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Emotionally Shutdown: Is Childhood Trauma The Reason Why Someone Is Emotionally Shutdown?

Although human beings are emotional beings, it wouldn’t be right to say that every human being on the planet comes across as one. There are those who are in tune with how they feel and there are those who are typically out of touch with how they feel.

Consequently, there are those who appear to be walking intellects; they are more or less dead from the neck down. So, unlike others, it will seem as though they don’t have an emotional body, they just have a physical body that is there to keep their head in place.

The Other Extreme

Also, there are those who are totally in touch with how they feel and find it hard to settle themselves down. For someone in this position, it can appear as though they are missing the intellectual part of their being and are more or less always at sea as a result.

Connecting to how they feel won’t be an issue, then, what will be an issue is managing this part of their being. Their life is likely to be one big rollercoaster and it could be normal for them to be exhausted.

A Different Challenge

When it comes to someone who is having the opposite experience, their life is unlikely to have many ups and downs. In fact, it could be a life that is pretty dull and is anything but eventful.

The person above will have access to a lot of energy, whilst they won’t have access to much energy. They could spend a lot of time feeling flat and be like a plant that hasn’t been watered for weeks.

External Means

If they do feel alive, it could be because they have consumed or engaged in some kind of activity. By eating, drinking or having sex, for instance, they will be able to feel alive, if only temporarily.

After this experience has passed, they are likely to return to how they were before. Ultimately, they will be physically alive but they won’t feel as though they are truly alive; it can be as if they merely exist.


By being this way, they are likely to spend a lot of time feeling cut-off from others and lonely. Therefore, they won’t need to spend time by themselves to feel separate from others, as they will feel this way when they are surrounded by their fellow human beings.

Still, when they are around others, it can take the edge of their sense of loneliness and isolation. They won’t be able to deeply connect to others but it will be a welcome relief to how they feel when they are by themselves.

A Different Type

The person whose emotions are generally out of control will be used to experiencing emotional pain, but for this person, they can be used to experiencing mental pain. They can often experience a lot of tension in their head and feel as though they are trapped in an invisible prison.

They will be trapped in their mind and unable to connect to the richness, support and freedom that their emotional self would provide them. At times, they could be desperate for their life to change and even think about calling it a day.

Getting A Square Peg into a Round Hole

Quite simply, without being connected to their emotional self, they won’t be able to truly take life in or to give themselves to life. This is something that will clearly stand out if they were to get into a relationship.

If this was to happen, they will be able to share their mind and body but they won’t be able to share anything else. Naturally, this is going to lead to difficulties as time passes as their partner is likely to want to emotionally connect to them.

A Frustrating Experience

For their partner, it can be as if they are trying to connect to someone who is missing the emotional part of their being. On the other side, one can wonder what is going on and believe that there is something inherently wrong with them.

What is clear is that they won’t be consciously choosing to be this way; this will just be how they are. If they were to step back and reflect, and as their intellect is likely to be well-developed this is unlikely to be something that is difficult for them, they may find that they have been this way for as long as they can remember.

Going Deeper

They could believe that they are not like most people and that they were just born this way. Nevertheless, if they have been this way for as long as they can remember, it could be due to what they experienced very early on and the impact that this had on brain, nervous system and mental and emotional body.

Their time in the mother’s womb might not have been very harmonious and their birth may have also been traumatic. Irrespective of whether this was or wasn’t the case, their early years may have been a time when they didn’t receive the love and nurturance that they needed to be able to grow and develop.

A Brutal Time

From the very beginning of their time on this planet, they may have been neglected and when they did receive attention, it may have been the wrong kind. Not receiving the right nutrients would have caused them to feel overwhelmed on a regular basis, and, to handle the arousal, they would have only had one choice – to disconnect from their body, losing touch with their emotional self in the process.

The connection that they had to themselves would have gradually been lost, providing it wasn’t already lost at this stage, and they would have ended up living up top. In other words, what they are like as an adult is not a reflection of their true self; it is a false self that was automatically developed to handle the trauma that they experienced.


There is then what they like in this shutdown, traumatised state and there is what they will be like when they are connected to their feelings and are no longer in a traumatised state. Going from the former to the latter is unlikely to take place overnight; it will take patience and persistence.
If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they will probably need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.

Author, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, self-worth, inner child and inner awareness. With over two thousand, eight hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.


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