Why Do I Feel Broken And How Can I Snap Out Of It?

By: Corrina Horne

Updated February 26, 2021

First of all, you are not broken, and you are not alone in these feelings. Feeling down, or 'broken' can be really hard to deal with alone, but a therapist can help. In therapy you will be able to understand the 'broken' feeling and figure out ways to improve your happiness. On top of that, a therapist can help with anxiety, relationships, or fostering better habits to make changes to your overall lifestyle.

Experiencing pain or emotional trauma is a normal part of life experiences from time to time.  We live in a world that is fast-paced and often unpredictable.  At times, it can cause you to feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to expect next in life. 

No matter what your age, background or education level is, there are times when we all have negative thoughts or feel emotionally drained and mentally exhausted.  For some people, it can cause feelings of being broken and it may be difficult to know how to deal with those emotions.  Television, magazines and social media often show representations of “the perfect life” with people who seem to have everything together.  Fit bodies, nice homes, expensive vacations are the image that many people see and, unfortunately, often compare themselves to.  Realistically, however, no one experiences perfection in every aspect of life every single day.  If you have found yourself feeling less than adequate, or broken, you may wonder why and may want to know how you can snap out of those feelings. 

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The reasons for feeling broken vary from person to person. Some people feel broken because of things they experienced in childhood or after the loss of a friend or loved one.  Others may feel broken after losing a job or a home, or even after experiencing a serious illness. 

Although it may feel overwhelming, or even frightening, it’s important to know that you are not alone.  Everyone deals with feelings of brokenness and pain.  Being able to recognize these feelings and knowing when to seek help so that you can heal from the hurt and live an emotionally healthy life is crucial. 

Signs of Feeling Broken

Feeling overwhelming sadness, stress, or having altered eating or sleeping patterns are not uncommon in people who express feeling broken. Some people report feeling physical symptoms, such as body aches and digestive issues.  Increased anxiety and difficulty concentrating are also signs of emotional strain or feelings of brokenness.

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Reasons You Might Feel Broken

  1. Low Self-Esteem. Low self-esteem can lead to feeling broken, as low self-esteem can make you feel as if there is something uniquely wrong with you. Low self-esteem might make you feel as though you have some sort of tragic flaw and that you are uniquely unlovable and unfixable.
  2. Underdeveloped Communication Skills. Not knowing how to communicate your wants and needs can make you feel as though you are broken. Everyone around you might seem to have the ability to communicate naturally, while you struggle to make your needs and wants known in even the most basic ways.
  3. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: While some people may experience a traumatic event and have no long-term emotional trauma, others may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  PTSD is an emotional response to a traumatic event, such as abuse, neglect, witnessing a natural disaster or being exposed to combat.  It can cause one to feel overwhelmed and emotionally broken.  Although PTSD is a serious condition, it is possible to get help and learn to manage the symptoms and learn to cope effectively.
  4. Inadequate Support Systems. Inadequate support systems can make it difficult to overcome any obstacles you might face, which can lead to feeling as though you are broken. With the proper support systems in place, however, you are far less likely to feel this way because you know you are loved by many people in your life.
  5. Difficulty Coping. Inadequate coping skills can also make you feel as though you are broken because you struggle to handle the demands of daily life. This doesn't mean you are broken, though; it simply means you need to learn more effective, healthy coping skills. Inadequate coping skills can lead to addictive disorders such as substance use disorders or eating disorders. If you are having trouble coping and have turned to alcohol or other substances a way of coping, it is important to seek substance use treatment to help you learn healthy ways of dealing with issues.   Substance use treatment options may include inpatient rehab, counseling, or a combination of both depending on your specific needs.  One of the most important steps in dealing with brokenness is learning to accept that, although you cannot control everything that happens in your life, you can learn to control how you respond to events and to cope with things that cause pain in a healthy way.

Moving Away from Brokenness

There are steps you can take to make yourself feel as though you are less broken, even in the midst of a storm of fear and self-doubt. Brokenness usually feels insurmountable when you are in the middle of it but feeling broken for a short time does not mean you'll feel that way forever.  Instead, feeling broken can be a temporary stop on your way to healing. To move away from feeling broken, you can enlist the following practices:

Take Deep Breaths. Before you allow yourself to fall into a spiral of self-doubt and fear, take some time to breathe. Breathe in deeply, using your diaphragm, and then exhale deeply until you've released as much air as possible. Deep breaths can bring calm, allowing you to think more clearly about yourself and your situation.

