Alexithymia? Let’s take another look at the facts AND the truth – Part 2

alexithymia score : 156 points

Herewith continues my discussion of Alexithymia. Part 1 is here.

Question 11: When I am upset I find it difficult to identify the feelings causing it.

Fact: I can identify feelings fairly well, especially in ways that make sense to others.

Truth: This has only been possible after years of practice. I usually just pick a “ballpark” emotion to describe how I’m feeling – and I usually cue off the behaviors of others, to find out whether what I’ve said makes sense to them or not. I’m extremely sensitive to others’ “energies”, and I can often tell if what I’ve said makes sense to them or not. And then I adjust my descriptions to what I can tell is “working” for them. I can tell on a subtle level, if I’m confusing people, and I can adjust my expressions to suit what they need – and that’s the goal: successfully completing the social interaction, rather than actually communicating what is going on with me.

In a way, this actually comes in handy. Because not knowing what I’m feeling at the moment allows me to function well under conditions that otherwise make people highly dysfunctional. I can wade into impossible situations and think clearly in a crisis, because I don’t even realize I’m in a crisis. In this way, alexithymia works for me. It’s a real benefit and a gift.

Question 12: Describing the feelings I have about other people is often difficult.

Fact: It’s not as difficult now, as it used to be. I can do this pretty well, now.

Truth: Well, sure… Because I have both learned how to identify my feelings (in the “ballpark”), and I’ve learned how to express myself in ways that others understand. I generally keep a friendly-neutral attitude towards others, so as to keep things light and not overburden the interactions with me seeming to be angry (that’s my thinking face) or aggressive (that’s my excited face) or having some other emotion that others completely mis-interpret.

I can describe my feelings about others at work pretty well — actually a lot easier than in my personal life. Because a lot of what I feel mirrors what others feel. Someone who’s a pain the ass to others in my group is probably a pain the ass to me, as well. Likewise, someone who’s great to work with. I cue a lot off what others say they feel, and I check in with myself to see if that’s true. I sometimes “try emotions on for size” when it comes to others, because it’s a heck of a lot easier than coming up with my own versions. And it sometimes turns out to be true, anyway. It’s a process. A long process of learning and discovery and refining. And it’s not a simple, straightforward thing with me. The fact that nobody — but nobody — knows this, shows me I’m doing a good job at blending in.

Question 13: I prefer doing physical activities with friends rather than discussing each others emotional experiences.

Fact: Yes, yes, yes!

Truth: This is an easy one, because it’s so true. I’d much rather co-produce events — concerts, community gatherings, etc — with my friends, than sit around processing emotions. A lot of my friends / acquaintances over the years have accused me of “running from my feelings” because I’d rather be active and doing something productive, than hanging out talking about my emotional experiences. Please. I’m just built differently. That’s all.

Question 14: I am not much of a daydreamer.

Fact: Oh, untrue. I’m a total daydreamer.

Truth: How else am I supposed to stay sane in this illogical, nonsensical world that’s constantly overwhelming me with a full range of idiocy and sensory barrage?!

Question 15: I don’t like people’s constant assumptions that I should understand or guess their needs… it’s as if they want me to read their minds!

Fact: Very true.

Truth: Seriously, people, would it kill you to just tell me what you need? I’m not a mind-reader! I’m more than happy to help and comply, if you simply tell me what you require. I can work it out. But if you play those little “what’s my favorite color” games with me, you’re gonna get a blank stare. Work with me! Help me to help you.

Question 16: I sometimes experience confusing sensations in my body.

Fact: Yep. That.

Truth: Oh . my . god. Truer words have seldom been spoken. In fact, I think it’s safe to say, I often experience confusing sensations in my body. How could I not? I’m so “tuned in” to the world around me, like a radio dial set to EVERYTHING, that the internal sensations I have are not the only thing I’m feeling. There’s Everything Else, clamoring over each other like puppies in a basket, trying to get the most attention. LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! I MATTER! PAY ATTENTION TO ME! That’s what all my sensations would be saying, if they could talk.

In the process of reacting to the outside world — light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, tactile defensiveness, smells, tastes, and all the associations that come up with each one… it’s a vibrantly rich sensory ecosystem I’ve got inside me. And yes, that leads to confusion. Especially when I’m under pressure and the stress is increasing my sensitivities. That’s the most confusing of all.

Question 17: For me sex is more a functional activity than it is an emotional one.

Fact: Yes. It is.

