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Topic: Emotional Blunting/Detatchment

14 posts, 0 answered
  1. TTorna
    TTorna avatar
    7 posts
    1 July 2020

    Hi all,

    Sorry if this is the wrong forum for this, but I couldn't find much related to this issue. I've been dating a very close friend of mine for 6-8 weeks. We've been best friends for about 10 years prior to this. Things were going very well, until she told family about me and her family reacted badly. This negative response triggered her somehow and now she feels what she describes as emotional numbness towards me. No romantic feelings anymore. I'm very hurt, but she told me it isn't anything I've done, and that she thinks it is her brain's response to a negative response. She wants to stay together and try to work it out, which we have been trying. As far as I researched, emotional numbness/detatchment is a thing but I don't quite understand it and I want to understand it more. I'm not sure if I'm a fool for staying or if it is something that will eventually pass. She keeps saying she was very happy with us before and where we were going before the emotional detatchment for me she now feels.

    It's been a week and a half, and I have to say it has been very difficult to accept she feels nothing and watching her be distant to me while she tries to also let me know she still wants this to work. I really want to work through it, but I'm not sure if it's just something permanent that has cut her feelings towards me. Has anyone experienced this in family or friends/partners? She says she's not depressed, which I know numbness can be depression, but it seems to be focused only towards me, which I don't get as I was not the one who upset her.

    I guess my question is: how do you help someone with emotional detatchment/numbness towards you?

    Thank you.
  2. Tay100
    Community Champion
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    Tay100 avatar
    424 posts
    2 July 2020 in reply to TTorna

    Hi TTorna

    Thanks for posting, we know it can be hard to do when you are hurting and someone you care about is hurting, too.

    Please know that both your feelings are valid, and you aren't alone in this, even in a situation like this that seems to be more unique. Reaching out for help shows how much you care about her and your relationship. Don't discount that.

    What I can gently suggest to you is the importance of self-care. Make sure you acknowledge how you feel, and be clear about them with her. What are your feelings telling you? What can you learn from them? Encourage open communication- that creates an important foundation to move forward in a productive way.

    Some positive distraction might help too, to give you some respite. Something that focuses on you. It could be exercising, or watching a comedy show that makes you belly laugh. You can also keep working through your feelings on here too. Give yourselves time- as much time as you need.

    Let us know how you go if you like, we are here to listen.

    Tay100

    1 person found this helpful
  3. uncut_gems
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    275 posts
    2 July 2020 in reply to TTorna

    Hi Ttorna,

    First of all I want to welcome you to the forums and thank you for your courage in sharing your predicament– this is absolutely the right place for this!

    I'm sorry to hear about all this, it sounds very stressful and worrying. Here are my two cents:

    Emotional blunting/detachment, as you correctly note, is a real phenomenon that is quite common in depression and other mental health conditions. It is also true that occasionally in romantic relationships feelings can suddenly disappear, but my hypothesis is that something different is happening here.

    I think your friend and partner is reaching for language that she may not have and coming up short, and therefore deferring to the rhetoric of mental health and cognition. It sounds like the negative reaction she received from her family has made her doubt her decision to escalate this longstanding friendship to a romantic relationship, which of course is big leap on both your parts.

    What you need to figure out is whether this is a case of cold feet that can be overcome, or if this is her way of saying that she is having serious second thoughts about this and would like to pump the brakes to preserve the underlying friendship, which no doubt is incredibly valuable to both of you. Either way, it is not fair to you to leave you guessing about her mental state, worrying what it is you've done wrong, and walking on eggshells as a result. That will lead to resentment and confusion, and again threaten this strong foundation of friendship.

    I think the best thing for this is a kind but honest discussion where you ask here where she stands, and do your best to push for a better explanation than emotional blunting.

    I hope you'll let us know how you go, and you're always welcome to share any developments or questions you might have.

    Warmly,

    Gems

    1 person found this helpful
  4. TTorna
    TTorna avatar
    7 posts
    2 July 2020 in reply to uncut_gems
    Hi Gems,

    She has told me talking to each other every day does help. I gave her many opportunities to go back to being friends, but she has insisted she wants this to work, and is trying very hard to overcome the numbness she feels towards me. I had thought about second thoughts, but she told me she felt completely secure in us before and felt so happy before her conversation with her sister, and claims it has nothing to do with anything I have done. It could still be that, but she seems so sure she feels this emotional numbness towards me. She says in the past she has either felt extreme emotion or nothing at all. I do feel like she is lost for the words to describe her exact emotions though. She keeps saying it is very hard to explain, despite saying it is getting better, but still insisting she doesn't feel anything beyond friendship for me at the moment.

