Let’s talk about feelings

I don’t understand emotions. I have them but I don’t know what they are or what to do with them most of the time. They are usually illogical and it is hard to justify them. For example sometimes I feel sad but I am not sure why. Then I run through a list of things that happened recently and try to see which of them make me feel sad. Once I figure out which thought or event corresponds to “sadness” I have to try to figure out why I feel sad about that. More often than not, even if I do come up with a reason that this event made me sad, I cannot figure out a rational reason why that event really should make me sad. I have gotten a good system over the years for dealing with romantic partners where I am able to say things like “It makes me feel sad when you do X. I am not sure why it does, it doesn’t make sense, but it does. Do you think we can try to do Y instead?” I really only date people who I can have those conversations with because otherwise things get bad.

Sometimes I have emotions that involve other people that I either express inappropriately or not at all. Some of the emotions are probably better not to share. I have definitely scared people off by coming on too strong with new friendship happiness.

Sometimes I don’t even know what emotion I am experience let alone what it corresponds with. For example last night I felt a warm swirling sensation in my upper stomach/ lower chest region which was accompanied by a stronger heart beat. I asked my partner but understandably he was not able to identify the emotion by my physiological symptoms. I woke up in the middle of the night on the verge of vomiting so maybe it was just gastrointestinal distress. The difference between emotions and a stomachache can be hard to identify….

Other people’s emotions are also mysterious. I can understand some social cues and I can usually tell if someone is really happy or sad or angry but not always. I am the worst at hints. I am completely oblivious to things unless people come right out and say them. The worst breakup I ever had was not a romantic relationship but a friendship. I had a girl who used to be my best friend email me a huge list of every single thing I had done wrong in the four years. Apparently there were times when I made fun of her and shouldn’t have and times she needed me and I wasn’t there. The laundry list was quite detailed. What I didn’t understand was why didn’t she tell me the first or maybe second time I did something that she had a problem with? Why hold it in and write an entire list 4 years later? I had a romantic breakup go a similar way but it didn’t hurt as much as that. I had another friendship almost end that way but we actually talked through it.

Basically those experiences made me really paranoid. I have no idea at all when I have made a mistake socially and I worry a lot about it. I also worry that people have their own little lists of things I have done wrong that might explode out at any moment. After socializing I try to run through the interaction and think about where things might have been wrong. I wish people would just tell me when I cross a line.

To anyone who is reading this: I don’t take hints. If I did something wrong just tell me and we can maybe fix it before I do it 100 more times. Please don’t write me a list 4 years later of why you hate me now. Also don’t just complain to everyone else about it… this is a big part of why Minnesota is so hard for me…


  1. I find understanding emotions hard enough, I don't even try with physiological stuff. I can recognize happy/sad/confused/frustrated/hopeful in myself most of the time with reasonable accuracy. I just guess with others, but unless if is something obvious I have to actively think about it.


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