How do I stop being apathetic?

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I feel empty all the time, and I cannot make myself feel “strong” emotions. I know I’m a horrible person- when people say they love me or miss me, I feel like I’ll be lying if I say “me too,” but I do anyway because I don’t want to be a terrible person.

I recently heard that if one goes through enough emotional turmoil, one can “turn off” or “numb” emotions. I feel like this happened to me because I had a horrible family life, and we never were free to express emotions- even love. In fact, we were discouraged to- and not just my immediate family… my grandma, my cousins, aunts, uncles- they were all so awkward about giving/receiving hugs and saying “I love you”. My dad never hugs, and nobody in my family ever says “I love you”.

I want to be able to say “I love you” without feeling weird, or uncomfortable, or awkward. I want to be able to miss my friends, and say so without lying. How do I have these kinds of emotions? Is it even possible to un-numb myself?

Category: Tags: asked July 17, 2013

3 Answers

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I admire you for choosing to change and express feelings/love to others. You will just have to make an effort to be more loving and affectionate. I grew up the same way, no hugging, no "I love you.." I was always so uncomfortable when my friend's family members would hug me or anything like that. I would say all the pleasantries, but just to be polite. Over time, though, I began to become more comfortable in those types of situations and actually enjoyed them. You will be uncomfortable, at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will become, and you will soon realize you are being sincere. Good luck to you :)
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is the problem that you don't feel what you think you're supposed to (or 'like other people')? or is it that you feel awkward about expressing your feelings without it looking fake?

in the first case, please consider this: it is healthier and more logical to build your relationships in accordance with who you are, not who you think you should be. in some cultures, hugging and saying 'i love you' aren't commonplace forms of dispyaing affection. in others, people hug and kiss and say 'i love you', 'i miss you', 'i'm there for you' without it actually meaning anything. you don't HAVE to be a warmer person than you are. being warm is not what makes you a person worth communicating with in the first place. so don't push yourself towards a behavioral pattern that is completely foreign to you. you have 'friends', right? that means that you're actually interested in other people after all. how about concentrating on ways of expressing that interest that feel comfortable to you?
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So you've become desensitized. No biggie, happens. This can actually be seen as a positive not being able to react so drastically to negative instances.

The only way to "un-numb" yourself is with time. Some people are just more sensitive than others, and just because you don't feel as strongly as those around you, doesn't mean you don't feel anything at all.

Your family may not have expressed and encouraged this type of behaviour, but we're human, we're meant to feel and emote and express and love. Some just -show- it more than others. You may not be as numb as you think, just maybe having a hard time understanding how to express it and what it truly even feels like to "love" or "miss" someone.