Can anyone give one word substitution for the moment when you feel happy but deep down you are so scared to express that?

A lot of times there comes a moment when something so amazing happens with you and you want to laugh at your fullest but your inner self becomes scared so you either just smiles or shows no emotions. For example this situation - he was there standing with friends and then one of his friends cracked a hilarious joke but he was not able to laugh because of the feeling of.... [word].......

Don't assume that guy to be sad, loner etc. It will be great if someone gives a word for that whole feeling.

  • 2
    Welcome to Stack Exchange ELU! Can you provide a context for this word? When will you use it? What is an example of its usage?
    – Hank
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 20:11
  • +Hank added there.
    – kung_foo
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 20:19
  • Scared of what? Expressing? Because he's shy? The fear needs to be known so a word can possibly be found.
    – Hank
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 20:25
  • 1
    Is that should necessarily a fear? Maybe that's another level of feeling. If you really need to know about the type of fear - you may consider it as the fear of freedom to express.
    – kung_foo
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 21:03
  • It would be a fear if he is scared; fear is a feeling. I'm just trying to clarify what he is actually scared of: expressing his feelings.
    – Hank
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 21:05

3 Answers 3



Merriam Webster definition of inhbition

1 a : the act of inhibiting : the state of being inhibited

b : something that forbids, debars, or restricts

2 : an inner impediment to free activity, expression, or functioning:

a : a mental process imposing restraint upon behavior or another mental process (as a desire)

b : a restraining of the function of a bodily organ or an agent (as an enzyme)

  • Thank you Tom22 :-) I think 'inhibition' will fit perfectly in such situations.
    – kung_foo
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 5:31

Although it may not be a perfect fit, the only thing that comes to mind for me is alexithymia:



Psychiatry and Medicine

  • Difficulty in experiencing, expressing, and describing emotional responses.

  • Inability to identify and express or describe one's feelings

(Dictionary) and (MWD)

People with alexithymia typically display a lack of imaginative thought, have difficulty distinguishing between emotions and bodily sensations, and engage in logical externally oriented thought. Individuals with high levels of alexithymia are usually aware of their emotional arousal; however, they have difficulty differentiating emotions and verbalizing them.

  • It may be good fit when we are talking about a mental disorder. But I wasn't looking for it.
    – kung_foo
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 8:09
  • @RudraPratapSingh It's not a mental disorder. It's a personality trait. Although I usually avoid Wikipedia, it has a decent bit of information on this page
    – Hank
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 13:14
  • apologies for the misinterpretation.
    – kung_foo
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 16:16
  • @RudraPratapSingh It's ok, I thought it was a mental disorder before i read about it.
    – Hank
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 16:17

What comes to mind for me is social anxiety. What you are describing is an inner turmoil, in which a person feels like he can't trust his emotions or feels like he can't express himself for fear of being judged, which can come across as socially awkward.

That is if I'm correct in the assumption that he is scared to show his emotions, because he is anxious as to how it will be perceived.

Anxious would be one of the better one-word choices, but I'm not sure that one word is enough to get the emotion that you are trying to convey across to your intended audience.

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