bestandworstofgermany

how to survive in Germany, Deutschland without cultural barriers, best and worst of Germany

Where do Germans burry feelings?

Yesterday I was in the seminar that seriously triggered this question in me again and I think it is time for me to talk about it.

The seminar was about rejection. How people get rejected by other people, what emotions they experience, how they feel afterwords, how they are reacting to rejection, responding and coping. It was very interesting as it was the first time when I was introduced to a systematic approach towards rejection.

Doing the seminar we got a few practical tasks some of which included people sharing their own experienced of being rejected. I have to say stories people told were not easy ones as you would expect in this situation. It made me think that people were sharing their real experiences and not just executing the task for the sake of it. As I am highly interested in psychology I know that we as mammals, are extremely sensitive to peer rejection, neglect and abandonment. Having the abandonment issue as a childhood wound is probably the worst possible heritage and it is hardly ever fully treatable, it is just manageable given the person is working on it.

Rejection by peers, such like bullying in school can even end in suicide. That strong people feel being rejected by the group they belong to.

People were saying that it was difficult to talk about their rejection experiences but they remained showing no emotion. Almost at all. Their faces were moving but emotions were not coming out. It made me wonder big time where do they store their emotions or how do they learn to hide their emotions so well?

Yes I have seen German people cry and shout and slam the doors. But still when they talk about something so highly emotional they kind of talk more of the facts rather than being in touch with their emotions.

I am sure of my observation as it is not the first time I notice that. It was just so strange for me that I almost could not believe my observations. But it is how it is, no matter how strange that seems to me.

Just to give you another example that it is not one time event, one time very late at night I encountered a TV show, something between talk show and documentary. Where two middle aged ladies who were discussing sex. Not genders, sex as an act. I remember watching it for half an hour stunned at their faces and their movements to see that they were talking about such a highly emotional experience with not even a smallest drop of emotion on their faces! They were in grey hair, dressed in grey, the studio was white maybe, I do not remember but definitelly colorless, with cold faces they were discussing a thing of probably the highest possible emotion on earth!

Somehow it felt dehumanized.

For a comparison, American girl speaking of her experiences.

5 comments on “Where do Germans burry feelings?

  1. Charlotte Steggz
    March 15, 2015

    I’d never noticed this before! Maybe if I understood German better I’d spot it.
    I was going to comment “Germans bury the feelings next to where the Brits do!” but I think in cases like this even Brits would have feelings.

  2. vidavidav
    March 15, 2015

    You are right! I have known a lot of Brits and saw even less tears on their faces! In fact, not even one. But they do a good job by being funny, curious, full of passion for life and somehow otherwise lively.

  3. Kno
    June 4, 2015

    I was hoping for an actual answer to this question. I dated a german for awhile and was absolutely amazed how he could just turn off emotions…empathy, compassion, love, etc etc

    • vidavidav
      June 5, 2015

      I think it has to do with the environment in which somebody grows up. When everyone around them demonstrate no feelings whatsoever, kids learn from early age that showing your feelings is not something good. Good is to keep feelings for yourself. Also, I think when a child grows up where other adults are not self conscious and do not show a good example of how to be in touch and process their own feelings, they have no possibility to acquire that skills. As much as I am watching a German society it seems that the skills of proper functioning here way much overweight to compare to the skills of self awareness including feelings and emotions. I think it simply becomes the norm of the society. Whats your personal cultural background if I may ask?

  4. Bibi
    October 23, 2016

    Wow! Thanks for your insight and observations! I am German myself, and suffer very much because of this iciness, as I like to call it. All my close and good friends are either from other countries or live outside Germany. I myself have spent half my life in the USA, West-Africa and Luxembourg. It helped me a lot to read how you feel. Sometimes I do wonder if I’m going crazy here out of sheer lack of emotions around me. So, thanks, all you dear people!

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This entry was posted on March 13, 2015 by in Character and tagged , , , , .
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