Being emotionally detached can have many positives – it suits our introverted personalities to keep the people at a safe distance.

We are also great at handling criticism and we’re the go-to person for advice since we stay emotionless in drama-filled situations. However, there are also many drawbacks of being emotionally cold that you can only identify with if you are such kind of a person yourself:

1. Being the only dry-eyed person in the cinema

Sometimes, it can be great not to cry at sad movies – it means no snotty mess, no streaking mascara and no noisy sniffles. But occasionally, it may be nice to experience a sad moment the way others around us do, especially when we get glared at for being so cold.

2. When people expect you to be open about your feelings

This dreaded scenario can come in many forms – a relationship, a friendship or sometimes a complete stranger. At some point, you will be expected to speak about your feelings and if you’re emotionally detached, it just won’t happen. This isn’t to say you don’t have any feelings, but that you don’t generally want to share the ones you do have, especially not on demand.

3. You tend to feel awkward when somebody tells you their feelings

If somebody is opening up to you about their feelings or emotions, chances are you won’t have a clue what to say in response. Whether it’s somebody telling you they love you or crying on your shoulder about their bad day, your usual response is to awkwardly say “erm” or excuse you from the situation.

4. You’re used to being the one everyone turns to in a crisis

Being so calm and emotionless means you’re level headed in an emergency situation. Whilst this is undoubtedly a positive thing, it also means you will end up having to deal with everybody else’s problems too.

5. If a serious conversation is happening, you tend to use humour

Using wit or sarcasm as a form of humour to hide behind is one of your go-to coping mechanisms for emotional conversations. Because of this, you’re also used to people close to you getting frustrated with the fact they can’t have a serious conversation with you.

6. People forget you do actually have feelings

People become so used to your cold heart that they get used to saying anything to you – regardless of how hurtful it may be. Unfortunately, we do have feelings and when people forget that, it doesn’t end well.

7. Clingy people really scare you

People who are overly dependent and clingy scare the living daylights out of you because you’re used to being independent and are most definitely not used to having to deal with so much emotion.

8. Not many people know what goes on in your life

As an emotionally detached person, it’s not just emotions you tend to shut off from people, but your day to day life too. It becomes such a habit to not rely on others that the people closest to you may actually struggle to keep up with what you’re doing in your life as you just don’t tell them.

9. When you like someone, you tend to push them away

Experiencing feelings for another human can be a terrifying thing for somebody who is emotionally detached, so you tend to shut it down and push them away as much as you can out of fear of your own emotions.

10. People struggle to cope with you

New people may struggle to cope with your lack of emotional expression, but the important thing is that those who are in your life know what you’re like and accept you for you.

It’s not easy being emotionally detached, but it makes it a little bit easier knowing others share our pain. Can you identify with anything on this list or do you know someone who is emotionally detached? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Christina Lawson, B.A.

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This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. Avatar
    john

    I find most people are obtuse because they have little knowledge of what they talk about and believe in. I don’t like being around people because truth and facts threaten most people because they see you as a knowledgeable threat . At times I feel I can see right into their souls and strip away the moronic flesh that makes them the dolts they really are. Most people are boring and shallow . I love to read and research the things that interest me the most . I love knowledge ….

    1. Avatar
      Roberto Coto

      You are a very smart person, but always remember that a dolt can come and help you if you ever get a flat tire. We need compassion, because nobody ever ask to be born the way they are.

  2. Avatar
    ok.name

    Its ironic that me being so emotionally detached the number of people that tell me thire secrets is insane even worse is the look they give you when you don’t express facial emotions.why do you do these things strangers Im not your friend this is the first time we met I only said hello because you said hi.ahhhh.oh well at least the grocery shopping excuse works fine.

    1. Avatar
      April Mitchell

      I can completely relate to you on this. I can be at a store, event, middle of no mans land and people some how seem to seek me out to tell me their life stories, struggles, achievements, whatever….I have an exceptional memory as well as being emotionally detached, so I am like WTF, What am I suppose to do with that information.

      I am the person who doesn’t cry at sappy emotional train wreck movies…
      Emotional Detachment is not the same thing as Narcissism which some might confuse with. We still care we just deflect most if not all emotional connections.

  3. Avatar
    Isa

    I am also suffering from EDD. I can’t help myself! I really need to find a way out of this problem

  4. Avatar
    Kaitlyn

    I don’t know if I’m emotionally detached, I just find that I don’t care. If someone is telling me something or talking to me, I tune them out. If someone is in a sticky situation, I don’t care. It’s not my problem to deal with. People are awful to be around. You are always expected to be a nice and happy person or to give a damn. Unfortunately for most humans, that isn’t me. I don’t know about others, but I like my walls. It’s a place I can hide and be myself in. That is most likely a bad thing, but I’d rather be emotionally distant then get attached to people who will hurt me in the end. It’s kind of pointless.

    1. Avatar
      Tlhuey

      Honestly I can say the same thing I find often when I talk to people I simply don’t care enough to engage in conversation prolong if at all and often avoid social situations in which I’m socially expected to speak. I can engage in conversation but only if the subject is directly Center to something I care about otherwise I really don’t care I’ve gotten better and being able to be more sympathetic with people but yeah I can see how you feel.

