People who struggle processing emotion usually had these 7 experiences growing up

Navigating the world of emotions isn’t always easy. Some people have a harder time than others, and often, this struggle can be traced back to their childhood experiences.

But what exactly are these experiences that shape our emotional intelligence? And can understanding them help us grow?

In this article, we’ll explore some of the common experiences people who struggle with processing emotions may have had growing up.

As someone who’s spent years studying relationships and how emotions play into them, I’ve seen first-hand how these early life experiences can impact a person’s ability to understand and express their feelings.

So, let’s dive right in, shall we?

1) Lack of emotional validation

One of the common experiences people who struggle with processing emotions often share is a lack of emotional validation during their formative years.

Emotional validation involves acknowledging and affirming a child’s feelings. This seemingly simple act can have profound effects on their emotional development.

However, when a child’s emotions are consistently dismissed or ignored, they may grow up feeling confused and unsure about their emotional responses. They might feel that their feelings are invalid, leading to difficulty in recognizing and understanding them.

The lack of emotional validation can manifest in different ways. Some kids may have been told to suppress their feelings, with phrases like “big boys don’t cry,” or “there’s no need to be scared.”

Others may have had their feelings minimized or invalidated with statements like “you’re just being dramatic” or “it’s not that big of a deal.”

This lack of validation can make it challenging for these individuals to navigate their emotions as adults, often leading to a struggle in processing them.

2) Excessive praise

Here’s a counterintuitive one. While it might sound strange, an abundance of praise during childhood can sometimes lead to emotional processing issues later in life.

Typically, we associate praise with positive reinforcement, which is typically beneficial. However, when praise is excessive or unwarranted, it can create an unrealistic perception of success and achievement.

Children who are constantly praised may start to associate their self-worth solely with achievements and external validation. This can result in them suppressing or avoiding negative emotions associated with failure or disappointment.

In their quest to always be the best and earn praise, they may overlook the importance of understanding and processing their emotions properly. As adults, this can lead to a struggle in recognizing, expressing, and dealing with emotions in a healthy way.

3) Codependent relationships

In my work, I’ve seen how codependent relationships in childhood can have a profound impact on a person’s ability to process emotions in adulthood.

When a child grows up in a codependent relationship, they often learn to suppress their own emotions to avoid upsetting the other party. This might mean burying their feelings and needs in favor of someone else’s, creating a pattern that can be hard to break in adulthood.

In fact, I delve deeper into this issue in my book, Breaking The Attachment: How To Overcome Codependency in Your Relationship. It offers insights into why these relationships form and how we can work to overcome the negative patterns they often create.

But for now, it’s important to understand that growing up in a codependent relationship can lead individuals struggling to recognize and process their own emotions, often focusing too much on the feelings of others.

4) Traumatic events

Traumatic events in childhood can significantly impact a person’s ability to process emotions. These events can range from the loss of a loved one to experiencing physical or emotional abuse.

When trauma happens, it’s natural for a child to suppress their emotions as a form of self-protection. Over time, this coping mechanism may become their default response to emotional pain, making it difficult for them to process and express their feelings in a healthy way as adults.

As Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” This quote resonates with me deeply because it beautifully encapsulates the pain that comes from suppressing our emotions and experiences.

The impact of these traumatic events can be deep and long-lasting, but understanding this link between childhood trauma and emotional processing issues can be the first step towards healing.

5) Absence of role models

Having role models who express their emotions in a healthy and open manner is crucial to a child’s emotional development. Unfortunately, not all children grow up with such role models.

If the adults in a child’s life consistently hide or suppress their emotions, the child may learn to do the same. They might grow up believing that showing emotions is a sign of weakness or something to be ashamed of.

In my own journey, I’ve learned the importance of having emotionally intelligent role models. Their influence can shape how we perceive and handle our emotions, ultimately teaching us that it’s okay to feel and express a range of emotions.

Without such guidance, many individuals struggle with understanding and expressing their feelings in adulthood, affecting their relationships, mental health, and overall quality of life.

6) Emotional neglect

Emotional neglect is subtle, yet its impact on a child’s emotional development can be profound. It occurs when a child’s emotional needs are consistently dismissed or ignored, making them feel invisible, unimportant, or unworthy.

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” But when children experience emotional neglect, they often grow up feeling inferior without even realizing it.

In my experience, I’ve seen how this can lead to adults who struggle to understand, express and validate their own emotions. They might question the validity of their feelings or find it difficult to form deep, meaningful connections with others.

If you’d like to read more about this topic and others related to emotional health and relationships, feel free to follow me on Facebook. I post my latest articles there so you can always stay updated.

7) Bullying

Bullying is a painful experience that can leave long-lasting emotional scars. It’s raw, it’s real, and it happens more often than we’d like to admit.

Children who are victims of bullying often feel an overwhelming sense of fear, shame, and loneliness. They may start to believe that they deserve to be treated poorly and that their feelings are unimportant.

Over time, this repeated emotional trauma can lead to a disconnection from their own emotions. It becomes easier to just numb the pain rather than feel it, leading to difficulties in processing emotions as adults.

Understanding the link between childhood bullying and emotional processing issues is crucial – not just for the victims, but for everyone. It’s a reminder of the profound impact our actions can have on others, and the importance of treating each other with kindness and respect.

Our emotional journey

As we wrap up, it’s important to remember that navigating our emotional landscape is a complex journey. It’s a journey shaped by our experiences, both the ones we remember and the ones we’ve forgotten.

It’s shaped by the times we were told our feelings were too much, or not enough. By the instances of bullying, the absence of role models, the traumatic events, and even by excessive praise.

These experiences can leave us feeling lost, confused, even broken. But they can also be a starting point for healing and growth.

In my work, I’ve seen how understanding these experiences can help people reclaim their emotional health. It’s a tough journey, but it’s also a rewarding one. And you don’t have to go through it alone.

To help further explore these topics and provide some meaningful insights, I recommend watching this insightful video by Justin Brown. It’s about the illusion of happiness and why chasing it makes you miserable. This video challenges the common belief that pursuing happiness is the key to a fulfilling life and emphasizes that true contentment comes from within.

May your journey towards emotional well-being be filled with self-discovery, healing, and growth. Remember: you are not alone in this journey. And every step you take is a step towards healing and reclaiming your emotional health.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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