Is it possible for a person to stop feeling emotions?

I was raped a couple months ago, Since then, along with other unfortunately events that have occurred, I have been having trouble feeling emotions. It's almost as if I'm a sociopath lacking any feeling. What can I do to change this?

Kathy Hicks
Kathy Hicks
Counseling and Psychotherapy Services

You are describing a very legitimate reaction to trauma.  Rape is an aweful experience and I am very sorry that happened to you.  When horrible things happen, people often react in a way that interferes with the ability to live a normal life and function the way they did in the past.  This is very common and the goal is to help you manage the stress caused by dealing with negative events and with help you can regain emotional well-being.  This is especially important if you have had more than one negative thing happen.  Oftentimes, the unconscious reaction is to become numb and avoid all feelings, especially if more than one negative event occurred.  

A big part of what causes people trouble are feelings of guilt.  We often blame ourselves when bad things happen. It is actually difficult to comprehend the concept that we don't always have control of what happens in life.  In addition, when you mentioned feeling like a sociopath, it sounded like you feel like your reaction is wrong.  The first thing you can do is realize that your feelings and reactions are o.k., you aren't doing anything wrong, and nothing is wrong with you.  

The next step is to start dealing with the impact of these traumatic experiences. Identifying your feelings, and knowing the thoughts and beliefs that are behind those emotions can help you regain your sense of happiness.  

Research shows that understanding and expressing those thoughts and feelings can help.  If doesn't sound like you need to do anything to change yourself, but talking to a counselor can be helpful in managing your reaction to a incredibly traumatic experience.  

I hope this helps you understand your feelings and can get to a place where you enjoy life.  


The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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