Why can’t I feel anything?

I had therapy this morning.

It started out okay. But I knew my therapist wanted to talk about my parts, a topic we haven’t been able to delve into much because my life has been a clusterfuck lately. Talking about parts is not the most comfortable thing for me, because parts come out and I hear things that I am sometimes not quite ready to deal with, or things I don’t want to deal with.

There has been an issue with some of my parts and therapy. Parts don’t want other parts talking. One part doesn’t want anyone (including me) talking about a particular event that several of us happen to share experience and memory of. It’s so complicated. And the problem is that this particular event was so traumatic even for me, that it is very prevalent in my life and I need to talk about it. But every time it comes up, it causes chaos on the inside.

I tried to explain to my therapist a little bit of what was going on without going into specifics, because I didn’t want to trigger myself into a switch. That didn’t work for too long, because I realized I was thinking about the event in question and it brought up feelings and feelings get you in trouble and off I went.

When you come out of dissociation, you ground yourself. You try to engage your senses. My therapist always tells me to put my feet on the floor. I’m able to bounce back pretty quickly at this point, without going through the entire process. She told me to feel the water bottle I had near me, and asked me what the temperature of the water was. I held the bottle in the palm of my hand, but I couldn’t really feel it. I tried to close off everything else going on around me and focus on just the bottle and my hand. I still couldn’t feel it. I think my therapist sensed my frustration. She asked me what was wrong. I told her, “I don’t know, I can’t feel the water.”

She got up from her chair, took the bottle from my hand, felt it, held it out in her hand, then held out her other hand towards me.

“Touch the bottle and my hand and tell me which is warmer.”

I grabbed the bottom of the bottle with my left hand, and reached out and held my right hand against her palm. I tried, and I still could not feel anything. I was frustrated. My therapist played it off like it was okay. She told me she thought her hand was warmer, and went and sat back down in her chair. I sat back and started to cry.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

I was hesitant to answer at first. I just wanted to tell her I was okay. My go-to answer. But she knew by my expression and my tears that I was not okay.

“Why can’t I feel anything?”

She asked me if I really wanted to know her thoughts. I already knew. I developed parts that shut off feelings because that is what they needed to do in order to survive. They believed that feelings were wrong. They believed that feelings resulted in pain and hurt (because they did). How horrible it must be to still be stuck in a world where you believe you cannot feel. The sadness I experience with not being able to feel the water, or my therapist’s hand…that doesn’t come anywhere close to what my parts (and I) have experienced in childhood.

While I was crying over not being able to feel a bottle of water, I was actually crying over a whole lot more.

One thought on “Why can’t I feel anything?

  1. That must have been scary. I am sorry that happened to you. I haven’t experienced that level of dissociation I guess (?) but then maybe I have, just with a different area. I do ask the same question but with a different meaning. I don’t feel emotions. Sadness? Anger? Grief? Crying? Laughing?? All of these sound not only bizarre but alien to me. Sometimes I can grasp a feeling for a few seconds but to hold onto it for any length of time seems impossible.


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