Alexithymia Blinde Elefant

Alexithymia

= Emotional blindness; inability to adequately perceive your own feelings and describe them in words
Synonyms: infantile personality, pensée operatoire, emotional coldness, less often emotional dyslexia

Causes:

  • lacking symbolisation ability due to inadequate early mother-child relationship with the consequence of either
    • insufficient differentiation of sensitivity to feelings (affects), or
    • intrapsychic defense after previously developed sensitivity to affective sensations (denial)

Consequences:

  • Persistent physical tension and indistinct sensations that typically occur in infants
  • Lack of empathy
  • Limited emotional self-awareness
  • Feelings of loneliness, hopelessness and emptiness in the transference with negative effects on the relationship

For this reason, alexithymia is found in so-called somatoform disorders when physical complaints occur that cannot be attributed to an organic disease, or cannot be attributed sufficiently. In addition to general symptoms (such as fatigue and exhaustion), pain symptoms are the most common, followed by cardiovascular complaints, gastrointestinal complaints, sexual and neurological symptoms. The symptoms can be viewed psychodynamically as a „physical valve“ of the inaccessible emotional states.

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