THE BLOG

Are You An Emotional Hoarder?

04/03/2015 12:25 pm ET | Updated Jun 03, 2015

Do you know people who are more committed to sorrow than joy? Do you encounter individuals so afraid to know themselves in the absence of sorrow they make suffering part of their identity? Are there friends in your life who, no matter how many rainbows the Divine presents them, can only see the rain?

Behold the emotional hoarder- an individual stricken by an epidemic that's holding their joy hostage and robbing them of their fulfillment. An emotional hoarder stockpiles every traumatic memory, slight, embarrassment, and heartbreak, past and present, only to live with the burden of each one every day.

The more hoarders accumulate, emotional and otherwise, the more insulated they feel from the world and its dangers. The more they accrue, the more isolated they become from the best parts of their life, including love and friendship. Even the thought of facing or cleaning out the painful feelings or material possessions they've amassed produces reactions of extreme panic and discomfort.

Does this sound familiar? If you're still upset over something that happened five, ten, twenty, or even thirty years ago, you may be an emotional hoarder. Here are three signs you're clinging to old wounds and feelings that keep you from living your most remarkable life.

You're Trying To Avoid Your Pain
Human beings are instinctively adverse to physical or psychological pain. The brain's natural inclination is to shield you from memories and thoughts you believe too painful to face. This trait is often seen in individuals who block their memories of abuse or severe trauma. But when you make a habit of running away from every uncomfortable feeling you have, those emotions continue to grow and multiply until they eventually engulf you in darkness. While your defense mechanism serves to protect you, it can also prevent you from experiencing the pain, heartbreak, fear or rage you need to feel so you can move beyond it.

You're Caught In The Spin Cycle
Emotional hoarding, for the most part, is an unconscious act, but its impact can take a devastating toll on your life. While repressing and suppressing your pain adversely affects your relationships, family, and health, being mentally stuck rehashing past turmoil reactivates the heartache you've experienced and invokes an unending rotation of negative feelings. These emotions emit neurological stimuli that resemble addiction so, in essence, you become addicted to your pain. As long as your anguish remains unresolved, you unwittingly set the stage for those energies to cycle and recycle, creating an environment rife with misery and victimhood.

You're Afraid of Change
Many hoarders experience a stressful or traumatic event that propels them to hoard as a coping mechanism. Once that mechanism is in place, it creates a false sense of comfort and safety that's difficult to escape. Your unwillingness to move forward in life stems from a deep fear of change. However, your comfort zone is often the most dangerous place you can be. It doesn't allow for expansion or risk and keeps you confined and unavailable for divine possibilities beyond your wildest expectations.

It takes strength to break your chronic addiction to pain and the panic that surrounds the unknown. Your readiness to feel everything there is to feel is the catalyst to clearing your built up emotional clutter and transforming your life. Your willingness to experience every emotion and let the energy flow through you is the key to embracing your deepest desires and the greatest blessing of all.

Spring showers will come, and you will get wet. But instead of hiding from the rain, face the storm, open an umbrella and go looking for the rainbows.