Lack of emotion

This is something I find hard to deal with

I was talking to Kestrel a couple of weeks back, just after the events of my last post (!). She had had a massive tantrum, but had calmed enough to sit at my feet while I brushed her hair out for her and gave a little head massage.

We had this conversation:

she stamped her hand on my foot (I think probably an accident)

“You hit my foot with your hand, and it hurt”
“That’s okay…why are you sorry?”
“I said sorry because i hit your hand”
“Right, that’s how you use the word sorry, well done. How do you feel inside when you say sorry”
“Do you think that people feel something when they say sorry?”
“Umm…sorry isn’t a feeling, is it? You say it when people get upset with you”

sorry isn’t a feeling, is it?

Well, if your ability to feel empathy is limited, then sorry isn’t a feeling. It’s just a word to her

Now, I’m definitely very happy that she has learned some appropriate uses of the word ‘sorry’ and she sounded genuine enough when saying it

But dealing with lack of emotions is pretty difficult to do, especially when so much of our daily social interaction is based off of our ability to empathise with others

So much of our ability to empathise is set down in our first few years…if the brain doesn’t wire up properly or brain development is stunted by neglect, the ability to reciprocate love, feel love, feel empathy, (and therefore feel remorse) can be really damaged. And then there’s the damage that foetal alcohol exposure will cause, very recognised brain damage. That can certainly cause issues with feelings and emotions down the line

She doesn’t feel much empathy because she can’t recognise others feelings when she doesn’t feel that herself (I’m pretty sure her pain sense is a bit distorted for instance), and she can’t relate to people or understand the concept of ‘what if you were them?’

But I don’t know how far my daughter can go. I don’t ever expect her to feel the same as a completely neurotypical child might feel, and I absolutely accept her just as she is now, but I hope that one day she might be able to feel a little more empathy



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One thought on “Lack of emotion

  1. I so know how this feels. Lack of emotion is something I really struggle with.

    There’s a song I love that really sums it up for me. Barbara Streisand ‘Emotion’, I’m sure it’ll be on Utube if you want to listen, I especially love listening to it so loud that I can’t hear the lack of emotion in the room! :)

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