3 Reasons Why You Can’t
Kill Your Emotions

by Melissa Karnaze

winged heartA good many Googlers stumble upon here hoping to find the magic cure to their life problems.

They’re probably feeling horrible; their emotions messy and out of whack.

Because they’re searching the web for ways to kill their emotions.

But killing your emotions isn’t possible.

Here are three reasons why:

1. Your emotions are not separate from you; they only cease to exist when you do

Your emotions do not exist outside of you.

They are an aspect of your multidimensional consciousness — one layer of your human being.

You can’t isolate them from your experience of them and put them into neat little boxes.

They exist through your experience of them.

The only way to “kill” your emotions is to fundamentally alter (which may mean damage) your brain so it’s no longer wired to feel.

Doing that while keeping your sanity? It’s a long shot.

2. Even if your emotions were somehow “separate” from you — they’d be really hard to kill because they’re distributed across several biological systems

Let’s say you could isolate your emotions and assign them to neat little boxes.

Even if you had all your “trouble” emotions boxed up and alphabetized, you wouldn’t be able to stop new trouble makers from cropping up.

That’s because emotions are entwined with thought. They’re underpinned by complex cognitive networks, many of which involve your subconscious mind.

You can’t kill your subconscious, it’s there beneath the surface of your waking thoughts. It’s part of your being human.

Just like you can’t kill all the complex cognitive networks that provide the framework for your emotions to occur.

Unless you can magically shut off all the complex cognitive networks that underpin your emotions (which by the way, is probably not so healthy to do) they’re not going anywhere.

Emotions are complex. That’s what makes them so rewarding to work with.

3. Even if you could magically do the deed, your emotions are damn resilient; they’d come back to life

But for argument’s sake let’s say that you can “get rid” of an emotion that you don’t like feeling.

Okay, so it’s gone, right?

Not really.

As soon as you experience the same or similar complex cognitive processes that triggered the trouble emotion in the first place — the same troubled feeling will reincarnate through a “new” emotion.

So you’re left with the same emotional pattern — that you didn’t resolve or transmute the first time around.

Emotions are really resilient because human consciousness is multidimensional.

That’s why instead of focusing on the emotions as being the problem (to be killed), you need to look at their underpinnings — thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, and expectations (to be mindful of).

And then use that important information to mobilize you to greater response ability to life.

Celebrate your emotional life instead

It’s hopeless to search for how to kill your emotions.

The better bet is searching for ways to work constructively with them.

But even so, the urge does come and go.

When things are tough, getting rid of the messenger might temporarily hide the problem.

In the short-term, admit the violent urge, and it might just fuel a roundabout way to greater emotional resourcefulness.

In the long-term, celebrate your emotions and that you have them by your side to navigate this messy thing called life.

What do you think?

So have you ever wanted to kill your emotions? Or get rid of them in a less violent way?

How did that work out for you?

Do you have any ways you like to celebrate your emotions, and that they are alive and kicking?

Feel free to share with us below.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Haider February 20, 2010 at 7:59 am

OK, you caught me. I was the one who found your blog by searching: “magic cure to my life problems.” :P

When I was in university I actually did want to kill off my emotions. I thought they interfere with my logical thinking, so I wanted to remove all emotional associations I’ve ever created. I was reading religious material that was feeding this idea. That emotions can lead us astray and are, therefore, evil.

The contempt these religious teachings had towards being human is really insane. And, sadly, a lot of people have this view of being human. They somehow want to alter what being human entails, because they’re not happy with what human nature is like.

But when you think about it, with all the struggles we face in life trying to make the most of our thinking and our feeling, human nature is really beautiful. We just have to consciously make the most of it, and enjoy the challenge as we progress through it.

Melissa Karnaze February 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Haider, thanks for sharing your experience.

Indeed does religion try to put people at war with themselves and their human nature!

But you said it, human nature is really beautiful, you just have to know how to see it without that limited vision that’s pessimism anyway.

Barrie Davenport February 22, 2010 at 11:48 am

We may not be able to kill our emotions, but I think we can tame them. Feelings and emotions always begin with a thought. Particularly negative emotions. If you examine the thought behind the emotion, you can work on changing the thought. By deliberately and repeatedly changing your thoughts, you can rewire your brain to activate the feelings behind the new thought. That’s why positive thinking, even if your emotions are negative at first, is so effective. Start with the thoughts, and feelings will follow.

Melissa Karnaze February 22, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Yes Barrie, to some extent we can change our feelings if we change our thoughts. As consciousness is so layered and complex, there are times when conscious thoughts aren’t in sync with what’s actually “true” to deeper layers of consciousness, such as the subconscious.

This is one reason why it’s better to work with the emotions first, rather than trying to change or tame them by changing thoughts. When you fully embrace your emotional experience, then you have a chance to follow the breadcrumbs back to the deeper cognitive networks — which any large amount of positive affirmations would normally not be able to touch.

