Compartmentalization (sometimes called stuffing away feelings) is a healthy skill much of the time. And you can tell when people don’t have that skill. Their emotions govern their lives and their choices. Something unpleasant or unwelcome ruins their day or causes them to have to leave their job or to yell at their kids. Or at you. So learning how to monitor and evaluate a situation – using mindfulness to be aware of something being emotionally difficult - and then being able to table those feeling until it’s the right time and place to work through those emotions can be a vital skill.
But compartmentalization can also be damaging when it's connected with a need to escape, for example, through addictions; when you use it to avoid what's termed cognitive dissonance, as when you're behaving in a certain way that doesn't match your true values; or when it's part of a sociopathic or even psychopathic personality disorder.
Our listener email is from a man whose ex is talking to their son in an inappropriate way – causing what he has read in my articles an “enmeshment” between the two of them. And he’s wondering what he can do.. What would you do?? So in this episode, sponsored by a new sponsor - Athletic Greens - we'll focus on the good and bad about compartmentalization.
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A testimonial about compartmentalization Richard Castro's article
about the dark side of compartmentalization
You can hear more about mental health and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe
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My book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression
has arrived and you can order here!
Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism or need for control which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions, long hidden away, that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.
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