top of page

Processing Emotions after Microaggression Exposure

Unraveling the Pitfalls of Suppressing Emotions

In the face of microaggressions and other stressors, we often encounter the well-meaning yet useless/misguided advice to "just ignore it" or "brush it off." Suppressing emotions can take a heavy toll on our mental and physical well-being. Many of us have been socialized to believe that we aren’t entitled to our emotions and that expressing vulnerability is a sign of weakness, prompting many to habitually hide their feelings. However suppressed emotions do not disappear. In this mini episode, we explore the consequences of heeding the "just ignore it" advice, revealing the importance of granting ourselves permission to feel and express emotions authentically.

This video we explore :

🌈Microgressions as a source of chronic toxic stress

🌈Useful ways to support folks coping with microaggressions

🌈Managing microaggressions in a self-compassionate way

🌈Validating your experience as a self-care tool


Microaggressions, those subtle but impactful verbal or nonverbal slights, you get hit every time you leave the house (or is that just me 🤔🤔🤔). Whether it's a dismissive comment or being asked for receipts when tempting to explain why are particularly egregious encounter is weighing on you, these experiences can leave us feeling hurt, angry, and frustrated.

Unfortunately, a lot of us have been trained to suppress the emotions we experience after microaggression exposure, prioritizing the minor discomfort of others above our own mental and physical health.

Today, we'll explore the negative impact of suppressed emotions resulting from microaggressions and offer practical solutions to help process these feelings with ease.

The Cost of Suppressed Emotions

Research has shown that suppressing emotions can have detrimental effects on our well-being. Studies *¹*² indicate that prolonged suppression of emotions can lead to increased stress levels, a weakened immune system, cardiovascular issues, and mental health concerns like anxiety and depression. It's crucial to acknowledge the toll that suppressed emotions can have on our overall health and understand the importance of addressing these feelings head-on.

Processing Suppressed Emotions:

  1. Self-Awareness and Validation: Start by acknowledging and validating your emotions. Recognize that what you are feeling is valid and understandable. Give yourself permission to experience and express those emotions without judgment.

  2. Seek Support: Share your feelings with the chosen family and friends who have a track record of holding space for you by listening effectively and with empathy. If someone reveals that they aren't capable of making you feel safe and heard don't be discouraged. Move on to the next trusted friend, colleague, or chosen family member.

  3. Engage in Self-Care: Practicing self-care can help alleviate the negative impact of suppressed emotions. Find activities that bring you joy and comfort, like engaging in hobbies, spending time in nature, or practicing mindfulness and meditation. Prioritize your mental and physical well-being by getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals that thrill your palate, and getting enough joyful movement in your day.

  4. Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a powerful tool for processing suppressed emotions. This is a great tool for self-validating your experiences and reflecting on your experiences when you don't have access to your support network. Self-validation is a powerful way to affirm yourself. Expressing your emotions freely on paper can provide clarity, insight, and emotional release similar to what you could experience after a cathartic conversation with a friend.

  5. Practice Boundary Setting: Develop boundary setting skills to address microaggressions as they happen. Clearly communicating your boundaries, educating others (to the extent you have energy for) about the impact of their words or actions, and advocating for yourself and others can also reduce the power of microaggressions to undermine your peace.

Suppressing emotions resulting from microaggressions may seem like a coping mechanism, but it ultimately takes a toll on our well-being. Your comfort and peace of mind is just as important as other folks. Prioritizing your peace and advocating for yourself is an act of self-care. You don't need anyone's permission to show yourself love - ruffled feathers be damned. By acknowledging your emotions and actively processing them, you reduce the toll that microaggressions can have on your well-being. Seeking support, practicing self-care, and developing boundary-setting skills are essential components of this journey. You are not alone. There is so much power in becoming your #1 advocate, expressing self-love in all the ways you see fit, and modeling self-care for other marginalized folks in a way that encompasses reducing the impact of other people's unchecked bigotry.

119 views1 comment


Deborah Nam-Krane
Deborah Nam-Krane

I just wanted to thank you for yet another insightful post. Thank you for stating how toxic it is to go along to get along; I've been made to feel like a failure for not "just ignoring it", which is really awful when you've already been bullied. And then the repressed anger that comes out only compounds my feelings of shame. This post was so, so validating. Let the gaslighting cease!

bottom of page