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Why do People Shut Down Emotionally?

by Mindy Lawrence

Several situations can cause a person to shut down emotionally. Here are some of them.


If you live with a history of rejection, then you can become depressed and afraid to face the possibly of being rejected again. People can build a shell of protection around themselves that prevents anyone from getting in.


If you suffer grief due to a death, separation, or divorce, it may be difficult to face loss again. You need to talk to someone about your situation but are afraid you will drive them away by speaking out, so you stay silent and alone.


Anxiety disorder is more than just temporary fear and worry. It does not go away but stays with someone and continues to get worse. Daily life becomes affected. It can be generalized anxiety or come out as panic attacks.

Fear of Rejection

When someone has the uncontrolled fear that people will judge and reject them, they sometimes stay away from others on purpose. Being bullied or ridiculed by others makes someone feel different and unaccepted.

Avoidance Attachment

Avoidance attachment can make a parent unable give love and develop rejection because they don’t believe they will get the love they deserve from their children. When those children don’t get the love they need, they can hide their feelings and keep an emotional distance from others.

Finding Help

Those who shut down emotionally can sometimes find help from talk therapists. Little is known about medications that help with this problem. Although avoidants are unable to trust others, they will sometimes listen to professionals who deal with the issue they face.


What to do When your Partner Shuts you Out? Erin Leonard, PhD

Anxiety Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health

Too Afraid to Care

5 Ways to Help Avoidant Attachment and Create Security Now, Therapy to Thrive



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