My reaction comes a week later
I believe i got this way after a near death experience and a boyfriend abusing me for over a year. I have gotten way better after 3 rounds of therapy over 4 years. Now however, i have a new boyfriend. He was abusive to me last weekend, but i didnt react to it then. tears came out of my eyes as he was mean to me, but the day after i forgave him and felt nothing. a week later i feel a lot of anxiety, i am depressed and nervous for everything i do. i lost all confidence at work. in one week. so then i call my mother, and i realize that what he did to me was not right and that my physical feelings (sleeping 10-11h per night, eat a lot, stomach cramps etc) probably are from his behavior. Is this a typical reaction for anyone else? or do you usually feel physical signs immediately in a situation?
I have this too. I just recently took this test online, and have not even been diagnosed with Alexithymia. But I tested above a 135, which was a high score. I was emotionally and physically abused by my ex boyfriend, about a year ago, and also saw him getting taken away by the police. Ever since then, I have had chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, and just cannot seem to understand how I'm feeling. It happens more often when I'm feeling sad, then when I'm feeling happy. Because those are the only two emotions I can distinguish. When I'm sad, deep down I know that I am sad, but cannot react to it how I used to before my ex boyfriend abused me.
I have a new boyfriend as well, and he has never abused me. But when we fight, sometimes he hurts my feelings, I acknowledge it, but don't know how I REALLY feel about it. I feel numb in most situations that hurt my feelings, like I'm guarding myself from getting hurt.
When we fight, I don't really react to it until I leave his side, and when I do, I think about it constantly, and that is when I get sad about it, and can't seem to control myself. I start to feel crazy, because I cannot do anything about the situation.
You are not alone with this. I can almost completely turn off certain emotions and responses that I "should have" in order to guard myself from the pain inside. This is always temporary, the bubble of emotions I store away always pops a few weeks, months, later. Even worse than it would be if I hadn't neglected them. Man, it bites me in the ass. I think this "super power"/ "curse" has gotten stronger over time due to insistent family and relationship stress.
the mind is a wonderful and frightening thing; for me, this change in emotion was unconscious. I don't know when it happened. I do see why my subconscious felt the need to lock away my anger, but sometimes I distantly wonder if I can get them back. yet the biggest question is do I want them back?
To the OP: I have "suffered" from delayed reactions my entire life. For me, it's 48 hours to two weeks later when I "react."
I came across this on the Internet; PTSD sufferers have delayed emotional responses. Maybe you guys have alexithymia as the result of some sort of trauma.
Maybe you guys have alexithymia as the result of some sort of trauma.
From what I have read, alexithymia is "caused" by either injury or trauma. In my case, I have had both. My Mom told me that when I was born, the forceps caused my head to collapse. My head was flattened to my eyebrows. It popped up a couple days later. So, I believe, that caused an "injury" to my brain whereas, I cannot access my emotions. But there is no way to prove it. Wonder if a Brain Scan would show anything.....
for "trauma," well, when I was 12, I had a doctor appointment where my mom lied (well, it was a lie by omission, she withheld information) about the REAL purpose of a doctor appointment. Let's just say, what the doctor did was necessary for what was going on with me at the time, but mom "withheld" what the doctor was going to do and I WAS TRAUMATIZED! And then my mom got angry with me for being "rude" to "her" doctor. I WAS TRAUMATIZED!
In another thread some site members were talking about therapists, and I posted that I'd be interested in seeing a therapist for practical advice; I did. The psychologist said she wanted to do a brain scan, and she told me the scan showed I lacked emotions. My visit wasn't about Alexithymia, so the psychologist's interpretation of my brain scan was unbiased; she just saw that my limbic system wasn't functioning properly, and said that it implied a lack of emotions.
DXS, I doubt that a brain scan would help with secondary Alexithymia, but it might help with organic Alexithymia.
I've also been in an abusive relationship. As of today, I'm diagnosed with alexithymia and heterogeneous high potential, and I do have some aspie traits (but have no diagnosis). Apparently it's pretty commonplace, with such a profile, to end up in couple with a narcissist, and indeed, so was my ex. The 5 years I spent with her were very traumatic and left me with PTSD, and probably a higher alexithymic score than before already.
