This post was updated on Feb 21, 2023
Experiencing intense feelings is an integral part of being human. Our deepest feelings, whether it’s sadness, anger, or joy, power our most interesting and vivid behavior. But what if you feel empty? Is being numb the same as being emotionless? Is it even possible to be entirely emotionless?
Feeling detached and lacking emotion can be a sign of deep emotional intimacy issues, as well as a range of medical conditions. At times, we may even choose to be emotionless for fear of succumbing to the weight and intensity of our feelings and emotions. In this article, we explore why someone would lack emotion and how one can deal with a person who is experiencing emotional blockage. Keep on reading.
Can A Person Be Emotionless?
Have you ever felt detached and disconnected from your emotions? The answer is probably yes. You may have felt that way when you were overwhelmed with everything going on in your life, and realized at one point that you actually felt nothing. But was that really the case? Were you truly emotionless or were you just bottling up emotions?
It is entirely normal to detach yourself from your feelings when you are stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious. This does not mean that the emotions aren’t there – you’re simply not acknowledging them, or you may be trying to analyze them objectively and not let them overcome you.
This is known as emotional detachment, which can be a natural response to a stressful situation. However, emotional detachment can also result from trauma or abuse, as well as be a sign of several psychological conditions, including attachment and personality disorders.
What Causes A Person To Be Emotionless?
There is a wide range of possible reasons why you may feel numb or emotionless. Here are some of the most common causes of emotional detachment:
- Depression: Detachment is a common symptom of depression. When you’re depressed, you may feel little interest in things you used to enjoy, as well as have a sense of general apathy and indifference.
- Anxiety: Severe anxiety can also cause you to lose touch with your emotions. Detachment can serve as a protection mechanism for your anxious feelings and thoughts.
- Severe stress: Similarly, lacking emotion can also be a result of overwhelming stress. If you’ve had a stressful period in your life, detaching yourself from your emotions is an entirely natural response.
- Medication: Some medication used to treat depression and anxiety can cause emotional detachment. They can affect the way in which your brain processes emotion and mood, causing confusion and apathy.
- Abuse: Experiencing physical or emotional abuse and manipulation can cause a variety of issues, including emotional detachment. It is often easier for abuse victims to distance themselves from the experience and the emotions it has caused.
- Underlying disorders: Emotional detachment can also be a symptom of certain psychological conditions, such as reactive attachment disorder and several personality disorders.
Why Would Someone Hide Their Feelings?
At times, we may consciously decide to hide our feelings from others, for one reason or another. Emotional detachment, on one hand, is often a subconscious process – the individual experiencing it may not know why they lack emotion. On the other hand, you may make a conscious effort to hide or ignore your emotions. You may do so because:
You Don’t Want To Appear Weak
Openly showing your emotions usually means being vulnerable. It is entirely normal to fear exposing your vulnerabilities to other people, especially if you feel like they would judge you. For this reason, you may choose to hide your anger, fear, sadness, or frustration.
You Don’t Want To Get Hurt Or Hurt Others
If you want to avoid a painful conflict or put yourself in a situation where you may be emotionally manipulated, you might choose not to react negatively and hide your feelings. You may do so because you have issues with trust or lack faith in your conflict resolution abilities.
You Lack Confidence
If you’ve had your feelings invalidated since a young age, it’s possible that you’ve also learned to conceal them. Your parents or caregivers may have reprimanded you for emotional outbursts, whether positive or negative, so you no longer feel confident expressing your feelings and opinions.
How Do You Deal With An Emotionally Unavailable Relationship?
Having a loved one who is emotionally detached or unavailable can put quite a bit of strain on your relationship with them and your own mental health. Here’s what you can do to cope with an emotionally distant or unavailable person:
- Understand the causes: try to uncover the root causes of your loved one’s emotional detachment. Are they trying to avoid a conflict? Are they struggling with depression? Determining where they’re coming from can enable you to offer better help and deal with the situation.
- Offer support: your partner or family member may not want to show their feelings, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need support or validation from you. Show them that you are there for them, but don’t pressure them into opening up.
- Focus on yourself: instead of focusing all of your energy on getting your loved one to let their guard down, express your own feelings – explain to them how their emotional unavailability is affecting you without being accusatory.
- Don’t feel responsible for their feelings: while you may genuinely want to help your loved one get better and become more honest with their emotions, at the end of the day, their feelings are their own, not yours. Don’t try to manage or control them.
- Consider professional coaching: An experienced coach can help you and your loved one build trust and deepen intimacy. A professional will use expert tactics to calmly and supportively get your loved one to speak and open up.
Learn To Embrace Your Emotions With PIVOT Emotional Intimacy Coaching
While detaching yourself from your feelings can be quite helpful in certain situations, ignoring them for too long can have serious consequences on your mental and physical health. It can affect your relationships and hinder your ability to create strong bonds based on honesty and trust.
Luckily, you can rely on PIVOT Coaches to offer expert support through individual coaching and provide insightful advice in our relationship workshops. If you are ready to take the first step towards an emotionally balanced life, get in touch with a PIVOT Coach today.