People who feel unhappy but hide it well usually exhibit these 9 behaviours

There is a fine line between expressing your sadness and hiding it.

Often people who feel unhappy choose to hide it and put on a brave face to the world. But as they say, actions speak louder than words.

Those who are adept at masking their true feelings often exhibit certain behaviours. They may not be immediately obvious, but if you know what to look for, the signs are there.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the nine behaviours typically exhibited by people who feel unhappy but are remarkably good at hiding it. You might gain a better understanding of the people around you – or even yourself.

Let’s start.

1) They are masters of deflection

People who are unhappy, but are good at hiding it, have become experts in the art of deflection.

Deflection is a psychological term used to describe the act of shifting focus from oneself to something or someone else. It’s a clever trick that unhappy people often use to avoid talking about their feelings or problems.

For example, when asked how they are doing, they may quickly change the subject or distract from other people’s problems. Their ability to skillfully direct conversations away from their emotional state can be quite subtle, making it difficult for others to notice their unhappiness.

However, if you notice that someone consistently avoids talking about themselves or their feelings, it could be a sign that they are hiding their unhappiness.

A word of caution: not everyone who deviates is unhappy; some may simply be private individuals. Therefore, it is important not to draw conclusions based on this behaviour alone.

2) They laugh…a lot

You might think that someone who laughs often and heartily is genuinely happy. But sometimes laughter can be a mask for hidden unhappiness.

I remember a friend of mine, let’s call him Tom. Tom was always the life of the party, cracking jokes and making everyone around him laugh. His laugh was infectious and it made him seem like the happiest person in the room.

Yet behind closed doors, Tom confided to me that he was struggling with feelings of unhappiness and loneliness. He used humour as a way to hide his true feelings and to prevent people from asking too many questions about his personal life.

It was a shocking revelation because from the outside Tom seemed the picture of happiness. This experience has taught me that excessive laughter can sometimes be a way for people to camouflage their unhappiness.

Again, this doesn’t mean that everyone who laughs a lot is unhappy. But if someone’s laughter seems forced or excessive, it could be a sign that they are not as happy as they seem.

3) They are often overly generous

Unhappy people who hide their feelings well can also become excessively generous, both with their time and their resources.

This behaviour stems from the belief that helping others will fill the void they feel inside.

If you notice someone consistently going out of their way for others, often at the expense of their own needs or well-being, they may be masking their feelings of unhappiness.

Generosity is not a definitive sign of hidden unhappiness. Many people are naturally altruistic and genuinely enjoy helping others.

4) They overextend themselves

Work can be a major distraction from personal problems, and unhappy people often use it as a means to escape their feelings.

You may notice that they are always the first to arrive and the last to leave. Or maybe they’re constantly taking on extra projects or responsibilities, even when their plate is already full.

They may be praised for their dedication and hard work, but underneath it all this can be a way to suppress their unhappiness. By immersing themselves in the work they can avoid confronting their feelings or personal problems.

Again, it is crucial not to jump to conclusions. Some people love their work and thrive in a busy environment.

But if someone seems to use their work as an escape, it could be an indicator of hidden unhappiness.

5) They are perfectionists

Perfectionism can sometimes be a sign of hidden unhappiness. People dealing with inner turmoil often hold themselves to unrealistically high standards.

They strive for perfection in everything they do, hoping that success and achievement will bring them the happiness they are looking for. But the truth is that this constant pursuit of perfection often leads to additional stress and disappointment.

You may notice that they get upset over small mistakes or spend an inordinate amount of time on tasks trying to get them “just right.” This relentless pursuit of perfection is often their way of compensating for feelings of inadequacy or unhappiness.

While the pursuit of excellence is admirable, extreme perfectionism can sometimes be a mask for underlying emotional issues.

6) They isolate themselves

It’s heartbreaking to think that those who often need the most support are the same people who push people away.

People who hide their unhappiness often choose isolation, believing that it is easier to deal with their feelings alone than to burden others with their problems. They may decline invitations, avoid social events, or spend extended periods alone.

While everyone needs some time for themselves, consistent isolation can be a sign of hidden unhappiness. These individuals may silently cry out for help even as they push the world away.

It is essential to approach such individuals with patience and understanding. Sometimes just knowing that someone cares can make all the difference in the world to them.

7) They seem lost in thought

I found myself staring into space, my mind a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. My smile was there, my laugh was loud, but my eyes often betrayed me. They would glaze over as if I were somewhere else, lost in my world.

People who hide their unhappiness often appear lost in thought or daydreaming. It’s as if they are physically present, but mentally miles away. This is because their minds are preoccupied with their internal struggles, causing them to disconnect from their environment.

If you notice that someone frequently turns away or seems distant, it could be a sign that he or she is dealing with hidden unhappiness.

It’s not always easy to reach out, especially when we’re not sure what’s going on, but a simple “Are you okay?” can go a long way.

8) They have erratic sleep patterns

Sleep can often be a casualty when someone is dealing with hidden unhappiness. You may notice that they sleep too much or too little.

Some people find comfort in sleep and use it as an escape from their feelings. They may sleep for long periods and often look tired or lethargic during the day.

On the other hand, some people may suffer from insomnia due to their internal turmoil. Their minds may be too active or anxious to allow them a good night’s sleep.

Either way, if you notice a significant change in someone’s sleep patterns, it could be an indication that they are hiding their inner unhappiness.

As always, approach with care and understanding. Dealing with emotional problems is not easy, and a kind word or gesture can go a long way.

9) They rarely talk about their feelings

When it comes to hiding unhappiness, one of the most common behaviours is an unwillingness to discuss personal feelings.

People dealing with hidden pain often feel that expressing their emotions makes them vulnerable or burdensome. They may downplay their feelings or avoid talking about them outright.

If you notice that someone consistently avoids emotional conversations or ignores their feelings, it could be a sign that they are dealing with hidden unhappiness.

Offering a listening ear can sometimes be the greatest gift you can give to someone who is suffering in silence. Your understanding and empathy can be the first step toward their healing journey.

Ultimately it’s about understanding and empathy

Peeling back the layers of human behaviour is a complex process, often revealing more questions than answers. Our behaviour is influenced by a multitude of factors, from our personal experiences to our biochemistry.

Individuals are more likely to hide their true feelings if they believe expressing them would cause discomfort or distress to others. This suggests that those who are adept at masking their unhappiness may do so out of respect for others.

Ultimately, understanding these behaviours is not about labelling or diagnosing them, but rather about cultivating empathy and compassion. If we can recognize these signs in those around us, we can reach out, offer support, and remind them that they are not alone in their struggles.

Unhappiness is a complicated part of the human experience, and it’s something that many of us try to hide. But remember: it’s okay to not be okay. Sometimes recognizing this is the first step towards healing.

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