I Think My Dad Was Alexithymic, Also My Bro. I Might Have It In Some Areas Too

wow! glad i found this site. it explains a lot about my dad and brother. i also think my dad's dad must've had it too. my dad didn't seem 2 get pleasure out of anything except being sadistic sometimes, and a few other things. he had no idea what he was feeling most of the time, and would get ulcer attacks instead. he seemed bewildered by the normal world of feeling people. he drove my mom crazy by being so unresponsive and cold. he did enjoy humiliating people, and i could tell that he was bewildered by this. it's like his brain wasn't hooked up normally, so if something suddenly felt pleasurable, a rare human feeling 4 him, he would pursue it, maybe knowing it was wrong, but not knowing why it gave him pleasure or how else 2 feel any normal human feelings. it was like he was pretty much an empty shell w/no one inside.

my brother was in some kind of expensive psychotherapy for people who just can't connect w/their feelings, and he said it never helped him. he said when the therapist would ask what he was feeling, my brother would ask him to name several emotions so my bro could try and choose one. the therapist told him he wasn't in touch w/his feelings. i don't think alexithymia was known about back then, so both my bro and the therapist only got frustrated. my bro did say he once opened up, apparently in a horrible, scary way, in a therapy group, when telling about a female friend saying her son's name irritably to her son over and over. this apparently got past my bro's defenses and just opened him up to what he called a horrible sewer of unfelt feelings in himself which he didn't ever want to revisit. hewouldn't tell me what they were, though, damn it! he once told me, after i mentioned a tv show i liked or some such thing, that he had no interest in popular culture. i mean, that's pretty global, it really excludes him from a lot of what's going on around him. he's lived in the world of academia all his adult life, he's 63 now. he seems to be focused on having as much sex as he can without much emotion attached to it, as far as i can tell. our dad humiliated him also and otherwise didn't know very much about how 2 relate to a child.

i'll stop here 4 now since i don't know the word limit 4 posting. also i can't seem to maneuver around in this posting box so i'm not gonna be able 2 proofread too well, sorry!
bcot980625 bcot980625
1 Response May 20, 2012

Hi there. I read your story and it sounds like you really got the sharp end of alexithymia. Calmness and not getting angry about anything can be a good thing in a parent, but your dad doesn't sound nice.

I've recently discovered a book which looks at the brain science about emotions. "Mindsight" by Daniel Siegel (you can see interviews with him on you tube). He describes working with people who are disconnected from their emotions, and gives them exercises to do which get the different parts of their brains communicating with each other, with the result that they become integrated and emotional. He says it is never to late to change your brain. In Ch 6 "half a brain in hiding" he helps a very old man who lived in his left (logical) brain and didn't have access to his right (emotional, creative, symbolic) side, with the result that the man becomes warm towards his wife for the first time, and starts writing poetry and becoming reflective. Then in chapter 7 "cut off from the neck down" he deals with a woman doctor who has cut off her feelings by cutting off signals from her body. He talks about the body giving us the moment by moment feelings and flow of energy which show in people's faces and body language so that they are rarely still (unless you are alexithymic). I'm really excited by this book and am working on the exercises. It's definitely worth a read if you are interested in alexithymia, although he never uses this term in the book.

Anyway, best wishes