    I know that must be confusing to read and I am sorry.
  5. TTorna
    TTorna avatar
    7 posts
    2 July 2020 in reply to Tay100
    Thanks Tay. Your advice is really good. I am trying to distract myself a lot from it. We have been communicating quite openly which has been good. I've tried not to overwhelm her on how I feel though, because I know she feels incredibly guilty and responsible for causing me pain, despite me telling her not to blame herself for the way her brain reacts, as I suspect, it may be trauma related too.
  6. uncut_gems
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    275 posts
    6 July 2020 in reply to TTorna

    Hi TTorna,

    Hope you're doing well. Any updates, if you care to share? Sending you my best.

    Gems

  7. Jsua
    Jsua avatar
    151 posts
    6 July 2020

    Hey TTorna.

    This is great place to reach out for support and I really feel for you in this hard time. It can be very difficult to ascertain what she is going through and why= but it sounds like you are very supportive and really want to progress with this person. It may be a touch ride, however, there's always light at the end of the tunnel, it will all come down to how hard you want to make your relationship work.

    In this instance, try supporting her and showing/ telling her that you do care and want to help work through her difficulties. You must word it to her in a way so that she understands you will support her through her difficult time - to make it clear that her feelings are her own and that you are not to blame for her dilemma.

    Wish you all the best, take it slowly and give her space where need be.

    1 person found this helpful
  8. TTorna
    TTorna avatar
    7 posts
    6 July 2020 in reply to uncut_gems
    Hi all,

    Thanks for the supportive replies and advice. It is all very helpful. We had a really great discussion the other night together, where I made my own feelings clear and the things I needed from her to make this work for me. We both agreed to see a professional doctor about it, her for her own issues, and me, because I have quite intense anxiety and I had been putting it off.

    I have been trying to focus on myself, and meditating to keep my mind off it to be honest. Trying my best to be present and not focus on negative futures.

    Baby steps.
  9. uncut_gems
    Community Champion
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    275 posts
    7 July 2020 in reply to TTorna

    TTorna,

    Sounds like you're doing everything exactly right– communicating clearly, accessing the resources you need, and as you say, doing your best to be present. High hopes for you guys.

    Best,

    Gems

  10. TTorna
    TTorna avatar
    7 posts
    26 July 2020
    Thank you everyone for your kindness. I decided to end it. Nothing was getting better, and it was going to be weeks upon weeks before she could see a doctor. I wished her well, and I hope she gets some help for her stuff, while I will seek out help for mine.

    It was very kind of everyone here to write such thoughtful replies :).
  11. uncut_gems
    Community Champion
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    275 posts
    27 July 2020 in reply to TTorna

    Hi TTorna,

    I'm sorry to hear that it turned out this way, but from what you describe it sounds like it is for the best, even if it is painful. As always, we're here for you on the forums if you need us!

    Warmly,

    Gems

  12. Tay100
    Community Champion
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    424 posts
    3 August 2020 in reply to TTorna

    Hi TTorna

    Sorry for the late reply! I'm glad what I said resonated with you and was able to provide with some direction. How are things going now? I see you have engaged in some great conversation with uncut_gems also, that's great to see. Please make the most of this thread, we are happy to support you over the long run :)

  13. TTorna
    TTorna avatar
    7 posts
    9 August 2020
    Thanks! I do miss her all the time, but I think I am ultimately learning to heal and happier than I was not knowing. It was such a confusing time. I still don't quite understand what was going on with her, only that she wanted me one day, and in the space of one chat to her sister and 24 hours, she did not want me anymore. Makes it very difficult for me to trust her now, even as a friend. I haven't spoken to her since it ended, even though the urge has been there every single day to message her so I'm pretty proud of that lol.
  14. uncut_gems
    Community Champion
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    275 posts
    10 August 2020 in reply to TTorna

    Hi TTorna,

    So glad to hear that you're coming along– healing from the end of a relationship, especially one that ends in a tense or unusual way, can take time and patience with ourselves. I think you are absolutely right to be concerned if not a little wary about the events that you describe happening. I hold out hope that when the dust settles a bit, the two of you will be able to have a more honest conversation about what happened on her end and what her thought process was.

    With time will come clarity for both of you about what exactly went down, and perhaps one of you will find that you are ready to reconnect a bit when that happens. For now, it sounds like you are doing exactly the right thing in removing yourself from the situation and continuing to be patient with yourself.

    Very warmly,

    Gems

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