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Symptoms of burnout as a psychological defense


Sometimes negative situations can cause a strong and undesirable emotional reaction. Because of this, some people seek to learn the techniques of emotional detachment. There is nothing useful in completely detaching oneself from emotions, as they help us find our way in life. But learning how to keep your emotions under control can be helpful. Mental practices and distraction will help you safely control emotions and reduce anxiety in a healthy way.

Symptom of emotional deficiency

If even recent experience did not contain such sensations, the person is experiencing their appearance, then these are the first manifestations of emotional burnout. Gradually, the symptom intensifies and takes on a more complicated form.

Over time, positive emotions are increasingly less common and increasingly negative. Sharpness, rudeness, irritability, resentment, whims - all these are manifestations of emotional deficiency.

Symptom of emotional detachment

Man gradually learns to work like a robot, like a soulless machine. On the one hand, this is beneficial in terms of energy, because no extra effort is spent. On the other hand, it turns out that the time spent at work, as if by someone else, is not his own. In other areas, he can live full-blooded emotions.

Response without feelings and emotions is the most striking symptom of "burnout". It indicates a professional deformation of the personality and causes damage to the subject of communication. A communication partner (for example, a patient at a doctor’s appointment) usually experiences indifference towards him and can be deeply traumatized. Particularly dangerous is the demonstrative form of emotional detachment, when a professional with his whole appearance shows "don't give a damn about you."

Symptom of personal detachment (depersonalization)

Other workers (and also burned out, and no) are burdened by their obsessive problems, needs. Their mere presence is unpleasant, as is the very fact of existence.

Gradually, the “metastases” of burnout penetrate into the attitudes, principles and value system of the individual, that is, they permeate it through and through. A depersonalized protective emotional-volitional anti-humanistic attitude arises. The person claims that working with people is not interesting, does not deliver satisfaction, does not represent social value. In the most severe forms of burnout, a person zealously defends his anti-humanistic philosophy (“I hate”, “despise”, “take an automatic machine and all.”). In such cases, burnout closes with the psychopathological manifestations of the personality, with neurosis-like or psychopathic conditions. Such personalities are contraindicated in professional activities associated with a lot of communication.

Symptom of psychosomatic disorders

When psychosomatics is connected to burnout, it already becomes an objective problem for the employee. He used to think: "Well, it’s nothing that other people's problems have stopped worrying me. What am I for?" Now the whole body is suffering, and not every worker can reflect that these are manifestations of emotional burnout.

Emotional detachment

Stuart really came and was just as quick-tempered as on his first visit. When I started questioning about his childhood, he stated that I was doing nonsense. “Do you not understand that for a 92-year-old man childhood has lost all relevance? Why raise this topic now? I knew that you psychiatrists were out of your mind. ”

I wanted to answer him that "the protest is rejected," but I resisted. Sometimes humor is a good way to establish a connection with the patient and even stimulate neuroplasticity, but at this stage he seemed inappropriate. Instead of joking, I convinced Stuart that from a scientific point of view it is very useful to discuss his childhood memories in order to understand what is happening in the mind at the moment. You can probably imagine Stuart-lawyer’s response: “I don’t need help, so it’s absolutely useless.”

I use the interview form for two reasons: firstly, to get information about events from a person’s life, and secondly, to understand how exactly he tells his story.

I tried to find some difficult life circumstances that Stuart had to adapt to, such as emotional trauma or loss of a loved one.

Our personality is formed as the natural temperament, often determined by genetics, is superimposed on communication with parents, peers, teachers and on what is happening at home and at school.

Random events during the prenatal period or in early childhood unpredictably affect our development.

We adapt to everything we encounter, and our sense of self is born under the influence of internal characteristics, adaptation to experience and random factors.

As soon as I managed to talk to Stuart, it turned out that he perfectly remembers the city where he grew up, what games he played, the make and model of the first car, and even the historical and political events of that time. But when I asked about early memories of the family — or the family in general — his answers were equally vague. “I had an ordinary mom. She did the housework. Father worked. It seems that everything was fine with me and the brothers. ” When asked about how the family influenced its development, Stuart replied: “No way. My parents gave me a good education. What is the next question? ”

Stuart insisted that his childhood was “normal,” despite the fact that he did not remember the details of the relationship with his parents or two brothers. He claimed that he “just doesn't remember” what they were doing at home and how he felt when he was a teenager. He enumerated the facts, and did not describe the events experienced. This was even the case when his brother, while skiing with Stuart, was injured and his leg was amputated. His brother survived this, and everything was "normal" with him.

This difficult conversation gave me some important information. Stuart's generalized recollections, inability to recall anything from family life, persistent assurances that the relationship did not affect his life, Are the classic signs of a specific autobiographical narrative *, which I studied for many years. According to the huge amount of research conducted, such a narrative develops in families where there is no emotional warmth.

The conclusion was confirmed when his wife Adrien came along with Stuart the following week. According to her, Stuart's parents were the coldest people in the world she had ever met. At eighty-three, Adrienne was in great shape and looked at Stuart with pride and love. Turning to me, she said: "I hope you help him get out of the shell."

Adrien’s words confirmed my guess that Stuart was always emotionally distant. And yet, when Adrien got to the hospital, something happened inside of him, but he could not or did not want to discuss it. Adrien seemed to have lost interest in their life together and actively plunged into his world of historical books and legal journals. She hoped that therapy would help him become happier. Stewart said he did not know exactly what this meant, but he thought his wife deserved a better retired companion. He agreed to continue the therapy for three to four months to understand what we can do together.

* Narrative - a statement of interrelated events presented in the form of a sequence of words or images. Narrative psychology claims that it’s easier for us to perceive our own lives according to the laws of the plot, in the form of history. Accordingly, a person can cope with psychological problems by rethinking and rewriting his own story with the help of a therapist. Note perev.