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Why Do I Not Understand My Emotions

Why Do I Not Understand My Emotions

Why Do I Not Understand My Emotions

Why do I not understand my emotions? It might seem almost unfathomable that someone might not recognize what they’re feeling. But the phenomenon is much more common than most people realize.


The one safe generalization that can be made about all emotions is that they don’t start as feelings at all but as physiological sensations. So even when a person can’t comprehend their feeling or experience, they’re typically aware of what’s happening to them physically.


And this is true even when what they’re feeling is a “blank”—a strange numbness within them. For these “non-feeling,” dissociative experiences also warrant being understood emotionally.


So, standing “stone-cold” with expressionless eyes peering at a deceased relative in an open casket, apparently devoid of emotion, still represents a state of feeling. Moreover, apathy may mean “without feeling.” Yet, unquestionably, we’ve all experienced this curious “feelingless feeling” at some point in our lives.


Let’s take a closer look at why certain feelings can be difficult, or even impossible, to discern:


  1. The feeling hasn’t yet crystallized.


Why do I not understand my emotions? In these instances, you’re just beginning to feel something but it hasn’t yet come into focus. It’s not yet identifiable. You may feel something in your body—say, your throat tightening, a trembling in your limbs, an accelerated heartbeat. But at the moment you’ve yet to connect such physical activation to what provoked it.


  1. It’s a feeling


The “what’s-this-feeling?” phenomenon is somewhat new to the literature on emotions, but it’s become increasingly widespread. Consider these representative titles (and there are several):


Take, for example, the Indonesian word malu, which—as defined by Tiffany Watt Smith in her scholarly work, The Book of Human Emotions (2016)—means “the sudden experience of feeling constricted, inferior and awkward around people of higher status.”


  1. You’ve never had this feeling before.


Children often can’t recognize what they’re feeling because they’ve not yet reached a level of development where they can transcribe their physical sensations into understandable feeling names.


Consider this poignant description of anxiety arousal in an 8-year-old:


It’s 8 a.m. and my heart’s racing. It’s that terrible, full-body sort of beat that makes your whole body shake and occasionally flutter from time to time from over-stimulation. For a second, it almost feels like excitement, until the belly flips start, my face heats up, my neck starts to hurt and I feel a little dizzy. My breathing’s heavy and my palms and scalp are starting to sweat for reasons unbeknownst to me.


When you’re young, anxiety is like a smoke monster: It lurks behind you, this intangible thing that makes your heart beat and your head akimbo. It makes you wonder, nervously, “Why am I like this? What’s making me feel this way? How do I make it stop?”


  1. You’re experiencing dissociation: a total detachment from your feelings.


Why do I not understand my emotions? When you effectively disengage from a feeling, you’re “dead” to it. Of all of Freud’s many defense mechanisms, dissociation is one of the most primitive. That’s why it typically originates in childhood.


Not yet having developed the emotional resources to successfully cope with perceived threats, children are all too easily overwhelmed by external circumstances.


Unable to rationally talk themselves down from what feels perilous, and often not able to leave the troubling situation either, they’re left with no option other than disconnecting from their immediate reality.


Desperately needing to flee from feelings experienced as intolerable, they contrive (however unconsciously) to escape the outer world by somehow prompting their “essence” to wander off to another time or place—even as, physically, they’re obliged to remain in the scene.


But whether you’re a child or not, when you dissociate you can’t feel anything. You’re simply no longer there. So if you’ve just been traumatized, or life’s challenges have become more than you can bear, when you simply feel too vulnerable to actively cope with whatever is going on, your last-ditch ploy for protecting yourself is shutting down completely.


And going numb renders you oblivious to the feelings masked by such emotional paralysis. At the moment, you’re not even capable of identifying what underlies this self-defensively applied anesthesia. And it’s all automatic—in a sense, effortless. In some of its many “applications,” it’s also universal.


The best example here might be suddenly learning, without the slightest warning, that your beloved, long-term partner has just been killed in a car crash. In that devastating moment, the excruciating pain of your loss would go markedly beyond your ability to take it in.


So you simply dissociate: drop into denial or freeze mode. And in such dire circumstances, what could be a more powerful mechanism for emotional survival? There are times when, psychologically, such radical avoidance of reality can be essential.


Major depression involves a kind of numbing as well, so much so that some individuals, by dissociating from their emotional distress—better described here as apathy—may not even realize they’re depressed. Additionally, people who “lose” themselves in compulsive, addictive activities frequently do so to dissociate from burdensome feelings that otherwise might overwhelm their coping capacities.


  1. The feeling has been internally censored: Even when you try to access it, you draw a blank.


Why do I not understand my emotions? It’s not hard to imagine why many of us learn to “blacklist” certain feelings. If, for example, you grew up in a home where expressions of anger were forbidden and losing your temper could lead to substantial punishment, you learned—almost at a cellular level—that any outward displays of antagonism could threaten your all-important parental bond.


Or, if your family gave you the clear message that you weren’t to show sadness (and certainly not to cry), you might have felt compelled to push all sorrowful feelings underground. Feelings of fear and anxiety can be repressed as well if your caretakers let you know that such responses were signs of weakness or inadequacy, and therefore unacceptable.


