emotionless emotion.

The full range of human emotion can be a burden that at desperate or even hopeless points in life can become too heavy to carry. This burden causes an awakening to the paradoxical feeling of having no feeling at all. Apathy is like a cancer that starts off slow and then spreads aggressively, killing everything in its wake. It is defined as “a lack of feeling, emotion, interest, and concern” (Merriam-Webster). When allowed to run rampant, apathy will destroy the human soul, trapping it in the void of feeling nothing at all. The intense numbing depravity of apathy is caused by other human vices that chip away at the natural empathy, alongside psychological differences within personalities, and unavoidable traumatic experiences.

Apathy is a natural response to disappointment, dejection, and stress. It is also attributed to lacking a sense of purpose, worth, and meaning. When one or more of these emotions are felt, it is likely that apathy will sneak in and overpower the natural human empathy. Looking deeper into the natural responses to apathy, the vices of selfishness, arrogance, pride and self-loathing are all underlying causes; For all of those vices are centered around oneself. Focusing only on one’s own needs and not those of others, creates a wall that hinders connection with other people. For when friendship is sought, this person’s goal is not to know someone just to know them; the goal is to know someone so they will be enlightened to the magnificent character traits this narcissistic person believes he possesses. This practice will ultimately isolate the narcissistic person, because their façade will be seen through. When this occurs, they will grow a bitterness within that opens wide the door to apathy. There is no regard for others’ emotions and motivation will plummet. Though they seem to not have a care in the world, they will find that the weight of feeling nothing at all is a much heavier burden than experiencing the full range of human emotions ever could be.

A person’s reaction to life can often be attributed to their personality type. In 1943, a test widely known today as the Myers-Briggs was published by Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers. This exam explores the personality type theory, and within this test each person is given four letters to describe the way they function. The third letter defines whether a person relies more on “thinking” or “feeling”. This greatly differentiates the way life is approached and emotion is expressed.

The thinking types can often be mistaken as unfeeling, pessimistic, and even judgmental types. They are not as skilled in expressing the inner workings of their minds and hearts, and when attempted, they often find it difficult to form their complex ideas into words that are easy to comprehend. They are acutely aware of this difficulty, so they will most likely keep their inner thoughts and emotions to themselves. According to Myers-Briggs, they will “try to be impersonal, so [they] won’t let [their] personal wishes–or other people’s wishes–influence [them]” (Myers-Briggs). That being said, it must be understood that this does not mean they lack emotion; it is simply expressed differently.

The feeling types are said to “make the best decisions by weighing what people care about and the points-of-view of person’s involved in a situation” (Myers-Briggs). They will do everything in their power to establish and maintain harmony. Due to their strong idealism, they can easily be discouraged. This is directly related to the high danger of them potentially being overwhelmed by the insurmountable levels of darkness in the world. This can quiet their voice and extinguish their passion. When this occurs, someone who had been counted on for their optimistic, joyful nature, can become a fierce pessimist. Their empathy has died. Yet, despite their now hard exterior, internally they are torn between the contradiction of who they have always been and who they have become.

Experiences that cause emotional trauma can unravel a person to the point of having no emotional response. In the event of death, especially a sudden death, reacting with shock is quite common. According to an online study dedicated to the research of grief and sympathy, “Shock feels like a numbness, a fog, a disbelief. It is the body’s way of protecting us from early pain,” (“What is shock? – Shock symptoms after a bereavement”). But often shock goes further than just being a temporary relief, instead becoming a character-altering mechanism. The grief is continually suppressed and not allowed to be felt, prolonging the road to healing. Many traumatic events also occur because of unhealthy relationships and betrayal. When the people that are meant to love and care the most, are the ones who bring the most pain, they can create scars that could take years to heal, if they ever do. Some wounds are not handled in a healthy way, so these hurts give way for apathy to creep in through discouragement, dejection, and emotional stress.

Some people consider apathy to be a virtue because they believe it is healthy to stop feeling negative emotions about traumatic experiences or life challenges. Yet, in numbing the negative emotions such as pain, grief, or discomfort, the positive feelings such as joy, love, and peace will also become numb. Grief and pain cannot be avoided in life, therefore it is best to push through the trial and glean what is to be learned from that trying time.

It is never a good idea to stop feeling, but perhaps what is better, is learning to let go. This means that one must surrender their pain to God, who is the ultimate healer and giver of peace. That serenity cannot be found by avoiding the feelings that are being thrust upon the weary heart. It is found in the realization that awful things will continue to happen, and all people are powerless to change that, therefore the only solution is to give the situation and the overwhelming emotions to the God who can radically and miraculously change it all.

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