First of all, I apologise in advance for any typos... My phone had been autocorrecting words and I don't catch them until after I post. I guess I have two topics related to this. I think this is the right forum to post in. Second, I mention various behaviors related to harm and eating disorders. 1. Anyway, I am 30 and I feel embarrassed (I think) that before I can even start processing the multiple tramas, I have to learn what emotions are. I guess maybe I'm too hard on myself, but I can't move forward until I feel my feelings. I can't even express happiness I'm so disconnected. After years of therapy I can finally tap into anger (actually, rage takes over but i turn it inward) and I have started to understand other emotions such as guilt and shame. I've been so disconnected from any emotions that I literally can't name them. I don't know if it's due to learning how to ignore painful emotions so I disconnect, the fact that I was raised not to have or express feelings, or a combination of the two. I often find myself blanking out and thinking "umm I have no idea what I'm feeling." I think I go from no feelings to an intense ball of tangled emotions where I get overwhelmed and shut down. If it gets too bad, I feel like I'm crawling under my skin. I have to have a written list of feelings in front of me to be able to name the emotions, and that's after the fact..I can't do that in the moment yet. Shouldn't I know how to do this already? I feel like a child, but I guess since abuse started at 3, it's been ingrained. 2. Can you subconsciously "feel" yet you're so disconnected you can't bring it to the front of your mind to truly feel? It's hard to explain. For example, true I can now connect some things such as "I want to self harm because I'm angry/anxious/numb, etc," or "I'm using food in an attempt to gain control." However, there are many times that I'm obviously triggered and want to do self destructive things, but I don't have any thoughts, feelings, or any idea as to what or why. I'm trying really hard to figure out what these triggers are. I ask myself "ok, I want to cut, purge, or drink right now, but what emotions am I trying to avoid by doing these things!? What painful feelings am I trying to mask?" It's obviously something negative or I wouldn't feel the need to do these behaviors to release the negative feelings, right? I have had urges (minor or intense) or done a behavior on a daily basis since I was 12. My therapist asks to think about why I harmed myself and what was going on in the moment. For the most part I truly don't know...the urge is just there and i want to numb out from whatever it is. It's really frustrating to want to process the trama so I can move on with my life, but how can I if I can't even explain what's going on in my head? I have started to write down the event a day or two later which had helped me understand a tiny bit, but in the moment, the urges are all I can think about. It's like I'm stuck and all I can think about is doing the behavior. One example is when I get in the "binge mode." It's like I'm in a trance and can't think of anything else except "I must binge and purge...I *have* to do it!" But why? I can't answer that. Perhaps it'll take a long time to reprogram 27 years of learned maladaptive coping responses. If I never learned to feel as a child, will I be able to eventually? It's very tiring. I am going in circles and don't think I am making sense trying to explain these things. I don't feel I connect or express emotions like a "normal" person would. Am I the only one that can't express or explain what I'm feeling? I wonder if the emotions are too painful that my mind won't allow me to feel them until I'm ready to face them. After writing this, it helped me see the progress I have made, even if it has taken many years to even get this far.