Since nothing is more vital to a child than feeling securely connected to their parents, emotions that are disallowed must somehow be disguised or obliterated. I’ve seen therapy clients chuckle when they were sad, or appear nonchalant when it was obvious that, inwardly, they were trembling with fear.

What Is It Called When You Can’t Understand Your Emotions?

What Is It Called When You Cant Understand Your Emotions

What is it called when you can’t understand your emotions? Alexithymia is when a person has difficulty identifying and expressing emotions. It is not a mental health disorder.


People with alexithymia may have problems maintaining relationships and taking part in social situations. They may have a co-occurring mental health condition, such as depression, or no diagnosable mental health conditions. Alexithymia also has links with autism.


Up to 13% of the population experience alexithymia, according to some research Trusted Sources. It is more common in males than females, with one study among a prison population in China indicating that over 30%Trusted Source of the prisoners experienced it.


What is alexithymia?


What is it called when you can’t understand your emotions? A person with alexithymia may find it hard to communicate their emotions to others.

Researchers describe alexithymiaTrusted Source as a construct relating to a difficulty experiencing, identifying, and expressing emotions.


It is not a clinical diagnosis, and mental health professionals do not consider it a disorder, although it may occur alongside some mental health conditions.


What is it called when you can’t understand your emotions? Peter Sifneos, a psychiatrist and professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, first described alexithymia in the early 1970s. The word comes from Greek: ‘a’ meaning lack, ‘lexis’ meaning word, and ‘thymos’ meaning emotion — overall, it means having a lack of words for emotions.


People with alexithymia have


  • problems with introspection, or observing their own mental and emotional processes
  • experience confusion around bodily sensations connected to emotions
  • struggle to communicate their emotions to others
  • Alexithymia also makes it difficult for people to identify and respond to emotions in others. These issues can lead to difficulties in social settings and interpersonal relationships.


What is it called when you can’t understand your emotions? Signs and symptoms of alexithymia include:


  • difficulties identifying feelings and emotions
  • problems distinguishing between emotions and bodily sensations that relate to those emotions
  • limited ability to communicate feelings to others
  • difficulties recognizing and responding to emotions in others, including tone of voice and facial expressions
  • a lack ofTrusted Source fantasies and imagination
  • a logical and rigid thinking style that does not account for emotions
  • poor coping skills when it comes to dealing with stress
  • behaving less altruistically than others
  • appearing distant, rigid, and humorless
  • poor life satisfaction




What is it called when you can’t understand your emotions? A person may be more at risk of alexithymia if they have a close relative with the condition.

Experts do not understand the exact cause of alexithymia. Some studies suggest that it may result from one or more of the following:


  • Research on twins indicates that there is a genetic component to alexithymia. People are more likely to have alexithymia if a close relative also has it.
  • Environmental factors. The same twin study also indicates that environmental factors play a role in alexithymia. Examples of environmental factors include a history of childhood trauma, the presence of a physical or mental health condition, or socioeconomic factors.
  • Brain injury. A Research reported that people with injury to a part of the brain known as the anterior insula experience increased levels of alexithymia.


What is it called when you can’t understand your emotions? Risk factors for alexithymia include:


  • being male, with one study reporting that men experience alexithymia almost twice as often as women
  • advancing age
  • a low level of education
  • low socioeconomic status
  • low emotional intelligence

How Can I Understand My Emotions?

How Can I Understand My Emotions

How can I understand my emotions? Dealing effectively with emotions is a key leadership skill. And naming our emotions — what psychologists call labeling — is an important first step in dealing with them effectively. But it’s harder than it sounds; many of us struggle to identify what exactly we are feeling, and often times the most obvious label isn’t actually the most accurate.


There are a variety of reasons why this is so difficult: We’ve been trained to believe that strong emotions should be suppressed. We have certain (sometimes unspoken) societal and organizational rules against expressing them. Or we’ve never learned a language to accurately describe our emotions. Consider these examples:


  1. The Role Emotions Play


Why do I not understand my emotions? Emotional awareness is the ability to identify and understand your feelings and emotions. One of the most important determinants of how you relate to yourself and others is your level of emotional awareness.


It impacts every part of your life, from how you feel, the choices you make, and what you do to manage your stress levels.


People who are emotionally aware are better able to listen to others and understand their feelings (this is empathizing). They’re also more comfortable with intimacy because they know what it feels like to be open about their feelings.


People who are more in tune with understanding feelings and emotions also have a healthier self-image and are less likely to be emotionally upset when something goes wrong.


How can I understand my emotions? Being able to identify what you are feeling at any given time enables you to make decisions about how best to proceed. You can decide whether to take action or do nothing, but at least you will have a better understanding of what your options are.


In addition, identifying your emotions accurately helps you sort out the important from the trivial. You learn to trust your instincts and not ignore what’s going on inside of you.


  1. Don’t Judge Your Emotions


The first step in understanding your feelings and emotions is to learn how to accept them without judgment.


