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Emotional Detachment Disorder - CBT Kenya
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  • Posted by: cbtkeadmin

Emotional Detachment Disorder – CBT Kenya

This is a psychological condition in which a person is not able to fully engage with their feelings or the feelings of others. For some people, being emotionally detached helps protect them from unwanted drama, anxiety, or stress. For others, the detachment isn’t always voluntary. It’s instead the result of events that make the person unable to be open and honest about their emotions. Emotional detachment can be helpful if you use it purposefully. You may set boundaries with certain people or groups. It helps you stay at an arm’s length from people who demand a lot of your emotional attention.

What causes emotional detachment?

  • Emotional detachment may be voluntary. Some people can choose to remain emotionally removed from a person or situation. Other times, emotional detachment is the result of trauma, abuse, or a previous encounter. In these cases, previous events may make it difficult to be open and honest with a friend, loved one, or significant other.
  • Some people choose to proactively remove themselves from an emotional situation. This might be an option if you have a family member or a colleague that you know upsets you greatly. You can choose to not engage with the person or persons. This will help you remain cool and keep your calm. In situations like this, emotional detachment is a bit like a protective measure. It helps you prepare for situations that would normally get the best of you.
  • Sometimes, emotional detachment may be the result of traumatic events, such as childhood abuse or neglect. Children who are abused or neglected may develop emotional detachment as a means of survival. Children require a lot of emotional connection from their parents or caregivers. If it’s not forthcoming, the children may stop expecting it. When that happens, they may begin to turn off their emotional receptors.
  • What’s more, children who were abused or neglected as a child, or even those who were just raised in a certain type of strict household, may also struggle with accepting other people’s emotions. They may not know how to respond to a significant other in a time of high stress and emotion.

How to tell someone is emotionally detached

  • You might be pouring out your heart to your partner or sharing something exciting that happened during your day, but your partner looks vaguely bored or even irritated. Rather than an engaging conversation, it’s a one-sided affair in which you’re trying to share and build closeness, but your partner is having none of it.
  • You want to work on your conflicts and disagreements so you can move past them and repair your bond. But your partner doesn’t seem interested in working things out. Even when you try to goad him or her into an argument, all you get is an eye roll or an exasperated sigh as he or she walks out of the room.
  • You so want so quality time with your partner where you can talk and enjoy each other’s company. But every time you suggest spending time together, your partner always has an excuse for being elsewhere.
  • Lack of self-love. These people don’t have any sympathy for themselves. They find it difficult to find virtues in themselves and, when they do, they quickly minimize them. Essentially, they despise themselves.
  • Retreating from social situations. It’s difficult for people with this disorder to show what they think or feel to others since they have a strong fear of rejection. Similarly, when they experience rejection, they struggle with these situations.
  • What’s more, people that struggle to express emotions or process them in a healthy manner may seek out other outlets for those feelings. This could include drugs, alcohol, or aggressive behaviors. These aren’t a substitute for emotional processing, but they may feel like a way to release that energy.


Changes in emotion occur naturally from time to time and those changes may be the result of a stressful event or a change in life circumstances.  For most people, the fluctuations in emotion and mood are temporary and do not cause any significant disruptions in relationships or daily life.  However, when an inability to fully engage with one’s personal feelings or the feelings of others occurs, this could be a sign of emotional attachment disorder.

Emotional detachment may cause feelings of sadness or negativity.  However, in most cases, emotions are minimally felt.  When emotional detachment disorder occurs, even those people who may have experienced happiness or joy previously may find it difficult to imagine feeling that way again or to even recall what it felt like at all.  The length of time a person experiences symptoms and the severity of symptoms varies from person to person. There are ways to address emotional detachment and learn to form healthy emotional attachments. The process can take a great deal of time and requires consistent dedication.


Some people are able to turn off their emotions in order to protect themselves. For others, emotional numbing is unintended. It may even be part of a larger issue, like depression or a personality disorder. If you have difficulty processing emotions or you live with someone who does, it’s important you seek help from a mental health provider. These experts are trained to help you understand why you respond in this manner to emotions. They can then help you work through that behavior in a healthy way and attempt to correct it.

CBT-Kenya (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Kenya) counseling center offers counseling and therapy sessions for persons from all walks of life. We focus on helping clients gain insight into themselves by going through a healing process. Our purpose is to help you to achieve your therapeutic and life goals, to improve the quality of your life and to help you to build strong relationships in your life. Get in touch or book an appointment on +254 739 935 333, +254 756 454 585 or info@cbtkenya.org.

Author: cbtkeadmin
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