How does someone deal with alexithymia? I suffer from it and have no clue how to feign understanding feelings to my parents. I know it makes them sad that I can't say I love them but lying is bad and.... I don't know what to do. How do I understand my emotions and learn how to react to theirs? I feel like an apathetic monster that doesn't know how to love sometimes with how they react to me.
One of the things that has helped me the most is something my mom told me a long time ago:
Love is a choice. It is a continuous action, not a feeling.
When we love someone, we chose to prioritize this person in our life. We make the choice to dedicate time, emotional labor, and more to this person. Love is an action word. It is something we do. It is something we must show continuously through our actions towards another person.
While there are feelings that generally accompany love, such as lust, longing, affection, and more, these feelings are not the root of love. The root of love is the choices we make with regards to this person. For instance, choosing to respond with compassion and understanding rather than biting words is a way of showing love. Choosing to spend time with someone can be a way of showing love. Choosing to invest emotionally in someone is a way of showing love.
As such, if you can accept this view of love, you may find that you are able to tell your parents you love them without it feeling like a lie.
Learning to understand your own emotions and react to others can be a very difficult thing and are definitely two separate goals. I would suggest starting by trying to understand your own emotions.
For understanding your own emotions, spend time listening to your body. Try to figure out if your body is giving you clues about your emotional state. For instance, if you’re heart’s racing, you might be anxious or excited. You may be able to use context clues to help figure out more specifically what’s going on.
I would suggest searching the #alexithymia tag on the blog for more ideas on getting in touch with your emotions.