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Delayed Emotional Responses

Discussion in 'General' started by Marlene, Jul 1, 2007.

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  1. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    Evening all.

    Something's been bothering me for a bit now and it's new to me and I was wondering if anyone out there has the same issue.

    The issue is what the title says-delayed emotional responses. It takes me about a day (sometimes a little more) to have an emotional response to situations that I used to have an immediate response to.

    Recently I had someone do something that really ticked me off and hurt my feelings. Only it took a day for me to feel it. When it happened, I saw it and...that was it. It registered on the surface but it was the next day that I realized what that person had done really made me angry. I also got some news from a friend and again, it took me a day to realize that I should respond to that friend. It's like there's a time delay inside my brain right now.

    I'm not sure why this is happening and I guess it's bothering me more than I care to admit because I can't sleep because I can't get this off my mind.

    Mybirch12 likes this.
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  3. goingonhope

    goingonhope Member Premium Member

    Yes, Marlene!

    I too have the delayed emotional responses just as you described. I've only fleetingly identified it as such in my past. Had forgotton all about it, even though I currently and have for as far back as I can remember, dealt with these late emotional responses. Typically, I'm chronically one big stuffer'. Generally, my immediate response is to either pretend something doesn't bother me or neglect to acknowledge that something does bother me. I continue to stuff my emotions and have done this for years for numerous reasons that I mustn't go into.

    Marlene, as you said it is an issue. Personally it robs me. People form wrong impressions of me due to it. They begin to expect a reaction/response from me that simply is not true to who and what I am. They never get to know the real me. And, as a result I'm apt to feel feelings of isolation, disconnection from myself, untrue to myself (depression), general irritability, or in more deeply rooted scenario's I'm apt to feel victimized, vent or act upon displaced anger or just fall into a depression of which I no longer can identify what's what.

    Marlene, I do hope you find out what's causing your emotional delays now that you've identified it as such and once at its roots find a solution to it.

    I'm sorry I can't help now anymore than to identify with you, as I don't feel safe sharing my personal numerous reasons, in which I'm aware of, as to why I do it. For all I know there's some additional reason, possibly common to PTSD sufferers, that I've overlooked.

    Well for now, you've made it halfway in identifying that you feel you have this issue and that it bothers you, and the other parts is to find out personally why and what you may or may not be able to do about it.

    Really, I do wish I could help. Marlene, I have faith in you, I've seen and read tremendous work of yours, and your support and help of others, throughout the forum and am trusting that you'll get to the bottom of this too and move past it, and all in time.


    ......sincerely goingonhope
  4. xo_eve_ox

    xo_eve_ox New Member

    Marlene, Thank you so much for this post. I have the same problem, but until I saw your post I had never identified it, or even realized it was not normal. Thank you so much for another "key" to my hidden locks. I will be sending you good thoughts, with much gratitude, as you continue on the great journey to health. Eve
  5. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    I have the same problem, but more generally... I pretty much ALWAYS have delayed emotional reactions, except for me there is no pattern as to how long it will take me to start feeling something. Sometimes the feelings never come even though I know that they are there. But often I sit waiting for it, or confused as to why I know I feel a certain way but I can't actually feel it. I identify entirely with goingonhope's description of how it affects my life!!! People think I am cool and nothing much phases me... or that I am cold. Oh I do feel... just not when I should! On the other side of the coin, fear and those reactions that come with it are ever hypervigilant in me, so I don't seem to have a happy medium! It takes me a lot of hard work trying to piece together the emotion that does eventually come to which event, if it was recent or if it is an emotional flashback of the past. I have to really think around my brain to make sense of myself. But it comes naturally after a while.
  6. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    Hope, eve, Lisa...thanks so much for your responses. Knowing that I'm not alone with this helps so much. And the kind words. Sometimes after a rough day reading kind words is the best balm.

    I know this feeling quite well. That people think I'm cold because I don't give them the responses they want, I guess. Also I totally ignore negative people to the point that I don't even acknowledge their existence. This is something I need to do for myself but it also adds to my reputation for being remote and aloof. And when I'm feeling bad I keep to myself (especially at work). I figure since I'll never please everyone, I'll work on pleasing myself for a change and not care about what others think.

