People who experience Alexithymia are unable to recognize emotions and their subtleties and to understand or describe thoughts and feelings. Sometimes Alexithymia makes it hard for them to tell a story or understand the emotional experience of others.
Alexithymia was coined from the Greek word LEXIS, (word) and THYMOS (feelings), and literally means "a lack of words for feelings". Alexithymia is not a disorder, but is seen as a trait. Some characteristics are:
*Difficulty identifying different types of feelings
*Difficulty distinguishing between emotional feelings and bodily feelings
* Limited understanding of what caused the feelings
* Difficulty verbalizing feelings
* Limited imagination
* Functional, constricted style of thinking
* Physical complaints
* Lack of enjoyment and pleasure-seeking
* Stiffened posture and/or facial expressions
Many individuals who have Alexithymia engage in counterproductive non-verbal activities to communicate their feelings. Activities like cutting, or breaking things, drinking or dabbling in drug use, for example. Learning to recognize feelings, verbalize and communicate them is the goal here. Alexithymia has a strong involvement in mental illness and personality development - but it's not something to be afraid of. If you experience Alexithymia, or know someone who does, there are ways to learn how to strengthen skills.
Psychotherapy can help to show you the way.
Lee, Y. et al. (2010). Direct and indirect effects of the temperament and character on alexithymia: A pathway analysis with mood and anxiety Comprehensive Psychiatry, 51 (2), 201-206 DOI: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2009.06.001