Post # 1
I need your help and advice on how to become more ‘in the moment’ and show emotion. (I apologise in advance for the long post)
Ever since I can remember I have had a hard time trying to show emotion. My mum has never been ‘Huggy’ (my dad was the huggy one) and if you fell over then you just got back up and got on with it. Her dad (my grandad) was really high up in the CID and I guess his job made him quite stern (my mum always said her childhood was strict) and so I guess it rubbed off onto my mum which in turn then rubbed off on to me. Showing emotion was like showing weakness and now I am older I feel so awkward and ‘mean’ and I really want to change.
I see people crying at sad films and even crying at happy films (happy crying is something I am definitly not comfortable with, I guess I just dont understand it) my sister in law cried when she recieved a photo album for her birthday and all I thought was ‘why are you crying?!’ I know – im so mean, I really dont get it.
2 years ago my mum and dad split up – it turned out my dad was seeing somebody else – imagine, the one person who made you feel better for the majority of your life, your actual superhero, had turned out to be just like everybody else. It hit me bad, it hit my mum worse – she spiraled into depression and tried to take her own life x3 times (2 of the times were stopped by my partner and myself when we realised what was going on) again my whole life perspective had been turned upside down – my once super strong mum was the weakest ive ever seen her and my once amazing ‘super’ dad was now a person i didnt recognise.
I didnt know what to think, what to do, how to help or move on – to this day it is still confusing.
My partner is the best person I know, we have been together for 9 years and so he has been through alot of the things above with me. He recently proposed and I found the whole thing so surreal. I teared up when I realised what was going on (although I didnt fully sob, as we know – I am an emotionless robot) and I kind of spaced out through the whole thing, I am so happy to be enagaged and to have something so lovely as wedding planning to keep me occupied but i just feel so bad – why didnt I cry my heart out? why didnt I burst out with the ‘OH MY GOD’ – I know everybody has different reactions but I can only feel its because of my lack of emotion.
We are having a long engagement and so not getting married until 2021 however I want to ‘feel’ my wedding day. I want to be in the moment and soak in every word we say to each other during the ceremony.
How do I become human again?
Post # 2
I don’t think it’s necessary to cry in order to feel something. Were you happy to be getting engaged? Were you smiling? Everyone reacts to things differently. I didn’t cry when I got engaged or when I got married. I was too busy grinning the whole time. I don’t typically cry when I’m happy. Maybe you can try verbalizing your emotions? If something makes you happy..say so. Journaling your thoughts so you can be more in tune with what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling might also help.
Post # 3
- Wedding: February 2018 - UK
Honey, you’re human, don’t worry. We all handle emotions differently. I didn’t cry once during my wedding or wedding planning, it was still the happiest day of my life.
When my grandmother died, I sat waiting for the news with my parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Other than my mum, I was the one she was closest to, I saw her 2-3 times a week, and daily when I was a kid. When the nurse came in to tell us she’d died, everyone in the room burst into tears except for me. I didn’t cry when I went to see her, I didn’t cry at the funeral. I loved this woman with all my heart, and it hurt me hugely when she died, but I just don’t express emotion in the same way as my family.
Im not cold and heartless, and neither are you. You can’t really control what your emotional response will be to something. I work with a woman who cries at EVERYTHING, seriously. It doesn’t mean she’s experiencing stronger feelings than the rest of us, it’s just the way she is.
I really would try not to worry about it. Enjoy your life and enjoy your wedding the way you want to x
Post # 4
I have similarly realized that my emotions have been tamped down as a coping mechanism, and it’s something I’m currently working on in therapy. It’s a self protective thing, but as you’re recognizing, you can’t dull the lows without dulling the highs too. I recently started therapy and I have noticed subtle shifts already, though I think it will be a long process. You can’t resolve the symptom without addressing the underlying cause and processing some painful memories of childhood trauma. Coping mechanisms like this are usually very deeply rooted.
You clearly know these things are connected or you wouldn’t have mentioned all the trauma with your parents. Dealing with a suicidal parent, seeing your dad’s “fall from grace”, and the cold childhood you describe sound like pretty traumatic events. I have no doubt you’d get some relief from talking to a professional about all this.
Post # 5
Look up the term “alexithymia.”
I would recommend therapy. Regardless if you have alexithymia or not, sounds like you are pretty distressed about your emotional experiences. Therapy might help you address your concerns.
Good luck bee.
Post # 6
The only emotion I felt on my wedding day was nasuea and attempting not to puke.
After, when all was said and done and we were on the 13 flight for our honeymoon is when I got sappy. I don’t do emotions well in the moment, especially not with an “audience.”
All that said, when I was pregnant I was an emotional wreck. My husband joked that I should just stay pregnant because I was actually showing my emotions…. I cried when he brought me toast in bed on a particularly bad night… I can laugh now but at the time I wanted to die.
I can still live in the moment and experience all the moments, but I’ve taken the pressure off having to “feel” a certain way. I will say that I feel more emotions day to day with my son and have found myself expressing them more. There’s hope for everyone, just have to find your “muse.”
Also, for what it’s worth, I had a very warm, loving, “tactile” childhood. I’m just not an emotional person. My sister though, she got all of the emotion genes.. ask her about butterflies – go ahead, ask her.
Post # 7
In your post when you said about spacing out, it made me wonder if you disassociate from emotional situations in order to not feel them. It’s what I learned to do growing up because my dad never let me cry or he would hit me.
It sounds like you want to be able to feel more without spacing out and I think that therapy is an option as PPs have said. You could also try hypnotherapy, CBT or meditation to try and help reconnect and stay present in your emotions. Different things work for different people.
