Is Emotion The Enemy?


Is Emotion The Enemy?

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Far too often I see people talking about is emotion the enemy. To many, emotion is the enemy. In my view, that is the wrong way to look at your life, healing, and growth.

Let me tell you a story from my own life. For a long time, I had emotions show up and my father would often tell me to grow up and be a man, even though I was a little boy. I would get beat with a belt and if I cried too much, I’d get beat for crying. If I didn’t cry enough, I would be beaten harder. The question “is emotion the enemy” was not one I needed to ask. Emotions were not a good thing in my house.

The Happy Face Of Positive Thoughts

As life progressed, I put the happy and positive smiling face on every day I left the house. Even around my close family, I hid everything that was going on inside of me. There were few emotions outside of positive and happy that I displayed. We were taught to hide emotions like much of our human population is today.

Fast forward in life to the point that I had learned to hide everything. The answer to the question “is emotion the enemy” was firmly cemented in my mind as yes it is. As I continued to ignore and discount emotion in my life, I stuffed additional life experiences down deep inside of my body that only inflicted further pain upon my life.

Through the conversion disorder, I found out that I was not in touch with any emotions I had. Instead, I had shut them off to the point where I was a shell of my real self. By shutting them off, I was sentencing myself to a slow and painful death of my life.

I Had To Turn Emotion On

When I started into therapy, I had to find a way to turn emotion back on. I had to go in and re-evaluate the question, is emotion the enemy? Even though I had been taught that it was from an early age, in order to heal I had to go in and challenge that teaching to the core. It no longer served me in life as something positive.

Many others that I have worked with over the years in recovering from trauma had to learn how to turn emotion and feeling back on. When you’ve gone through trauma, emotion and feeling are far removed from your life.  You cannot see it. You have become perfectly numb to all that really exists in life.

Asking the question “is emotion the enemy” is not going to get you too far in your healing. If you see it as the enemy, then you will hold yourself back from moving forward.

It isn’t so much that emotion is harmful to your growth in life as it is the hidden and suppressed emotion you’ve buried deep in the body. The more we numb and hide from that which is present, the more harmful it will be.

Projecting Our Issues On To Others

Often when we have not resolved our own issues around “is emotion the enemy” that we unconsciously project them on to other people. If they have emotions show up that we are not at ease with in our lives, our response to them is that they should not have those emotions. They should be happy or positive or whatever else it is that we say to get them to a point where we feel at ease.

Instead of going in and healing that area of our life, we numb ourselves and demand others only use the logical side of the mind. It is harmful and hurtful to others when we urge them to do this in their life. It alters the path ahead for them, rather than helping them become all they can be.

Is Emotion The Enemy?

Is emotion the enemy should not be the focus of our healing. Instead, we should be seeing how we can stop numbing and disconnecting from emotion, so we can once again find balance in the mind and body.

PTSD & Self-Regulation Skills with Dr. Paul Canali


  • It’s especially refreshing to see a man write that emotion and feeling is OK. Our culture gives men so few outlets to express feelings and emotions. Like you don’t have them based on gender. You are giving others permission, including men, to own up to how we feel so we can then start to enjoy life and weather the adversity life throws at us.