But these two words also have meanings far beyond the physical that are useful in understanding the human experience, happiness, and life satisfaction. It is this: both of these words describe feelings that are far more common than most people realize. But as a psychologist, I have seen, without a doubt, that countless people who seem absolutely fine on the outside walk through their lives feeling either empty or numb, or both, on the inside.
Childhood Emotional Neglect CEN : Happens when your parents are not aware enough of your feelings and emotional needs as they raise you. Imagine a child growing up in a family with his feelings essentially ignored.
That process, usually — not always — unintentional on the part of the parents, is the crux of Childhood Emotional Neglect and the reason why so many people, who are otherwise just fine, are walking through their lives feeling periodically empty or numb.
Here is an excerpt from that book slightly edited for clarity :. Few people come to therapy because they feel empty, or numb, inside. Nor is it experienced by most people as a symptom that interferes with their lives.
Some people experience it physically, as an empty space in their belly or chest. Others experience it more as emotional numbness. I have found that most emotionally neglected people who come to therapy for anxiety, depression, or family-related problems, for example, eventually express these empty feelings in some way. Typically the emptiness is chronic and has ebbed and flowed over the course of their lives. It may be difficult to imagine what would make a person feel this way. The answer lies in the lack of emotional responses from parents during childhood.
Here I would like to remind you that human beings are designed to feel emotion. When that design is short-circuited, first by emotionally neglectful parents and later continued by the child himself as an adult, it throws off the whole system. Imagine ice-cream made without sugar or a computer program in which some of the most basic commands have been removed.
Such is the malfunction of the human psyche when emotions are pushed out of it. In many ways, emptiness or numbness is worse than pain. Many people have told me that they would far prefer feeling anything to nothing. It is very difficult to acknowledge, make sense of, or put into words something that is absent. Numbness seems like nothing to most people.
And nothing is nothing, neither bad nor good. Emptiness or numbness is actually a feeling in and of itself. And I have discovered that it is a feeling that can be very intense and powerful. In fact, it has the power to drive people to do extreme things to escape.While these words were likely spoken without consciously intending us long-term harm, they nevertheless point to a common and undeniably tragic truth in our society: that expressing your emotions is a sign of weakness, rather than strength.
If you were born into a family that shunned any form of strong emotional expression, it is even more likely that emotional numbing is an issue for you.
So how does emotional numbness impact virtually every part of our life? And what advice can I share with you after going through my own struggle with this issue? Emotional numbness is a defense mechanism employed by the mind to avoid intense and overwhelming emotions such as fear, hatred, jealousy, and grief.
When you go emotionally numb, you lose the ability to feel and experience your emotions on a psychological and emotional level. As with most issues, emotional numbness goes back to childhood and the way we were raised by our parents. Being abused by our parents physically, emotionally, sexually, psychologically, or spiritually can contribute towards our inability to self- regulate emotionswhich results in emotional numbness.
Feeling alienated or disconnected from one or both of our parents, or family at large, can also contribute towards emotional numbness. Being punished whether directly or indirectly for expressing our emotions in childhood also creates emotional numbness.
For this reason, emotional numbness is often a symptom of PTSD and various anxiety disorders. Emotional numbness is also influenced by our culture and wider social circles, particularly those that emphasize being stoic, rational, and emotionally invulnerable e. Speaking from experience, emotional numbness has formed the root of many issues I have faced and still continue to face in my life. Due to my upbringing in an emotionally stunted, dogmatically religious family whom I felt disconnected from for the majority of my life, I never learned how to handle strong emotions.
I was punished verbally, emotionally or physically anytime I expressed strong emotions, and freethinking or any form of dissent was rejected, resulting in being ostracized. As you can see, sometimes there are numerous factors at play that may contribute to your inability to regulate intense emotions, and therefore resort to unconsciously numbing them.