Not judging others is important to accept your feelings. This can be difficult because many of us have been taught that it’s not OK to feel certain emotions, such as anger or sadness.


However, all emotions are useful and important. Crying, for example, is a natural way of letting go of pent-up emotions and releasing stress. Not only this but crying releases neurotransmitters (like oxytocin & endorphins) that will help push you back to more positive emotions.


How can I understand my emotions? Being emotionally aware does not mean dwelling on your feelings, discussing them all the time, or even acting on them, but simply acknowledging, accepting, and processing them as they arise.


Feelings that are not expressed or understood can be very destructive over long periods. They can lead to stress and anxiety, as well as health problems including heart disease, insomnia, headaches, and digestive disorders. Unresolved grief can lead to what is known as complicated grief which is much more painful and difficult to process than the original pain.


When we hold back our emotions, they become disassociated from us and out of our control. By bringing them into consciousness, we can identify them and direct our behavior more effectively.


Try to let go of the judgments you have about your feelings, and accept them as merely a part of being human. Only then can you begin the process of learning how to manage them healthily.


  1. What Each Emotion Feels Like And What They are Trying To Tell You


Why do I not understand my emotions? In some situations, you might have difficulty naming what you’re feeling. This may happen if you’re feeling overwhelmed by some strong feelings, such as grief or sadness.


In this case, it helps to pay attention to how your body is reacting and what thoughts are going through your mind. By naming these reactions, you can begin to identify the emotion that’s causing them. It might help to ask yourself:


  • What is my body telling me? If you’re overwhelmed and don’t know how you feel, pay attention to what your body is doing: Are your shoulders tense? Is there a knot in the pit of your stomach? Are you clenching your jaw or fists without even realizing it?
  • How is my mind telling me I’m feeling? You may experience thoughts such as: “I feel like something bad is about to happen” or “This situation isn’t fair” Pay attention to these thoughts and see if they help you identify how you’re feeling.
  • Next, ask yourself, “What are my emotions trying to tell me?” Every emotion has a message for you if you take the time to learn what it is. When you become aware of a feeling or emotion, take a step back and try to understand what it means.


It is also possible to experience more than one emotion at once.


For example, you might simultaneously feel anger and hurt, or guilt and embarrassment. When this happens, try to deal with each feeling separately. When your feelings are clear, it’s easier to use the appropriate coping strategies that will diffuse their negative effects.


The Voice Of Anger


Why do I not understand my emotions? The voice of anger can cause physical reactions such as feeling hot and breathing faster.


During anger you might realize that your heart is beating faster than usual, you’re breathing faster, and maybe shaking a little bit.


Your face and neck may feel hot and your fists might clench. When we become angry it’s common for us to want to yell, throw things, and even lash out at the other person.


You may experience thoughts such as  “I hate him” “I can’t believe she did that”; “This is ridiculous” or “This isn’t fair!”; strong feelings of hostility; the impulse to blame others for your problems; difficulty concentrating, and/or thoughts about revenge.


Anger is an intense feeling or emotion that can be triggered by a negative event or interaction. Anger tells you to take some sort of action—positive or negative. It can lead to aggression since your body is readying itself for some sort of physical retaliation.


Anger can tell us that something is wrong and needs attention. Anger may also signal that something feels unfair–for example, you might feel angry if you’re passed over for a promotion at work even though you have the best numbers in the office.


  • You may need to set appropriate boundaries or learn how to express anger in ways that don’t hurt yourself and others.
  • You may need to set appropriate boundaries or learn how to express anger in ways that don’t hurt yourself and others, such as learning to say “no” or taking time to cool down. If you struggle with anger, take some time to learn more about blaming, shaming, and controlling statements. Do your best to communicate healthily, even when it feels like anger is getting the best of you. Anger can be a good thing if we let it help motivate us to change our circumstances or behaviors for the better.


The Voice Of Sadness


Understanding feelings and emotions includes negative feelings such as sadness.

When we feel sad we may experience a heaviness in the heart and chest, become tearful, and more likely to feel the need to withdraw from people. Sadness can make us feel lethargic and we might not be able to concentrate very well on anything other than our pain.


Why do I not understand my emotions? When people feel sadness or grief they often experience strong feelings of emptiness or despair; thoughts such as “this pain will never go away” or “I’m all alone”; the impulse to withdraw, sleep or cry; difficulty concentrating, and/or thoughts about wanting to avoid life.


Sadness is a feeling that can be triggered by many events such as the loss of someone close, the loss of a job, and even the break up of a relationship.


The feeling of sadness often tells us that something is missing in our lives or that some loss or disappointment has occurred. Sadness signals a need for comfort and support. It could mean that we need to take care of ourselves and allow ourselves time to heal.


The Voice Of Fear


The voice of fear can cause you to sweat, hyperventilate, and have a fast heartbeat.

When you’re feeling scared, your heart might beat fast and hard, you might begin to sweat a little bit, feel short of breath or hyperventilate. You may become tense throughout your whole body or even shake all over. You may have a pit in your stomach or a sense of dread about what’s going to happen next.


