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Exactly what does ''unable to express one's feelings'' mean? 1, 2  Next  
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Joe90
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:51 am    Post subject: Exactly what does ''unable to express one's feelings'' mean? Reply with quote

I know it may sound like a really silly question over such a simple thing, but I really don't understand how people on the spectrum find it hard to express their feelings, when expressing your feelings is rather an unavoidable gesture, because it gets mixed in with every-day verbal communication. (Is ''gesture'' the right word?)
Due to my poor vocabulary cues, I only have to explain things in simple words, and if I do use good words they're usually the wrong words to use, so just bear with me here. I will explain in the best possible way I can.

I know I'm on the spectrum myself, but I do express my feelings to family and friends rather a lot, and I always have done, and so I never knew that being unable to express your feelings was an existing symptom, until I came on WP. Aspie people on WP seem to express their feelings well, so is it something you can't do verbally? Is it something like (for example) if your pet died this morning, you won't cry? Or if you felt worried about something, you won't tell anyone because you don't quite know how to do it or something? I know for everyone there comes a time where you feel embarrassed to tell somebody about something you're worrying about, and so keep it to yourself, but is that something what most Aspies feel every single time a new emotion has been found inside you? Help me out here.

Obviously I've never quite known what this symptom means because this is one of the AS symptoms I don't exhibit, and I've always found it natural to express my feelings to people.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:04 am    Post subject: Re: Exactly what does ''unable to express one's feelings'' m Reply with quote

Joe90 wrote:
Due to my poor vocabulary cues, I only have to explain things in simple words, and if I do use good words they're usually the wrong words to use, so just bear with me here. I will explain in the best possible way I can.

That is how things are for me with/when trying to express feelings. Something like "I hurt" might come out without too much trouble, but then I am at a loss for words after that.
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ToughDiamond
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know how well Aspies express their feelings, all I've heard is that we have trouble identifying them. So I might get stroppy with somebody but not really know I'm angry, till later on when I've had time to take in the situation better. People have once or twice told me I'm upset or stressed out when i didn't know that myself. It's quite possible to express feelings without identifying them.

I'm still waiting for people in my life to start talking DIRECTLY about their feelings to me, instead of inferring them through petulant behaviour etc. They've hardly ever just said "I feel insecure/anxious/happy/angry." Mind you, neither have I. I made a small breakthrough last night when I told my wife I was really tired. Usually I just blather on and try to ignore it, but I noticed my clarity was deteriorating, and suddenly I realised that I was knackered and needed to share that. It's no big deal, but I thought it wasn't a bad performance for a tired Aspie. I think, for me, if I can identify my feelings to myself, I can express them directly, if it looks safe to divulge.

But if you mean expressing feelings like jumping up and down and shouting "yay!" when I'm happy and looking all miserable when I'm sad, I don't do much of that at all. A casual observer would think that things just don't move me emotionally, but a careful observer would see that they do.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:45 am    Post subject: It means... Reply with quote

That you don't give them the answer they want to hear.

NTS need to understand the truth!
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wavefreak58
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Exactly what does ''unable to express one's feelings'' m Reply with quote

Joe90 wrote:
I know it may sound like a really silly question over such a simple thing, but I really don't understand how people on the spectrum find it hard to express their feelings, when expressing your feelings is rather an unavoidable gesture, because it gets mixed in with every-day verbal communication. (Is ''gesture'' the right word?)
Due to my poor vocabulary cues, I only have to explain things in simple words, and if I do use good words they're usually the wrong words to use, so just bear with me here. I will explain in the best possible way I can.


I have a great vocabulary and have no trouble expressing something once I've figured it out. But until that point I have plenty of trouble. My feelings are all tangled together. Unless something rises to a level of intensity that suppresses all the other emotions, they sort of cancel each other out. Like my kids - I love them but they really get on my nerves some times. Both those feeling exist all of the time, they don't turn on and off. I feel both simultaneously all of the time. But when something happens that allows one of the feelings to take precedence, things become clearer and I can begin to describe it.
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daydreamer84
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I express my emotions very often........ but in an unusual way. My mom can tell when I'm angry because I look like an exaggerated caricature of someone who is angry( I clench my fists and growl ). I'm very expressive and very emotionally sensitive. I think I have difficulty understanding more complex emotions in myself and others...such as "mixed" feelings, being embarrassed, jealous etc. Sometimes I don't recognize these feelings until they are long gone. I will still usually express some discomfort or irritability in these situations though. People can certainly always tell when I'm upset!
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:56 pm    Post subject: Expressing emotions Reply with quote

I have more emotions than I care to have, and I can name most of them. But, sometimes they are all there at the same time so I just freeze up and have absolutely none. Anger is easy, but when I "should" be feeling great pain, I feel literally, nothing. Once I told someone about an episode of being molested as a child with the same intensity and intonation as if I were giving a weather report. She was the one who pointed out that I had a problem. Then there is the problem of not being aware of what your face is doing. I can't tell you how many times I have been asked, "why so you look so angry?" when I was actually quite calm or even happy. Reading other's feelings...if it is non-verbal, forget it. The good news is that you can educate yourself on body posture and learn to recognize that in someone else. I haven't figured out how to turn that around and control my own.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a hard time expressing my feelings because people still don't seem to understand no matter how hard I try. Only people who can understand is my mom or my husband. My shrink even told me in high school I had a hard time with that because when I express them, they be thoughts I was expressing and he told me "what is the feeling? Those are just thoughts you're describing but how did it make you feel?" and that was always the hard part for me. I was at loss for words and didn't know how to describe it.