  5. Avatar
    Linda A Lillard

    More often than not people who are emotionally detached are that way by their own choosing. At some point in their life they’ve been significantly betrayed and disappointed by someone close to them. They erect walls and run from those painful emotions. They become unknowingly very selfish as it becomes all about protecting themselves from any potential hurt. It’s incredibly painful to those who love you to bear the pain another caused. Some never will be able to let their guard down and open up again. Just remember though like so many things it’s a choice. Everyone is different and the hurt that someone previously caused you does not mean everyone will do the same. Learn to trust yourself again. Much love to all who suffer.

    1. Avatar
      Selena

      Hi Linda,
      I am emotionally detached, like most people here. I just realized that fact, though. I really need some help, the one who loves me and wants me to open up is the one who had hurt me. What do I do?

    2. Avatar
      Redge

      More often than not people who are emotionally detached are that way by their own choosing.

      I can’t speak for everybody, but I certainly didn’t choose to be this way.

  6. Avatar
    Lj

    One thing I didn’t lost is being compassionate towards others. Surely, I don’t give a dime when people disappear. It’s a fact of life that we will disappear. It’s our responsibility how to overcome pain. I’m beyond that. I get hurt and bounce back quicker than most people in general.

    On the other hand, I want to keep my emotion such as as missing my guy and friends. Unfortunately, I don’t operate that way. I feel there is nothing whether he exist or not, I feel fine.

  7. Avatar
    Katrina

    I’ve just discovered that’s a real term for me ..it’s I’m 57 and always wondered why I was the way I was now I know .. as the article says it has its plus sides but definitely big drawbacks but we are who we are .. I did further research to discover why and it’s from a traumatic event as a child ( in my case ) which I’ve blocked out . It all seems to make sense now

  8. Avatar
    Kaitlin

    Now I know my condition I feel for anyone out there in the same situation, sending you all my love

  9. Avatar
    Rachel

    I’ve recently stumbled upon a post on Facebook that mentioned emotional detachment/emotionally unavailable. Those seemed like the right words to put to how I’ve been feeling (or I guess lack of feeling lol) for 6 years. It never occurred to me to look it up and do my own research. I just thought, I am the way I am. I never thought it was toxic, but I’m being toxic to myself. In certain situations, I know how a person would feel if they were being confided in by a friend or ya know… things normal people do. It’s shameful to say, but I’ve just been going through the motions.
    For the passed 6 years, I’ve been effected by this way of life and I can’t take it anymore. I don’t feel excited or happy about anything. I don’t allow people to see inside of me. They’re a just an arms reach enough to say we’re friends but not too close. Or if I’m about to perform on stage, I’m not nervous nor happy. I just do it.
    This has gravely effected every aspect of my life. I’ve been able to fake it, but I can’t do this anymore. I’m gonna do something about it.

  10. Avatar
    Cameron

    I hardly know how to react in group conversations. It was me and 4 friends, we got ice cream one day. This was my idea: no one else seems to be able to make group plans so I taught them a lesson by suggesting we get ice cream at night in winter. They were only mildly annoyed. We all sat in a car and had a conversation. I never really know what to say or how to say it when i’m in a group. I try to tell jokes, but no one gets it. I hardly ever crack a smile, but I think it feels like I am.

    Bottom question: Should I fake my emotions then? Is it healthier for me to do that or just tell them what I’m really thinking, despite not being able to fully express it?

  11. Avatar
    Neville A

    OMG I have found other people that feel the same way as I do. I honestly thought that I must be the only one. I HATE feeling this way. I HATE not feeling how other people expect me to feel. I fake my emotions and i am so tired of doing this.
    I feel like it healthier for everyone off I just pretend to be happy. I seem to never feel real happiness about anything. It’s all an act. I been married twice and OMG it’s my fault they failed. I feel trapped in my own nothingness all the time.

  12. Avatar
    LM

    Wow this is me, I relate to all these comments! and I don’t know why I am this way. I am very sensitive emotionally and in childhood and later in life had experiences of rejection. I feel like I was fairly normal up until maybe 6 or 7 years ago. I don’t have any close friends and no relationships ever work out for me. It’s incredibly painful and I don’t know how to change. I have always been an introvert but used to enjoy time with friends. Now I just want to be alone with my pets most of the time because being with people leads to more pain. It is so wonderful to know I am not alone.

  13. Avatar
    jess

    Being emotionally detached, you treat everyone the same way, the same detached and cold way with everyone, even those who don’t deserve it.

  14. Avatar
    GW

    Wow….I am searching for answers as I am engaged to a woman who is disconnected. I don’t want to change her but I feel I need more. Simple things…..like are you happy, sad, pissed off, nervous, apprehensive, stressed, etc. It seems EVERYTHING is ok with you. While you accepted my marriage proposal, I am not sure how you feel about me. It is very strange being on this end of it. As I too was this way for many years but found my way out. It took a significant life event to wake me up to what I was not capable of. I believe people have to see the pattern and see how it is hurting them and then be willing to at least explore ways to re-connect to themselves again. Emotions are not a weakness….they allow you to be seen and loved for who you are – otherwise you are just hiding and not letting anyone in. And in a love relationship that is hard. Anyway this has been my experience but now I have new challenges inside this new (6 yr) wonderful relationship but, if I am honest with myself, it works great as we are both independent and strong but when the relationship calls for intimacy (not sex) it becomes a one sided share which is very difficult to sustain. I just want to know her but she doesn’t really know herself. Caught between loving her for who she is and whether it is enough for me to live alone inside the relationship. Not sure how to move forward…………..

  15. Avatar
    Thompson

    I realize I have all the struggles of emotionally detached person.However am most the compassionate,selfless person.like I have I just don’t know how to talk about myself.I am not bothered if you share or you don’t share,but if u do I share,I listen and sympathize with u.Are all emotionally detached people narcissistic?

  16. Avatar
    MK

    GW…Don’t do it. Sorry but she won’t change. And as much as you love her, or as good a person as she is, it will break your heart.

  17. Avatar
    Bizzy11

    I am married to an emotionally detached person and it will be ending soon because I can not longer be with someone who shows no emotion. He doesn’t seem happy when I share my accomplishments (although he says he is) he doesn’t show any emotion when our 1 1/2 yr old burned her hand (when he was watching her) he has no facial expression when I talk to him, when I am sad or upset he is bot there for me he doesn’t show concern but he says it. There are always words but no actions. A person needs to be shown that you care not just told. He has trama from his childhood ad is a cop so he admits he is emotionally detached but unfortunately doesn’t change and I’m not sure he ever could. It’s sad because he is a good person but there is nothing there like no communication, no emotion, no support…nothing! I’m not sure people can ever learn to be emotionally available after detaching themselves

  18. Avatar
    Kelly

    I’m female. I just broke up with someone. I did it via email initially (we’ve only been talking for a couple of months) because I wanted to be able to say what I needed to say without interruption or hesitation. I called her a couple days later because I didn’t want to be a total jerk with email. Well she was crying her eyes out. She was in a tremendous amount of pain (she fell pretty hard pretty fast and was actually ready to get married). I just sat there on the phone waiting for it to all be over. I didn’t want to hurt her. I really didn’t. I had hoped an upcoming visit would reignite what I was feeling earlier, but once I realized I didn’t have strong enough interest to keep it going, I checked out. So by the time I sent the email, I was over it. When I hung up the phone, I couldn’t help think there was something wrong with me. I immediately googled emotional detachment and came across this site. I’m prior military and learned how to compartmentalize my feelings out of necessity (like being in Saudi Arabia when 9/11 happened and worrying about family back home). I don’t think I’ve ever been able to really show emotions. I have no friends. I’ve pushed everyone away. I’ve tried crying after breakups but the tears won’t come. I just snap out of it. I do cry at sad movies or random acts of kindness. I have a heart. I’m just broken when it comes to showing emotion in human interaction. It really sucks.

  19. Avatar
    Oni

    I’m doing research to write about how to use detachment in a healthy way when you are feeling angry, sad, or scared. I think of it as looking down at yourself, watching your own behavior, and being aware of how you are feeling and what you are doing. I can understand how people would choose to detach from emotions after experiencing some trauma. I have experienced trauma myself. For me feeling numb meant I was freezing my feelings because expressing my feelings of anger, sadness, or fear meant I would get punished or belittled for having them. I had to stop interacting with people who were hurting me. Then I learned to be my own parent. I had to grieve for all the hurtful events from my childhood. I felt denial, anger and sadness about them until I found my way to acceptance. I had to learn to label my feelings and identify them. I used a journal to do that. Now I think of my feelings as friends. They tell me what I like or don’t like. Feeling my feelings does not mean I have to react with a specific behavior. Sometimes my anger is telling me someone has crossed a boundary and I need to stand up for myself. My sadness tells me that I’m grieving for loosing something or not getting what I want. My fear tells me that something may be hurting me. Sometimes my fear is triggered by an event that remind me from my past. I listen to the messages my feelings are telling me. I thank them. Then I think about what I need to do to take care of myself. I treat myself with love and compassion. I’m able to let other people into my life because I love and trust myself to take care of myself even if someone does something that hurts my feelings. I have found people who like me for who I am. I like feeling intimacy now with people who are nice to me. It makes me feel loved, accepted, and cared about. There are posts here from some people who want to change themselves. You can find a way to heal yourself. There are other people out there who have experienced trauma and managed to heal from it. You can do it to. It just takes time.

  20. Avatar
    Anon

    I wouldn’t call myself emotionally detached. I feel genuine happiness, sadness, anger and i feel empathy for other but its more that if your telling me you lost a loved one, I wouldn’t know what do say to comfort you. If your feeling depressed I wouldn’t know what to say. I kinda describe it like the words get caught in my throat and i wanna say those words but, i never had those words in the first place. I will be there for you and ill be there forever until you tell me you dont need me anymore. But Ive got nothing but to listen to you. Im giving all that i can, please accept my silence.

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