How can I understand my emotions? If you’re faced with a threat, your body will prepare to either fight or flee. When we are afraid, it’s common for us to feel on edge and have trouble concentrating or thinking clearly.  You might have thoughts like “I’m going to faint,” or “Get me out of here! I want to run!”


Fear is one of the most basic and primal emotions we have as humans. Fear is an emotional response to a perceivable threat of danger, pain, or harm. When someone feels a sense of fear it is usually a survival instinct to help them avoid a dangerous situation or at least be aware of the potential danger around them.


Fear tells you to run! While fear is a response to a present threat, anxiety is a feeling that is often triggered by the fear of something bad happening in the future. Anxiety is often experienced even though there is no real threat, only a perceived one.


Anxiety may mean it’s time to regain some sense of control over your emotions or situation. It may also mean you need to let go of things that are not within your control.


The Voice Of Surprise


When you’re surprised your heart speeds up and you may feel wide awake, dizzy, and lightheaded.

When you’re surprised your heart speeds up and you may feel wide awake, dizzy, and lightheaded. You may experience a jolt of energy throughout the body. You might feel frozen in place or overwhelmed. You might have thoughts like “I’m not sure what to do,” or “I don’t know how to react.”


Surprise is a feeling that can be triggered by shocking or unexpected events/interactions. Feeling surprised is usually rooted in the feeling of being caught off guard.


It can also be rooted in the feeling of neutral or positive things unexpectedly happening such as receiving a compliment or getting a promotion at work. Surprise tells you that it’s time to slow down and process information since something unexpected has happened.


The Voice Of Disgust


You may feel nauseated or sick to your heart may beat faster or slower than usual.

When you are disgusted your heart may beat faster or slower than usual. You may feel nauseated or sick to your stomach as if you want to throw up. You might have thoughts like “That’s so gross!” or “How could someone do that?”


Why do I not understand my emotions? Disgust is usually triggered by something that is considered unpleasant, offensive, or immoral. This emotion is rooted in the idea of avoiding harmful substances, like rotten food or toxic chemicals. Disgust is telling you to push the repulsive thing away from you for your safety.


The Voice Of Happiness


How can I understand my emotions? Happiness is usually triggered by positive events or interactions that make you feel good. When you are happy you may experience a feeling of contentment and joy. Sometimes happiness can be triggered by the smallest thing like a compliment or finishing an assignment on time.


Happiness cues you into things that are important to you, such as having positive relationships with others, gaining new skills or abilities, and feeling like you belong.


The Voices Of Guilt & Shame


Guilt is a feeling about an individual action one has committed. When you feel guilty it feels like a sharp pain in your heart, and you may find yourself wanting to make amends with the person you hurt.


Why do I not understand my emotions? Guilt is a result of doing something that violates your moral code or rules. When people feel guilt, they often have thoughts such as “I did something bad,” or “I should have done something differently.”


Shame, on the other hand, can feel like a heavy weight bearing down on your shoulders, and you may feel the need to hide from others. Shame is a negative feeling that focuses on the self. The “self” is who you are as a person. We feel shame when we think that who we are as a person is flawed and defective. When people feel shame, they have thoughts such as  “I’m bad,” or “I’m worthless.”


Shame can have a corrosive effect on your self-esteem and sense of identity. When shame goes unattended in our life, it often makes us feel insecure, unloved, and lonely. It is pushing away friends and family who could otherwise be supportive.


Guilt, on the other hand, signals that what we did may have been wrong, but who we are as a person is not wrong. It can help us realize that our behavior has hurt someone or broken an important relationship, and may provide the impetus we need to apologize and reconcile.


If you want to learn more about dealing with shame, check out our article: How To Move Through Shame By Getting In Touch With Your Creative Side.


  1. Record Your Thoughts and Emotions


How can I understand my emotions? You can practice listening and understanding the feelings and emotions that you experience by getting into the habit of recording your emotions daily.


You can practice listening and understanding the feelings and emotions that you experience by getting into the habit of recording your emotions daily, every time you feel something new or different. This will help you identify your patterns and give you an insight into how you are feeling over time.


Ask yourself: What is making me feel this way? If you’re feeling anxious, what is causing it? Is there a difficult task looming in your future that might lead to performance anxiety? If you’re feeling sad, why are you feeling that way?


Are you watching a movie or show that’s eliciting emotion for you? What happened earlier today that might have caused the feeling?


Take a closer look at each situation and identify what’s triggering those feelings. Once you can recognize your triggers, you’ll be better prepared to avoid future negative feelings, or at least learn how to cope with them more effectively.


Why do I not understand my emotions? Negative thoughts can also play an important role in shaping emotions, and in many cases, they create the feelings we experience in response to them.


For example: If you think “I can’t,” or “I’ll never be able to do this,” you might end up feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed out. However, when you replace those thoughts with something like, “This is challenging, but I’m prepared to give it my all,” you might end up feeling more confident and in control.


Identify the thoughts that are directly related to the emotions you’re feeling. If you want to challenge negative thinking, try writing down some alternative, more positive thoughts about a situation, and seeing how it changes your mood.


