Understanding Emotional Detachment: Why You Need It
For someone who’s had a childhood full of turmoil: a mother who was using her nagging skills to wake the children up early in the morning, a father who often stays at work because he never wanted to spend another minute arguing with the almost always hysterical wife, and siblings who seem to find the slightest reason to punch each other in the face; you’d probably think this someone may have had lost her sanity and composure along the way.
But no; instead, as she grows up to be an adolescent, she finds herself at the back-most part of the lecture room with no seatmate to chitchat with. And now as she enters the world of professionals and adulthood, she seems to find it a little difficult to relate to her workmates and even find someone from the opposite sex to start in what could have been a normal intimate boy-girl relationship. She seems guarded and uptight; people brand her as someone “withdrawn” or “detached”.
For people with traumatic emotional and even physical experience, the body’s normal coping mechanism is to find an exit and get away from all the stress. Thus, emotional detachment takes place. They begin to create their very own bubble, carefully guarding it from someone who attempts to penetrate it, they become more at peace and comfortable when they keep the intimate and personal matters to themselves.
No, these people are not crazy nor psychotic. Believe it or not, they are simply protecting themselves. Emotional detachment is a necessary step to take when one’s safety is threatened. This explains the behaviour of the person who grew up in a very chaotic environment often a recipient of painful words, traumatic occurrences and even emotional abuse.
When a person detaches herself or himself from someone or something that causes negative feelings, the person thwarts the probability of going through the same thing over again. Sometimes this is necessary to keep ourselves whole and free from disturbing and distressing events or people.
However, emotional detachment often times becomes a difficult process to reverse, hence the behaviour of the child. While it is something one can switch on and off, the process is not that easy as it involves looking into the innermost emotions of that person, and it is only that person who can decide whether or not the button stays on or off. And while emotional detachment safeguards a person from threats of emotional pain, too much of it actually can upset his or her entire life.
We need affection, intimacy (both physical and emotional) and relationships to evolve holistically as a person, therefore omitting an aspect of our behaviour and personality such as being dull to certain emotions and failing to connect, relate and develop bonds with people could similarly threaten our psychological, social, and even social state. A person who fails to awaken from a period of emotional detachment could be staying asleep throughout his or her entire life. That person becomes withdrawn, analytical and safeguarded, causing people to stay away and back away. When all these happens, everything not-so-nice follows; the person will find it difficult to trust anybody, relationships could be a very stressful thing to achieve and even maintain, meaning, he or she will be deprived of what is supposed to be a normal person’s life.
Therefore, emotional detachment needs to be properly assessed; it is vital to know when it is needed and when it is not. Emotional detachment can be both a life saver and a life destroyer, thus, this is a very important matter that needs utmost care and consideration.