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#373581 - 10/28/11 05:28 AM Faking It
Clockwise Offline

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Pennsylvania
I hate faking emotion. It makes me feel slimy and like eveybody around me can see that I'm faking. But I feel like I don't have any emotions of my own. I don't know how to be happy, or to truely be interested in someone elses conversation. I can stand there and copy the reactions of someone who would be interested but on the inside all I want to do is walk away from the person. Sometimes I think I have Aspergers or something. I know I probably don't and I mean no offense to anyone who actually does because I'm sure its hard to deal with and I don't want to throw the term around like its no big deal and anyone can have it just like that.

But I really don't know how to express genuine emotion. I tend to lump most situations into baskets. I tell myself : "OK, he just told a joke and he's expecting me to laugh" and I make myself laugh. Or I say "She's telling me something personal so she's probably expecting me to look and act interested" when in reality I'm probably just staring at the wall behind the person. In other situations I try my best to act the way I feel someone should act. For instance, I work in a mall so there's always people trying to get you to buy something or sign up for some organization and when I'm stopped by someone I always say to myself "OK, look them in the eyes, don't cut them off mid sentence if you're not interested, let them finish because that would be rude. Be polite and say 'No , thank you' but but act like you appreciate that they asked you in the first place." I give myself a pat on the back and a mental cookie just for the effort.

That's not normal is it? Is that really what goes through other people's minds when they interact with other people? Do they have to think about it or is it just natural? I don't know and that's what makes me feel so bad. I don't know how to present true emotion, I can mirror it, like when someones mad at me I can get mad very easily. Or when someos nice I can mirror that and be pleasant. But it doesn't feel real and when I act a certain way towards someone and they don't react the way I think another person should my entire body just goes haywire. Like, when I'm extra nice to customer at work and they're mean to me my entire demeanor just changes in an instant. I becomes angry as I frantically try to figure out why they're not acting the way they should. I tell myself "What's wrong with them? I smiled, I greeted them and asked how they were feeling. I was nice so they should be nice too. What's wrong here? What's wrong here? What's wrong here...?" My heart races and my body starts to heat up and I sweat. I start shaking and I sometimes studder. My voices deepend almost to a growl and my brow lowers. It is honestly an entire bodily reaction that I cannot for the life of me control. I have lashed out at people and yelled at them and afterwards I feel so completely drained that I could just collapse.

This is not an exaggeration and I hope you guys don't think I'm just being melodramatic. I'm sorry if it sounds that way. I just need to know how to feel real.

Thanks. Terrick.

Yet another 24 hours.

#373584 - 10/28/11 05:45 AM Re: Faking It [Re: Clockwise]
whome Offline

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1739
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Hi Terrick

I wrote a poem in the poetry section called lost angels for this very reason, You are not alone, I have squashed and drank my emotions into oblivion. So much so that when our friends girls died in an accident, I felt nothing.

The fact that you are realizing that you do not have emotions, is a step in the right direction. By the way, you do have emotions they are just repressed, and you need to just find them and fish them out.
I used the remember a good thing from my childhood tactic. I tried to remember one thing from my childhood that made me feel good, and remembered how it made me feel, what the colors were what the smells were and how it felt on my skin. I tried to remember as much of the sensations as I could.
I then tried the same with something bad that happened, NOT RELATED TO THE CSA, and felt all the emotions, it took a lot of work, but it worked, I can truly say that I proudly cried like a baby at the memorial, and still tear up when I talk about them.

The emotions are there, you just need to find them, Maybe your T can help you there.

Heal well Brother


Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

#373607 - 10/28/11 02:57 PM Re: Faking It [Re: Clockwise]
cris40ky Offline

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 188
Loc: KY, US
Greetings Terrick,

You are sooo not alone in this and whome's advice is good.

Don't beat yourself up over this. You are trying to reconnect to people and to yourself.

For me, anger was the last emotion to get squashed and the first one to come back when I started opening up again. I had to coax it to come out directed at those who deserved it. Therapy was a must and over time made a big difference.

I still feel "different" around "normal" people. Perhaps I will for a long time yet. It's impossible for me to see the world the same way they do and they cannot see it through my eyes either. Different isn't bad! It's just part of my scars. I am learning to respect them as a way of honoring what lil Chris had to endure.