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Practice Acceptance. For a few moments, allow yourself to feel. Feel the sadness, fear, and doubt that is rising up, and accept that it is how you are feeling in that moment without accepting that it is true. Even though making other people happy may give you a sense of fulfillment, it is just as important to care for yourself and to accept that your needs are important.  Sometimes you have to live in the moment and enjoy the small things instead of always looking for a big event to help improve your emotional well-being.  Remember that life has ups and downs, but you can overcome feelings of brokenness and learn to get through even the most trying times.

Identify Your Strengths. Even in the darkest times, you have strengths. Your strength might not feel like much, and it can be as simple as being able to get up in the morning and feed your cat. Yes, that is a strength, especially if you are facing depression, anxiety, or some other mental health issue. In that case, being able to get up in the morning is a strength! Being able to brush your teeth gets a checkmark, too.

Practice Gratitude. Look around you and notice at least one thing you can feel grateful for. Again, this might be something as small as the light warming your arm through a window or the ability to walk from your bed to the fridge each morning. Whatever it is, find at least one thing-however small-to be grateful for to ward off feelings of brokenness.

Develop a support system.  Feelings of brokenness can feel worse if you isolate yourself from others.  While you may not feel like opening yourself up to several people, it is important to have a support system of at least a few people that you can talk to and count on for emotional support and encouragement.  Talk to a trusted friend or family member.  You may want to seek the counsel of a minister or other religious mentor or consult with a counselor or therapist.  Additionally, joining a support group may be helpful.

Seek Professional Help. Feeling broken may lead to eventually needing a professional therapist's help. This is true if you feel too broken to function on a daily basis or if you're not sure that life is worth living. Feeling broken can turn into feeling depressed, so it's not a feeling that should be taken lightly. If it's persistent, seek help from a therapist.

Improving Your Self-Worth

For many, feeling broken is the result of having a low self-esteem or self-worth.  Learning to truly understanding your worth and believing you are valuable may help alleviate some feelings of brokenness.  Improving self-esteem is a process and it must be deliberate to be effective.  Put forth intentional efforts to focus on something positive about yourself and your life each day.  It may be as simple as reminding yourself that you are a good friend, or that you are a good cook.  Try to improve one area of your life monthly or weekly.  For example, you may want to learn to organize things in your house so that you feel more in control of your environment.  Speak positive affirmations into your own life.  For instance, tell yourself, “I am worthy,” “I will not allow brokenness to control my life,” “I am happy and whole.”  Although these steps may seem small, they can have a powerful impact on your emotional well-being with time and consistency.

How BetterHelp Can Help When You Feel Broken

In some instances, a counselor is the most likely source of help when you are feeling broken and overwhelmed. Counselors can help you create a self-treatment regimen that supports increased self-esteem and a healthier self-image, which may lessen the likelihood of feeling broken. A therapist can also help you improve communication skills in order to develop and cultivate a stronger support system.

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Online therapy is extremely useful for people who are feeling broken, as online therapists may be able to respond to messages more quickly than a therapist who operates entirely out of an office. Online therapy can also allow you to speak to a therapist from the privacy and comfort of your own home. Finding the motivation to leave your home can be difficult when you feel lost, so online therapy might be especially helpful when you are feeling broken and hopeless. Below, some BetterHelp users describe their experiences.

Counselor Reviews

"All my life, I felt broken and incomplete. Donamarie helped me find the missing pieces of myself I didn't know existed and I am better off than I've ever been. I can't thank her enough for her help."

"I finished my journey for now with Waynette and it was difficult, but awesome. I was feeling pretty broken when I started and not even sure life was worth the effort it took. She helped me find my way back to a place of happiness and now I can again enjoy participating in life with the ones I care about and who care about me. I felt all alone when I started, but you really made me feel like I had an ally and helped me walk through some very difficult trauma from my past in order to find some closure. Thank you, Waynette, for your kindness, support, and wisdom. I don't think I could have gotten through it all without it."

Moving Forward

It can be difficult to move past feelings of brokenness. When you feel as though you don't deserve to get help, it can be difficult to move past your feelings and improve your day-to-day routine. With a little bit of help, however, you can not only leave behind feeling broken, but you can also improve your self-image, build your self-worth, and create a life that excites you. Take the first step today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does it mean when someone says they are broken?

We all may feel broken at some point in our lives. When someone feels broken, they are feeling emotionally overwhelmed and like they are out of gas to keep moving forward. In many cases, when someone feels broken -- this is a sign of a bigger issue at hand.

What does it mean to be emotionally damaged?

