Disclaimer: Please be aware that compartmentalization, without regard to employing a good healthy method, is quite dangerous and can cause mental and emotional disorders.

I have heard that compartmentalization is what men do with their emotional side. It’s the reason they can appear extremely calm right after a crisis or a heartbreak, or why they can cheat on their spouse and still go home and kiss her hello afterwards. I personally don’t think men have this particular skillset all to themselves and I am certain I know a few women that can do this too.  

I told one of my friends that I wish I could learn not to allow things to bother me. That I would like to be able to tuck some feelings away and only bring them out when I was ready to deal with them.

Well, why not teach myself to compartmentalize?!

It’s probably going to be a great start to know exactly what it means when someone compartmentalizes.

Compartmentalization is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person’s having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.

Compartmentalization allows these conflicting ideas to co-exist by inhibiting direct or explicit acknowledgement and interaction between separate compartmentalized self states.[1]

~according to Wikipedia

Well, now that it’s out here, I’m not too sure I like it all that much. In fact, this sounds kind of fucked up, if you ask me. But wait, there’s more! I also found The 5 Steps of Compartmentalization; The Secret Behind Successful Entrepreneurs. It’s an article I found on Forbes Magazine.

“One of the key reasons I had such a successful year, despite the private and professional paradox, is that I accepted the fact that I had several fulltime focuses, but only a limited amount of emotional and mental energy to devote to each one.” 

In business, compartmentalization seems to be a very good tool to develop! The article goes on to tell you five steps you can follow in order to master this technique for yourself. Learning this takes focus and the ability to say no to things in your life that hold absolutely no value. The author calls this; “things that do not deserve a compartment.”

Wikipedia has an article that goes into much greater detail and is about compartmentalizing throughout your life. They have 16 steps and by the time I reached Step 3, I realized that I already compartmentalize to a certain extent! Gasp! Who knew?!

My line of work involves gathering a great deal of personal information from my study subjects. I don’t like to carry all of this information around with me in my head after my visits with them, so I have figured out a way to jettison everything they tell me during an interview. I don’t need to remember their life details. It serves no purpose for me or my work because I gather my data during the visit. All I have to do afterwards is transmit it back to my home office and I’m done.

I am not sure how I do this, but I can do it and it’s quite freeing.

So I have decided that knowing I have the skill and can use it while I’m working, might just be enough for me. I’m not sure how I would feel about compartmentalizing other areas of my life anymore. I think the way I am handling life and all that it throws at me is just fine right now. Maybe down the road I might need this skillset on a personal side, but for now, I’m good.

How about you? Do you think compartmentalizing the annoyances in your life would be a good thing to know how to do?

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to compartmentalize?

  1. Tina says:

    I wish I could. But if difficult things are going on in my life the emotions spill over into everything else. I found that the sociopath I was involved with was highly skilled in this area so I tend to view it as unhealthy and robotic. He lived with a girlfriend and carried on 3 affairs at the same time without any of us knowing for quite some time. After we all found out and confronted him he, in true sociopath fashion, didn’t offer any apology and showed no remorse despite shattering our lives. I’d love to shut off the agony from the experience to bring up when appropriate, but maybe that would make me disordered like him.


    • I am going to encourage you to tell your story. Get it out of you and in the open. Make it less scary and less painful by sharing it. You might surprise yourself with how liberating and freeing doing that will feel. That is what helped me out.


      • Tina says:

        He was “outed” in our small community but to do that I “outed” myself also. My circumstance was unique since I was married and was sucked into an affair despite loving my husband. Because of that I’ve lost respect, friends, reputation, etc. My husband and I are still together and rebuilding. This man/creature had no remorse over making wreckage of my life. He led me to believe we were meant to be as they are so skilled at doing. He bled my heart, soul, and finances while carrying on with 2 others and his girlfriend he was using for a place to live. It’s been an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone and it is next to impossible to find anyone that can truly empathize in my circle. I’m thankful for multiple blogs and forums for understanding this evil emotional rape. Thank you Madeline.


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