Do You Want To Be Numb Forever?
Emotions are what makes us humans.
Emotional avoidance as a coping mechanism works for a while, but ultimately, your trauma and feelings are going to find a way to creep back. When the flood gate bursts open, you may be shocked, feel out of control, and frightened by your own behaviors. You may then turn to drastic measures to push the feelings back down, engaging in alcohol and drug abuse, overspending, bingeing, self-mutilation, and other impulsive behaviors.
If left untreated, emotional numbness can manifest itself in the form of chronic physical ailments. It is a vicious cycle that becomes exasperating and physically draining, leaving you with even lesser energy to engage with family and friends. To its extreme, just like many who have PTSD or Complex PTSD, you may develop suicidal ideations.
When we turn away from what we consider as negative emotions, we also say goodbye to joy, love, and all that life has to offer. In the end, we are lonely and stranded in a cold, barren place. There will always be a voice inside us that reminds us we are wasting our lives away without living fully.
Inside of you is a wild, innocent and playful child.
Deep down, you long to live life with your full heart, to feel safe and held by others around you, and to love them without holding back.
Numbness as a survival strategy does not have to be forever. Through the construction of emotional skills and resilience, you can begin to dip your feet into the deep waters of feeling. You can start with small steps such as learning the language of emotions or building the ability to regulate. Slowly but surely, you will re-open the door to experience life’s joy, abundance, and aliveness—things that a hidden part of you has long been yearning for.
“Dissociation, a form of hypnotic trance, helps children survive the abuse…The abuse takes on a dream-like, surreal quality and deadened feelings and altered perceptions add to the strangeness. The whole scene does not fit into the ‘real world.’ It is simple to forget, easy to believe nothing happened.” ― Renee Fredrickson
Things You Can Do To Overcome Emotional Numbness
Emotional numbness is a complex psychological condition. It requires courage and commitment, but layer-by-layer, you can peel back layers of armor and reclaim the true self that has long waited for your attention.
Here are some of the healing steps in this process.
1. Let go of any guilt or shame that comes from being numb.
As we stated earlier, emotional numbness is a psychological response and not something that you have consciously chosen. Your inability to express feelings for others might have hurt and disappointed those that are the closest to you. Perhaps you have lost a few loving relationships along the way.
The past cannot be undone, it does not have to mean you carry shame or guilt for the rest of your life. Remember, your numbness grew out of pain and was nothing but a desperate attempt to survive. Approach your numbness with compassion, and even gratitude. Love yourself, rather than condemn yourself, back into life.
2. Embrace tenderness.
As you first thaw the armor that you have held up for years, you may be overcome with a tsunami of emotions as you reveal your true feelings. You may feel tender, emotional, and surprise yourself with bursts of laughter and years.
Fear not, as you are simply returning to your natural state. Your body will slowly learn that it is safe to feel feelings. Very soon, you will even enjoy the sense of aliveness and connection it gives you. Even if it is a turbulent ride, it is a glorious one.