  1. Expand Your Emotional Vocabulary


It can be helpful to develop a larger vocabulary for understanding feelings and emotions. Creating a list of feeling words and putting them in order from least distressing to most distressing can help you identify your feeling and therefore what you need.


Suppose you are feeling angry, you might ask yourself if you are “a little annoyed,” “irritated”, “furious” or even “enraged.” The word that you choose can help you identify your starting point and the intensity of your emotion.


Then you can plan accordingly and take steps toward resolving or managing your feelings. The right words paint a clearer picture of what you’re going through and help you better express those feelings to others.


  1. Share Your Feelings


Why do I not understand my emotions? Talking and understanding feelings and emotions are also one of the best ways to sort them out.

The most common way many people release negative feelings is by talking about them or sharing them with someone they trust.


You don’t have to go into great detail, just voicing out loud the thoughts that are troubling you will help dissipate some of their intensity and make it easier to gain a broader perspective.


Talking and understanding feelings and emotions is also one of the best ways to sort them out. Often, when we are angry or afraid, the problem seems bigger than it is. By talking things over with someone who listens without judging us or becoming defensive, we can gain insight into how to resolve the situation effectively.


  1. See a therapist


How can I understand my emotions? If you feel like not understanding feelings and emotions is starting to interfere with activities such as work, school, or relationships, it may be time to talk with someone who is trained to help you work through your feelings in an orderly way.


If you feel like not understanding feelings and emotions is starting to interfere with activities such as work, school, or relationships, it may be time to talk with someone who is trained to help you work through your feelings in an orderly way.


Therapists can help you understand how specific thoughts, physical sensations, behaviors, and past experiences work together to create feelings of anxiety, shame, etc. They can also teach you strategies for “grounding” yourself when you start to feel overwhelmed.

Why Do I Struggle To Open Up About My Feelings?

Why Do I Struggle To Open Up About My Feelings

Why do I struggle to open up about my feelings? Many of us may feel like we are open. You may not think you have an issue with vulnerability or intimacy, or that your lines of communication with loved ones are strong.


But ask yourself the last time you were honest about your feelings. It’s harder than you think, isn’t it? When people ask how you are, it’s so common to simply respond with ‘fine’, even if there is so much more going on inside.


The true meaning of opening up is being honest and vulnerable and letting others know how you are truly feeling. Sometimes this can also mean learning to be honest with yourself.


Why do I struggle to open up about my feelings? There, can be many reasons why we struggle to open up to people. For some, it may be to do with their upbringing. If you’ve grown up in a household where a stiff upper lip is seen as a sign of strength, vulnerability may not come naturally to you.


Emotional language is a skill that we learn. If this isn’t taught or nurtured within us from a young age, then it’s not surprising that we struggle to vocalise our feelings as adults. If you have had previous experience of being rejected after being vulnerable – either by a partner or family member, this may also make you cautious about opening up – and that’s understandable.


In some cases, the reason we can’t open up is that we are scared of admitting our fears or concerns to ourselves. If there is something, that is causing you stress or worry, vocalising it can make it feel more real.


Why it’s healthy to open up to people

Keeping your emotions bottled up can have negative effects on your physical, mental and emotional health. When we ruminate on problems in our heads for too long we can make them seem worse than they are. As the adage goes, a problem shared is a problem halved!


Why do I struggle to open up about my feelings? Opening up to people can help you gain perspective and find solutions that you may not have been able to reach on your own. Sharing our experiences can also help us feel less alone.


When it comes to infertility, there is almost always another person in the situation with you. Your partner will be able to empathise with what you are going through, which can stop you from feeling isolated.


Aside from your emotional well-being, talking about your feelings can help you strengthen bonds and maintain a healthy relationship.


How to open up to people

Here are a few tips on how to open up and navigate emotional conversations.


  1. Open up physically


It might sound silly but changing your body language can help change your mindset! If you are sat with your arms folded, hunched over, or turned away from your friend or partner, it can be really hard to connect and open up.


When you are trying to have difficult conversations, try to physically open up and you might find it’s easier to do so verbally. Hold your chest high, take a deep breath, and maybe even take a stretch before you start to speak if you find that helps.


  1. Find the right people to talk to

Why do I struggle to open up about my feelings? If you find it difficult to open up to people, you must evaluate your friendships. Whilst you may have friends that are fun and great for cheering you up, they may not be the people you feel you can be vulnerable with.


It’s important to create a safe space and that includes the person you are talking to. Try to identify your friends who are patient and good at empathising. You may even have friends that are great at giving advice but will ask too many questions. This can cause you to close up again.


Ask yourself – who do I feel most comfortable with? Who will respect this safe space I am trying to create?


iii. Know what you want to say

Sometimes one of the biggest reasons we shy away from speaking to people about our problems is that we don’t always know what we want to say. This lack of clarity can mean our thoughts get jumbled and never make it to our mouths. It also means that occasionally the person you are talking to will start jumping in – confusing your thoughts even more.


Whilst it’s important to express our feelings, taking some time to digest them before speaking about them is healthy. Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts down on paper before an emotional conversation, especially if you struggle to open up to people.


