A submissive woman who does not respond assertively to her abusive partner, an alcoholic man who drinks in order to escape bad moods, a person who tries to keep themselves busy in order to forget their problems, are all examples of people who suppress their emotions.
Many people suppress their emotions thinking that by doing so the bad emotion will eventually disappear but this practice usually lead to a bigger problem. Suppressed emotions usually manifests in a different way. For example, a man who has an abusive boss whom he can’t face may turn out to be abusive towards his children. In this case this man directs his suppressed anger toward his children because he can’t direct it towards his boss.
In my article “how to stop a narcissist from ruining your self-esteem” I said that, not responding assertively to an abusive narcissist is one of the things that can ruin your self-esteem.
Suppressed Emotions can bring bad Moods
One of the causes of bad moods and depression is repressed emotions. Your brain usually gives you negative emotions so that you solve a particular problem or achieve a certain goal. When your mind realizes you are in the right direction towards solving that problem, it will send you positive emotions. On the other hand when your inner mind thinks that you are stuck and doing nothing to solve your problems, it will send you bad moods, sadness and depression.
Now, when you suppress the bad emotions that your inner mind is sending you, it will realise that you are defying it, therefore, it will keep sending you even more intense bad moods.
Suppressed Emotions can Cause bad Dreams
I strongly agree with Alfred Adler’s interpretations of dreams. One of his theories states that dreams are nothing but a reflection of what’s happening in your life. Your inner mind (subconscious mind) usually uses dreams to remind you of a particular issue or to help you solve a certain problem. For example, if you were assigned a task at work that you were not prepared for, you may dream of being at school, where you are being given an exam that you are not prepared for. This is because dreams usually come in symbols. The difficult exam here represents the difficult task at work.
Bad dreams and nightmares are not different. Your mind can give you nightmares because there is important problem that you are trying to escape instead of dealing with it, maybe because you are afraid to face it.
Yes, the monster that was chasing you in your dreams might be a symbol of your abusive boss or any other problem that you are afraid of facing. (See: is introversion a disorder)
Suppressing Emotions and Attracting Difficult People
If you usually suppress your emotions when you are being mistreated then you can attract narcissists and abusive people.
Narcissists and abusive people usually target a victim that they can abuse without facing serious consequences. Therefore it you are too submissive you can attract them.
How to stop Suppressing your Emotions
In order to stop supressing your emotions, you have to find the root cause of that habit and deal with the real issue that makes you suppress your emotions. In my previous article “understanding codependency” I said that fear of rejection can make a codependent person suppress their negative emotions. In this case, unless they deal with their fear of rejection, build self-esteem and end codependency, they may always find it difficult to not repress their emotions.
Whether you have developed a bad habit of escaping from problems instead of dealing with them, whether it’s fear that makes you suppress your emotions or whether you learned that habit in your childhood, it’s very important to understand the root cause of that behaviour first before you try to get rid of it.