Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Could withholding feelings contribute to your anxiety?

I have friends who are very open about their feelings. They are able to communicate the good and the bad very easily and openly. I on the other hand have always leaned toward not expressing them. This is hard for me to do as a friend, and was even a manager. For some reason having to look one of the employees in the eyes and tell them what a great worker they were was really hard for me. Easier to understand why it was hard to tell them they were slacking or needed to do better, but it’s a little strange that even positive feedback is hard to express. I think it’s all wrapped around what they will think of me for saying that, or it is just embarrassing for some reason. I think growing up that was just how it was in my family. Positive feelings or problems weren’t openly discussed or expressed very often or maybe just not often enough.

It got me wondering if that behavior somehow contributed to my panic attacks. Because had I been more open about feelings with people, than it would be easier for me to let them know when something made me uncomfortable. But years of holding things inside only makes them fester until they are out of control.

So I want to throw it out there- are you the same? Is expressing how you feel to others something you struggle with? Do you think it could somehow contribute to your anxiety? Or are you very open about your feelings to others?

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

> Is expressing how you feel to
> others something you struggle with?

Yes, it is for me.

Anonymous said...

I have always had issues with this and it mostly occurs with certain people. Specifically 2 family members. I have dreams all the time about telling them how I feel and how they make me feel...just having it out. I wish I could bring myself to do it in real life. This absolutely contributes to my anxiety!

Maggie said...

I'm like that, mostly. I'm shy in general, but even with my family, who I am more open with, I don't like making myself vulnerable or exposed by talking frankly about how I feel.

I can do it online if I never actually meet the people I'm talking to (like in this comment now), but not in person or if I know those people in real life.

Molly said...

I am the ulimate people pleaser...I have no problem expressing feeling...but they are not usually, truly, mine! :)
Take Care

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Mormon culture and was heavily indoctrinated into the belief that "negative feelings" are not to be expressed -- or only if they're used to support some sort of faith-promoting experience story. I have no problem expressing "positive" emotions but it's very anxiety-inducing to have to talk about anything like fear, anger, disappointment, distrust, sadness or any other thing -- or even, sometimes, to allow myself to acknowledge (even just to myself) that that's really what I'm feeling, and just let the feelings be. I feel a lot of pressure to always be trying to transform those emotions into something positive, something to grow from -- instead of just letting them be what they are. Re-training myself to accept my feelings has helped a lot in terms of being able to stop fighting myself all the time, and that has made it easier to talk with other people about what's really going on with me. But yeah -- withholding emotions is super stressful, and anxiety-producing!

Robert said...

Being open about your feelings has many benefits and (as far as I am aware) no disadvantages.

For example, people who are "an open book" are easier to get on with. You always know where you are with them.

You know how to behave with open people - they'll tell you what pleases them & what doesn't.

Doing nice things for people is more rewarding when they show their appreciation.

You'll always work harder for a boss who lets you know that they appreciate your efforts.

Your body language doesn't lie, so people know at a subconscious level when you're not being honest & frank with them. This makes them mistrust you.

"Genuine" people are always popular. If you're not one of them, your popularity is suffering and your self-esteem is lower as a result. And low self-esteem is common among anxiety sufferers.

So change your ways now - it is just benefits all the way!

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