of the room with my mere presence (I’ve been told).” — Ledia W.
  14. “Probably [by] face picking (pores).” — Shelley L.
  15. “Laughing at the wrong moments… I did it earlier and my friend asked, ‘Why are you laughing?’ with a serious face. I can’t remember what she was saying, but something in her kitchen triggered me and I didn’t know how to act appropriately in the situation because of fear of judgment.” — Chloe C.
  16. “I’ll tell myself what I think/feel doesn’t matter or isn’t as important as the other person’s thoughts/feelings.” — Kalia J.
  17. “I drink a lot more alcohol than I should, as the alcohol makes me have a temporary improvement in mood and makes me more confident. That makes the facade of ‘happiness’ easier to uphold. I know it won’t last, but it makes people see me as I want them to, not as I am.” — Liv W.
  18. “I always change the subject or start asking the other person questions about themselves.” — Carolyn A.
Originally published: May 7, 2018
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