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Friday, May 3, 2013

Adults Who Were Traumatized As Children Are Often Afraid to Feel All of Their Feelings - Part 2

In my prior blog article,  Adults Who Are Traumatized As Children Are Often Afraid to Feel All Their Feelings  - Part 1, I began a discussion about how difficult it can be for traumatized adults to allow themselves to feel all their feelings.  Today, I would like to continue this discussion and focus on some of the consequences for adults when they continue to suppress uncomfortable feelings.

Suppressing Uncomfortable Feelings Can Have Many Negative Consequences
As I mentioned in my prior article, traumatized children often have no choice but to suppress their feelings.  It's often an adaptive thing to do because allowing themselves to feel uncomfortable feelings related to the trauma would be too overwhelming for them in most cases.

But when these same people become adults, if they continue to suppress uncomfortable feelings, it isn't useful any more.  As adults, suppressing uncomfortable feelings can cause all kinds of other emotional, physical and interpersonal problems.



Adults Who Are Traumatized as Children Are Often Afraid  to Feel All Their Feelings

Suppressing Uncomfortable Feelings Can Lead to the Following Emotional, Medical, Marital, Family, Career and Interpersonal Problems:

Depression and Anxiety 
When you suppress uncomfortable feelings, it can lead to depressive and anxiety-related disorders.  Why does this happen?  Well, when you suppress your feelings, these feelings don't just go away.  They often intensify.  The more you try to push them down, the more intense they become.  It becomes a vicious cycle that for many people can lead to serious episodes of depression and anxiety.

Medical Problems
Medical problems like migraines, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), insomnia, muscle aches, joint stiffness, and a compromised immune system are among the many physical problems that can result from suppressing feelings. 


Marital and Family Problems
Think of the employee at work who feels he must do everything possible to suppress his anger at his boss while he is at work.  Then, he comes home and he often loses his temper with his wife and children.  It's often not intentional--he just can't contain his feelings any more.  There can be misunderstandings between him and his wife or between him and his children because he's so distracted by his pent up feelings.

Career Problems
There can be so many ways that suppressed feelings can cause problems in a career.  It can cause poor communication with your boss or colleagues.  You also might not be picking up on social cues because all of your energy and focus is going into keeping your feelings down.  This can have disastrous consequences for your career.

Substance Abuse, Sex Addiction, Gambling and Other Impulsive and Addictive Behavior
Many people, who try to suppress feelings, turn to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex and other forms of addictive behavior in an effort not to feel their feelings.  Aside from the physical problems that addictive behavior can create, addiction ruins lives for those who are addicted as well as their loved ones.  Without help, it usually leads to a downward spiral 

Problems with Feeling Inauthentic to Yourself and to Others
Suppressing feelings can also make you feel disconnected from the core of who you are as a person.  It can make you feel inauthentic to yourself as well as to others, especially if you're trying to "put on a happy face" to hide your true feelings.  This often doesn't work because others can sense that there's something amiss.
Suppressing Feelings Can Make You Feel Inauthentic

Developing the Capacity to Feel and Accept Your Feelings: Clinical Hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing
When you've spent a lifetime suppressing feelings that you're uncomfortable with, you need to learn how to develop the capacity to feel and accept your feelings.  I will address this in more detail in future blog posts but, for now, I'll close by saying that, I've found the combination of clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing to be one of the most gentle and effective ways to develop this capacity.  

Clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing allow the therapist and client to work with manageable segments of the problem in a way that's usually tolerable for the client.  In my experience, these two treatment modalities, which emphasize the body-mind connection, help the clients to deal with traumatic experiences and work through these issues so that clients learn to feel and accept all their feelings.

Getting Help
If you have unresolved trauma, you owe it to yourself to get help from a licensed mental health professional who has expertise in trauma work.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.  I have helped many clients to work through their trauma so they can lead more fulfilling lives.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me: josephineolivia@aol.com



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