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J0E's avatar

Do you ever feel like you don't have the right emotions?

Asked by J0E (13136points) February 15th, 2010

I learned last night, while I was with a large group of family members, that my uncle is probably going to die from cancer by weeks end. As you can imagine this was a very emotional and sad moment, everyone was crying and hugging. But there I stood, no tears running down my face, and almost an absence of emotion. The emotion I did feel was guilt. Guilty that I wasn’t feeling as sad as everyone else.

Am I in denial or just too shocked to feel anything? Has this ever happened to you?

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45 Answers

CMaz's avatar

We all feel in our own way.

rangerr's avatar

It happens to me all the time.
I’ve been to 28 funerals to date, and most of them, I never cried during.
It’s different for everyone, really..
I love you. <3

Broken_Arrow's avatar

Or you could be a Socio/Psychopath

mzehnich's avatar

In some cultures, funerals are a happy event where you celebrate the persons life, and people dance and have fun. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Sorry about your Uncle. He certainly doesn’t want to bring sadness to the family. Thus, your lack of sadness may in fact be a pillar of unwitting support. He may need that in you.

There’s plenty of time to be sad after he’s gone. Give him comfort and joy while you still can. Someone has to keep a level head. That might be you.

neverawake's avatar

Yeah, sometimes wheni feel like crying, i actually laugh.

augustlan's avatar

I’ve definitely experienced this. Sometimes the ‘right’ emotion (not that I think there is such a thing) will sneak up on me later, when everything has calmed down. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

I’m sorry your family is going through this. {hugs}

J0E's avatar

@augustlan Yeah, I don’t think there is really a “right” emotion either. I don’t know how else to phrase it though.

IBERnineD's avatar

My uncle died of pancreatic cancer when I was in high school. When we found out about my uncle’s diagnose originally, we had a huge party in his honor, where we all had fun, ate good food, and it lasted for four days. He had a blast. He definitely did not want to bring sadness to the family @RealEyesRealizeRealLies is right, maybe a tear-less face is exactly what he needs. Instead of having a funeral, had a memorial. A lobster feast where everyone wore white and celebrated his life. At his memorial I began to cry uncontrollably. To which my other uncle kicked me, and asked “What the hell are you doing?” As if me crying for the death of his brother and my uncle shouldn’t effect me in that way.

What I’m trying to say is that everyone is different. You shouldn’t feel bad about “not feeling enough”. You could be in shock. Don’t let anyone tell you how much you should feel about something. or call you a “Socio/Psychopath” ala @Broken_Arrow We all deal with things differently and something as devastating as looming death isn’t an exception. I’m sorry to hear about your uncle.

Sarcasm's avatar

I don’t feel like I’ve ever displayed the right emotions.
Luckily for me, I haven’t had a ton of people close to me die, but all of my grandparents have passed, as well as 2 cousins, 1 aunt and 1 uncle. In all of the cases, I really didn’t feel anything.

On the flipside, it remains true. I can’t ever remember being actually excited when somebody gave me great news. I can’t say I even remember being happy when hearing my sister-in-law was pregnant.

KhiaKarma's avatar

Happens to me all the time and I have come to realize that that is just how I deal with traumatic situations initally. I have sometimes wondered if I have an attachment disorder…..but I think that was just me questioning my reactions because immediate displays of emotion seemed so natural for everyone else.

On the flip side of that, I am usually the “calm” one during crisis situations. That has allowed me to do a lot of crisis work and work as a counselor in high stress situations. In that way I am actually ale to give back and help- and not be a basketcase.

My thoughts are with you as you and your family come to terms with what is going on with your uncle….

fathippo's avatar

What happens to me, is that when people die or are in some accident or anything that causes deaths, I’m not sad or shocked about how bad it is, but more fascinated/ intrigued about what it feels like, and what happened to them kind of thing, as in biologically, and also when I’m being extra weird, how at a quantum level, something is driving all of this that we don’t understand.
Other times I just feel nothing, like emotional detached from it whether it’s something positive or negative, I just don’t feel anything about it. Like when people have babies, that just like organisms reproducing, nothing else =P
And I feel like I should be sorry and guilty because people always told me that it’s bad to think like that, and look at me like I’m a freak (so now i say nothing =) ). But I think everyone sees differently and it’s to do with personality how you react to things and what you feel about different things, maybe some people are more emotionally involved in different things.
Like I can’t say for you obviously, but I can be an emotional wreck when it is music, like it makes me cry and I love it so much and it’s beautiful etcetc (ya know) yet I don’t think there is a person/ a situation with people I can say that for.
So maybe everyone is just wired differently in their minds and feels differently, so it isn’t wrong (?) I don’t know =)

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I do the same. An overdose of reality leaves me stone cold sometimes.

partyparty's avatar

Perhaps you are too shocked at the news to show your emotions.
You will grieve when you are ready.
When he has gone, think only of the good times you had with him, and make the most of the short time you have with him now.
So sorry about your news.

janbb's avatar

I have often felt that I don’t feel the appropriate amount of grief when someone dies. However, there have been a few deaths that really rocked me. Now, I have accepted that you feel whatever you feel and the important thing is to act considerately of others and be mindful of their needs.

