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  1. #1
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    Reversing emotional detachment


    Yesterday, I got a name for what is 'wrong with' me after searching for it my whole 30 years on this planet. It's called "Emotional detachment". Here is the definitation of what that is:
    Emotional detachment in the first sense above often arises from psychological trauma and is a component in many anxiety and stress disorders. The person, while physically present, moves elsewhere in the mind, and in a sense is "not entirely present", making them sometimes be seen as preoccupied or distracted. Still, it is often not as outwardly obvious as other psychiatric symptoms; people with this problem often have emotional systems that are in overdrive. They have a hard time being a loving family member. They avoid activities, places, and people associated with any traumatic events they have experienced. The dissociation can also lead to lack of attention, and hence to memory problems, and in extreme cases, amnesia.

    Here is a snipit from a web site which describes me to a T.
    "Later in their relationship, Marie asks Meursault if he wants to marry her. He responds that it doesn't matter to him, and if she wants to get married, he would agree. She then asks him if he loves her. To that question he responds that he probably doesn't, and explains that marriage really isn't such a serious thing and doesn't require love.
    Also this guy was unwilling to lie. Which is me also.

    My question is this:
    When you have known no other way of life how/what or where is the first in trying to reach somekind of normality or normal living/normal way of life, both for me and for my kids ?

    By the way, I'm not jumping to concolusions regarding this. This whole 'emotions' thing is what cost me an 8 year relationship. it is why my sexuality is so confused (the question 'Might I be gay ?' crops up the odd time, it is why I feel tense 24/7, it is why I cannot concentrate, it is why my hand writing is v poor, it is why I did not achive well a school, it is why I am in my current job which mainly involves problem determination, it is why I tend to avoid going out alone, it is why I have very few friends, it is why...... etc. Because of items like "Do you feel compelled to perform certain behaviors repeatedly e.g., checking that you locked the doors or turned off the gas?" Take all of that along with the fact that I am the father of 2 kids, both unplanned, recenlty bought an apartment which is not really what I wanted, plus a few other things and you will get some idea of where I am right now.


    The "problem determination" thing I see as been symbolic. e.g. I am searching for who I am. Some more examples of what I see as symoblisim in my life are:
    I somethings think I would like to do an acting class. I put this down to when I build and place myself on a mental stage. e.g. getting into a situation or arranging myself in a conversation where I know I will be required.

    Another Pattern: I tend to chat/date more than 1 woman at a time. only a recent phonem mind.
    Another Pattern: I get a num feeling in the left hand side of my face and left arm.
    Another pattern: Sometimes I dress up, go down the pub and just sit there. Not taking to anyone. If I start to take to someone I tend to open up and reveal alot about myself. I'm not the crying on someone elses shoulder type, I just talk about my life to date. I know how unwise this is and have noticed a certain pattern by where I meet the same people for a little while then we just part. I feel we part becuase they have found more interesting conversation.

    I recenlty bought a dictionary. Bought it becuase I felt/feel I cannot pickup or cannot associate any meaning from ANY words. While I can and could always read the meaning of a word, I find that I cannot relate to most of the words in the dictionary. My idea of think is to relate things to something else. Most of the times I just let things drift by. I am very aware that of missed opportunities becuase of this but I alway let the next opportunity slip aswell.

    As for been emotionally detached, I guess I have gotten so used of saying things like 'crying is not going to solve this' or 'telling someone about something is going to be of no use'. I belive I have gotten to the stage where I do not know what emotion is or how a person feels emotion.

    The 'gay thing' is becuase I am probally sexually inexperaninced. Sex was never discussed at home in my teenage years. kissing and humam contact on tv and it was turned off if only for 2 minutes. I never dated at school. Had sex for first time outside a night club. I then fell into a relationship where she would start all sexual contact and 2 kids resulted from that. After that relationship ended I found a girl and I had to do all the make sexual contact. For me, I probally try to think I have enought expreiance to be on the 9th floor only I have never built any foundation. What hope for a 31 year at this point eh! So for a person with my current sexual mindset I guess the question of 'do I think I'm gay' is not an odd question. Don't get me wrong, I do not think I'm gay. I have interacted with may gay people in life and find them to be as normal as the next 'man'.

