People who feel unhappy but hide it well usually exhibit these 9 behaviors

There’s a fine line between expressing your unhappiness and concealing it.

Often, people who feel unhappy choose to hide it, putting on a brave face for the world. But, as they say, actions speak louder than words.

Those who are adept at masking their true feelings often exhibit certain behaviors. They might not be immediately apparent, but if you know what to look for, the signs are there.

In this article, we’ll delve into the nine behaviors commonly displayed by individuals who are feeling unhappy but are remarkably good at hiding it. You just might gain a deeper understanding of those around you – or even yourself.

Let’s get started. 

1) They’re masters of deflection

People who are unhappy but good at hiding it have become experts in the art of deflection.

Deflection is a psychological term used to describe the act of shifting the focus from oneself to something or someone else. It’s a clever trick that unhappy individuals often use to avoid talking about their own feelings or issues.

For instance, when asked how they’re doing, they may quickly change the subject or divert attention to other people’s problems. Their ability to skillfully steer conversations away from their own emotional state can be quite subtle, making it hard for others to pick up on their unhappiness.

However, if you notice that someone consistently avoids talking about themselves or their feelings, it could be a sign that they’re hiding their unhappiness.

A word of caution though – not everyone who deflects is unhappy, some might just be private individuals. Hence, it’s important not to jump to conclusions based only on this behavior.

2) They laugh…a lot

You might think that a person who laughs frequently and heartily is genuinely happy. But sometimes, laughter can be a mask for hidden unhappiness.

I remember a friend of mine, let’s call him Tom. Tom was always the life of the party, cracking jokes and making everyone around him laugh. His laughter was infectious, and it made him seem like the happiest person in the room.

Yet, behind closed doors, Tom confided in me that he was actually struggling with feelings of unhappiness and loneliness. He used humor as a way to hide his true feelings and to keep people from asking too many questions about his personal life.

It was a shocking revelation, as from the outside, Tom appeared to be the epitome of happiness. This experience taught me that excessive laughter can sometimes be a way for people to camouflage their unhappiness.

Again, this isn’t to say that everyone who laughs a lot is unhappy. But if someone’s laughter seems forced or excessive, it could be a sign that they’re not as happy as they appear to be.

3) They’re often overly generous

Unhappy people who hide their feelings well may also become excessively generous, both with their time and resources.

This behavior stems from the belief that helping others will fill the void they’re feeling inside.

If you notice someone consistently going above and beyond for others, often at the expense of their own needs or wellbeing, they could be masking their feelings of unhappiness.

Generosity isn’t a definitive sign of hidden unhappiness. Many people are naturally altruistic and find genuine joy in helping others.

4) They overwork themselves

Work can be a great distraction from personal issues, and unhappy people often use it as a means to escape their feelings.

You might notice that they’re always the first to arrive and the last to leave. Or maybe they’re constantly taking on extra projects or responsibilities, even when their plate is already full.

They might be praised for their dedication and hard work, but underneath it all, this could be a way of suppressing their unhappiness. Immersing themselves in work allows them to avoid confronting their feelings or dealing with personal issues.

Again, it’s crucial not to jump to conclusions. Some people genuinely love their work and thrive in a busy environment.

But if someone seems to be using work as an escape, it might be an indicator of hidden unhappiness.

5) They’re perfectionists

Perfectionism can sometimes be a sign of concealed unhappiness. People dealing with inner turmoil often hold themselves to unrealistically high standards.

They strive for perfection in everything they do, hoping that success and accomplishment will bring them the happiness they seek. But the truth is, this constant pursuit of perfection often leads to added stress and disappointment.

You might notice them getting overly upset over minor mistakes or spending excessive time on tasks to get them “just right”. This relentless pursuit of perfection is often their way of compensating for feelings of inadequacy or unhappiness.

While striving for excellence is admirable, extreme perfectionism can sometimes be a mask for underlying emotional distress.

6) They isolate themselves

It’s heartbreaking to think that the ones who often need the most support are the same ones who tend to push people away.

People hiding their unhappiness often choose isolation, believing that it’s easier to deal with their feelings alone rather than burden others with their problems. They might decline invites, avoid social events, or spend extended periods alone.

While everyone needs some alone time, consistent isolation can be a sign of concealed unhappiness. These individuals might be silently crying out for help, even as they push the world away.

It’s essential to approach such individuals with patience and understanding. Sometimes, knowing that someone cares can make all the difference in the world to them.

7) They seem lost in thought

I used to catch myself staring into space, my mind a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. My smile was there, my laughter loud, but my eyes often gave me away. They would glaze over as if I was somewhere else, lost in my own world.

People concealing their unhappiness often appear to be deep in thought or daydreaming. It’s like they’re physically present but mentally miles away. This is because their minds are preoccupied with their internal struggle, causing them to disconnect from their surroundings.

If you notice someone frequently zoning out or seeming distant, it may be a sign that they’re dealing with hidden unhappiness.

It’s not always easy to reach out, especially when we’re not sure what’s going on, but a simple “Are you okay?” can go a long way.

8) They have erratic sleeping patterns

Sleep can often be a casualty when someone is dealing with hidden unhappiness. You might notice that they’re either sleeping too much or too little.

Some people find solace in sleep, using it as an escape from their feelings. They might sleep for extended periods, often appearing tired or lethargic during the day.

On the other hand, some people may struggle with insomnia due to their internal turmoil. Their minds might be too active or anxious to allow them a good night’s sleep.

Either way, if you notice a significant change in someone’s sleeping patterns, it could be an indicator that they’re hiding their inner unhappiness.

As always, approach with care and understanding. It’s not easy dealing with emotional distress, and a kind word or gesture can mean a lot.

9) They rarely talk about their feelings

When it comes to hiding unhappiness, one of the most common behaviors is the reluctance to discuss personal feelings.

People dealing with hidden pain often feel that expressing their emotions makes them vulnerable or burdensome. They might downplay their feelings or outright avoid discussing them.

If you notice that someone consistently sidesteps emotional conversations or dismisses their own feelings, it could be a sign that they’re dealing with concealed unhappiness.

Offering a listening ear can sometimes be the greatest gift you can give to someone who’s silently suffering. Your understanding and empathy could be the first step towards their healing journey.

Ultimately, it’s about understanding and empathy

Peeling back the layers of human behavior is a complex process, often revealing more questions than answers. Our behaviors are influenced by a multitude of factors, from our personal experiences to our biochemistry.

Individuals are more likely to hide their true feelings when they believe that expressing them would cause others discomfort or distress. This suggests that those who are adept at masking their unhappiness might be doing so out of consideration for others.

At the end of the day, understanding these behaviors is not about labeling or diagnosing, but rather about cultivating empathy and compassion. If we can recognize these signs in those around us, we can reach out, offer support, and remind them that they’re not alone in their struggle.

Unhappiness is an intricate part of the human experience, and it’s something that many of us try to hide. But remember, it’s okay not to be okay. And sometimes, acknowledging this is the first step towards healing.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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