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Alexithymia - Difficulty knowing/describing your inner life


Navoto
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Alexithymia poll  

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A lack of romantic emotions to others is what defines aromantic. I would like to go further,
is it common among us here on the forum to have challenges concerning alexithymia -
more or less experiencing a lack of feelings or ability to explain them (to others) overall?

Alexthymia, translates literatlly into, a lack of language for feelings, that is a difficulty to
know in any detail what goes on inside you and others - your inner "state", your "bodily"
position on a matter (gut instinct perhaps), mirroring the feelings you can understand
others probably feels etc.. Some individuals can cry or experinceing other bodily reactions
without knowing the reason behing, the cause.

 

An alexithymic person tend to have to use logic and reason where others would bring
in their feelings. An alexithymic person could not only "feel" trapped in a romantic
(intense) relationship, it would also have great difficulty explaining for the partner if
there is just a lack of emotion overall or just a lack of romantic love.  Knowing that the
aromantic orientation exists could be a tremendous relief for those indivduals.

Lets vote (anonymously of course)!

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Interesting. Not come across this concept before. It brought to mind a coupla things...

 

18 hours ago, Navoto said:

alexithymia - more or less experiencing a lack of feelings or ability to explain them overall

Those could each be quite different things though...

18 hours ago, Navoto said:

An alexithymic person tend to have to use logic and reason where others would bring in their feelings.

So, that and the above quote reminded me of a passage (that I found quite intriguing at the time) from Philip Pullman's book The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ :

Quote

There are some who live by every rule and cling tightly to their rectitude because they fear being swept away by a tempest of passion, and there are others who cling to the rules because they fear that there is no passion there at all, and that if they let go they would simply remain where they are, foolish and unmoved; and they could bear that least of all. Living a life of iron control lets them pretend to themselves that only by the mightiest effort of will can they hold great passions at bay.

Which has Alexithymia? Or, do they both, but different variants? 

 

I was also reminded of these lyrics from Bjork's song Stonemilker :

Quote

What is it that I have
That makes me feel your pain
Like milking a stone
To get you to say it

 

Who is open?
And who has shut up
And if one feels closed

How does one stay open?

I guess "like milking a stone" might form an apt description of a partner trying to get an Alexithymic person to open up about their feelings!

 

I also heard Bjork say in an interview one time that talking about your feelings was "like trying to put an ocean through a straw".

Which I thought was great :) 

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Interesting... I was thinking of posting about this myself actually. You beat me to it. :)

 

When I first read about Alexithymia, I thought it can't possibly apply to me, because I can figure out my feelings just fine. It didn't occur to me that other people don't need to figure out their feelings, that they just easily know what they're feeling. My most common emotion is "blank". Or "neutral", "content", "peaceful". When people ask me what I'm feeling, I often get frustrated that they expect me to know the answer to that immediately.

 

Alexithymia is also apparently common in people with Asperger's, which I've also been reading about obsessively lately (I'm about 90% sure I'm an Aspie at this point). Someone made a thread about that a while ago too. It is really interesting to explore all the overlap between these things. I also think there seems to be overlap with MBTI personality types (probably others too).

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18 minutes ago, SoulWolf said:

When I first read about Alexithymia, I thought it can't possibly apply to me, because I can figure out my feelings just fine. It didn't occur to me that other people don't need to figure out their feelings, that they just easily know what they're feeling.

 

Wait, what? Other people just know what they're feeling? Without having to, um, figure it out? How does that work?! :P

 

Yeah, my two most common answers to the "how are you feeling?" question are either "fine" or "don't know" / "meh" / *shrugs*.

When I do experience strong emotions, I'm not really sure what it is that I experience them as.

 

 

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I can definitely relate to this bit, in regards to my last relationship especially:

An alexithymic person could not only "feel" trapped in a romantic
(intense) relationship, it would also have great difficulty explaining for the partner if
there is just a lack of emotion overall or just a lack of romantic love.

Like, I knew something was off, but not what and I couldn't articulate what I was actually feeling. Just an oppressive, foreboding sense of wrongness from out of nowhere. 

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16 minutes ago, NullVector said:

Wait, what? Other people just know what they're feeling? Without having to, um, figure it out? How does that work?!

I'd like to know this too actually. I actually don't know for sure if they really do "just know"... only that it seems that way based on what they expect from me.

(Yeah, I'm pretty sure you were being sarcastic, but... it's interesting how it's actually impossible to really know how other people experience things, and how people take their own experience for granted to the level that they assume everyone else experiences things the same way.)

 

15 minutes ago, Untamed Heart said:

Like, I knew something was off, but not what and I couldn't articulate what I was actually feeling. Just an oppressive, foreboding sense of wrongness from out of nowhere. 

Same here. Also a constant feeling of irritation about being in the same room with another person for so long. And I felt guilty about it because he'd not actually done anything wrong, technically... But yeah, irritation and guilt are feeling words, so I was able to figure those out, but it took me some time to be able to do that. :P 

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42 minutes ago, SoulWolf said:

I'd like to know this too actually. I actually don't know for sure if they really do "just know"... only that it seems that way based on what they expect from me.

(Yeah, I'm pretty sure you were being sarcastic, but... it's interesting how it's actually impossible to really know how other people experience things, and how people take their own experience for granted to the level that they assume everyone else experiences things the same way.)

 

I wasn't really being sarcastic (well, not entirely, anyway! :P)

And I could have written what you just said above. Pretty much word for word. It's true - I think none of us have very much idea what it's really like to be inside someone else's head; it's all guesswork from our own (biased and limited) experiences. We'll never truly bridge that divide and understand what it means to be them (like in Kate Bush's song Running Up That Hill / Deal With God: "And if I only could, I'd make a deal with God, And I'd get him to swap our places". but there is no "deal" like that...)

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