Should you really suppress your emotions? TW suicide / self-harm

I, along with others, can often feel as though we shouldn’t vent to others because we don’t want to trouble them. What if these ideas are wrong? What if not venting to our peers actually hurts them more?

Not too long ago I had a best friend, we’ll call them Ava, and we did absolutely everything together. We hung out 24/7 and knew everything about each other. We had been friends for approximately 4 years. We always vented to each other about our troubles and if we weren’t feeling up for it then we’d just sit in silence together until we felt better. It was great until I received a message saying they were in the hospital for attempted suicide. I wasn’t there for them that day and had previously vented to them about my own troubles. They could’ve died because of my selfishness. I felt so guilty, “If only I hadn’t vented to them then they wouldn’t have attempted. My best friend nearly died because of me.” However, it wasn’t really my fault. Ava decided to suppress their emotions for my sake since I seemed to have too much on my plate at the time. I was a bit furious with them for not talking to me to help prevent it as we’d always done. I much prefer the venting, even if it did overwhelm me at times. When Ava didn’t vent is when it hurt the most

Since that incident, it’s become quite hard for me to not suppress my emotions as I’m afraid it may become the reason for someone else’s attempt. However, I have very supportive friends and am making efforts to improve those issues.

Now fast forward to 2 days ago when I was heavily suicidal and almost broke my self-harm free streak. I couldn’t understand why my boyfriend said he always wanted to know when I was feeling this way but I think I understand now. If I did relapse or attempt suicide, that would hurt him more than if I just occasionally vent these thoughts to him.

TL;DR: Don’t suppress your emotions for other people’s sake. The pain of them being unaware of your struggles is much worse than them knowing


Dear @Isabella,

Thank you so much for this loving and powerful reminder. I’m so very sorry that your friend attempted, also that you’ve been carrying this guilt you describe. It’s a tough situation, a very complex one as well, but your conclusion is also very important: suppressing our emotions for other people’s sake is not worth it.

Personally, I feel too often that I’d be a burden if I talk about my struggles. Just like you, I’m still learning how to do that, and it’s tough. Lots of step forward and backwards. I fear that I’d be some kind of “time stealer” for the person in front of me, as I can’t help thinking that they would probably have better to do than listening to what I say. It’s hard to learn to take space when we’re not used to it. And in certain circumstances, like the situation with your friend where you were both struggling at the same time, finding a good middle ground where both can take space and feel heard can be very hard too.

You know, there is something almost ironic in what you shared (no judgment and not making fun at all in what I’m saying by the way), it’s that this fear that your friend had (aka “I know you strugle a lot so I don’t want to add to it by sharing my problems”), is something that you’ve been feeling too after knowing what they did. As you said, it’s been hard to not suppress your emotions. Behind both situation, there’s this fear of potentially being “too much”, of having a negative impact, of being a burden.

Several times in this community, I was reminded, when I felt like a burden for sharing what I was going through, that it’s not up to us to decide fot them what is too much or not. There is a need for a certain amount of trust once we share our vulnerability with someone. It’s also a deep mark of respect, because we let people use their right to use their self-determination. Ultimately, it’s up to the person in front of us (and ourselves, as listeners) to say: “Now I can’t be that person for you because I’m not okay, but I care about you I want you to reach out to someone if you’re not okay”. Being honest about our own boundaries, but also our fears, is part of building this mutual trust. Just because as you said, the worse part is not knowing. Not knowing if someone we love is struggling silently, but also not knowing if the person we’re talking to is okay to listen or not. It goes both ways. Many times people area fraid to reach out because of the fear of being a burden. And many times people want to support someone without listening to their own limits. It’s okay to express your fears, and it’s okay to set boundaries, on both ends. These are fundamental elements for a loving, respectful, gracious conversation.

It sounds that this experience really shaked your perspective when it’s about being vulnerable and sharing how you feel. I hope you are going to keep it in your heart as a way to make communication with anyone more authentic, honest, and vulnerable. It sounds that you’re already on the right path. Keep it up, friend. Your vulnerability is a strength. :hrtlegolove:


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