Being emotionally vacant is a defense mechanism. A child who lives in a family where both parents suffer from addiction, for example, can seem emotionally vacant which is also referred to as detachment.
I’ve met adults who are like this, too. They seem to have no feelings or they seem to skate the surface of life without ever getting into any kind of deep conversation or intimacy in a relationship. Try to ask them something more intimate than the weather and they’ll shut down.
This can be a learned behavior, a type of survival mode.
People think, if they can’t feel, they can’t be hurt. They want to numb the feelings instead of feeling feelings.
This can manifest itself in multiple ways from substance use disorder to suicide, anger, depression, cheating on a spouse, lifetime struggles with relationships and more rarely, violence directed at others.
There are a lot of emotions besides joy and happiness such as: anger, jealousy, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, guilt and so on.
Why do we see the so many of these as personality deficits or a weakness?
No matter what your age, you can learn to express yourself and to learn to make meaningful connections. The first step is a willingness to do so.
4 thoughts on “Have you shut off your feeling faucet?”
It wasn’t that long ago that I was completely shut down emotionally and in survival mode. I’m slowly opening myself up to feel. Thanks for sharing this Anne. 💚
I think at first there is fear of the pain but also shock. We just can’t process it all so your body goes into protective mode. Sometimes that second year can be really hard because you don’t have the natural shock absorber anymore. That’s why it’s key to find a healthy coping strategy. With a thousand posts on this site, you can tell my strategy is to write my way through this journey. Thank you for commenting and I am glad you are finding you can feel again.
I would be willing but I don’t feel like talking about it. I know, not funny. Man, this is a week. Daniel’s bday is Friday 7/6. Melissa turns 21 Thursday 7/5. Daniel didn’t make it past 21. She will. Almost didn’t as a situational response (doesn’t have his bad luck of the DNA draw) to losing her only sibling. She came out of the ashes and has her own direction now. So inspirational. My dad’s bday is Wednesday 7/4. He died in 1998 at 71 with Alzheimer’s, a “normal” death per se. You can’t imagine the emotional vortex of this time of year. Wait a minute. Yes you can.
Grieving season. Funny how there are groupings like this and it just feels like your heart and body are in quick sand. Thank you for sharing that David. If there is anything I can do other than listen, let me know. If you want to write something? I know it is what it is. Who knew being a parent would turn out like this?