Journalling is also a great opportunity for mindfulness and can be an impactful part of your self-care routine.  Another good tactic is to write a letter you have no intention of sending. You can say everything you want to say without a response, which will help you prepare for the real conversation.


  1. Connect with friends and family more often.

Why do I struggle to open up about my feelings? With a hectic lifestyle, it’s easy to let your lines of communication with loved ones deteriorate. If you have stopped communicating about everyday topics, it can be so much harder to come to them with a problem.


When you’re having a tough time,  it’s common to avoid spending time with friends. However, it can be tough to call up someone you haven’t spoken to in weeks and ask for support.


Try to take the time to socialise with friends or visit family. Not only will having a bit of fun elevate some of the negativity you may be feeling, but you may find yourself opening up without realising it. Your friends and family love you and will always be there for you, but try not to push them away, as it will only make opening up harder.


  1. Speak to professionals

Why do I struggle to open up about my feelings? If you’re struggling to open up emotionally, you may decide to seek professional help. Seeing a counsellor or therapist can be transformative for people finding it hard to talk about their feelings.


You may find it more manageable, to be honest with someone who isn’t emotionally invested in your situation. You will be able to speak to them without worrying about their feelings and without fear of judgment. This could make it easier for you when you come to speak to those closest to you.


Therapists will be able to help you access your emotions and understand why you are unable to vocalise them. They can give you exercises and advice on how to navigate difficult conversations and how to connect with your partner.


How to get someone to talk to you

If it’s your friend or partner that is struggling to open up, that can be incredibly hard to manage. Forcing them to talk to you can often do more harm than good, but here are some tips on how to get them to share their feelings with you.


Choose the right time to talk

Why do I struggle to open up about my feelings? Often in our relationships, we can feel like ships in the night. If you are concerned about your partner’s well-being, asking them about it whilst they get ready for work may not get the best response. Find an evening when you both have nowhere to be and limit distractions. They may feel more comfortable opening up if you are both relaxed and able to speak freely.


Share your feelings

If your partner sees you as being vulnerable, it may encourage them to do the same.  All we want when we are feeling low is to feel understood. Showing that you not only empathise with them but are feeling similar emotions will show them it’s ok to express their feelings.


This is especially important as a couple going through infertility struggles, your partner needs to know you are in this together.


Listen and validate their feelings

If your partner begins to open up to you, it’s important that they feel heard. The simplest way to do this is to listen actively. Remove all distractions, open up your body language and maintain good eye contact so that they know you are engaged.


It’s also crucial to validate their feelings. If someone says they feel like they’re failing, a well-meaning response might be to say ‘You shouldn’t feel like that!” However, this could make them feel like their emotions are wrong or stupid. Tread carefully, and be sensitive to their feelings. This will help them open up more the next time.


If you are struggling to cope with infertility, joining a community like Adia can help you feel less alone and connect with your emotions. The platform offers courses on emotional health, free meditation, and access to fertility experts.

Why Do I Have No Sense Of Emotion?

Why Do I Have No Sense Of Emotion

Why do I have no sense of emotion? Life is full of ups and downs. In many ways, it can feel like we’re on an emotional rollercoaster.


We feel the euphoric rush of happiness and excitement, as well as the gut-churning lows of sadness and guilt. But, ultimately, it makes the fairground ride of life worth it.


Imagine if it wasn’t like this though. What if you felt emotionless and numb? Yes, you wouldn’t be able to feel the lows — but you wouldn’t be able to experience the highs either.


Many of us feel emotionless from time to time. But if this feeling sticks, it can be distressing.


It’s not something to downplay either. Because if you’ve experienced a sense of emptiness or numbness for a while, it might be a sign that there’s something deeper at play.


What is emotional numbness?


Some people describe these feelings of emptiness as emotional numbness or emotional detachment.


Why do I have no sense of emotion? Emotional numbness can leave you feeling detached from friends and family, you might lose interest in the activities that once brought you joy, and, because you feel flat, you might find it difficult to fully participate in life.


Simply put, it’s when you shut out or struggle to feel your feelings.


Feeling emotionless might seem okay from the outside. But, for those who experience it, it can be truly isolating and distressing.


Although it offers temporary relief from pain, emotional numbness can have long-term consequences. Because just as we block or shut out negative emotions, we also push away positive experiences and connections too.


Why do I feel emotionless?


Why do I have no sense of emotion? Numbness can also be a side effect of some medications such as antidepressants. But more often than not, we develop emotional numbness as a coping mechanism. It’s a way of shutting ourselves off from something extremely painful or overwhelming.


Sometimes feeling emotionless can be traced back to a traumatic event. For instance, we might have disconnected and detached from what’s going on as a way to keep ourselves safe.


Alternatively, this feeling might have built up gradually over time because we didn’t know how to cope with overwhelming emotions like depression or anxiety. Other times, it happens because we didn’t learn the tools to validate, feel or process our emotions.