    But like Lisa said, the other side of the coin is emotions that can overwhelm you very quickly. Fear, anxiety and all of the stuff that goes along with that. I hope one day that there is a happy medium and a balance to all of this.
  7. Aunnika

    Aunnika New Member

    Thanks to Marlene

    Ironically, I simply googled "delayed emotional response" found Marlene's posting, prior to this - I had recently been Diagnosed with PTSD. Low and belhold I found this wonderful website - Thanks Marlene

    I have typically been a stuffer most of my life until things caught up with me about 4-5 years ago. It became very evident while I was in a relationship with a fairly problematic person. I noticed that when he would do or say certain things, I would feel like something "was not right" but that was all. Often it would take several days for me to figure why "it" did not feel right and by then - a lot of water already under the bridge, many times I would just discard it or he would have already started up new drama for distraction. In some cases though, I did bring it up (sometimes weeks later) - but it really was not "in the moment and less effective. Imagine being in a relationship with someone that responds to things much later...? I was worried about my ability to have a meanful connection with somebody.
    One thing that helped me? I mentioned this to a friend of mine (also in therapy) and she gave me this Tip - she said. "It's important you start somewhere. Next time he says or does something that does not feel right - say it, tell him!" I replied "What?, just say...that does not feel right?"
    She said "yes!"... I said.."but then he will ask what, why, how and I won't be able to explain - I'll sound crazy"
    She said, "no, Simply say.. "That does not feel right, or what you said does not feel right" If he asks more, simply say, " I don't know, it just does not feel right. Not sure why, let me think about it and when I know why I will tell you"
    Please know that this tip did not fix anything or stop my delayed emotional reactions. But it did help me to make some attempts with connecting/communicating with another person I care for and additionally validate that I DO have some response :smile:
  8. vst

    vst Active Member

    The delayed emotional response is a problem, isn't it? In my case I think part of the problem is that I kept all my emotions in "the box in my brain" (my words) for so many years and didn't feel much at all. Near the beginning of therapy I was given list of feelings so I could learn to communicate what I felt. Now it takes some time to really identify exactly what I am feeling. Many times I wish the box was still in the brain, but now that the box has been open, I really don't want to close it. Having feelings, even hurt feelings, are preferable to no feelings at all.

    Now I make an effort to communicate my feelings as quickly as possible. At times I have communicated way too fast and made a mess of things.

    Annuika, I like your response of just saying "this doesn't feel right". It leaves the door open to communication instead of shutting the communication down. Thanks.


  9. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    Wow...I can be googled. Glad that you found the site.

    I too like your response of 'this doesn't feel right'. It's a way to say that you don't know how to exactly what to say, but you need someone to understand that you want to say something. I wish I had thought of it before.

    I wrote this original post four months ago. The delayed emotional response is still there. Not as bad as it was. I've been learning to find my voice and actually use it. Harder than it sounds. I can type all day long with no problems. Have me explain anything personal or emotional to someone (even family) and I stammer and stutter and it's a mess. But I keep working on it and making myself talk.

    But I will say that it's better than before when I've been confronted with emotional things and be expected to speak and I literally just...couldn't. Speaking just became an impossibility for me at that moment. I now know why and I've explained it to my husband (who doesn't get pissed off and storm out of the room because I won't talk to him when he wants to talk anymore).

    This is something that a lot of us have to learn how to do for the first time in either a long time or, like for me, the first time I've allowed it in myself after years of not being allowed to express myself by others.

  10. Grama-Herc

    Grama-Herc I'm a VIP

    Marlene-- I repeat my invitation to come and talk openly, emotionally and honestly about your feelings to someone who DOES understand. That parking lot will be there and open on Nov 10th. I hope you come to visit. Emotional delay is a very, very frustrating thing to go through. It is happening to me right now with the big change in my life AND is taking it's toll on me. The move and severe change in my life has caught up with me, and I can't figure out how to explain to Mom the affect it is having on me with out her thinking it is her fault. So a sunny Saturday chat would do both of us some good. WAITING HERC
  11. cactus_jack

    cactus_jack Well-Known Member

    I'm trying to think if I have what you're saying right. So let me explain what the Delayed Emotional Response is to me.

    It's when someone can do something to me, and if not immediately threatening, if it's traumatic enough my brain just gnores it. Then later after getting de-stressed, it comes back to me and I become infuriated. This can be anywhere from 12 to 48 hours later. In the case of the sexual assault in jail, there was nothing I could do about it period. That still infuriates me to no end.
  12. dljwhitewolf

    dljwhitewolf Active Member

    One of the things others may hate about me, is the ability to "switch" feelings on or off.
    Sometimes I do not have the choice, off seems to come on more then on ever will.
    During a stressful situations, ptsd brains have learned to observe first, to see if it is safe enough to feel.
    I detach alot, and sometimes I use it as a weapon, but knowing it can be used as a weapon, I try to subdue my first instincts if safety truly exists.
    Baby steps are needed, feeling too much good, can also trigger an undesirable effect.
    You are normal for where you are and from what you had to endure.
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