To some extent, you might always be less outwardly emotional than other people and that is absolutely okay. To me, it’s about being able to feel emotions and stay with them, whether that means crying or not is kind of secondary in my opinion.
I still find staying present really hard but it is really worth doing and practicing. Good luck and congratulations on your engagement 🙂
Post # 8
I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with you. Just because you are a woman doesn’t mean you need to walk around crying all the time. I think it’s ridiculous that it’s fine for men to never express emotions but if you’re a woman you’re seen as “cold” and you need to be “fixed”. You do you. Just as much as there’s nothing wrong with people showing emotions, there’s nothing wrong with not showing them or feeling them to the same extent, either. We need both types of people in the world. High pressure jobs like in the medical field are very suitable for people like you. I would also make such a good doctor if I weren’t terrified of blood, haha
As for what happened with your parents it does sound like you might be a bit traumatised, understandably. I would agree with PP that you should speak to a therapist about it. I think it could really help, even if you just have a few sessions. It can be surprisingly cathartic to discuss things like this with a mental health professional. Healing from something like this can take a long time… I think therapy could help you heal a little quicker. And I hope.your mum is okay now and is able to find a way to cope. If she’s not in therapy herself you might want to gently suggest it because it sounds like she’s really gone through hell and back in this situation. Best of luck – I hope you both will get through this and come out stronger.
Post # 9
Good Lord. I wish I was more like you. I am going to be a blubbering, sobbing mess my entire wedding day.
Post # 10
I didn’t cry at my proposal, I’m a lot like you. My mother called me Mr. Spock. It sounds like you do have emotions, you’re just not demonstrating them. You don’t have to cry in order to feel sad. You don’t have to scream and yell in order to feel angry. And you certainly don’t have to cry on a very happy moment in your life.
Post # 11
I didn’t cry at my proposal either. But I have anxiety issues, so mostly, when I experience a lot of emotions or excitement my body interprets it as a thread (the physical response to happy excitement and nervousness are the same actually), thus I’m kind of paralized. So during the proposal I was speechless and couldn’t move, and all the process of wedding planning etc was more paralizing than emotional for me. I think this is a major missconcept that the media wants to sell us. We have to cry and burst out in emotions when we get proposed to and when we buy our wedding dress….
But I cry when someone writes me a letter or even some beautiful text message.
As the other Bees said, everyone reacts differently and crying is not necessary in order to care. But as it puts distress on you and it seems as if crying was supressed when you were a kid, maybe therapy is a good idea. Either to connect more to yourself, the result either being that you can cry more or that you can accept that you are just the way you are.
Post # 12
- Wedding: November 2019 - City, State
I didn’t cry at my proposal at all. I was thrilled, but I wasn’t overwhelmed or sobbing. I didn’t cry when I bought my dress either. I don’t think you have to show emotion in large ways in order to feel and absorb things, so I wouldn’t worry about that part too much. I think the world pushes really heightened, hyperbolic reactions too much and we start to think that’s the way we’re “supposed to act,” when that’s just not true.
That point aside, if you feel like you’re unable to express emotion in the way you’d LIKE to or that you’re distant from your own emotions, I would highly recommend finding a counselor. Honestly I would highly recommend a counselor regardless because you’ve gone through some really traumatic situations and it’s important to process those things properly. Hugs, bee. Just remember there’s nothing “wrong” with you at all.
Post # 13
I just wanted to say Thank You so much! to every single one of you that have replied to my post 🙂
I feel SO much better and that other people feel the same / have had similar things to me makes me feel not so alone. I agree the media makes people think they have to act a certain way and so if you dont act that way you feel like theres something wrong with you. I am a designer by trade and so I am constantly looking through social media platforms for work which doesnt help with my own anxiety about myself (I sometimes think i should just delete them all)
Therapy / Councilling – my friends have suggested this to me also – i do think it is a route I will take to see if it will help
Honestly Thank you all so much, its good to know I am not alone <3 🙂
Post # 14
You still experience emotions, you are just blocking them from your thoughts as a safety switch.
One thing you can do, is stop yourself in regular moments and ask yourself, what am I seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling right now? Dig and find the feeling, express it vocally and physically.
For example, you might tell your spouse, “I am feeling very calm and relaxed with your arm around me, thank you.” And smile.
It is just a matter of giving yourself permission to feel and express. Maybe try it 3x a day, then 5x a day until it comes naturally.
Post # 15
Therapy is great, but it won’t turn you into someone you’re not. Maybe you’ll be hugely emotionally expressive, maybe you won’t. I can emotionally relate to animals and show very proper emotions for them, but not much else. I think I’ve had feelings similar to yours off and on just because there’s so many expectations for how to show that you’ve registered something and that it matters to you. Have you talked to your partner about this? If you’ve been together for that long, there’s a good chance that they can read your emotions potentially more than you think. My husband can definitely tell when I’m happy or something is off with me even though, to my mind, I’m not showing anything. I did not tear up at being proposed to and happy crying confuses me so much it makes me feel awkward and I tend to chuckle a bit. My husband is a happy crier and I do sometimes wonder how much more deeply he must feel things.
My therapist recommended communicating emotions verbally, but basically he advocated that I figure out and list the ways in which I do feel moved by things. I may feel robotic and not have the same reactions most people would and like I never properly sit in the moment, but in truth I do have feelings and just tend not to notice or to take them for granted since they don’t happen in the standard way that we have been taught to expect and to express.