“Emotionally damaged” is a term that is often used to describe how someone feels after going through an emotional trauma or hurt.  An emotionally damaged person may find it difficult to trust others, may feel on edge or easily angered or offended and may try to distance themselves from others in hopes of not being hurt again.

How do you know if you are emotionally damaged?

People respond to emotional hurt differently.  What causes one person to feel emotionally damaged may have minimal effect on someone else.  If you find yourself keeping people at a distance, comparing new friendships or love interests to previous relationships, if you are easily angered or offended by someone you are close to, or if you compare yourself to others constantly, you may be experiencing symptoms of being emotionally damaged.  It’s important to understand that being emotionally damaged does not mean that you can’t have normal relationships.  Reaching out for help and learning to deal with the events that have caused you to feel emotionally hurt is the first step in overcoming the hurt and building healthy, strong relationships.

Why do I cry so easily?

Crying is a natural emotional response to feelings.  Sadness or hurt feelings may cause you to cry.  Some people cry when they are happy, commonly called “tears of joy.”  Hormonal imbalances may also cause some people to cry.  If you find that you cry easily and it has become an issue for you, it may be necessary to talk to someone who can help you try to determine what leads to the uncontrollable emotions.  Anxiety, depression, or other mood disturbances may also cause one to cry.  It’s important to understand that crying is not always a bad thing.  However, if you are worried about how often you cry, or if it seems disruptive, you may need to talk to a counselor or therapist to help you work through your concerns.

How do I heal myself mentally?

It is possible to heal emotionally.  The first step is acknowledging that you have experienced hurt.  It may also be a good idea to make an appointment with your primary care provider to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing feelings of mental strain.  Also, seeking the help of a mental health professional, such as a counselor, may be helpful in learning ways to deal with any emotional issues.  Depression, anxiety, or other mental illness can cause one to feel emotionally broken, and although you can heal, it may be necessary to have the help of a professional as you navigate through the healing process.  Remember to practice self-care, learn to say “no” to people and situations that don’t promote a healthy state of mind, and get plenty of sleep and exercise as all of these contribute to emotional well-being. 

Is it possible to have no emotions at all?

Emotional detachment is an inability or unwillingness to connect with other people on an emotional level.  While some people purposefully detach from people or situations that make them feel stressed or anxious, others may experience emotional detachment as a result of not learning how to develop healthy relationships or to prevent experiencing emotional trauma or pain.

How can you tell if someone is emotionally damaged?

Emotional scars (on the inside) aren't as easy to see as physical scars on the outside. People who appear to be emotionally damaged may display certain behaviors. Someone who has been broken many times may exhibit symptoms of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or depression. Remember when you feel broken -- this doesn't necessarily mean you are.

Feeling broken is a sign that you need to reach out for help and support to get through a challenging period in your life.

Can two broken souls heal together?

When you're feeling broken -- it may not even dawn on you that your spouse or partner is feeling the same way. Two broken souls can heal with the proper support, intervention, therapy, and commitment to change. Remember when you feel broken -- this is usually a sign that you need outside intervention to resolve challenging issues.

Can you love someone who is broken?

Just because someone seems to feel bad (more often than not) doesn't mean they aren't deserving of love. Remember when you feel broken? The thing you often crave the most is unconditional love and attention as a reminder of your worth and value.

How many heartbreaks can a person take?

Surprisingly, most of us are more resilient than we think. There isn't a certain "number" of heartbreaks a person can take. The most important part of overcoming heartbreaks is to allow yourself to feel (and process) the pain, so that it doesn't become a part of you.

How long does a broken heart last?

A broken heart can last for years, or heal quickly. This is all dependent on the person, time committed, and the circumstances behind the heartbreak. People who take part in guided therapy with a licensed therapy provider will likely recover faster than those trying to heal on their own.

Can a broken person be fixed?

A broken person can heal with the proper support, guidance, and commitment. Popular psychotherapy methodologies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (cbt) teach people new ways of thinking and behaving that make it easier to cope with the uncomfortable circumstances of life.  One of the first steps in overcoming brokenness is to accept that there are issues that need to be dealt with. 

How do you love yourself?

If you experience difficulty loving yourself, you understand that saying, “It’s easy to move on” is not accurate.  However, it is possible to learn to love yourself and to overcome feelings of brokenness or lack of self-worth.  The first step to learning to love yourself is learning to trust yourself. Talk to a licensed therapy provider to learn how to recover from past hurts, childhood trauma, and other traumatic experiences that may be holding you back in your mind. Getting started is as easy as contacting a BetterHelp.com licensed therapy provider for help.

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