‘There are, apparently, persons who are deeply afraid of their own emotions, particularly the painful ones. Grief, regret, sadness. Sadness especially, perhaps. Dolores describes these persons as afraid of obliteration, emotional engulfment. As if something truly and thoroughly felt would have no end or bottom. Would become infinite and engulf them.’
‘Engulf means obliterate.’
‘I am saying that such persons usually have a very fragile sense of themselves as persons. As existing at all. This interpretation is “existential,” Mario, which means vague and slightly flaky. But I think it may hold true in certain cases.
There may be some persons who are born imprisoned. The irony, of course, being that the very imprisonment that prohibits sadness’s expression must itself feel intensely sad and painful.’"- David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest