This article is for informative purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Please reach out to a qualified mental health professional if you are struggling.
Emotional attachment is important in maintaining relationships and feeling connected with others. As social creatures, being connected to those around us is crucial for our well-being. However, sometimes certain circumstances can get in the way of this attachment from forming. To better understand what emotional detachment is, in this article, we’ll be looking at seven signs.
What Is Emotional Detachment?
Emotional detachment refers to one’s inability to connect with another emotionally, or avoiding doing so (Holland 2019). People who are emotionally detached may find themselves closed off to others and can actively avoid them or any situation that will invoke an emotional response. People who do this may do so by choice or as a result of trauma (Holland 2019). It is also an indicator of numerous mental health disorders. In general, it is a protective measure to prevent the person from getting harmed by others. With that, here are some of the most common signs:
1. You Feel Numb All The Time
The biggest sign of emotional detachment is feeling detached from people and situations. Do you find it difficult to identify or feel any of your own emotions? Is it hard to have an emotional response to other people or situations? When you have emotional detachment, it can be hard to feel anything at all, or on the other hand, you try to avoid feeling anything (Fader 2018). The numbness makes it difficult to enjoy activities or relationships and can put a huge strain on the quality of your life.
2. You Avoid Other People’s Emotions
Do you find yourself disconnected from other people? That it is hard to listen to other people talk about their emotions, let alone have a response to them? Since emotional detachment makes it difficult to connect with others, you may find yourself growing distant between yourself and those close to you (Cherry 2021). Relationships then suffer and often fade out. You may find it impossible to listen to other people or not have the energy and can find it difficult to control these feelings.
3. You Are Non-Committal
Because emotional detachment makes it difficult to form attachments, it can make it very hard to commit to situations or people (Holland 2019). Existing relationships may end, and new relationships are unlikely to form. People who are emotionally detached often have difficulties making what should be a priority a priority, therefore the needs of others may fall by the wayside (Holland 2019).
4. You Isolate Yourself
Self-isolating can be used as a tool to keep negative emotions from forming (Fader 2018). Other times, people don’t feel the need to go out in the first place. This self isolation can further strain relationships, and at worst, create or worsen other mental health problems (Cherry 2021). While it is natural to want to take some time for yourself once in awhile, it can be harmful if excessive and sudden.
5. You Find it Hard to Express Yourself to Others
If you are emotionally detached, it can be insanely difficult to feel strong emotions towards anything. People with this often have a hard time identifying what they are feeling, let alone sharing it with someone else. They can come across as reserved, aloof, and cold to others (Lloyd 2018).
6. You Have Another Mental Health Condition
Emotional detachment is often part of another disorder. Most commonly, it is found in people with depression, PTSD, bipolar, personality disorders, and in some cases, people on the autism spectrum (Cherry 2018). It can also be caused by medication taken to treat any disorder. As it is a defense mechanism, it has a higher prevalence among disorders involving any kind of trauma.
7. You Avoid Situations
People who are emotionally detached, and especially those who are trauma survivors may avoid situations that remind them of past events. Typically in these scenarios, the person is actively avoiding a situation where they would feel a strong emotion (Holland 2019). This can cause a person to become more isolated.
Attachment is important for our well-being as social creatures. Being emotionally detached can devastate this crucial area of our life leading the way for other problems. We hope you found this article informative and to reach out for professional help if you find that you are struggling in this area. Let us know what some of the things you have learned are and if there’s anything you would like to add to the discussion.
- Cherry, K. (2021, April 13). What Is Emotional Detachment? Verywell Mind. www.verywellmind.com/what-is-emotional-detachment-5121166
- Fader, S. (2018, February 11). Emotional Detachment: All About The Disorder | BetterHelp. BetterHelp. www.betterhelp.com/advice/general/what-is-emotional-detachment-disorder/
- Gunther, R. (2020, December 31). The Danger of Emotional Detachment. PsychologyToday. www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rediscovering-love/202012/the-danger-emotional-detachment
- Holland, K. (2019, September 3). Emotional Detachment: What It Is and How to Overcome It. Healthline. www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-detachment
- Lloyd, S. (2018, January 4). 5 Signs That You Might Be Emotionally Detached. LiveAbout. www.liveabout.com/signs-that-you-might-be-emotionally-detached-4156597
- Raypole, C. (2020, August 17). 4 FAQs About Emotional Attachment. Healthline. www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-attachment