What does it mean to be emotionally integrated? Well, according to The Whole Health Center, this state refers to being “able to feel our emotions, acknowledge them, and take responsibility for their appropriate expression in a way that still leaves us feeling whole.”
Being emotionally detached, however, is when a person struggles to connect with the feelings of others. For example, to protect themselves emotionally, a person may display an unwillingness (or inability) to get involved in the lives of others. Perhaps they fear getting hurt by others or be taken advantage of in some way. In many cases, being emotionally detached is a coping mechanism after experiencing stressful or traumatic situations. At the same time, it can be a symptom of an underlying mental health condition.
Additionally, COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns have had an isolating impact on many. For some, physical contact – something we used to take for granted – has been limited for extended periods. Thus, leading to loneliness and detachment. Although video conferencing and social media can help, there is nothing like a hug from a loved one and an engaging face-to-face conversation. As vaccinations are being rolled out and restrictions lifted, many find the challenge now is to reestablish emotionally healthy and rewarding connections with others.
What Happens When We Shut Off our Emotions?
Being closed off emotionally doesn’t always mean that someone is a loner or prefers to isolate himself from others. A common issue is that a person may find it hard to empathize with those around them, whether at work, at school, or within the family. They may struggle to see other people’s points of view because they find it difficult (or don’t know how) to connect with others on a deeper level. They may enjoy “socializing” but have issues genuinely opening up and sharing their true feelings. Thus, resulting in poor listening skills, impatience or irritation when conversing, and difficulty truly bond with those around them.
Why Do Some Shut off Their Emotions?
The reasons can vary. Past neglect, abuse, or trauma are among the most common. Children who grow up in a toxic environment often grow up to be emotionally detached adults, as they have learned to use this as a way of coping with their surroundings. These troubling experiences can lead to various mental health conditions, including personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, depression, or bipolar disorder.
Furthermore, it is important to note that emotional detachment can also be a side effect of certain medications, such as antidepressants or SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Substance abuse can also be a cause. However, in less severe cases, people may shut their emotions down to establish boundaries and lessen feelings of stress or anxiety.
We are sure you would agree that we can’t connect deeply with everyone. So, in some cases, a certain level of emotional detachment can be positive and even healthy. However, suppose it becomes a pattern with most people around us (especially those worthy of our trust and affection). In that case, emotional detachment can quickly become an issue as it can prevent us from gaining and maintaining healthy relationships.
Emotionally Integrated – The Challenges
If you struggle to be emotionally integrated and you see that it’s affecting your life negatively, it is recommended that you speak to a professional. Treatments and recommendations may vary according to the cause and severity of the issue. If a mental health condition such as PTSD, a personality disorder, depression, etc., is the cause, a mental health professional will likely suggest specific treatments to alleviate the symptoms. However, suppose you are struggling to be emotionally integrated because of relationship issues or just the daily stresses of life. If so, this may call for self-examination – a pause and reset – to reestablish priorities, habits, and values.
For example, because we live in such a fast-paced society, something as simple as being more aware of your emotions can be challenging. Just taking the time to stop, think, and assess how the world around us and the activities we are involved in are impacting us, can do us much good. For more tips and suggestions, read our article, The Health Benefits of Being Aware of Your Thoughts.
As soon as you begin being more aware of your emotions, finding people who can support you will also be essential. Doing so is imperative if you have been shutting emotions off due to past negative experiences. If you surround yourself with loving and caring people who strive to understand you and your needs, it will become easier to express yourself emotionally. Your support network will make you feel that you’re in a safe space just to be “you.”
What Happens When We Are Emotionally Integrated?
When we learn how to get in touch with our emotions in a healthy way, we will be more aware of ourselves, and we will understand our feelings and be able to empathize with the feelings of others. We will express our emotions, thoughts, and concerns, and we will bond with others and enjoy rich and enduring relationships.
To assist people in achieving this worthwhile goal, we provide several emotional therapies that help address past traumatic experiences and relieve specific emotional blocks that have limited one’s capacity to find inner peace, balance, and make connections. To learn more, read our article How to Find Emotional Balance
Read about some of our therapies here:
- Bio-Energetic Restoration
- The EVOX System – Emotional Perception Reframing
- EFT – Emotional Freedom Techniques (Tapping)
Also, please feel free to contact us directly. We will be happy to explain to you the many benefits our emotional therapies can provide.
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