Safe to say, the inability to handle emotional distress is widespread enough to consider it a national pandemic.
The pandemic is connected to anxious ways we have learned to avoid, deny or strongly react to emotions that are uncomfortable or painful.
We learn these desperate ways of dealing with painful emotions in childhood and carry them into our relationships in adulthood. Whether our primary response to distress is a strategy that activates overwhelm, angry outbursts or emotional shutdown, all of these cause reactivity in us that unnecessarily activates our body’s survival system.
This pandemic is related to cultural mores that overall relegate painful emotions as signs of weaknesses, inferiority or defect that need to be fixed, ignored or even eliminated.
To complicate matters, some of these teachings consist of gender taboos; some emotions are considered unmanly for men to express, and other emotions too manly for women.