5 Emotional Blindspots Most People Don’t Notice

#1: Intellectualizing your emotions

Nick Wignall
8 min readJul 24, 2022


Photo by Pixabay

Good drivers know that every car has blindspots — areas where you can’t see what’s going on because some part of the vehicle gets in the way. Becoming a good driver means developing the habit of checking your passenger-side mirror before you change lanes.

Turns out, people have blindspots too — especially when it comes to our emotions…

An emotional blindspot is a psychological vulnerability that you’re not aware of.

Unfortunately, nobody is required to take a class on what emotions are and how they work before we start living. Which means we go through life with emotional blindspots we’re not aware of and no way to compensate for them.

These emotional blindspots can lead to everything from mood difficulties like anxiety and depression to interpersonal conflict and unhealthy habits like overeating and substance abuse.

Luckily, it’s possible to become aware of your emotional blindspots and work to overcome them. In fact, this is exactly what I do in my work as a psychologist and therapist.

What follows are 5 of the most common emotional blindspots people suffer from.

1. Intellectualizing your emotions

If you ask a 6-year-old how they feel after a friend says something mean to them, they’ll probably tell you they feel sad or mad.

If you ask a 40-year-old how they feel after a friend says something mean to them, you’ll probably hear very different language: pissed off, upset, or depressed.

Now, take a minute and ask yourself, what’s the difference between those two sets of descriptors for how you feel?

The 6-year-old is describing how they feel with actual emotions. The 40-year-old, on the other hand, is not:

  • Pissed off is not an emotion. It’s a metaphor.
  • Upset is not an emotion. It’s an idea.
  • Depressed is not an emotion. It’s a category that (theoretically) describes a constellation of symptoms for a specific mental health disorder.



Nick Wignall

Psychologist and writer sharing practical advice for emotional health and well-being: https://thefriendlymind.com