Even my husband thinks I have a hard time expressing them. I can cry and scream and yell and throw things, I think that is expressing it. I used to get in trouble for expressing my feelings so maybe that is why I don't express them so much anymore. I also say "it pisses me off" "it makes me mad." I think that is also expressing it.

I do have to agree I do have a hard time expressing myself because I have all these words in my head to say but when I try and express them, it's hard to get it all out. I often think I should write them down and read them but I am always too lazy to do it. And I have gotten from my husband too "what's wrong?" because of a look on my face.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In a way, I think you answered your own question in just the first section of what you wrote.

That is how I look at it anyway, with myself.

I will use too many words, the wrong words and can not always find the appropriate words to express how I feel and what I want and what Im thinking.
Its also all very colorful inside my head, so many nuances and perspectives and how the heck do I wrap that up in 2 nice little sentences,hmm.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Expressing emotions Reply with quote

grannygravy wrote:
. . . Anger is easy, but when I "should" be feeling great pain, I feel literally, nothing. Once I told someone about an episode of being molested as a child with the same intensity and intonation as if I were giving a weather report. She was the one who pointed out that I had a problem. Then there is the problem of not being aware of what your face is doing. . .

I am sorry someone was mean and stupid and did this to you when you were a child. Thank you for your courage and your goodness of heart in talking about this. And anyway you talk about it is okay with me. And welcome here to our group at WrongPlanet.
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Joe90
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In a way, I think you answered your own question in just the first section of what you wrote.


No, that is a bit different - when I read other posts on others threads on WP Aspies seem to use a good vocabulary, but I always explain things in the most simplest, boring words. It's not really about expressing my feelings - it's about explaining anything in general. Like once when I was waiting in the bus station, and I saw my bus turn into the top of the bus station, then it sat up the top of the bus station for ages, when it was supposed to be down at the stand I was waiting at, letting us on. Ten minutes later somebody went and asked the bus-driver what was going on, and came back telling us that it had broken down. I was standing near a group of old ladies, and one of them was moaning about it to me, and I agreed with her then said, ''it came in though....you know....up there, as though it was working.'' Then another old ladie said to the other old ladies, ''it pulled in all right,'' and I heard and said to the old ladie I was talking to, ''that's what I meant - it pulled in all right.'' Saying ''it pulled in all right'' is a shorter but better way of saying ''it came in all right''. It just sounds better.
Also sometimes I have to go right round the houses to explain something, when I could have just used one word to explain the whole thing.

But anyway - that's not really what I was trying to get at in this topic.
For an Aspie, I'm pretty good at expressing my feelings. Sometimes I hold a miserable-looking face, but that's either because my face is relaxed, or because I'm thinking hard, (probably about something what's bothering me). A miserable-looking face means I got carried away with thoughts. Sometimes it takes up too much effort to maintain a happy-looking face all the time. Not emotionally, but physically. My muscles begin to ache in my face. But on the whole, I find it natural to express how I'm feeling, and I'm good at telling what other people are feeling too. Today when I came home from work my mum opened the door to let me in, and I saw that her face was looking as though she was sad. I asked if she was all right, and she was feeling sad. (She had a row with a friend). So I can see what other people are feeling by looking at their face. Even if they're trying to put on a smile but are sad inside, I can still tell. I am very good at confiding with people aswell. That's what I like doing the most. If I'm sitting in the lounge of an evening with my mum and her sister, and they start talking about how tough life is and how they are feeling about different things, I join in well.

In fact, because I enjoy whining, I'm pretty good at expressing my feelings Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I tend to articulate my feelings relatively well, I often don't start out too well when explaining them. Like when my parents ask me how my night at school was, I'll often just say, if it was bad, "not so great" or something like that, with enough appropriate frustration and disappointment in my voice to get the point across, and feel like that's all I need to say on the subject. The reason is, that how I feel about it is so obvious to me, and conveying that in a few short words with enough emotion, I feel like it shouldn't need any more explaining beyond those words and the way I say them, but, that's not the case. While I often consider that enough of an answer, my parents often want to know the exact 'why' behind what I say and why I say it the way I do, which is sometimes annoying to me, because I figure my tone of voice is enough to get the point across, but elaborating means having to stop and collect my thoughts in order to convey a more exact meaning and reason behind them.
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FunnyFairytale
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I misunderstood.Sorry
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I often have trouble identifying what it is I am feeling.
I didn't realize that I often relate my experiences very factually to others, without saying how I feel about the experience; it never even crossed my mind to tell people how I felt.
People have told me that I am very hard to read, that I always appear calm and poised - this has surprised me as there are times when I am feeling extremely anxious or upset but it doesn't seem to come across to others.
I was also surprised when a friend was talking to me about her husband and she said that he never talks to her about his feelings - it made me realize I don't do this either, but I also have never thought to ask my husband about his feelings.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What if I know what I'm feeling but I just can't express it for several reasons. Tbh I often know my feelings but I don't express them because I feel ashamed, I often feel ashamed for showing emotion and that's why I stay stoic. Maybe it's because of something I experienced when I was young and it has nothing to do with asperger's after all.
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