Feeling Out & Not Looking In
Feeling Out & Not Looking In
By Lydie Cerantola-Eid
September 16, 2019
Being safe doesn't on the long run make for a great human experience, nor does it help paving the road to a better and happier personal future
Imagine a young child walking on the beach and not recognizing a big wave toppling him or her over. Spitting out water, feeling scared and scarred by the experience, that child decides to stay away from the beach... Sounds familiar?
Men and women who easily dissociate due to high anxiety (and alexithymia sufferers) have difficulty distinguishing bodily and emotional feelings.
When emotions arise, alexithymia sufferers have an automatic cut-off reaction to avoid being overwhelmed which disconnects them from themselves - and the world
The trio of emotions they feel and recognize is "Good", "OK"or "Bad" - this is as much as they can recognize and handle. In short, they actively avoid attending to their emotions or inner states for fear of being overwhelmed.
Lacking the experience of a more rich and diversified emotional landscape, subtlety and nuance is altogether absent, which adds to any relationship difficulty in the communication department. Shying away from emotionally rich experiences keeps them in what other people would described as a desolate inner world and render them unable to express themselves clearly to their partners. They easily come across as "#boring" as they don't have a good internal tracking system for identifying their emotional states.
Add to the picture not being present to themselves and lacking words to identify and describe what they are feeling and you obtain a loop they can't get out of without adequate help and support. And by that I mean having a loving and caring partner working along with a specialist (psychologist, life coach, neurologist,...) to help the sufferers expand their know universe and mindfully stretching the comfort zone.
Because physical complaints are often confused with emotional ones, the first step is to rule out any medical condition. If one or more is found out, proper diagnosis and treatment will help tremendously.
Time, persistence, and a good framework will eventually create an understanding of what caused the feelings and help reducing the #alexithymia while yoga and other body awareness techniques will help establishing the distinction between bodily and emotional feelings.
How can one help oneself?
Awareness of your emotional state and putting those feelings into words is important and will reduce the extent of physical and psychological (somatic) problems. Why? Alexithymists fluctuate between zero feeling awareness and an extreme spike of emotional activation, resulting in a burst of extreme #anger. That causes additional social and relational problems.
So, being able to know what is going on in one's body is key to processing the information - and then to communicate it.
So change is doable, right?
Emotional literacy is on the rise, giving people in need more options
I have tried a couple courses out of interest - one can rarely knowledgeable enough, right? - and here are my observations:
- Writing about the initial traumatic event in detail will only reactivate it. Trust your body to be aches & pain too.
- Instead, write about what you want to overcome (the symptoms) and why it's important for you to do so
- Read inspirational & feel good stories to inspire you and extend your emotional repertoire
- Mindfully looking into it and devising baby steps to take will make you more skilled
- Work with someone, one chip of the block at the time - and send me a message if you want to get there sooner rather than later.
- Consistent small steps reduce the gap between low skills and bad experiences
- That will result in greater competence, leading you to become more confident whatever your thinking patterns (past or present)
- Get ready to enjoy a bigger slice of life in the near future by celebrating milestones on your journey
I hope this post inspires you to take action and make more space for you in your life.
Let me know your thoughts if you have enjoyed reading this and let me know if you want or need some help.