Alexithymia: How to start expressing emotions

A lot of the Nice Guys I work with suffer from alexithymia: the inability to both identify and express emotions; the inability to put feelings into words.

This causes a breakdown in their ability to create intimate connections. It’s impossible to connect with other people without emotion, right?

Hard as it may be to believe, connections are not created on endless easygoingness or happiness.

You need the full range of emotions, including and especially the ones you think of as “negative”, such as anger, sorrow, confusion, and boredom. If you can’t say or at least show these feelings, there’s nothing about you that someone can truly connect to.

Thankfully, there is a practical way to recover from alexithymia. It’s not a life sentence.

If you feel numb or you find it hard to put into words what you’re feeling, like you’ve only got words like “stressed” and “fine” and little else, you can start with positive vs negative preference expressions.

Start with small things. I like this. I don’t like that. I want this. I don’t want that. I prefer this. I’d rather that.

Just show that you emotionally lean towards something or lean away from something.

And then later on, when you’re journaling, you can try to put a name to it, like angry, frustrated, happy, lost, and so on, to slowly build up your emotional dictionary.

For more on this topic, check out my video “Feeling emotionally numb? The problem of ‘learned psychopathy’”:

One Response

  1. I also recommend getting an emotions chart (Google it) and using it to try identify feelings as they occur

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