Table of contents:
Video: 7 Signs Of Emotional Insensitivity - Self-development, Society
The official definition of the term insensible is: “devoid of the ability to feel; Without feelings". The official definition of the term is empty: “Contains nothing; not filled, not busy ". The word “insensible” is used to refer to physical sensations, such as when talking about a stiff leg. And the word "empty" is usually applied to physical objects, for example: "This basket is empty."
However, both of these words have meanings that are not related to physical reality, and are useful to describe a person's inner experience, how happy and satisfied he is with life. They are intimately connected with what is happening in the human mind. Both of these words describe feelings that are far more common than most people realize.
Most people pay little attention to their feelings and will not talk about emotional insensitivity or use the word "emptiness" to describe their emotions. But as a psychologist, I have seen many times that people who look completely safe on the outside feel emptiness or insensitivity inside, or both.
Where does insensibility come from
Emotional neglect (or neglect) in childhood occurs when your parents are poorly aware of your feelings and emotional needs during your parenting process
Imagine a child growing up in a family where his feelings are largely ignored. Imagine how the feelings of such a child are effectively neutralized over time due to the daily lack of emotional support and adult response.
This process, usually (but not always) unrelated to parental intentions, is the essence of childhood emotional neglect. It is the reason why many people who are otherwise prosperous often feel emptiness and insensitivity throughout their lives. That's why back in 2012, I wrote the book Running in the Void: How to Overcome Emotional Neglect in Childhood.
The purpose of this book is to introduce people to the phenomenon of emotional neglect in childhood, to explain why it often goes unnoticed, is not remembered, and how it affects the person who has experienced it throughout life.
I want to provide an excerpt from the book here (slightly edited for clarity):
“People rarely go to a psychologist with complaints of feelings of inner emptiness or emotional insensitivity. The feeling itself is not a mental disorder like anxiety or depression. Most people who experience it do not notice that it interferes with their functioning in daily life. This is a kind of general feeling of discomfort, lack of fulfillment, which can go away and come back.
Some people experience it physically as an empty space in the stomach or chest. Others have purely emotional insensitivity. It can be a vague feeling that you are missing something that everyone else has, or that you are looking at everything from the outside. Something is wrong, but what exactly is difficult to determine. It makes you feel separated from others, out of touch with the world around you, as if you are not getting the pleasure out of life that should be there.
I have found that most emotionally neglected people who come into therapy with complaints of anxiety, depression, or family problems experience this feeling of emptiness in one form or another.
Usually emptiness is chronic, it becomes an integral and habitual part of a person's life. It is difficult to imagine what makes a person feel this way. And the reason lies in the lack of emotional feedback from parents in childhood.
Here I would like to remind you that a person is so constructed that he needs to experience emotions. If the parents show a disdainful attitude towards the child's emotions, and in the future, the same disregard continues to be shown by the person himself, a “short circuit” occurs in the system and it “breaks down”.
Imagine a sugar-free ice cream or a computer program that has removed some of the basic commands. This is how the human psyche does not work properly when emotions are displaced from it.
In many ways, emptiness and insensitivity are worse than pain. I have heard from many people that they would rather feel at least something than nothing. It is very difficult to notice, comprehend and formulate the absence of something. And if you can find words to describe the emptiness you experience in conversation with another person, it will be very difficult for him to understand you.
Insensitivity for most people is the same as nothing. And nothing is nothing, nothing bad and nothing good. However, in terms of how a person functions within themselves, nothing is definitely something. Emptiness or insensitivity is a very definite feeling. The feeling that is present in a person, how a person feels himself. According to my observations, this feeling can be very strong and intense. In fact, it has the power to force people who seek to free themselves from it to do very extreme things."
7 signs of emotional insensitivity
- You sometimes have a physical sensation of emptiness, especially often in your belly, chest, or throat (but may also be in other parts of your body).
- Sometimes you have to pretend to be happy, sad, close, or angry. You understand that now it would be right to experience these emotions, however, you do not feel anything.
- You often ask a question about the meaning or purpose of your life.
- You have thoughts of suicide for no apparent reason.
- You are looking for a thrill. Often, behind the search is an attempt to feel something.
- You feel that you are strangely different from other people. You are distinguished by a lack of connection with your feelings. You may feel like other people are living richer lives.
- You often feel like you are looking at yourself from the outside. Your emotions should connect you to other people, and instead they separate you from them.
The feeling of insensitivity or emptiness you feel has a very specific reason, and you are not alone in your experiences. Other people experience something similar. But most are unfamiliar with this. And this is not what was intended for you.
These feelings of emotional numbness represent a message from your body. Your body loudly announces that something is wrong. After all, an empty space is where your feelings should be.
How did you feel when you read this article? Strong feelings? Anxiety? Sadness? Curiosity? Hopelessness? Or maybe nothing at all?
Whatever you feel, it's okay. I want to reassure you: there is an answer to your problems. You don't have to pretend anymore.
Childhood Emotional Neglect (EMN) responds well to treatment. It is not a disease; it's just a lack of a certain childhood experience. You can get it now.
EPN is difficult to notice or remember, so it is difficult to know that you are suffering from it. To find out if this is the case, you can complete the Emotional Neglect Questionnaire.
Jonis Webb, Ph. D. is a licensed psychologist recognized all over the world. She is credited with describing and drawing widespread attention to the problem of emotional neglect in childhood; the author of the book "Running in the Void: How to Overcome Emotional Neglect in Childhood"
- By Jonis Webb, PhD
- Translated by Kiril Melamud