In February, I went to visit someone I had a troublesome relationship with. This guy had had a rather big impact on me when I met them (which was due to many things, including my trouble processing the death of a family member), and it cost me quite some time to understand why it was so difficult for me to let go of my emotional attachment to him.
Things have changed a lot since (this situation) and thankfully I am now sailing through life without any such unhealthy attachments. Countless hours of reflecting about this made me realize that I had recognized qualities in this person that I seriously lacked in my own life, such as confidence in myself, faith in the future, and stability.
Even though these things are slowly increasing – more so, since the start of my transition – there are still a lot of qualities to this person that I´m jealous of or that I would like to find in myself, such as the ability to thoroughly enjoy life and project this joy outwards to spread it unto others. I feel like I am lacking in this department.
During my visit, which I sought out to get some closure, he remarked that he was quite a happy guy. I told him I was aware of this, and internally I thought “so am I”. I am equally happy and have the personality to embrace life and its components. The trouble is that I often still feel very detached or unable to completely feel these things.
Being less connected to emotion (while at the same time being overwhelmed by them easier) is a symptom of the type of situations I have experienced in the past, and I am far from the only person dealing with it. Detachment and even dissociation are simple tricks used by the mind to create a (safer) environment in which the person can exist.
The trouble is that built-in detachment erodes very slowly. Sometimes I am much less sensitive to certain emotional triggers than others seem to be (such as moving speeches) and at times people completely fail to understand my perceived lack of empathy. I would like to argue that rather than lack empathy, I understand all too well.
I am not sure whether feeling less is necessarily “bad” or just a good buffer. While at times it would be nice to feel more (for example, when admiring trees that are decorated with lights for Christmas), I am also scared of feeling more because I don´t need more on my plate than I already have. Emotional reach might increase as the opportunity arises.