advertisement
Home » Ask the Therapist » Out of touch with my emotions

Out of touch with my emotions

Asked by on with 1 answer:

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.

Out of touch with my emotions

Answered by on -

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.

Verywellmind.com’s website explains how PTSD can cause emotional numbing in a person: “Emotional numbing symptoms are part of the avoidance cluster of PTSD symptoms. Emotional numbing symptoms generally refer to those symptoms that reflect difficulties in experiencing positive emotions. The specific symptoms that make up the emotional numbing symptoms are: A loss of interest in important, once positive, activities, Feeling distant from others, and Experiencing difficulties having positive feelings, such as happiness or love. PTSD and emotional avoidance go hand-in-hand. Many people with PTSD try to escape their emotions. They may try to avoid thoughts, feelings or conversations about the traumatic event and places or people that bring the event to mind. Avoidance also refers to difficulty remembering important parts of the traumatic event and feeling as though life has been cut short.”

The website also states, “It has been found that people with PTSD often try to avoid or “push away” their emotions, both emotions about a traumatic experience and emotions in general. Studies have found that people with PTSD may withhold expressing emotions. In addition, it has been found that the avoidance of emotions may make some PTSD symptoms worse or even contribute to the development of PTSD symptoms after the experience of a traumatic event.”

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

Out of touch with my emotions

This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on October 10, 2010.

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). Out of touch with my emotions. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/10/10/out-of-touch-with-my-emotions/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 26 Jun 2019 (Originally: 10 Oct 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 26 Jun 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.