I've read that alexithymia cannot be diagnosed in teenagers because the brain is still in development at this stage, which can lead to inaccurate results. I think I was doing fairly good in matter of emotional understanding as a kid, though I was a bit late in social development. When I was 14, my father was diagnosed with cancer and died 9 months later, when I was 15. I was also being harassed at school all through that time, and detached myself from reality. I didn't feel affected by my father's death because I knew it was going to happen, but then realized as I got back to school, that I had almost entirely forgotten Spanish, which I had been learning and was very good at. The pathways in my brain must have been cut because I never managed to really recover the level and ease I had before.
I think that's probably when things started to go a bit wrong in my brain. When I was with my ex, it got even worse because I stayed even though I was no longer in love, only fooling myself over the idea that I must love her, so to endure being with her better. She wasn't fooled as easily as me however, and required displays of affection, which led me to "program" myself to have specific reactions triggered by specific situations. I became seriously messed up, incapable of knowing if any of my emotion was real because I had seriously skewed the logical patterns on which I was relying to try and identify emotions (if I could "induce" love, then how could I be sure anything I "felt" was real?)
I think that's when I became depressed, started crying randomly, etc. In my current relationship (which is a healthy one with a wonderful person with high EQ), I do have delayed emotional reaction, especially about deep sadness. When the trigger occurs, I feel like I'm handling it kind of ok, then I get worse some days later, and eventually end up crying. I think it will get better now that I'm conscious of it and trying to become more aware of my emotions and the sensations in my body.
The correlation between delayed emotional reaction and Alexithymia seems to be widely discussed on the forum; and is of course very relevant for the members.
I wonder regarding the symptoms that manifest during or as a consequence of this type of emotional reaction. A post on this thread by TransientNight mentions losing lingustic skill as a consequence of PTSD, Alexithymia or trauma? Is it a temporary regression or a longterm block? Is it a loss of vocabulary or general linguistic skills? Also is it correlated with a more specific emotion ex. anger, disappointment, sadness, feeling abused?
I wouldn't be able to explain why I forgot Spanish (which was a foreign language I was learning) because I haven't investigated this with professionals, but it occurred after my father died. I think it should be said that he died exactly when I entered highschool, on my very first day (he was in coma then, my mother was by his side and told him I was back to school, he died soon after). When I exited school, my mother and my sister were waiting for me and I guessed what news they had when I saw their faces, even though they tried not to look too sullen. In the car, they told me my father had died and I nodded, then thought to myself "you need to cry or you'll seem cold-hearted" and so I cried.
It was some days later, when I had the first Spanish class that I realized with mild horror that I could barely conjugate basic verbs in present time. I had issues remembering, finding words, building sentences... My knowledge was literally ruined, with just chunks remaining here and there. I had to rebuild everything from the ground, around the rubles. Now 13 years later, it still hasn't come back, though I feel like, if I put real effort in learning again, maybe I could recover better than when I was a teen.
I don't know why Spanish was affected (and not something else), but it was clearly triggered by losing my father. I guess it's a kind of trauma. I didn't get a very typical display of sadness. I was curious to see his corpse and touch it to realize he was dead, I was very unafraid. On the morrow, at school, I smiled pretty excitedly when I told my new friends that I was going to be absent because of my father's funeral. On the funeral I was overjoyed to see a lot of people had come, it was super nice. I did cry during the ceremony itself, with my close family crying as well. Then I was happy again. I didn't go through any sort of depression, I didn't feel insecure, I didn't miss my father, I didn't cry about it. I didn't even see why I should be sad. Death is such an evident and permanent thing, that makes it easy to accept. I was also happy my father died on my first highschool day, because it showed he cared for me. That makes me go "aww."
It was only like five years later, when I traveled back to France to join my mother and sister so we'd release the ashes, that I suddenly got a "shit, my father is dead" reaction in the train and started crying over it. Quite the delay.
Thank you for the insights and the detailed response, it is much appreciated.