Why do I not understand my emotions? Quite often, numbness is a fleeting experience. But it can become a problem if it lasts. Some common causes of emotional numbness include


  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Substance abuse
  • Avoiding your emotions
  • Depression


It’s a common misconception that people with depression feel sad all the time. The truth is depression affects everyone differently.


Some people might experience an overwhelming feeling of nothingness or emptiness, and they may even struggle to cry.


  1. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


Why do I not understand my emotions? Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that develops in response to a life-threatening event. Examples of traumatic events might include: being in a car crash, being physically or sexually assaulted, or surviving a natural disaster.


Many people with PTSD say that they ‘re-experience’ the traumatic event over and over through vivid flashbacks and nightmares.


It can be terrifying and traumatic so, understandably, many people with PTSD try to push memories of the event out of their minds. For instance, they might distract themselves with work or hobbies or avoid certain places or people.


Alternatively, some people with PTSD cope by trying not to feel anything at all. Emotional numbing is common. But everyone experiences PTSD differently, so you may not experience this symptom.


  1. Grief


Why do I have no sense of emotion? Grief and numbness often go hand in hand. A lot of the time, it allows us to process the loss of a loved one at a pace that we can manage. Or we might not have come to terms with the fact that they’re truly gone.


Numbness or denial is a natural part of the bereavement process. For some it can be helpful, but, for others, it can also be a distressing experience.


You might expect to be overcome with emotions, so when you feel ‘nothing’ you might think that you’re defective or broken somehow.


But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Your mind is just giving you the time you need to process your grief at a pace that works for you.


The good news is that sooner or later you’ll probably start to move past the numbness. As you move onto a new stage of grief, you may experience a whole host of different emotions including anger, sadness, and guilt.


Everyone is different though and grief varies from person to person. That being said, if you’ve been feeling ‘numb’ or ‘emotionless’ for a while now, it’s worth speaking to your GP or a therapist.


  1. Substance abuse


Why do I have no sense of emotion? Many people who misuse drugs or alcohol want to dull painful or complicated emotions. But although it offers temporary relief, it doesn’t solve the problem at hand. In fact, in the long run, it could do more harm than good and lead to substance abuse.


  1. Avoiding your emotions


If you feel emotionless, there’s not always a mental health condition to blame: it might simply be that you don’t know how to express your feelings.


You might feel like you need to bottle up your emotions and put on a brave face for your friends and family. Maybe your parents never shared their emotions or criticised you for crying. Or perhaps you can’t quite put your finger on what emotions you’re experiencing.


If you want to feel your feelings once more, it’s all about working on your emotional awareness.


Why do I have no sense of emotion? Feeling emotionless? What to do if you feel numb


  1. Identify why you feel numb


How and when you move past your numbness will depend on what caused it in the first place.


For instance, if you feel numb because of substance abuse, you might not be able to experience the breadth of your emotions until you’re sober. If it’s down to grief, you may need to process your loss. Whereas if you can’t quite work out what you’re feeling, it might be time to improve your emotional awareness.


The tendency to suppress our emotions has, sadly, become common practice. But the truth is that all emotions need to be felt and processed. Even if it seems scary at first, sit with your emotions and allow them to be. You’ll soon realise that they drift away in their own time.


  1. Get moving


Our minds and our bodies are deeply interconnected.


So it’s no surprise that when we feel disconnected from our emotions, we may feel disconnected from our bodies too.


Exercise is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re feeling numb and emotionless but try to be active once a day. Even if it’s just a gentle walk, it might do you the world of good.


  1. Write down what you’re feeling


Journaling can be a great catharsis, especially if you struggle to express your feelings. That’s because it’s a safe space where you can vent your raw emotions without judgement or shame.


Some days your thoughts might flow easily onto the page. On other days it might be a struggle. But stick with it. Because it might help you unpick some complicated feelings.


  1. Grounding exercises


For people who feel chronically numb, life can be an out-of-body experience. You might even feel dissociated or disconnected from the outside world — and this is where grounding exercises like the ‘54321 game’ can be a game-changer.


Here’s how it works:


Describe 5 things you can see in the room.

Name 4 things you can feel (e.g. “my feet on the carpet”)

Name 3 things you can hear (e.g. “the cars driving by my window”)

Name 2 things you can smell

Name 1 thing good about yourself

Hopefully, this technique will help you focus on your surroundings so you can be present in the here and now.


  1. Go to therapy


Why do I have no sense of emotion? All emotions serve a purpose. Not only do they give us feedback that keeps us safe, but they can also motivate us to take action and make decisions. For that reason, if you’ve been feeling emotionless for a while now you must seek help from a GP or a therapist.


Your doctor can adjust or change your medication if that’s where your numbness stems from. Whereas therapy may equip you with the tools you need to unpack your emotions in a safe space.


The reality is emotional numbness is often a defensive mechanism. It’s a way that we learned to protect ourselves from emotional and physical pain.


But there are better ways we can learn to cope — and this is where a therapist can be a big help. In therapy, you’ll identify the underlying cause of your distress or trauma, and come up with better ways to cope with taxing experiences and emotions.


In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, for instance, you’ll learn how your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes are all interconnected. With this know-how, you can learn how to influence your feelings towards a situation and how to express your emotions more openly.


