People who are living with unresolved emotional wounds often display these 13 behaviors (without realizing it)

Unresolved emotional wounds are not something you should take lightly, as they often result in additional distress and restrict personal growth and healing. 

Still, people living with unresolved emotional wounds often reveal certain behaviors as coping mechanisms to manage their inner turmoil and protect themselves from further pain.

As someone who has been dealing with this issue for many years, here’s my view of what these behaviors look like. 

1) They avoid confronting their emotions or discussing difficult topics

When you’re dealing with strong internal feelings that are rooted in unresolved issues, feelings, or emotions, you don’t really want to talk or even think about them. 

This avoidance is like putting up a temporary wall to keep difficult emotions at bay. But, don’t you know it, it doesn’t address the underlying issues.

So, if you actively avoid situations, people, or conversations that might stir up uncomfortable emotions, you’ll inevitably skip family gatherings where tensions tend to run high.

Or you avoid talking about past relationships because it brings up painful memories. In other words, you’re just bottling up everything and letting it simmer. 

2) They become defensive when their emotional vulnerabilities are mentioned

Some people who are living with unresolved emotional wounds lash out or become argumentative when others try to point out their flaws or criticize their actions. 

It’s a reflexive response born out of fear of being judged or hurt. However, the result of that is that they often push people away and inhibit genuine communication.

In some cases, engaging with them will make them angry, frustrated, and/or sad. 

3) They have sudden outbursts of anger, frustration, or sadness

These outbursts can be like emotional earthquakes, shaking up everything in their path. Some explode with anger over something trivial or burst into tears without warning. 

Obviously, these eruptions are often the result of pent-up emotions that finally break free, sometimes catching both the person experiencing them and those around them off guard.

I’ve been both on the giving and the receiving end of this, and it’s just awkward as hell. You just want to curl up and hide in a hole for a few months until you and they forget about it. 

4) They sabotage their own success or relationships

When you carry so much emotional baggage with you, you often subconsciously sabotage your own success and relationships with people you care about. 

You basically have an internal saboteur whispering doubts and fears in your ear, convincing you you don’t deserve good things. 

So, for me, this led to procrastination, making impulsive decisions, or pushing away opportunities that could bring about positive change.

All because, deep down, I felt unworthy.

5) They have trust issues from past emotional traumas

Trust is like a fragile vase. If it’s broken once, it’s hard to glue it back together. People who struggle to trust others may have been betrayed or hurt in the past.

When that happened, they were unable to trust others and were wary of letting anyone get too close anymore. 

I always second-guessed others’ intentions, always waiting for the other shoe to drop, even in the most genuine relationships I had.

I can tell you that that’s not the life you want to be living.

6) They constantly seek validation from others to fill the emotional void within themselves

In a messed up way, even though you don’t trust others, you still want their validation. 

And so you’re holding up a mirror to others, hoping to see your own worth reflected back. But relying on external validation is like chasing a moving target. It’s simply never enough to fill the void inside.

It wasn’t until I started identifying and accepting my own values, strengths, and achievements that I broke free from asking for validation.

But before that ever happened, I had to deal with this, too:

7) They prefer solitude to avoid potential emotional triggers or conflicts

Some people who are living with unresolved emotional wounds retreat into solitude as a form of self-preservation. 

They’re building a fortress around themselves to keep out potential sources of pain or disappointment. 

But while solitude can offer temporary relief, lengthy isolation can deepen feelings of loneliness and disconnect, making it even harder to reach out for support.

In other words, you need to step out of your comfort zone to deal with these underlying issues and to keep a connection to the outside world. 

But that’s not easy, as you’ll see next. 

8) They have control issues

People who struggle to set boundaries in relationships often display these behaviors People who are living with unresolved emotional wounds often display these 13 behaviors (without realizing it)

For the longest time, I had to control every aspect of my life, from my daily routine to my relationships. 

But the harder I gripped, the more elusive control became, often leaving me feeling even more powerless.

What helped me the most was keeping negative and self-critical thoughts at bay. I started countering them with positive thoughts, emotions, and even songs about the world and myself. 

9) They’re living in a state of chronic stress due to unresolved emotional turmoil

The weight of past traumas and unprocessed emotions often results in a constant state of stress and tension.

And what does that result in? You can never relax or find peace of mind. Chronic stress simply takes a toll on both physical and mental health, leading to many issues if you leave things unchecked.

Because I haven’t dealt with it in time, I’m now suffering from high blood pressure and heightened cholesterol (well, among other things). 

That’s why I’m now taking a holistic approach to dealing with these physical and mental problems. 

It’s no picnic, I can tell you. And neither is the following. 

10) They’re struggling to express their emotions effectively

You know, I never liked sharing my feelings and emotions with others. I was always like a cat, hiding that anything was wrong with me until I finally rolled over and exposed my suffering underbelly. 

People with unresolved wounds struggle to put their feelings into words or express themselves openly. 

They bottle up their emotions, afraid of being vulnerable or not knowing how to articulate what they’re feeling.

Not only does it lead to misunderstandings, but also to emotional distance in relationships.

11) Some use substances to numb emotional pain

It’s never a good idea to turn to substances like alcohol, drugs, or behaviors like gambling or overeating as a way to cope with your emotional pain

Yet, it’s happening all the time, even with people you’d never suspect.

They’re trying to numb themselves to the hurt or fill a void inside with temporary distractions. 

But what starts as a coping mechanism can quickly spiral into addiction, creating even more problems in the long run.

12) They avoid conflict by prioritizing others’ needs over their own

Another interesting behavior that they unknowingly flesh out is going out of their way to keep others happy, even at the expense of their own needs and well-being. 

They’re walking on a tightrope, constantly balancing the expectations of others while ignoring their own desires. 

People-pleasers like them fear rejection or conflict, so they say yes when they really want to say no, which results in resentment and burnout.

To be honest, that was never me. I was always more for isolating myself than going out and helping others deal with their sh*t. 

13) They’re their worst critics

And finally, they’re their own worst critics, constantly berating themselves for their perceived shortcomings and mistakes. 

In their minds, every fault or flaw is magnified tenfold and filled with constant worry that people will notice them.

They have a relentless inner voice that magnifies every flaw and failure, making them feel inadequate or unworthy. 

This self-criticism quickly chips away at self-esteem and confidence, creating a vicious cycle of negativity that’s hard to break free from.

How to deal with this

So, how should you or others deal with these pent-up emotional wounds? First of all, you need to accept that it’s okay to feel whatever emotions come up, even if they’re tough ones like sadness or anger. 

Give yourself permission to feel them without judging yourself.

Treat yourself like you would a good friend: 

Be patient and understanding, especially when you’re going through a rough time.

But also think about talking to a therapist or counselor who can help you deal with your feelings and find healthy ways to cope. Sometimes, just having a person to talk to can make a big difference.

Spend time doing things that bring you joy and make you feel alive. Whether it’s painting, playing sports, or volunteering, find activities that light you up and make you feel good about yourself.

Holding onto grudges and resentment only hurts you in the long run. Try to forgive yourself and others for past mistakes, and focus on going forward instead of dwelling on the past.

Adrian Volenik

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.

0:00
0:00