The danger of disconnecting from your emotions is that it can lead to a host of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual issues. Such issues may include dysfunctional coping mechanisms obsessive compulsionsmild to severe depression, spiritual emptiness, inability to enjoy life, inability to form close and fulfilling relationships, disconnection from inner self, confusion, irritability, fatigue, addictions, chronic illnesses, and somatic illnesses illnesses produced by the mind.
I call emotional numbness the secret illness because it is so pervasive in our society, and so socially acceptable, that it often flies underneath the radar. Emotional detachment is not always a bad thing. It comes in handy when you need to maintain boundaries, avoid undesired energy overload from others, and even help others in crisis situations. But emotional detachment turns into its unhealthy twin emotional numbness when it becomes an automatic inner defense mechanism.
Here are some of the most significant signs of emotional numbness that you should look out for:.
In extreme circumstances such as in PTSD sufferersemotional numbness may even influence the desire to commit suicide. Like any psychological defense mechanism, emotional numbing can be complex to deal with, and often requires support from a trained professional such as a therapist.
If you feel that emotional numbness is significantly impairing your life, please do an act of self-compassion and seek out support either locally or online there are even free counseling services online such as 7cups. For the time being, here are some helpful practices which I have personally found to increase my ability to feel, cope with, and express strong emotions:.
As mentioned above, emotional numbing is connected to dissociation mental disconnection from one part of yourself.Causes of Emotional Numbness
In my case, whenever I experience strong emotions, my automatic response is to either a only feel the emotions in my body, not my mind, or b to have a complete meltdown.Last Updated: July 22, References.
This article was co-authored by Liana Georgoulis, PsyD.
She received her Doctor of Psychology from Pepperdine University in Her practice provides cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidence-based therapies for adolescents, adults, and couples. There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 39, times. Emotional numbness can result from many things. Do things that help you open up slowly, like journaling and reducing your stress levels.
Isolating yourself can make you feel more disconnected, so make time to see friends and family regularly. You should also practice expressing your feelings through creative outlets. For example, you might write, dance, listen to music, or paint to help yourself feel better.
When you start to feel numb, sit down in a chair and focus on your bodily sensations, like your breathing and the feeling of the ground beneath your feet. This will help you stay grounded and prevent you from feeling any more disconnected. To learn how to keep healthy habits to help your mental health, read on.
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A person may also notice a temporary feeling of dissociation or disconnection from the body and the outside world. Emotional numbness can be a symptom of severe stress. It may also indicate a more persistent mental health condition, such as post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD or depersonalization-derealization disorder. People who experience severe, persistent, or recurrent symptoms should try to seek medical advice.
In this article, learn about how to recognize the symptoms of emotional numbness and what to do if they occur. Emotional numbness, also known as affective blunting, means that a person is unable to experience emotions. Alternatively, they may feel as though they are cut off from their own emotions. Emotional numbness can be a symptom of depersonalization-derealization disorder, which can, in turn, be a symptom of other dissociative disorders.
In a person with depersonalization-derealization disorder, there is a persistent disruption of self-awareness. The four main symptoms of depersonalization-derealization disorder are:. Disassociation and derealization are different from hallucinations because the person is aware that what they are feeling only affects them.
Doctors do not know exactly what causes emotional numbness and disconnectedness. The causes may be different for temporary numbness than they are for depersonalization-derealization disorder.
Some causes of temporary emotional numbness that do not appear to have a link with depersonalization-derealization disorder include:.
Researchers are still investigating how, why, and when depersonalization-derealization disorder occurs, but the following may play a role:. There may also be a link between depersonalization-derealization disorder and:. Emotional numbness is a key symptom of PTSD. Learn more about PTSD here. Another study looked at 38 people with bipolar disorder who took SSRIs to treat anxiety or depression.
Some research suggests that emotional numbness may develop as a sort of coping mechanism when a person is facing extreme stress. It can help a person avoid processing information that is shocking or upsetting.
A 6-year study from followed nearly 3, children who had had exposure to violence. The authors found that the young people became increasingly desensitized, or emotionally numb, over time.