Trillian's avatar

I was just glad to see that I’m not the only one. I thought I might be a pod or something. I know how everyone wigged out when Michael Jackson died, I didn’t feel anything either way. And I grew up with Michael. He and Donny Osmond were just part of my childhood. I rarely feel anything when anyone dies. I still don’t know what to make of it. Maybe I am a pod.

Vunessuh's avatar

A very wise friend told me once that your emotions and feelings are NEVER wrong. You can feel anything you want about any given situation and it will never be wrong. What’s wrong is how you act upon those feelings, but that’s a completely different discussion.

You’re feeling that way for a reason. Instead of trying to force yourself to feel a different way, perhaps reflect on why these are your current emotions, but don’t isolate yourself just because you were the only one in the room acting differently. We all handle news like that in different ways.

I’m sorry about your uncle.
I wish nothing but the best for you and your family to get through this difficult time as best as you can.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

So sorry to hear about your uncle. My ability to express emotions has always been different. I learned several years ago that this is a manifestation of my Aspergers Syndrome. I feel the emotion but don’t express it outwardly all the time. Only if it builds up to an explosive point do I express the emotional feeling outwardly. My late wife taught me that it’s all right for a man to cry, something I never realized. I now cry a lot over her loss. I really don’t know if that is good, bad or indifferent. Everyone is different I guess.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Perhaps you relate to death differently from others – I believe that I do, as well.

partyparty's avatar

I am the opposite of not showing emotions.
I can cry at anything and everything.
I sometimes wish I could control the tears sometimes.

lynfromnm's avatar

Just because your emotions aren’t the same as others are experiencing does not mean they are “wrong”. And the sadness the others are feeling is quite possibly an acknowledgment of their own loss, not sadness for your uncle. It may be that you are a realist, with an intrinsic understanding of the cycle of life and death, and the rightness of that cycle. It may be that the loss of your uncle won’t hit you until your family gathers for an event and he isn’t there.

Sophief's avatar

Different situations and different people affect us in very different ways. When my Grandma passed away, I was completely hearrtbroken aand cried for weeks on end, I really struggles to cope. When my Grandad passed away I was how you are you now, I couldn’t cry, I felt so mean for not crying, then about a week later, it just hit me and I cried then. Plus, if you are male you may feel you shouldn’t cry and that you are there to protect the females in your life.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I was “watched” at my mother’s funeral to see if I would cry.—She actually told me this—I found it very strange and it said more about the “watcher” than it did about me.
I would not worry about what you are supposed to feel.Your emotions are your own.

DrC's avatar

My heart goes out to you and your family. Everybody has their own person emotional response on their own schedule. Maybe the feelings are too overwhelming to feel all at once. Being in front of a large group of people makes it difficult to access the depth of your emotions. Maybe your brain is trying to protect you by not experiencing the full impact of the feelings. Do not feel guilty about having a different response from others. Use that time to explore for yourself what your uncle means to you and in visiting him if you can.

nebule's avatar

Sorry about your uncle xxx Much Love

I sometimes don’t know what emotions I am feeling…I wonder if that’s the same thing… it can be very confusing and debilitating

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater said:
“An overdose of reality leaves me stone cold sometimes.”

Very nicely put Nat. So true, so true.

Cruiser's avatar

I felt the same way at one of my uncles funeral it was one of the first close relatives deaths and I was close to this Uncle too!! I did get misty eyed at the funeral but more so from watching the pain in my fathers eyes.

BoBo1946's avatar

Everyone deals with death in a different way. Not one thing wrong with you not crying.

Berserker's avatar

Traditional emotive response really has nothing to do with how one takes it. This doesn’t mean you’re heartless or uncaring. Emotions and dealing with what spawns them is very much complex, and people have differing ways to deal with things. Much more so than we would expect when we see it in others.
The first time I saw a dead body I started laughing and couldn’t stop. Just my way I guess. It’s all legit, and if you have to question your own sense of compassion, then it probbaly means you’re far from not having any, even if your response didn’t match that of the people around you at that time.

evandad's avatar

Sometimes I think my hatred for Paramore is a bit over the top.

babaji's avatar

When my stepdad died, i was 13, and at the funeral my stepmom was crying her eyes out, but i didn’t cry a tear….