Truth: That’s not to say, it’s not fun. I’ve had some pretty amazing sex, and emotion has played a big part in it. But as I’ve always felt like sex was really for functional purposes — even the emotional aspect seems functional to me. You grow closer when you have sex. You want to be closer to someone, so therefore you have sex. Even emotionally, is serves a purpose. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a whole lot less interested in sex, I have to admit. It’s a relief, to not feel so compelled to exchange bodily fluids, but simply interact with other people as a person. The purposes that sex serves, I can fulfill in other ways, so meh – sexy… whatever.

Question 18: Some people have told me I am cold or unresponsive to their needs.

Fact: Yep. That’s happened. A lot.

Truth: My partners have always bitched and moaned to me that I’m not as warm and caring as they want me to be. I’ve only had a handful of intimate partners (my current one has been with me for over 25 years), but they all have complained that I wasn’t warm-and-fuzzy enough. Sheesh.

Question 19: I don’t dream frequently, and when I do the dreams usually seem rather boring.

Fact: Oh, untrue. I dream pretty frequently, and the dreams are anything but boring.

Truth: My dreams are usually logistical nightmares — scenes of trying to find my way through a massive medical facility, university campus, or office complex… driving down long, twisting roads through a remote countryside. I’m generally trying to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B, and I have no idea how to do it… but I persevere, and I eventually get where I’m going, even though I have No Idea how I did it. I’m just relying on intuition and instinct in my dreams, and even though I generally achieve my ultimate goal, it’s confusing as hell and incredibly stressful. It’s a relief to wake up, actually.

Question 20: Friends have indicated, in one way or another, that I’m more in my head than in my heart.

Fact: Yes. They have.

Truth: What’s with this “in the heart” business, anyway? That makes no sense. Who would want to make all their decisions based on emotion? That’s not how my world works. At all. Getting from step 1 to step 2 to step 3 is an intellectual process. How can you do anything if you don’t understand the component parts and the steps to getting there? Why would you want to do anything else? People who are “in their heart” more than their head tend to make the kinds of decisions that have landed us in the awful situation we’re in today — prejudice and high emotion running the show. How’s that workin’ out for you, humanity? Not so great, huh… People who base their decisions on anything but fact and logic and what we clearly know about cause-and-effect, should be banned from government, as far as I’m concerned. Then again, the folks in power would probably still find a way to screw everything up, so maybe banning is a bad idea. But there should be a test… at the minimum… for not being batshit impulsive and prone to emotional decision-making.

That’s just what I think.

Note: This is part of a 4-part series about Alexithymia criteria, as well as related thoughts about the “subcondition” in general. You can find additional content at the links below:

 

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12 thoughts on “Alexithymia? Let’s take another look at the facts AND the truth – Part 2

  1. I’ve never quite got a grip of the discussing feelings and emotions thing. I thought it was something of a weird habit, more common in females (one of those things i never got the untold memo when growing up or trying to adult), in some cultures, and… who knows what else. Does discussing feelings and emotions function as a social or emotional bonding between people?
    My stepsis likes sometimes to go on long monologues of how she is emotioning, after which she will feel great. I feel drained and frustrated; learn to control and resolve your emotions, you are an adult.
    But at least even that is better than the communicating between the lines emotional cues and then getting mad because I didn’t understand why or what your “how” you said something or all those facial muscle contractions that I didn’t see were supposed to communicate something when you could have just said what you mean using (speaking or typing) your words more clearly. Weird NTs…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. VisualVox

      OMG, I know. I didn’t get the memo, either. We must not be on the distribution list 😉

      My partner loves to do a lot of emotioning with me, as well. And yeah, she feels great afterwards… while like you, I feel drained and frustrated. All that excitement. Over what? Half the time, it’s misunderstandings… or people just wanting to get spun up over stuff to make themselves feel more alive.

      How does that work, exactly?

      And the accusations about getting the emotion stuff wrong… this problem would all be solved, if people could manage their internal lives more effectively, instead of expecting us to walk them through it.

      Well (shrug), it’s not like I need to be around it all the time. Background noise.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heh. Yes. Emotional diarrhea too sometimes.
        I’m more prone to emotional constipation. :p at least what comes to trying to express them (except in writing or running – two awesome methods)
        (And while enjoying the words, … another word that could be occasionally used to describe the not-neurofabulous people, that is persons who suffer from NT… neuro-cis. Since their neuro wiring is sort of cis, haha)

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I once read a book ET101, in describing aliens born to human mothers it described me to a T, unfortunately I could never discern whether it was a humorous or factual book so was not game to make contact; as the book suggested. Perhaps we had the same planet of paternal origin.

        Liked by 1 person

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