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?


This is a great question!

The term you are looking for is alexithymia, the inability to identify and describe emotions in the self. However, just because you are not able to feel or express emotions, does not mean that you do not have emotions.

After such a traumatic event that you experienced, your central nervous system goes into defensive mode (dorsal vagal nerves) that protect you from any further harm. What this means is if you were to feel your emotions related to your rape, you would have a sense of being overwhelmed, possibly re-experiencing the traumatic event.

Not feeling emotions is your body's way of protecting you from any further trauma. Unfortunately, when the (parasympathetic) dorsal vagal system (shutting down feeling) is activated and suppresses your painful emotions (pain, shame, guilt, sadness, anger), it also shuts down your positive and relational emotions (love, joy, contentment, connectedness, happiness).

I am very sorry that you had to go through such a traumatic experience as being raped. No one knows what is going on inside of you as a result. You don't know what is happening to your emotional wellbeing! The best (and at times, difficult and scary) thing is to process your emotions related to your trauma. This processing is done carefully, with a trained counselor, in a place that you feel safe, heard, and not judged. Although the thought of proceedings (addressing) emotions may be anxiety-inducing, it brings on a huge sense of relief and validation.

What you are going through is normal, considering what happened to you! I hope you reach out for more help.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me, Catherine at

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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