Emotional bubbles – do you know yours?

Self care is about knowing your emotional bubbles

Emotional bubbles (c) KarinSieger.com

Emotional bubbles – you may ask. We all have them. Some are helpful, others less so. Life is about navigating emotional bubbles. Do you know yours?

Emotional bubbles are feelings we withdraw into to feel safe, grounded and anchored. But they can also make us feel cut off, separate and disconnected from others and the world around us. Emotional bubbles can offer support or get in the way.


1. Emotional bubbles and our childhood.

As a child I blew bubbles, with soapy water or with gum. The aim was to blow the biggest bubble ever and to make it last. The soapy ones also needed to fly the highest before they burst. The bubble gum needed to stretch further and further before bursting into sticky stuff on my face.

As a child I also liked to build dens, with boxes, blankets and bedspreads, something secret and special. As an adult I still pull my blanket over my head, when I feel frightened or cold.

These behaviours are also about creating emotional bubbles.

Childhood memories that still hurt today

2. Varieties of emotional bubbles.

There are many emotional bubbles, like

  • Solitude bubble: ‘I need to be alone.’
  • Isolation bubble: ‘Why don’t you let me near you.’
  • Shock and disbelief bubble: ‘This cannot be happening. It is too awful to be real.’
  • Indecisive bubble: “I don’t know what to do. I am not yet sure.”
  • Purpose and Determination bubble: “I am in touch with what I want and need. I have energy to make it happen.”
  • Fear, anger, grief or depression bubbles, when we struggle to engage with the world outside of our head and heart.

How to turn hopelessness into hope

3. Emotional bubbles can make us feel safe or separate.

Bubbles may give us time and space to feel safe, to think things through, to just be, to recharge our batteries – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

With some bubbles we have a say in the matter and make a choice. They might even become part of who we are.

Other emotional  bubbles may be imposed on us by others. We are left out by the bubbles they create.

4. Many physical illnesses create emotional bubbles.

Physical illness and pain can also put us in a bubble, as can medication and its side effects. Pain killers and chemo brain are two examples.

  • In the blue corner we have: fear, uncertainty, anger, rage, hate, mistrust, grief, loneliness, disbelief, blame, hopelessness, self-loathing, low self esteem, indifference, denial, dying and death.
  • In the green corner we have: help me, keep me safe, tell me the truth, listen to me, how can I help myself, peace, purpose, resilience, spirit, understanding, kindness, love, life and being at peace.

One minute you are ok, the next helpless and frail

5. Transforming our emotional bubbles and our self.

I often describe my cancer experience as a transformative experience. In order to deal with it, to stay anchored and to keep going (somehow), with a sense of purpose and a sense of who I am, I needed to start changing and transforming something – ME.

I needed to review my emotional bubbles, those created by me and those created by others.

Which are essential and which are a hindrance and get in my way?

And I realised just how many bubbles I had been enduring and how many I had outgrown.

We need to make choices. And we need to continue making choices, every day.

Your crisis of purpose can bring new opportunities

Make a bubble inventory.

To make a bubble inventory, from time to time, can be a smart thing to do. We might have outgrown some bubbles and we might be ready for different ones. It is like emotional weeding.

Self care is about weeding our emotions

Ultimately, knowing and managing our emotional bubbles is essential for our wellbeing and ability to live in peace. Find out more with 7 steps towards living in peace




Image courtesy of GaborFromHungary

Thanks to all my readers, my website is among the Top 10 UK Psychotherapy Blog


  1. Thank You Karin for all that you put into this article. great read. I love the analogy of bubbles, your insights are so interesting, of which i would love to include in a project im currently working on. I wondder if you would be ok with this. will give you a copy of anything i do use.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting on my post, Carolise. You are welcome to quote my material, provided you make all the usual and appropriate references. You can contact me via karinsieger (at) karinsieger.com Best wishes. Karin

  2. I’ve recently experienced a trauma bubble popping out.of my eyes mind it was picked up by my visual perception and I heard an underwater popping sensation, this is linked to a mental entrapment through ptsd that I’ve suffered with for the past 24 years, I was looking for another explanation to back up my own self workings out of the condition and I kept hitting a dead end as another definition of the term emotional bubble was already in usage, thanks for this article as now my own work is completed as all my research now links nicely together, now I can differancate between my previous shellshock and emotional suicide and cane now explain my past to someone who was very special too me and was a victim of my symptoms , I lost her due to a trumatic experience I was unaware i suffered this, ive been the unknowing victim for nearly 25 years .. I’ve only been aware I had ptsd for 8 months now. Finally I can make good and heal a rift that’s left a darkness on a heavy heart . And can make explain every emotion angle that held me in a mental captivity most of my life. Thanks for the article.its been very informative

    • Thank you, Sheila. I am glad you found this article of use. Sometimes it helps to be able to visualise emotions. It can make them less frightening. And I always feel ‘bubbles’ have something magic … blowing soap bubbles. Best wishes. Karin

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