WN February 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Ooh, I’ve gone through the positive affirmation phase!

It’s fun to write down awesome things about yourself first thing when you wake up in the morning. I got real creative with it to the point I started to feel like I was living in my own little bubble of positivity. When I see people walking around with this layer of “yes I can!” today, I’m slightly annoyed. I’m an optimistic person, but I’d much rather live in reality.

It makes you realize that you can truly create a protective reality that serves your emotions quite well–in the short term.

In the long run, we can’t plaster a smile over every conflict we encounter. It’s dysfunctional, meaning, it ends up causing us pain later, like ordering all-you-can-eat pancakes. Fun in the moment, but…!

As for killing my emotions, I never made a concerted effort to do so. I read Eckhardt Tolle’s Power of Now and that was my real first encounter with such material. The book made me feel guilty for not believing that meditation was the answer. I always hated meditation and never bought all its promises. I feel vindicated by the content on this site, you have no idea!

Tolle did do a good job of convincing me of the evil of my emotions, however. It’s extremely seductive to believe–emotions are so uncontrollable–like being possessed by the Devil. Who wouldn’t want to stamp that down into a hole?

Well, now you don’t have to, thanks to this site. Good to see you writing again, Melissa, I thought we lost you there for a minute :)

Melissa Karnaze February 24, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Thanks WN, I did get buried in a newly busy schedule that started a couple weeks ago, but I’m back now. :)

Ugh, emotions as evil. It’s such a clutch to avoid having to take any response ability. Classic Tolle & Co. too.

Glad you found your way out of that rabbit hole WN!

Maybe I’ll write on positive affirmations in the future. They’re sort of taken as a magic solution, but to use them effectively long-term you need to know their limitations.

Stepheny Parker April 9, 2010 at 8:44 am

The winged heart is a personal symbol I have identified with since I was in my mid-teens. Your blog is intuitive. I suggest a book for feed back from you who identify also with this page as I do. “The Sacred Romance” by John Eldredge- http://www.ransomedheart.com/p-12-sacred-romance-the-hardback.aspx . Like stumbling upon this page and hearing my own voice, I stumbled upon this book two years ago at the beginning of a wildly beautiful and mysterious journey.

Melissa Karnaze April 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Thanks for sharing Stepheny. I’ll add that book to my list to look out for.

Matthew May 2, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Nice thought, but consider this. There are emotions and feelings. Feelings are entirely passive: pleasure, pain, satisfaction, anger. Emotions are more complicated. They arise when feelings and thoughts get intertwined, and feed on each other. Emotions are complex states, which are difficult to call with a one-word name. We get into “emotional states” where thoughts no longer function correctly, and feelings motivate action. Feelings we only feel, while emotions we act out. It is quite OK to have feelings. It is not as good to act them out as emotions, because thought process is distorted by the feelings. Emotional states dissolve into feelings when the “light of mind” is clearly focused on them. It is really a question of higher and lower brain functions working together harmoniously or competing for control.

Melissa Karnaze May 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Hi Matthew,

If thought processes underlie emotional processes, then it’s not entirely accurate that “thoughts no longer function correctly” during “emotional states.” Because thoughts are an integral part of emotional states. Blaming the emotional state won’t get you very far. You need to also look at the thought processes and how they co-created the emotional state.

robert July 15, 2010 at 7:42 pm

lolz! yeah, i typed in “how to kill your emotions” oh well. too bad. i’ll just go search for another way to endure life. thanks for the advice.
Robert (16)

Stephanie Smith July 24, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Popped On to Say, “What a Pleasantly Unusual Experience” ~Young & Smart….about Feelings?~
ok…I LOVE this Combination! GO GO GO and More GO!

….allow me to express my Feelings: RELIEF, Happiness & Hope. Emotionally, a wonderful glass of Fresh Air & Clean Water rolled into 1.
Thank you nice people, I’m off….

Melissa Karnaze July 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Thanks for the kind words Stephanie. It’s a relief and a joy for me to find an audience for this material. And to be a part of the growing community. :)

George October 4, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Emotions are merely defense mechanisms to make sure you reproduce. They don’t mean shit to people who have no intention of reproducing. All they do is piss you off for irrational reasons. Fuck irrational misery, I’d give up rational happiness if it meant I didn’t have to deal with irrational misery.

Robert December 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm

I’m glad I read this forum, it helped change my life. When I failed to kill my own emotions I sulked for a very long time, then one day, i was surfin’ the chat rooms i found someone who is now very dear to me. she is the nicest person i’ve ever known and has helped me cope with my emotions greatly. I’m glad i never learned to kill my emotions because if i had, i would never have met her and i’d be nothing but a shell for the rest of my life. It would be a bleak and barren existance, devoid of all hope. To all who read this, though you may have heard it before, don’t kill your emotions, you will, sooner or later, find somebody who might be worse off than you are and you may find love there. I can honestly say that there is no greater feeling, than to be loved by somebody and to love them back.

