Internalized Issues In Gen Z

Gen Z is prone to bottling up their emotions without expressing their feelings. I explore the issues that plague the generation that has coined the name, Gen Z.

Emma Thurgood

Gen Z is prone to bottling up their emotions without expressing their feelings. I explore the issues that plague the generation that has coined the name, “Gen Z.”

Emma Thurgood, Reporter

“I’ll keep all my emotions right here,” John Mulaney said, “and one day, I’ll die.” If you laughed at this, good. It was meant as a joke. Well, it was meant to be. But, Gen Z as a whole, has shown that they would rather bottle up their emotions until they die, than ask for help. Parents and teachers have groomed Gen Z from birth to believe that they should be seen and not heard; it’s just they might’ve used different words.

‘You have the whole internet at your disposal, figure it out yourself.’
If the new generation thinks they don’t know what I’m talking about, they need to consider this: if there’s a problem in a store they are at, are they going to tell someone who works there or just ignore it and deal with it themselves. Most people of older generations will go up to someone, while most people of younger generations will just sit in discomfort.

‘It’s your responsibility, not mine.’
In school, students are told things like ‘When you’re older, teachers won’t be there to hold your hand; you have to handle your grades yourself.’ Or if they ask a question in class, they might get the infamous, ‘If you’d paid attention, you would’ve known how to do this,’ and this isn’t to say that every teacher says these things, but it is said enough to make students not want to ask questions when they have a problem. Most people currently in the school system can picture this: if one doesn’t understand something in class, what are they most likely to do? Ask the teacher, ask a friend, review the notes, or Google it. I’m going to guess most students didn’t say the first one.

‘You’re just a teenager.’
This isn’t just a problem at school either; how many times can students remember when they’ve been at home and their parents have said something along the lines of, ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about,’ or ‘You don’t have real problems, you just want attention’? As Gen Z grows, they’re taught that having problems is attention seeking, and by extension, bad. So they age with this ideology that their problems should be solved on their own without ‘bothering’ other people about it.

‘Calm down, it’s not that serious.’
When people bottle up their problems and emotions, it can be seriously detrimental to their health and well-being. Additionally, psychologists agree that people learn internalization behaviors from childhood, and how they view the world around them, “When we do acknowledge them (emotions), we swat them away with mantras learned since childhood. (‘Mind over matter,’ ‘get a grip’ and ‘suck it up’ are familiar ones),” Hilary Hendel said in a TIME magazine article. Hendel continued to say, “Emotional stress, like that from blocked emotions, has not only been linked to mental ills, but also to physical problems like heart disease, intestinal problems, headaches, insomnia and autoimmune disorders.”

‘The adults are talking.’
Gen Z might have been told these things with the intention of manifesting independence in them, but more often than not, it’s just teaching them to internalize their problems rather than tell someone when something’s bothering them. “Young children begin very early to internalize information that either encourages or discourages self-disclosure. Cues are intuitively understood. Most of what we feel is unexamined and articulated. Cultural norms are unwittingly absorbed. We learn when to speak and when to stay silent.” Rosalie De Rosset said in “Unseduced and Unshaken: The Place of Dignity in a Woman’s Choices.”

But is Gen Z’s silence the cause for their suffering?