Why can't I understand emotions

The causes of emotional blindness

Right at the beginning. Being emotionally blind doesn't mean having no feelings. But people with alexithymia cannot recognize it or describe it. This means that emotionally blind body reactions or pain that arise in stressful situations do not relate to their emotions. That can make you sick in the long run.

Alexithymia researcher Matthias Franz from the University Clinic in Düsseldorf explains that emotionally blind people - similar to small children - cannot determine whether they are sad, angry or fearful. They are more likely to say: "I have a stomach ache or a backache and don't even know why."

One cause of emotional blindness lies in childhood

Often, emotionally blind people were not treated particularly sensitively as babies or toddlers. Her parents did not respond lovingly to her needs.

Then children withdraw for the sake of their caregivers. And from a developmental perspective or from the perspective of attachment theory, this can be a gateway to an alexithymia.

There is also evidence that genetic factors may play a role. The area of ​​emotional blindness has not yet been explored further.

Emotionally blind people also gesticulate differently

The gestures of the emotionally blind differ from other people. This is what Professor Hedda Lausberg from Cologne found out. You gesticulate much more sparingly. In addition, emotionally blind men gesticulate differently than alexithymic women when it comes to emotional issues. Women tend to reduce their expression, men instead become restless in their motor skills.

Irritation and mutual uncertainty due to reduced facial expressions

In a current study, Professor Matthias Franz examines the facial expressions of emotionally blind people. Because emotionally blind people have difficulty interpreting other people's affect signals and therefore only react very sparingly and rather insecurely with their own facial expressions.

The "emotional aquaplaning" of the emotionally blind often causes irritation in the other person. The emotionally blind, in turn, notice that too. They don't know why, but they see the confusion. In the long run, this triggers psychosocial stress.

Emotionally blind people tend to imitate others in order not to attract attention

Many alexithymes put on a mask, so to speak, so as not to offend in the social environment: They copy the emotional reactions of others.

Emotionally blind people are exposed to constant stress in their everyday life. A condition that is harmful to the health of those affected: Alexithymia has been shown to be associated with a variety of diseases. The emotionally blind are more often drug addicts than the average population. They are also more likely to suffer from other addictions such as eating disorders.

Psychosomatic complaints such as persistent headaches, back pain or irritable bowel syndrome Crohn's disease are also related to emotional blindness.