    As for been a father. well I'mjust getting out of the idea of not 'clock watching' when I have the kids. I'm am currently bringing their mother through the courts to resolve legal guardinship, access and maintance. Last week I secured legal guardinship and today I got a summons issued for a maintance review and an access review. She is 'totally' not over the break up on a mental level. Perhaps I'm not as I sometimes say 'I knew going into the relationship what was going to happen and perhaps I am responsible for wasting 8 years of another person life!' Perhaps if I let me guard down and find out what is going on inside my head I will be overwhelmed by the break up. I hope not as I can see what happened and have tried to move on a best as possible. Would I go back to her, I feel not. and not becuase of the sh** that has been thrown out in court but just as a person.

    This is driving me slowly towards the end! I feel like a turd that has been floating on top of a sweage pit all my life.

    What is recommended for someone who is constantly thinking when eating for example ?
    What is recommended for someone who fails to satsify his woman in bed because he is thinking.

    I say with a tear in my eye "What is the point ?"

    What is the point in doing anything good if I cannot relate it to something or see it going towards a short or near term goal ?

    I'm constantly tired. Tend to 'phase' out of a conversation and either stand edily bye or just phyically wander off for a stroll.

    While I can read some books eg. si fi and tend to enjoy the story perhaps because they are a way of escaping from current reality, My heart rate jumps sky high, the pit of my stomarch is lifted into my chest, my tempeture goes up and if I survive that and start to read a different book I will not remember any of it. Saying that I have read a few UNIX technical books and passed the end exams. Feel like I don't have it in me any more to do that. Not that I want to, but I would like to study a collage course of some kind.

  2. #2
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    Re: Reversing emotional detachment

    I don't think taking a college course is going to be your answer. Truthfully, neither is an online forum, although you may find support and some answers here. You tell us almost nothing about the important aspects of your history so even guessing is difficult but I'll tell you now that you should be seriously considering seeing a face to face psychologist or psychiatrist to begin peeling back some of those layers of defence you seem to have put firmly in place.

  3. #3
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    Re: Reversing emotional detachment

    thanks for reading the post. Not sure what aspects of my history are required. Money is tight so trying to find a person to talk to is not easy!

    I can remember back to approx 1st class i.e. age 7 upwards. I always felt awarked, felt I was not as wise as the others, up thight and ended up keeping myself for company, never the last to get picked for the football team but always the 2nd or 3rd last.

    This is pretty much been my life so far. The above did not change in secondary school. I'm a wel built guy, not fat but always allowed myself to be bullied at school. For some reason I never fought back. The odd time there was an orginansed fight between another person and I, where a lot of people came to watch, I would fight for a while and simply walk away. I remember always throwing more punches then receiving.

    During Secondary school, I would get embarresed been around girls, of course going to an all boys primary school did not help. I make 1 or 2 clumsy attempts at asking girls to go out. Don't know how I managed it but managed to get a date for the end of secondary school. She later left due to me not been able to make conversion.

    In my second last year of secondary school, my father job me very phyical, part time job. This give me a ready supply of money which was spent at the weekend on drink. This continued for 3-4 years. Still no girl firends.

    Around 19 I went abroad for 6 months with a work agancy. bit of a change since I never lived away from home before. Did not mix in very well. basically worked hard, drank alot. I came back home for 6 months and then went back abroad for another 6 months. This continued for 4 years.
    I then returned to my home country but not to home.

    During Primary and Secondary school I used to get the odd beating and would run off, hide and cry from anything between 1 to 10 hours. Things where normally quiet for a few days after I returned.

