Suppressing, or holding things in that need to be revealed, is a way to protect us from the unknown, from being misunderstood, from being judged, from being rejected, from making others uncomfortable, from being labeled as “crazy,” “bad,” or “wrong.”

When we suppress, we are preventing ourselves from expressing what we really wish we could say, from feeling what we really need to feel, from revealing our authentic parts. Suppression is protecting ourselves from being in a vulnerable position.

Suppression is about what needs to be said or felt or experienced and doesn’t always equate to what we want to say, feel, or readily experience. Self-control is about how it needs to be said, felt, or experienced.

Oftentimes, suppressing has been linked to being strong. How much you can tolerate or carry or hold in without breaking down has been linked to strength...a false sense of strength.

When suppressing, you’re protecting yourself from the potential consequences of sitting on the bench, of watching from the sidelines, of not getting recruited or drafted for the team, of losing your scholarship, of not being liked...

These are real concerns and reveal that expressing takes strength, because to confront or deal with any of the above is going to require strength; to find the words to communicate in healthy, constructive ways takes strength; to be fully honest with yourself and others takes strength; to visualize beyond the potential, undesired consequences listed above takes strength.

Express responsibly; The facade doesn’t look good on you.

Have you ever felt the need to hide?

The need to hide your desires, your authenticity, your identity, your needs, your voice, parts of yourself that may be vulnerable, met with shame, or that may expose you in ways that are deemed unsafe, or that may prevent you from excelling or maintaining the success you've obtained. Hiding behind your brand, your teammates, your team, your jersey, your helmet, your aggression, your scholarship, your defense mechanism, your money, your medals, your materials, your wins, your success, your fame, your relationships, etc.

Growing up, I was taught to hide and not share my last name. I was taught hiding was a way of protecting us from vultures: people out to get us for “making it out.”

Making it out the hood was a big accomplishment that everyone didn’t obtain.

The crabs in a bucket mentality was real and ingrained, so to be loyal to my family and our success, I chose to hide, especially if it meant doing my part to protect us and especially if it meant staying safe and surviving. Not hiding seemed costly and detrimental.

The issue came when I took hiding too far. I hid my awareness of my identity. I couldn’t hide my skin and that was evident but I hid behind white friends. I shrunk, which is just another form of hiding. I worked to fit in, another form of hiding. I thought the consequences of showing up, speaking out, standing out were too big and negative. I hid my family and personal relationships with professional and elite athletes. I even hid my intelligence. I also hid my desire to excel in sports. I hid behind what I knew would "rock the boat" or challenge the system. Hiding is a survival mechanism, a trauma response, but it was something I needed to release to thrive.

I learned the hard way that hiding worked then, but was no longer serving me now.

I still have to catch myself and remind myself that we’re not there anymore, but sometimes I’m triggered because of the reality that the system of sports, policy, America, life is not made for us to “make it out” of the oppressive nature of the system. If we get to “make it out,” we have to change our mindsets to “stay out.” Not hiding is still risky, yet revolutionary.

Your presence has purpose.

Your voice reinforces vitality.



Not Speaking Up,

Not Rocking the Boat, and

Not Challenging the System

Are ingrained Survival Mechanisms that have the potential to keep us chained to the trauma we desire to be freed from.

Your presence validates another’s existence and your success exposes others to dreams that are bigger than their circumstances.

What have you hid behind to stay safe and successful?

What else is something that worked then (for your family or for you), but is no longer working now?


Kheri A. Corbin, MMFT, LMFT
I believe that winning in all areas of our lives is possible.  Remaining undefeated means consistently using adverse and conflictual experiences as opportunities to triumph, grow, and thrive. Strategies used to win and maintain healthiness in one area can be transferred to multiple areas of our lives through intentionality. We each have our set of opponents that are tailored to us. On the other side of defeating those opponents are the healthier versions of ourselves that we need to become to align ourselves with greater. In investing seeds of hope, positivity, and strength, I value assisting individuals, couples, and families with tapping into their internal resources to win beyond the opponents of trauma, depression, insecurity, fear, dysfunction, anxiety, generational curses, and any other opponent or obstacle that threatens experiences of safety, security, and abundance.

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Columbia, SC 29205