ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Are You Guilty of Emotional Avoidance?

Updated on September 5, 2020
Jacqueline4390 profile image

Jacqueline Williamson graduated with a BBA in Personnel Admin., an MPA in HR Management and an MS in Education.

Sometimes, we can become so emotionally involved with the pain of  the past that we can't see what it is doing to us in the present.
Sometimes, we can become so emotionally involved with the pain of the past that we can't see what it is doing to us in the present.

What is Emotional Avoidance?

It is amazing how situations and circumstances can be detrimental to the health of an individual. Something can be said on your job or while you are engaged in a meaningful conversation with a loved one. One word can be a catalyst, hurling you back to a situation in your past; revealing the thoughts you assumed were long buried. Yes, before you are aware of it—it’s being relived. You, my friend, have unfinished business!

There are times when a person doesn’t realize the magnitude of unfinished business, until the body reacts in ways that are unmistakable indications that something is definitely wrong. At that point, you realize that something needs to be done. Unfinished business can lead you down a devastating path of disaster!

There is a term I would like to introduce called Emotional Avoidance? Exactly just what is Emotional Avoidance? This is when you unconsciously avoid the likelihood of anything undesirable happening by either completely removing yourself from the situation or manipulating the circumstances where the least amount of damaged is sustained. Accordingly, you do everything in your power to erect an emotional wall of protection in order to avoid any presumed negative outcome based on past experiences. Instead of working hard toward achieve successful consequences, you focus on the easiest way of averting the situation entirely! When this is not possible, you can become sick either physiological or psychological.

Working on a job that you hate is like playing a "tug of war" with your emotions! You need it but you hate it!
Working on a job that you hate is like playing a "tug of war" with your emotions! You need it but you hate it!

What are some of the signs?

Physiological signs of Emotional Avoidance can take many forms. That unexplained headache that only happens when you begin a certain task can be an obvious indication that you are about to engage in an undesirable activity. It can start with just a slight amount of pressure to the temples and soon escalate to the point where you are searching frantically for a pain reliever.

A second intimation that signifies something amiss is the sudden overwhelming feeling of exhaustion that starts your day; then miraculously disappears when you leave your job heading for home. People have stated that they sit in their parked cars staring into space—dreading another day. You are a candidate for Emotional Avoidance.

These symptoms should never be ignored. What starts out as a simple psychological warning can manifest itself into a full blown problem such as:

  • Migraine or tension headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug Addiction
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Anxiety Attacks
  • Obesity

Let’s explore the following example. Take the case of an individual who is not suited for her job but needs to work. Yes, she knows how to do it and she may do it very well. However, her desirable skills are not being utilized. Instead, she has developed “killer skills.” These are the skills that can be performed by the individual but in doing it she is literally being “killed” by her lack of drive in performing those skills.

Sometimes, that person does physically die due to some complaint that could be traced to stress-related “killer skills.” Your mind has a strong influence on what the body does. After all, isn't it the control center? Every activity starts in the mind. The body responds to the positive and negative messages the control center sends out. If you tell yourself that you are going to have a rotten day; you will. High absenteeism can be traced to the imperfect fit of job and person. To avoid the negative situation, you desire to remove yourself from it!

Dreading a situation or wishing to be somewhere else will never help you solve it.
Dreading a situation or wishing to be somewhere else will never help you solve it.

Let's Investigate Further ...

Now, let’s investigate what’s going on with you at the present. I will present you with a series of statements. Answer them with how you feel about your situation at this present moment.

These questions are for the working woman single or married. They can also be applicable to a working man. If the question is not applicable to your situation, skip it.

It might be a good idea to write any additional comments you feel will help you discover why you responded in the way you did.

  1. I find the type of work that I do exciting and rewarding. True/False
  2. My daily commute to work is filled with frustration and anxiety. True/False
  3. My husband helps me with the children before we leave for our respective jobs. True/False
  4. I start each day with an attitude of gratitude. True/False
  5. I can’t function without a morning cup of coffee/tea/cola drink. True/False
  6. I arrive at my job early so that I can be relaxed and start my day with a refreshed attitude. True/False
  7. My husband just doesn’t understand me. True/False
  8. My children seem to do just the opposite of what I tell them to do. True/False
  9. Mondays are the worst days of the week. True/False
  10. I look for excuses not to go to work. True/False

If you find that over 50% of these statements are true but in a very negative sense; then it is time to carefully assess your situation. You may want to consider engaging the services of a good Counselor and/or checking with your physician to insure no permanent damage has been done. Having a good friend to confide in is also a good method of coming to grips with your problems. Make sure that this friend is truthful and not one who will only tell you what you want to hear.

Developing a hobby is another form of release. Flower arranging, crocheting or cooking can be profitable past-times. Just make sure that your hobby doesn't become another source of stress for you. A walk in the park with a good friend (either human or animal) is another area of consideration. It has been proven that having a pet to take care of is a great way of eliminating stress. Just make sure that your pet is not "high maintenance" or you may experience even greater stress. The smaller the dog the larger the need!

Don’t forget to take a break or mini-vacation whenever possible even if you only go outside and admire a bird cheerfully singing—he’s got the right attitude! Taking a relaxing drive in the country or going to the museum or art gallery is a great cultural way of taking it easy. Just remember: Emotional Avoidance doesn't have to happen unless you let it!

Job Satisfaction: Are Women Happier

Do you think that women are more selective and happier in their choices of jobs than men?

See results

© 2013 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)