Some experts have suggested that emotional numbness may result from a depletion of emotional resources after a period of high emotion, such as stress. Emotional numbness may help people cope with difficult feelings, but it can also affect their ability to make decisions and connect with others. Addressing the underlying stress and any other issues can often help a person manage the symptoms of numbness.Emotional numbness is something most people will experience at some point in their life. Quite often, the feeling is temporary.
However, for some, feeling emotionally numb becomes a way of life to protect from further emotional or physical pain. Emotions are a critical part of how we function in life. Not only do emotions provide automatic feedback that can help keep you safe, but they can also motivate you to take action and empower you to make decisions. While this may provide temporary relief, learning to cope with difficult feelings this way can have long-lasting consequences.
Often times, emotional numbing results in temporary restrictions in the capacity to feel or express emotions. Ultimately, it becomes a coping tool defined by avoidance, denial, detachment, and dismissal that blocks capacity for confronting, processing, problem-solving, and managing of emotions and experiences. The symptoms of emotional numbing include:.
Emotional numbing can happen as a result of physical or emotional pain. When this happens, you may feel temporary relief that allows you to move on with your life, but over time, this protective shield can begin to get in the way of connecting with others and getting in touch with feelings that are both positive and negative. How one person experiences emotional numbness may look completely different from how you present with symptoms.
For example, you may struggle to connect with others or lose the ability to feel sadness or joy in response to certain events. There are a variety of reasons you may experience emotional numbing. Feeling emotionally numb may also be a side effect of taking some medications that treat depression and anxiety. They may choose to adjust your dosage or change the medication altogether.
Emotional numbing is most often seen with post-traumatic stress disorder PTSDwhich is a psychiatric disorder that can happen as a result of experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. In order to cope with the trauma from an event, some people will turn to emotional numbing or avoidance as a way to manage the emotional and physical pain.
Individuals diagnosed with anxiety disorders may also experience emotional numbness as a response to extremely high-stress levels, fear reactions, or excessive worry.
In fact, avoidance of both positive and negative emotions is associated with higher levels of anxiety. Additionally, Mendez points out that depressive episodes may present with decreased attunement to feelings, dulling of emotions, and emotional numbing. There are a variety of treatment options available that can help you reduce the extent to which you try to escape, disengage from, or avoid your emotions.
Once you find a therapist or psychologist to work with, the first step in the treatment process is unpacking the cause of your emotional numbing. A therapist can help you determine the underlying cause of the trauma, and come up with better ways to cope with overtaxing experiences and emotions.
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression or another mental health condition, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA National Helpline at for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. The primary goal of psychotherapysays Mendez, is to stimulate an understanding of the problem and expose viable and effective problem-solving alternatives. Additionally, participation in psychotherapy may also support learning and use of productive coping tools such as allowing feelings to surface and processing them in the safe, nurturing environment of the therapeutic relationship.
Whichever therapy you choose, getting help can provide you with a safe place to express and approach your emotions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy CBT gives you the opportunity to express and understand your emotions, as well as examine the sources of those emotional responses.
It also addresses how certain thoughts or ways of evaluating a situation may be contributing to your emotions. Rather than avoiding or using maladaptive coping tools such as numbingCBT strategies aim to empower you to shift from thoughts of powerless to beliefs of strength and emotional competence. ACT uses a mindfulness-based approach to help you recognize ways in which you attempt to suppress or control emotional experiences. The goal of ACT is to help you experience your inner feelings while focusing attention on living a meaningful life.
In addition to psychotherapy, your doctor or therapist may also recommend several lifestyle modifications to help relieve some of the symptoms of emotional numbing, and hopefully, prevent more episodes from happening in the future. While it may take a bit of trial and error, the key to the success of lifestyle modifications is to find what works best for you.In psychologyemotional detachmentalso known as emotional bluntinghas two meanings: one is the inability to connect to others on an emotional level; the other is as a positive means of coping with anxiety.
