How a child repressing emotions can lead to codependency

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Many aspects of childhood—socialization, cultural expectations, and developmental stages, to name a few—play a role in the common tendency of children to repress their feelings.

One of the most common ways children learn to repress their feelings is because their parents or other significant people in their lives model the behavior for them and instruct them to do so. When children show negative emotions such as grief or anger, they are sometimes advised to “be quiet” or “stop crying,” which can give them the impression that their feelings are not acceptable or genuine. They might also develop the ability to stifle their feelings in order to avoid being punished or experiencing other unfavorable outcomes.

The way in which children repress their feelings may also be influenced by cultural norms and expectations. For instance, in some societies, it may be deemed rude or disrespectful for children to exhibit certain feelings, such as rage or irritation. This may be the case in societies where these emotions are regarded improper for adults. Children may learn to repress these feelings as a result of this, even if they are experiencing them to a great extent.

The degree to which youngsters are able to repress their feelings can also be influenced by their developmental stage. Younger children may not yet have the linguistic ability to convey more complicated emotions, or they may not completely grasp what they are feeling. Both of these possibilities are possible. As a consequence of this, individuals could stifle their feelings or express themselves in other ways, such as by throwing tantrums or engaging in other disruptive activities.

Children and teenagers of a more mature age may learn to repress their feelings as a defense mechanism against the potential for social rejection or criticism. They can be concerned that expressing certain feelings would make them appear fragile or helpless, or they might be afraid that their peers will condemn them or exclude them if they do so.

It is crucial for children to learn how to detect and express their emotions in ways that are beneficial for them, regardless of the reasons why they may be emotionally repressing their feelings. The best way for parents and other adults who care for children to lend a hand is to foster an atmosphere that is secure and encouraging, one in which children are at ease discussing their emotions. They may also validate their child’s feelings when they do express them, which is an important part of modeling healthy emotional expression for their child. They can do this by talking honestly about their own feelings and by supporting their child’s feelings.

In addition to helping children learn healthy ways to deal with their feelings, teaching them good coping skills such as deep breathing or journaling can also be beneficial. Last but not least, parents and other caregivers can take steps to lessen the amount of tension and stress in a kid’s life, which can result in the youngster experiencing increased feelings of safety and an improved capacity for emotional expression.

Some parents resort to shaming as a method for controlling their children’s behavior, including the expression of their feelings, which is a prevalent practice. When parents make their children feel guilty for expressing their feelings, they may be conveying the message that their children’s feelings are not genuine or essential, or that they should feel ashamed of themselves for feeling a certain way.

There are a number of different tactics that parents can use to humiliate their children, leading them to repress their feelings. For instance, a parent might use language that is demeaning toward their child, such as labeling them “too sensitive” or “dramatic” when the youngster expresses feelings of sadness or anger. They could also be dismissive of their child’s feelings by saying things like “you’re overreacting” or “it’s not that big of a deal.”

The use of guilt or manipulation is another tactic that parents might employ to shame their children into repressing their feelings. They might inform their child that their sentiments are making other people uncomfortable, or they might remind them that they should express gratitude for what they have rather than complain about how they feel. Children may have feelings of guilt or shame as a result of expressing their sentiments as a result of this, which may lead them to repress those feelings in order to avoid experiencing unfavorable repercussions or judgment.

When children are made to feel ashamed for expressing their feelings, it can have a damaging and long-lasting effect on their emotional well-being. Children who are made to feel bad about their feelings may pick up the habit of repressing those sensations, which can result in adulthood difficulties related to the regulation of emotions. They may also come to believe unfavorable things about themselves, such as the idea that they are unworthy of love or attention, or that the feelings they experience are a burden on the others around them.

Parents can aid their children by working to create an environment that is safe and supportive, which will help prevent their children from emotionally repressing themselves due to shame. This involves not passing judgment or offering criticism on their child’s feelings, as well as carefully listening to their child’s emotional expressions and validating those expressions. In addition, parents can provide a good example for their children by exhibiting healthy emotional expression through open discussion of their own feelings and the use of constructive coping mechanisms.

When two people are involved in a relationship that is considered to be codependent, one person often assumes the position of the caretaker or enabler, while the other partner is sometimes referred to as the “dependent” or “needy” partner. It’s common for the person providing care to repress their own feelings in order to prevent arguments or preserve harmony, even if it comes at the expense of their own health.

Within the context of codependent relationships, repressed feelings can surface in a variety of different ways. If the caregiver is afraid of offending or angering the person they are caring for, for instance, they may refrain from expressing their genuine emotions. They might also feel responsible for the feelings of the other person, leading them to try to “fix” the situation by repressing their own feelings in an effort to make things right.

This can develop to a cycle of emotional repression and codependency, in which the caretaker becomes progressively entangled in the life and wants of the other person, and loses touch with their own feelings and desires in the process.

Emotions that are repressed for an extended period of time might eventually give rise to a wide variety of physical and mental health issues, such as anxiety, sadness, chronic stress, and even physical sickness. The caretaker’s suppressed emotions may eventually come to the surface in inappropriate ways, such as through anger or resentment, which can cause problems in the caregiver’s relationships. This can be another source of conflict.

It is essential for the person ‘providing care’ to learn how to communicate their own feelings in a way that is both healthy and forceful if they wish to stop the cycle of suppressed feelings that is characteristic of codependency. Setting limits, seeking counseling or assistance, and learning how to communicate effectively with one’s partner are all potential steps in this direction.

Both partners in a codependent relationship should concentrate on developing their own sense of self-worth and emotional resilience in order to improve their ability to better manage their own emotions and needs without relying on one another to fill emotional holes. This will allow them to become less dependent on one another to meet their emotional needs.

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Dr. Nicholas Jenner, a therapist, coach, and speaker, has over 20 years of experience in the field of therapy and coaching. His specialty lies in treating codependency, a condition that is often characterized by a compulsive dependence on a partner, friend, or family member for emotional or psychological sustenance. Dr. Jenner's approach to treating codependency involves using Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, a treatment method that has gained widespread popularity in recent years. He identifies the underlying causes of codependent behavior by exploring his patients' internal "parts," or their different emotional states, to develop strategies to break free from it. Dr. Jenner has authored numerous works on the topic and offers online therapy services to assist individuals in developing healthy relationships and achieving emotional independence.

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