Meanwhile, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy takes a mindfulness-based approach. It asks us to get in touch with our emotions by being present in the here and now.


Feeling emotionless can often be a symptom of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic disorder so it’s not something to dismiss or downplay.


In these cases, seeking the help of a professional is crucial. So remember you don’t have to work through this alone.

What Does Alexithymia Feel Like?

What Does Alexithymia Feel Like

The question, “What does Alexithymia feel like?”, is likely a very difficult one to answer for someone experiencing alexithymia! Alexithymia, after all, is often an absence of identifiable feeling.


What does Alexithymia feel like? People with alexithymia are often articulate, likeable, and high functioning in many other ways – they just cannot talk about their own emotions. People with alexithymia may experience sensations in their body, such as tension or pain, but not be able to associate that with a feeling, such as anxiety or anger.


What does Alexithymia feel like? To take our understanding a little further, try this for a thought experiment: imagine making decisions without any emotions involved. Now, some of you may be thinking, “That sounds great!


What does Alexithymia feel like? My emotions influence my decisions too much as it is.” But our emotions provide invaluable information about how we will likely respond to future situations. Emotions tell us what we want, and what will make us feel safe. Lacking that guidance might be like living in a country whose language you don’t speak.


What does Alexithymia feel like? Diving deeper into understanding this concept, here are further characteristics of alexithymia:


Poor emotional awareness (e.g. “I don’t know what I’m feeling;” “I don’t have words to describe what I’m feeling”)

Difficulty expressing feelings (in terms of verbal or bodily expression)

Difficulty understanding how others feel (being empathic)

Difficulty identifying social cues (changes in body language or emotions in others)

Difficulty discriminating between body sensations of arousal and emotions

Difficulty with self-assessment and introspection

Limited imagination, creativity, and fantasies

Mostly exhibits logical and matter-of-fact thinking


What does Alexithymia feel like? It is important to note that alexithymia is different from apathy; which is defined as the “lack of feeling or emotion,” or “lack of interest or concern.”


What does Alexithymia feel like? Although people with alexithymia may appear unresponsive, they do experience emotions and associated physiological changes. On the contrary, people with apathy do not experience the aforementioned emotional and physiological responsiveness.

Is Alexithymia A Form Of Autism?

Is Alexithymia A Form Of Autism

Is Alexithymia a form of Autism? Alexithymia has a strong link to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with a 2018 study indicating that approximately half of autistic people likely have alexithymia. It is especially prevalent in those with complex ASD.


Other research proposes that the social and emotional difficulties experienced by those with ASD may not be a feature of autism, but rather of co-occurring alexithymia.


Is Alexithymia a form of Autism? So many people believe that all children with autism can’t understand emotion and will never be empathetic toward others. This stereotype can’t be more untrue. While it may seem that the people with autism you know don’t show emotion the same way neuroatypical would, they still can understand emotion- just in a different way.


Is Alexithymia a form of Autism? According to researchers at the University of East London and King’s College London, many people with autism express empathy, sometimes even an excessive amount of it. However, there were some still that had difficulty understanding emotion. This led the researchers to examine the overlap between alexithymia and autism.


Is Alexithymia a form of Autism? Many people associate alexithymia with autism and may even point to the 50 percent statistic, believing that autism is somehow a cause of emotional challenges. It’s important to note, however, that 50 percent of individuals with autism DON’T have alexithymia.


Also, there are extremely high levels of people who have alexithymia in those struggling with things like eating disorders, substance abuse, schizophrenia, and a whole slew of other psychological conditions.


Is Alexithymia a form of Autism? So is alexithymia the reason behind that aforementioned stereotype about individuals with autism? Maybe.


In the same study, researchers measured empathy in four different groups of people: individuals with autism and alexithymia; individuals with autism but not alexithymia; individuals with alexithymia but not autism; and individuals with neither autism nor alexithymia.


Is Alexithymia a form of Autism? They found that individuals with autism but not alexithymia displayed normal levels of empathy. Those who had alexithymia were overall less empathetic. They found that autism is not associated with an overall lack of empathy, alexithymia is.


Is Alexithymia a form of Autism? However, individuals with alexithymia may still care deeply about others’ emotions. In another study, individuals with alexithymia showed far more distress in seeing the pain of others than those without alexithymia. The perceived lack of empathy may come from their inability to understand feelings and what others are feeling around them.

Why Do I Not Understand My Emotions Conclusion

Why Do I Not Understand My Emotions Conclusion

Why do I not understand my emotions conclusion? Alexithymia is not a condition in its own right, but rather an inability to identify and describe emotions. People with alexithymia have difficulties recognizing and communicating their own emotions, and they also struggle to recognize and respond to emotions in others.


There is no formal diagnosis for alexithymia, although several scales can help to identify its signs.


Why do I not understand my emotions conclusion? As it is not a disorder, health professionals do not currently recommend or prescribe treatment for alexithymia. However, if it co-occurs with another condition, such as depression or PTSD, people can seek treatment for those issues to avoid worsening symptoms or complications.

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