This coping strategy, also known as emotion focused-copingis used by avoiding certain situations that might trigger anxiety. Emotional detachment may be a temporary reaction to a stressful situation, or a chronic condition such as depersonalization-derealization disorder. It may also be caused by certain antidepressants. Emotional blunting as reduced affect display is one of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Emotional detachment may not be as outwardly obvious as other psychiatric symptoms.
Patients diagnosed with emotional detachment have reduced ability to express emotion, to empathize with others or to form powerful emotional connections. Patients are also at an increased risk for many anxiety and stress disorders. This can lead to difficulties in creating and maintaining personal relationships. The person may move elsewhere in their mind and appear preoccupied or "not entirely present", or they may seem fully present but exhibit purely intellectual behavior when emotional behavior would be appropriate.
They may have a hard time being a loving family member, or they may avoid activities, places, and people associated with past traumas. Their dissociation can lead to lack of attention and, hence, to memory problems and in extreme cases, amnesia. In some cases, they present an extreme difficulty in giving or receiving empathy which can be related to the spectrum of narcissistic personality disorder.
Emotional detachment or emotional blunting often arises due to adverse childhood experiencesor to psychological trauma in adulthood. Emotional blunting is often caused by antidepressants in particular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors SSRIs used in major depressive disorderand often as an add-on treatment in other psychiatric disorders.
Emotional detachment is a behavior which allows a person to react calmly to highly emotional circumstances. Emotional detachment in this sense is a decision to avoid engaging emotional connections, rather than an inability or difficulty in doing so, typically for personal, social, or other reasons. In this sense it can allow people to maintain boundaries, psychic integrity and avoid undesired impact by or upon others, related to emotional demands.
As such it is a deliberate mental attitude which avoids engaging the emotions of others. This detachment does not necessarily mean avoiding empathy ; rather, it allows the person to rationally choose whether or not to be overwhelmed or manipulated by such feelings. Examples where this is used in a positive sense might include emotional boundary management, where a person avoids emotional levels of engagement related to people who are in some way emotionally overly demanding, such as difficult co-workers or relatives, or is adopted to aid the person in helping others.
Emotional detachment can also be "emotional numbing", "emotional blunting", i. This type of emotional numbing or blunting is a disconnection from emotion, it is frequently used as a coping survival skill during traumatic childhood events such as abuse or severe neglect.
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Over time and with much use, this can become second nature when dealing with day to day stressors. Emotional detachment may allow acts of extreme cruelty and abusesupported by the decision to not connect empathically with the person concerned. Social ostracismsuch as shunning and parental alienationare other examples where decisions to shut out a person creates a psychological trauma for the shunned party.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See also: Reduced affect display. For other uses, see Detachment disambiguation. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages. This article needs attention from an expert in Psychology. Please add a reason or a talk parameter to this template to explain the issue with the article.
WikiProject Psychology may be able to help recruit an expert. April This article needs additional citations for verification.Yet, this would not be our pick in the game. Even though Rafa Benitez and his team are at home, Leicester City are on a strong run of form.
Craig Shakespeare has seen his team manage only one away victory in the season, but they have been unbeaten in the last five on the road. Four of those matches have finished as a draw, but Leicester have been able to win the last four games against Newcastle. Our preview would go with a victory for Leicester. Newcastle have suffered a poor run of results due to terrible defending in recent weeks.
The team has conceded at almost 3 goals per game in the last six matches. Leicester have been more pragmatic in their approach at both ends of the pitch after scoring eight and conceding six in the last six league matches.
7 Signs You Are Emotionally Numb
The matches involving Newcastle have witnessed more than 2. While Leicester City have not seen such a high frequency of high-scoring matches in recent times, these two teams are expected to play out a game with more than 2. Our total goals prediction is for more than 2. The England international has come up with seven goals for the season. Rafa Benitez has seen his team go through an extended period of poor form, and it has resulted in Newcastle dropping to 15th place in the table.
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