#373666 - 10/29/11 02:31 AM Re: Faking It [Re: cris40ky]
Cyril Offline

Registered: 10/28/11
Posts: 4
Hi, Terrick,
As I read your post, I remember how obsessed I was with the concept of "normal" in the early years of my recovery. About a year and a half after I began therapy, I began a relationship with an amazing woman who later became my wife. As I blundered through the issues that you raised concerning emotions and normalcy, she was always there, encouraging, helpful. She was never intrusive but somehow she let me know that my pain was her pain. From her, I learned so much about emotions and normalcy. As the layers unfolded, I began to feel so much that I had not experienced in the past. Am I normal? I don't know but it sure is a hell of a lot better than the closed off person I was before.

#373668 - 10/29/11 03:02 AM Re: Faking It [Re: Cyril]
unhappycamper Offline

Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 753
Loc: VA
I never felt Normal, because Normal was for real people and I felt unreal. I think it had to do with a threat the perp made. When I was very young, I felt so unreal that wondered if I was a robot instead of a real kid. Things aren't that bad now, but the improvement is just a matter of degree rather than kind.

#373672 - 10/29/11 03:37 AM Re: Faking It [Re: unhappycamper]
Incognito Offline

Registered: 04/18/11
Posts: 105
I am kind of in the same boat you are. I can feel the emotions but have no way of expressing them. Sometimes when I'm happy, mad, upset, whatever, I always appear stoic. The only emotion that I can express is anger but I never do because I'm afraid to let go and lose control. The only time I fully express it and 'let go' is when I train.

People feel because I do not show any emotions towards them, that I am not emotional about them, and that hinders many relationships in life.

"If you're willing to carry the weight, feel the strain, push past the pain, and give more of yourself than others expect of you, the world is yours." - Dave Tate

#373802 - 10/30/11 09:18 PM Re: Faking It [Re: Incognito]
phoenix321 Offline

Registered: 09/26/11
Posts: 912
Loc: USA, FL
For me, faking it easy. Not sure what being genuine means. I'm nice to everybody unless they gripe about something for 30 minutes that's really, really unimportant like losing a cheap pen. Real clingy and needy people do annoy me easy. I rarely tell the truth because, in the past, it did me great harm on the measure of losing a job, them telling everyone, etc. Rather they just said, sorry, not my cup of tea and left it alone. When people ask about my feelings, lying works for me. I don't manipulate people at all. Learned to size people up in five minutes or less. Can usually tell by body language and the eyes if they are there to harm. Just to know if there's harm coming. Lots of narcissists in the world. Especially in the business world. Can't describe that ability except it's gotten really easy. Other people that are equally screwed up like me are really easy to talk to. One person needled me with some rather obscure little issue so I finally told them, "Hey, if that's your only problem, you've got it made." I never judge anyone. That's a great strength I believe. People that judge others all the time I literally can't stand. I'd be a good lie detector. Lots of abuse, sexual and other abuse, in my childhood has its "benefits."


A guy opens the front door and sees a snail on his doorstep. He picks up the snail and throws it across the street in a neighbor's yard. A year later, the guy opens the front door and the same snail is on his doorstep. The snail says, "What the f*ck was that about?"

#392138 - 04/04/12 08:20 AM . [Re: Clockwise]
Life's A Dream Offline

Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 886
Loc: Bouvet Island

Edited by Life's A Dream (01/13/13 04:12 AM)

#392139 - 04/04/12 09:14 AM Re: Faking It [Re: Life's A Dream]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4181
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
yep - some of us have to become good actors to survive. we have to hide the real feelings at first because they make us more vulnerable and it is too much for us to handle and after a while there is nothing there...

i actually date my recovery of real emotions to acting on stage in college - i had to express authentic-looking emotions so that they would be believable to the audience. I had a good drama coach/director who pulled something out of me that i didn't know was there. once i had to play a man whose daughter had died and i had no other reference point than when my dog died when i was 11. not that there wasn't anything else i should have been able to cry about. there was lots - but that was the only thing that i could allow myself access to. and as i played a part, it was safe to show emotions because they belonged to the character in the play. and it started to feel real. i could follow a script. i'd been trained to do that by others who were experts!

Now that i have started intentionally working on recovery, the emotions have come flooding back. at first it's like a dam that has built up pressure and it suddenly breaks and floods everything in its path. It's past the point where you can channel out just the appropriate amount. And all of it is churned up together. then the flow starts to decrease and i am able to start identifying individual currents and put names to them. getting better at it, and it's scary and exhausting and lots of hard work. but it also feels good to feel more alive than i have in years.


Edited by traveler (04/04/12 09:14 AM)
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#392150 - 04/04/12 12:25 PM . [Re: traveler]
Life's A Dream Offline

Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 886
Loc: Bouvet Island

Edited by Life's A Dream (01/13/13 04:12 AM)

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