Out of touch with my emotions

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

It seems to have come to pass that I have lost all ability to feel emotions, other than a certain amount of anxiety and self loathing. Also, the feelings that tend to flood over you unexpectedly, which I can recall, like waking up on a Sunday and feeling a rush of comfort being all tucked up in your bed when its raining outside, mystical feelings that you get sometimes walking through nature, kind of feeling the “vibe” of a room or when you’re in a crowd, any of those things that can’t necessarily be classified as emotion, but seem to be more of a spiritual connection between mankind and reality. Those beautiful buzzing feelings.

I have also lost all sense of self, my personality, my entire experience of existence has changed, and I also no longer feel any love for family members, any sort of empathy or kindness.

I have suffered from trauma in abusive relationships, but I do not get any flashbacks which most people with PTSD seem to describe. If possible I would like it to be explained why it has become this way for me, and any actions that I could take to end the feeling of being disconnected.

A: I’m very concerned about you. You make a reference to trauma but you don’t mention having had any therapeutic help for it.

Not everyone has every symptom of PTSD. It’s true that many people do have “flashbacks” in the literal sense of the word. Some people instead reexperience the traumatic event in different ways, like not liking to be around anything that reminds them of it.

Of equal importance in making the diagnosis is persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness. It sounds to me like this is the predominant symptom in your case.

You are absolutely right to be worried that you aren’t in touch with your own feelings and with the pleasurable parts of life. Fortunately, these can be reclaimed with some therapy. Please make an appointment with a mental health counselor who has experience in trauma work. Your life doesn’t have to be forever shadowed by whatever happened to you. Don’t let one event or series of events, however terrible, have that much power. Work with your therapist to help you put the past where it belongs so you can enjoy life again.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Oct 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Out of touch with my emotions. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/10/10/out-of-touch-with-my-emotions/