Trans Man Now Has No Empathy
From the U.S.: I am transgender and have been living as male for two years. So my transition is going great, and I almost have zero depression or dysphoria. Which is awesome, but something else has happened in the past couple of years, and I have only really noticed it recently. And I haven’t told anyone about this either.
I feel no empathy. When I hear news about people, I don’t care. A few days ago my mom received a text from a friend that her friend’s mom was in the hospital dying. And I didn’t feel anything. I know I should but I didn’t. And I realised this has been happening for awhile. I hear news about people getting into college, baby’s being born, people dying, and all these other things and I don’t feel anything.
I have never known how to react when people talk about their feelings, whether they be happy or sad. And I honestly don’t care how they feel, I know that I should and I want to care, but I don’t. I think I’m good at hiding this, because I know it’s best to pretend then to explain how I literally have no control of my apathy.
I have also realised that I don’t need friends. Since school ended I only leave the house to go to work and to exercise. I don’t visit my friends at all. It’s not that I don’t enjoy being around friends sometimes, but I don’t go out of my way to do it. I don’t feel lonely though when I don’t see people.
I also don’t have extreme emotions anymore. They feel very stunted. I am apathetic to most things.
What’s most wierd about this is the fact that I’m not unhappy. This is just my reality.
What is wrong with me?
A: I can only offer a guess. You really need to talk this over with a therapist who can hear your whole story and who can ask the follow-up questions that need to be asked to come to a real understanding.
So here’s my guess: No news to you, transition is difficult. You started the process when you were only 16. That’s a time when most teens are working out who they are and how to relate to others. You were working on an additional layer of concerns and, perhaps, fears. The need to have compassion for yourself may have overwhelmed your ability to have compassion for others.
Feeling our feelings and knowing what to do with them is part of the process of maturing. In your case, you may have put off some of that developmental task while you came to terms with who you are.
If you aren’t in therapy already, I urge you to find an experienced trans-friendly counselor to provide you with guidance and support as you work on becoming all you can be.
I wish you well.
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2017). Trans Man Now Has No Empathy. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/07/17/trans-man-now-has-no-empathy/