I have a girlfriend. Every day, when talking with her, I notice she gets angry over some topic we are talking about. Or I notice she gets nervous or irritated or worried or anxious ... or anything in between those and much more. I don't say anything "bad" which could trigger these emotions in her. We are having a normal talk, let's say about cars, and we are talking normally, and then at some time in the conversation I notice her energy building up, until I notice she is conversing with me just as if she is having an argument with me. I notice her nervousness, anger, or anything else emotionally negative on her side. When I point it out to her, she says that she is completely in peace. When I point it out to her that she is having an argument with me, she says that she is completely in peace and is talking normally. From my point of view her "talking" is filled with anger or any of the other negative emotion or a mix of negative emotions. It's like I'm talking with a person that is angry at me or irritated because of me, but when I ask her what's her problem she says that there is no problem. When I ask her if she feels angry or any other negative emotion that I'm detecting, she first denies it. Then we talk some more, and I again notice negative emotions in her tone. I know exactly what is the emotion and what caused it on her side, but she denies she has a negative emotion. I also can pinpoint where she misunderstood what I said that triggered her. Only after we talk some more and she gets really angry or irritated, and I point it out this time, she agrees. She is arguing with me, she is very angry and irritated, but she says she's just a little irritated or just a little of that emotion that I'm detecting A LOT. She always minimizes her negative emotions. To me her tone of voice and the words she is using to express herself and the order she is using the words in her sentences, all signal that she is having a verbal war with me, but she denies it. Only after she gets really upset, she agrees that something has upset her.
When I ask her why is she upset, she gives many contradicting explanations but without explaining anything about how she fells about it. When I ask her how she feels about it, she says she doesn't know. When I ask her how she feels now, she says she feels in peace, even though she is clearly angry or upset or irritated.
I learned to ignore these things and thought the problems will go away, but they didn't. The problem comes when she gets a problem in our relationship. Something makes her upset and she starts talking with me and expressing her emotional negativity. She never talks about her emotions, but is just asking me questions like a detective. For example, if she's upset I didn't wash the dishes, she is repeatedly asking me "Why" questions ... like "Why didn't you wash the dishes?", I answer, then again "Don't you know that the dishes are best when washed?", I answer, then again "Don't you think that if something is not washed it needs to be washed?", I answer, etc. ... I can sense her negativity and her problem with the fact that I didn't wash the dishes ... but when I ask her "Do you have a problem that I didn't wash the dishes? Is this bothering you?" she answers "No." and she continues with asking "Why" questions about the dishes. Then if I ask her why she is asking me "Why" questions, she says it's because she is jut interested to know what's my point of view about washing dishes. From my perspective I can clearly see she is asking me the "Why" questions because she is angry I didn't wash the dishes, but from her point of view she is just "being curious". Her "being curious" doesn't have sense, because we had the same talk about these topics many times before and I just can't see how she can be curious about something that she already knows what I think about. It all doesn't make any sense ... why would somebody be so much curious about my "perspective on washing the dishes" and have with me a 20 minutes talk about it?? Besides she is asking me the same questions over and over again, even if I already answered them ... to me it is clear as the sky she is expressing her negative emotions, but to her there are no negative emotions.
For me, this all is a big problem, because I can see she is having a relationship problem with me, she is expressing it, but she denies she has it. So the problem that happens is that she has some need in the relationship that needs to be fulfilled but she denies it and consequently can't talk about it. The final result is that her need is not fulfilled and she is clearly upset with me, but she denies it. This is all making me upset, because I can feel her negative energy. The problem is that I can't read her mind and find out what her need is. It would drain all my energy being in her head instead being in my own head.
Is this how a relationship with an alexithmic look like?
Topic: How it's like to be in a relationship with an alexithmic woman?