Thank you,

manuun June 10, 2012 at 3:46 am

Am workin of killing the emotion, well not really kill but I’ll archive supressing them to a point it would seem like they dead, fact u can’t stand your lover being with anada guy, so ur emotions kick in. But when shez yo ex n u long gt over her why doesn’t it matter who she be with? Because you sumhw altered yo emotions and I believ I cn at will train such state bt ppl wud say thn am not in luv wit whoever I am nw of which that’s not true. Emotions r our guide but if we give in too much they become our weakness our demise.

Cory June 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm


Emotions are only your weakness and demise in a system where it is viewed as such. Peer pressure tells you exactly what this system has been designed to do: keep you suppressed. Ultimately, it’s your own decision to suppress yourself or not. If you want to be seen as successful in a sick system, then act sick.

Your ex lover never belonged to you. She is a free spirit as are you. Your emotions are also free spirits. Let them fly. This world is nothing that it appears to be on the surface. When you free yourself, others will think you’re the crazy one. Be ok with that, ok?

denver November 12, 2012 at 2:59 am

thats a bunch of bull if you did find a way to shut off your emotions then if you went through the same senarios that caused the previous emotion you wouldnt react to it this time in the same or any manner at all than what was required for you to stay alive

patch July 24, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Maybe you can not kill them, and in the heat of a moment theres no way around them; but when i simply decide not to feel anymore then it works for me. I’ve been there plenty of times. I hate what’s happened or i feel guilty or whatever and then i just shut my emotions of by using logic and ignorance… easy enough… and yes, they will hunt you in another moment, but iit’s a way to put it of until your’re ready to deal with it. So maybe I’m just weird, but if I decide that i dont want to feel it then I’ll make sure i dont

r September 26, 2014 at 7:22 pm

There are only 7 real emotions. Sadness, anger, surprise, contempt, fear, disgust, and happiness. There is no difference between an emotion and a feeling. Love, hatred, envy, guilt, pleasure, and so on, are only states of mind. They’re thoughts. Thoughts created from over thinking the emotions. I’m still trying to figure out how to get rid of those 7 emotions. I’m tired of all the over thinking. It’s mentally and physically exhausting. It’s kept my life a mess… my whole life, and it’s painful. Now pain isn’t an emotion, or even the byproduct of one. It’s a neural response to something that your body naturally doesn’t want, mentally or physically. I understand that if I got rid of my emotions, physical pain wouldn’t go away. That’s impossible, unless something happens to my spinal cord. I want to be able to make judgments without having an emotion to get in the way. I’m not sure why I’m posting this. I guess I don’t completely agree with this article. It’s a long shot, but think of a Vulcan from Star Trek. They don’t feel emotions, they just think logically, and advance themselves. I want to be like that.

Steve Traverse October 11, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Emotions are the spice of life; if there is no passion at all, then you might as well step off the Samsara of Souls and nonexist in the oblivion of Nirvana like the Buddhists, who seem to hate life and worship eternal death, perhaps a side effect of having too much discipline. Without emotions, you might as well be a robot. Well a normal one, don’t get the wrong message watching Futurama, Bender is an emotional wreck, but I digress.

As for killing one’s emotions, for a lot of guys it goes back to Shadow from Final Fantasy 6, who killed his emotions and became an assasssin. Similarly, many have said on other sides “if you kill your emotions, then you become a sociopath.”

There is a lot of evil in the world that is done with no guilt or remorse. We fondly call our women “a real heartbreaker,” as if it were something good. When a woman betrays a man who is alone, goes back to her long distance family, and pretends to keep the relationship going to get back her stuff, it really hurts. She gets to ease out of the relationship, and has a whole support network of family and friends, the guy being alone, has no one. Her lies and her betrayal destroy him for the rest of his life, even wanting to forgive he can never stop resenting her. They get everything, and you get eternal anguish, and because you can’t really forgive them, it means your sins also won’t be forgiven, according to Jesus, so it’s a double loss if he tries to follow the Bible.

If you think about it, shallow people get anything they want. When you the laugh the world laughs with you, when you cry, no one is with you. A crying woman will be comforted, a crying man will get his ass kicked. A shallow person goes through life destroying other peoples lives without any remorse, and you can’t punish them in any lifetime, because they don’t become disabled by any troubling emotions, they just focus on their jobs and live for the moment.

Leave a Comment

By clicking "Submit" you understand that your submission may be edited or rejected at my discretion, and/or used in upcoming articles or publications. Unconstructive criticism, personal attacks, and requests for personal advice likely will not be published. Please refer to my Disclaimer if you have any questions.