November 15, 2021

Overcoming Emotional Numbness: Alexithymia

“A person suffering from Alexithymia is like a stranger living in a foreign land who cannot speak the native language.”

Are you facing difficulty knowing about your feelings? Do close people in your life criticize you for being insensitive, emotionless, or cold? Does it look like the world of “emotional feelings” is a foreign language for you? If these questions resonate with you, you might be suffering from Alexithymia.


It is a personality trait is defined as the “inability to identify and describe emotions”, therefore leaving the person susceptible to many dysfunctions in their intimate relationships, career, and quality of life. People with Alexithymia might find it hard to be in a romantic relationship due to their inability to engage on emotional level with their partner. Here are some of the common symptoms of this particular condition.

Symptoms of Alexithymia

The common symptoms are lack of feelings under any situation. The individual has no emotions in situations of apathy, anger, confusion, and faces difficulty in reading emotions.

In addition, there is a feeling of emptiness along with changes in the body, such as increase in heart rate, lack of affection, and panic attacks. Research also suggests a certain neurological diseases and injuries. Individuals with Alexithymia are at high risk for depression, substance abuse, psychosomatic issues, and other mental illnesses.   

Early Childhood Experience & Genetic

Various sources in the literature suggest that Alexithymia correlates with the early childhood experience of emotional trauma or neurological issues. There is a possibility of genetic component  having a key role in developing this condition.

Emotional Limitations

On multiple occasions, I have seen this when working with individual and couples coming to therapy. One of the common issues in the relationship seems to be a lack of emotional support, showing empathy, and communication issues. Any individual suffering from Alexithymia wants to feel their feelings, but is limited. In therapy, they appear as resistant and most providers discontinue treatment with them. A person suffering from Alexithymia is like a stranger living in a foreign land who cannot speak the native language.

How to Manage Alexithymia

In this part of the blog, I want to suggest some ways to get better. I recommend these techniques for my clients dealing Alexithymia symptoms. Although it is not a substitute for professional help as I highly encourage you to do so, it can help you in dealing with Alexithymia.

  • Recognition: it is imperative that you are aware of what you’re experiencing so you can openly communicate your limitations. It will help your loved ones know what you are feeling.
  • Seek Psychotherapy: I highly recommend professional help in order to gain clarity and insight of your situation. The therapist will help you with techniques to activate your emotions.


  • Using Wheel of Emotions: this tool is like a dictionary of emotions and helps you identify feelings in any particular situation. I recommend this to my clients because it’s a very useful tool for identifying emotions correctly.
  • Journaling: Journaling your thoughts and feelings by slowing down and processing things carefully. During journaling, I encourage my clients to use the wheel of emotions as they write down the events of their day.


  • Reading books: This can be an optimal way of getting in touch with the emotions of others, especially novels that are written from a personal narrative.


  • Engaging in artistic hobbies: Art can also be helpful in regaining your emotions. For example, painting what you are feeling can be an easy way of describing what’s going on in your mind. Often times I tell my clients to draw what they wish to communicate.

In conclusion, I just want to let you know that you’re not alone. Approximately of the population is suffers from what you’re experiencing. By getting help, you can feel emotions and enjoy your life. If you’re reading this, I encourage you to seek the help of a counselor in your area and be clear about what you’re experiencing.

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