Ivan's avatar

Yeah, death has never really affected me. But maybe that’s because I’ve been lucky enough that no one terribly close to me has ever died.

mollypop51797's avatar

I am so sorry to hear this. I hope all is well in your family! I think that some things affect people emotionally in different ways, than others. Death may not affect people as much as others, for example, when I get teary when people die, but my husband doesn’t tear up, unless it’s his “allergies” (famous line, I know, best excuse for every “tough macho” man). Anyway, not only do other things affect others differently, but people express their emotions differently too, and they deal and cope with sorrow, or depression differently. I cry when things are sad, and my husband just deals with sadness in other ways, leaving the scene, bottling it up till there’s no more room. You know, we’re all different, and we’ll deal with our emotions and situations differently whether we like it or not.

Also, for your personal situation, maybe everyone else had a soft spot for him, or they were closer to him, more attached. I don’t know, but I hope all is well!

ChaosCross's avatar

I’m sorry to hear that friend.

Yes, I do sometimes feel a different-than-implied emotion for events, particularly those of people dieing. A few times I even felt joy when I heard of a loved one’s death, peculiar indeed.

SeventhSense's avatar

It’s hard to say but do you ever feel sad? If you never feel sad at funerals that is probably an indication of a disorder but you may just grieve in your own time or weren’t too attached to him. But again if you don’t get attached to or feel for anyone that’s pathology. Most likely you just weren’t experiencing it at this time.

intimeofsorrow's avatar

I wouldn’t worry about it so much, sweetie. Your not a puzzle to be solved and labeled. YOUR HUMAN. And it sounds like an authentic, honest one. And your mind was in a different mode. Sometimes, moments like those, wake-up calls to the essence of life, oddly seem very unreal, or surreal. That’s what I’m thinking you were experiencing.

Nullo's avatar

I think I know what you mean; I’m rather like that myself. If it helps any, it doesn’t sound like there’s anything to worry about.
It may have to do with proximity; I know from my own experience that if something affects me directly (my father instead of my uncle, my hardship instead of another’s), I’ve got all the anticipated emotions. Who knows, maybe we’re just self-focused.

Christian95's avatar

I don’t think that there are right emotions or wrong emotions for a situation.
Everyone has an unique brain and an unique philosophy so he/she is free to feel how he wants without feeling bad for that
I started laughing when I heard that my dad was almost killed in an crash

BoBo1946's avatar

@Joe, someone said that funerals were a happy event in some countries. Believe me, when i “kick the bucket,” don’t want anyone crying. Have requested they play “Sweet Georgia Brown,” during my funeral. Most deaths, not all (small children, teenagers, a life cut real short, tragic deaths, etc are a different story), should be a celebration of the person’s life. These are people that lived a full life, such as myself. But, having said that, some people handle death by crying…that cool ..if the want to cry at my funeral, cannot imagine why..loll, go for it… Everyone deals with it in a different way.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Nullo
At least you’re aware of it.

tearsxsolitude's avatar

I go through the exact same thing when I have a family member that dies or I know is going to die. It really sux because you’re right, it make you feel like a bad person, but I think that’s just how we cope with it. Like, idk, maybe we’re burying a feeling that we don’t want to have to experience. I really don’t know.

The_Invisible_Man's avatar

First of all, sorry about your uncle. And secondly. I know exactly how you feel. When my grandma died as I was a kid, I didn’t cry, or anything. I saw her quite a bit and all, but I don’t know. Instead of feeling sadness, like you, I felt guilt. Even my brothers were crying. And there I sat emotionless. Not like I didn’t like her or anything like that. I guess something like that really can’t be explained properly. Just know that you’re not the only one who does this type of thing.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

I’m the type of person who tries to not let things upset my feelings to much. I’m almost always sucessful. I’m my families pillar of fortitude, I am the one with the clear head trying to make sence of everything. It’s just who you are.

nylascotia68's avatar

Yes and on a very pesonal level. My Father died 14 years ago and he was horrible my whole life. He was not a happy person nothing we did could make him happy. Any event from a car drive to a vacation (rare), to a family gathering, he could and would randomy become furious, bitter, and ruin, without provcation, just because he could. He was violently abusive and angry and a bully. He died while cleaning the family pool he fell in and drowned. I was not happy, but I was not and still am not sad. I do not miss him. He was a terrible person and able to convince many he wasn’t. Over 300 people attended his funeral and all I kept thinking was “why?” I was polite and accepted condolences with kindness and genuine gratitude.
But I have often thought “what kind of human am I” that I did not even care? Looking back now he probably had severe depression, but that does not account for the rest of his actions.
I have no real answer only my own experience; I hope it helps.

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