The First Time I Noticed I Had No Affect…

Spc. Jlynn Johnson (right), U.S. Army Health C...

Spc. Jlynn Johnson (right), U.S. Army Health Center Vicenza physical therapy clinic technician, demonstrates an exercise geared to strengthening leg muscles to patient Spc. Tim Lucero. The new Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine center is located in the fitness center on U.S. Army garrison Vicenza, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been pondering the thought of being flat and of having no affect, of being emotionless when dealing with people.  It made me reflect on when I first noticed that I did not get close to people, that I did not let them in.

Approximately four years ago, I was going through a very difficult time with my health, I had been through several surgeries and I was going through some very intensive physical therapy.  I was required to go twice a week for six months, it was my understanding that I went to therapy for a longer duration than most of the patients at the facility. I saw many other patients come and go and many of them appeared to develop a close rapport with their therapist.

When I was about halfway through my therapy, my therapist was going to go out on maternity leave.  It was around Christmas time and the office was full of holiday cheer with many of the patients and therapists exchanging holiday greetings and wishing my therapist well as she spent her last few days in the office.

On my last visit with her, I noticed that some of her patients (even those she had only seen for a matter of weeks) hugged her warmly and wished her and her baby well, some even bringing her cards.

As my appointment ended, she introduced me to my new therapist and gave me an appointment card and we said goodbye.

While I was driving home, I wondered why my exchange with her had been so different than those she had with other patients.  It did not particularly bother me or hurt me, I simply noticed the difference.

That evening, when my significant other came home, I told him about my day and opined that my therapist and I had not exchanged holiday pleasantries or any other goodbyes.  “Well,” he stated, “it was because you treat everybody you deal with as if it is a business relationship.  You are polite, straight forward, and unemotional.”

That was the first time it occurred to me that I had no affect.

7 thoughts on “The First Time I Noticed I Had No Affect…

  1. Wow thank you for being so candid. The only thing I can offer is the golden rule of self help: fake it till you make it. Any time you do something out of your comfort zone it’s going to feel fake, but it’s just different. Hugging someone, or asking them how they feel (even if it’s not your first instinct) will trigger an authentic emotion inside you. Good luck on your journey!

  2. You are making me think of my sister here, maybe myself too but I cannot see myself from the outside as effectively as I see others. Most people thought my sister was stuck up, that she felt superior and too good to be associating with people like them. The reality was that she was tremendously shy and could not meet anyone’s eyes so she looked down or away. How remarkably different the way she felt from the way people read her! That near terror could be read as feeling superior. Remarkable.

    More personally I don’t know what clues I visually send but on meeting and parting people think I don’t want a hug when I very much do. In ways I am shy and I think very much so with physical contact. I don’t know how to fix that. I have no trouble at all starting a bit of friendly mischief. I’m at a loss.

    I fear I’m nearing the beginning as I journey backward. That makes me sad.

    • Oh, Sir… once you start to figure things out, you are merely just beginning. Each day is a new beginning. With each new sunrise, you get a new chance to start anew. Do not be sad, as you have just now made a new friend, and you get that new chance each day.

      You are wonderfully observant, talented, and in tune with your feelings.

      As for the feelings you put out to people… I would never have known if I had not been personally told. However, if you met me, you would know I am the type of person that people feel instantly they can tell me anything they wish… positive, negative, personal… it is just me.

      I have never longed to be hugged by “just anybody”… but, at times, I greatly need a hug, and have wanted one; it has mostly not been offered…

      But, so it goes; so it goes. I am here…

      Always, Me

  3. I have thrown myself so fully into this world you present here. There is something I like very much that you bring out in me. I read an article, I reflect, I want to help, I read it again, and then I react, always first reflecting on what you wrote, what I can relate in my own life, and then trying to turn it all into something warm and wholesome and good and safe. How differently others affect me at times!

    My regret is that when I want more I just go back one article further and once at the end or the beginning rather, there will only be future posts to enjoy and immerse myself in. Moving forward will be a lovely thing to do. This has been like meeting a new friend and we had to hurry up and learn all about each other.

    I do hope this goes on for a long time in one way or another. It is fun and feels meaningful to me. I’ll just have to settle for the here and now, something I lecture other people to focus on when they are troubled. I do have some things I’ve been neglecting while learning about you but it has been time well spent. I’ve also been learning about myself. The street is seldom one way.

    • Thank you, Sir… you cannot imagine how honored I feel at learning how you feel.

      I do.

      I started writing this to heel my wounded self, to try to discover if I there was an answer as to why people viewed me as flat; when I felt so 3-dimensional at times. I truly had no idea others would react to anything I might write. I feel absolutely blessed to have met such a friend as I have in you.

      I am enjoying this journey and look forward to our visits each day.


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