    Since I returned I worked as general operative for a bit and for the past 6 years I have been working in IT starting as a call center agent working up to a web hosting/unix/db administrator.

    Not sure what else to say.

    As for the only girl I went out prior to 1 year ago. I guess I always knew I was not able to communicate my feelings, emotions, etc. She noticed this but I normally turned and said things like 'shagging you is like shagging a dead body'.

  4. #4
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    Re: Reversing emotional detachment

    I understand that financial resources can be an issue. I might suggest that you think of it this way: If you had a significant medical problem, you would find a way to get the necessary treatment, wouldn't you? I can make some guesses about what might be going on with you and suggest some books for you to read but your defences seem well established and protected and they appear to go nack a long way. I'm advising you that i think you are going to need to start doing some in depth work with a skilled therapist.

    In the meantime, see if you can find a copy of this book by Terrence Real, I Don't Want To Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression (Fireside Books, 1998). You might find that interesting.

  5. #5
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    Re: Reversing emotional detachment

    Ta for the book tip.

    Lets just say that if I had a significant medical problem, I would have to rely on the normal state care. I have not extra cash at all. earn enought to pay mortage, maintance and live. no money for socializing or drink or decent cloths.

    For the time I spend with the kids I try to get on with them on their level. e.g. read the stories, bring them to play grounds, make pop corn with them, let them try different veg, etc. I say so what if others are watching the way I look after the kids when we are out. Don't get me wrong I strive to ensure that we conduct ourselves in a normal manner both when out and at home. So far the kids look forward to coming back the following week.

    As for me, well I wake up every day and feel there is either an emptyness/rotten issue/buried problem or a feeling of 'how does one find oneself'. To be honest I have asked the question, what am I continuing to carry one for. Don't picked me up wrong, I have never tried or attempted to try to .... Suppose I would like to think I will someday 'find myself' or at least learn how to become content within myself. Other times I see it as 'I'm waiting on my ship to come in' e.g. win the lottery, wait for my parents to see me for me (that statement makes not sense by the way).

    I would love to have a job were I look forward to going to or working long hours in but when you cannot see/feel/hear/smell with it is you are interested I think been able to have a thought like that is a welcome comfort.

  6. #6
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    Re: Reversing emotional detachment

    Just a thought but my father is also very distant emotionally, etc. I don't belive there has ever existed a thing called 'love' between my parents. there meeting/marrige was more to do with circumstances. So as you can imagaine it's next to impossible to expect them to understand me.

    by the way I have taken anit-depressants before. I noticed at the time feeling better, feeling has if I had slowed down. I was able to communicate and belive I was even considered to have an outgoing personallity while taking the tablets. I stopped as I just faded back into my old ways. remember at the time feeling the withdrawl from the drugs but thank god made it through as I belive they are supposed to be difficult break away from.

  7. #7
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    Re: Reversing emotional detachment

    OK. What I'm suggesting is that from what you've posted here I'd wonder about depression or dysthymia. Note that this is NOT a diagnosis - I don't do that online - just something I think should be explored. If so, even if you can't afford psychotherapy, you might want to think about talking to your medical doctor about antidepressants.

    Edit: I didn't see your last post until after I posted this. Two comments: (1) not all antidepressants are difficult to discontinue, although there are two or three that are know to be like that (especially Paxil and Effexor for some people though not for all people); (2) SSRIs in my opinion need to be continued for a minimum of a year to be effective, and 18 months to 2 years is better - you may well feel a lot better in 3 to 6 months but if you stop them at that point you'll probably relapse; (3) sometimes alterations in dosages or even switching to another SSRI is necesssary after a while to continue the progress you've made; and (4) all of the research shows clearly that psychotherapy PLUS medication is more effective than either one alone.

  8. #8
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    Re: Reversing emotional detachment

    Many thanks for the company. I will not treat this as a diagnosis. Very wary of the the whole 'depression' angle. well as a dying man once said trying to walk to the shop for a cake, onwards and upwards!

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