Alexithymia Quiz: How to Tell if You are in a Relationship with Someone with No Feelings

You may wonder what is the significance of knowing this: is my spouse / boss / colleague / friend / sibling someone who happens to be alexithymic? Someone who has literally no feelings?

We are not all the same. In fact we are often blind to the people we live with, to their personality and character traits, because we live within our own personality biases. Without psychotherapeutic work, we are often not aware of the fact that we see and feel the world differently from the people around us. That we also have a tendency to assume that the other person understands us and vice versa.

Alexithymia is not uncommon. It is assumed that about 10% of the population is alexithymic. With awareness through psychotherapy, one may get to realize that one is or had been living with persons who are unable to identify and describe emotions in the self.  This condition is seen as dysfunctional because it leaves the person un-empathic, and the  people around the sufferers often get hurt.

Alexithyma proves to be prominent in a number of clinical disorders (e.g., somatoform disorders, panic disorders, depression with dominance of vital and somatic symptoms, posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], and eating disorders).  Extent of Alexithymia is also significant to outcome in the treatment of these disorders.

Psychological questionnaires used to measure Alexithymia include: Observer Alexithymia Scale (Haviland et.al, 2001) and the the Bermond-Vorst Alexithymia Questionnaire (Vorst et.al, 2001).

Reference

Haviland, M. G., Warren, W. L., Riggs, M. L., & Gallacher, M. (2001). Psychometric properties of the Observer Alexithymia Scale in a clinical sample. Journal of Personality Assessment, 77(1), 176-186.

Helmes, E., McNeill, P. D., Holden, R. R., & Jackson, C. (2008). The construct of alexithymia: Associations with defense mechanisms. Journal of clinical psychology, 64(3), 318-331.

Vorst, H. C., & Bermond, B. (2001). Validity and reliability of the Bermond–Vorst alexithymia questionnaire. Personality and individual differences, 30(3), 413-434.

Quiz: How to Identify Alexithymia in a Person

Note: this is a basic quiz and not to be used as diagnosis of yourself or the other person. If you suspect that the condition affects your psycho-social functioning, please consult a mental health professional.

Does he/she:

1.have difficulty communicating with other people?
2.describe details ad nauseam but never mention feelings?
3.use action to express emotion?
4.appear confused about the emotions he or she feels?
5.describe the circumstances rather than the feelings surrounding an event?
6.preoccupy himself/herself with physical problems?
7.suffer from an absence of fantasy and imagination?
8.not have dream and daydream, or considers play a negligible role in the person’s life?
9.prefer movies with action over psychological dramas?
10.possess thought content associated more with external events than with fantasy or emotion?
11.find life pretty boring most of the time, rarely exhibiting excitement?
12.When talking with such a person, do you yourself become bored and frustrated, eager to get away from him or her?

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