Bear in mind that the socio-sexual hierarchy only describes men. I’m a woman. However, I know how this goes:
The Gamma believes that if he admits to the truth of his own feelings, he will lose. This is why he is always creating the impression that something is off about him, because it is. Even more than with the social hierarchy, the Gamma is at war with himself and with his feelings. This is why they often appear to be living in a delusion bubble of their own creation, and why they so often idolize Spock and human reason. They like to think they are beyond all human emotions, because they find their own emotions to be painful for the reasons that were described above.
Vox also provides a path out of Gamma-ness: “Face your demons. Face your fears. Look into the mirror and admit the truth.”
I remember being in my late teens and wishing desperately that I could be a robot so that I would not have emotions to contend with. As I’ve grown (realizing that Spock is in fact a fictional character and emotions aren’t going anywhere) and gone through various types of emotionally-charged situations since then, I’ve also figured out that each time I encounter a new emotion, I have to 1) take the time to figure out what the emotion is, 2) pinpoint the cause of the emotion, 3) construct a mental model that will help me process the emotion, and then 4) do the processing.
It often feels like I have 3 more steps to attend to, where more emotionally mature people intuitively know steps 1 – 3 and can skip directly to step 4 without much strum und drang. Meanwhile, there’s me over in the corner, sobbing, trying to put a name to what I’m feeling because I have no earthly clue what it is. I have to approach it from the side, using logic to examine my own actions and compare myself against others who have gone through similar circumstances (or fictional examples, which is perhaps more problematic but easier to pinpoint due to the stylized nature of most fiction writing).
Eventually I figure it out, and process out the emotions, and all returns to equilibrium.
As I’ve grown into adulthood, processing emotions has become slightly easier, and I expect that it will become still easier over time now that I have a few heuristics built up. I still have problems identifying how I feel about certain things, especially new experiences, because I have no prior emotional framework for that sort of thing. I’ve learned to not war with the fact that I have feelings. I try to acknowledge my feelings — but I do often have a very difficult time admitting those feelings to others.
So I don’t lose by having feelings, just by showing them in public.
Does that make me a Gamma? No.
Is it a little bit embarrassing? Yes.
Not gonna lie, it’s a little bit disconcerting to see one of my biggest personality struggles pinpointed so directly in a description of men who are the most odious to deal with in real life. That association is not flattering to my ego. (LOL)
Personality metrics have been helpful in understand the origin of my inadequacies in processing emotions. Now, I know that the Meyers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) is often derided as being unscientific, but I find that it is incredibly useful as a heuristic, both to understand other people (why they act differently) and myself.
Every time I take the test, my results indicate INTP, as do more of the internet population as would seem likely since INTPs are allegedly a mere 3% of the population (although the INxx types tend to self-select into the online world). I suspect that a high percentage of internet Gammas would also test this way. The one(s) I knew in college certainly did.
Following the theory laid out by Isabel Briggs Meyers, each function can be laid out in an “order of operations” of sorts, like so:
- Dominant Introverted Thinking
- Auxiliary Extraverted Intuition
- Tertiary Introverted Perceiving
- Shadow Extraverted Feeling
Poor little feeling down there at the end. The theory comes with a warning that often, when someone is forced to react based on a “shadow” function, their actions will come across as crude and childish — not up to that person’s normal standards of thinking or behavior. I certainly see evidence of that in my own naive approach to emotions.
Briggs goes on to remark specifically on feeling in certain personality types:
The least-developed process of the introverted thinkers inevitably is extraverted feeling. They are not apt to know, unless told, what matters emotionally to another person, but they can and should act on the principle that people do care about having their merits appreciated and their point of view respectfully considered. Both the working life and the personal life of the introverted thinkers will go better if they take the trouble to do two simple things: say an appreciative word when praise is honestly due, and mention the points on which they agree with another person before they bring up the points on which they disagree.
I had the great fortune of being raised by an ENFJ mother, for whom feelings are a big part of life, and have worked quite a few jobs doing customer service, which has forced me to empathize with others and consider that other points of view include feelings.
For those introverted thinkers who have not spent time in an environment that invited (or forced) them to consider life outside their own heads, this may be a big reason why they are inadequate at dealing with — and therefore dismissive of — feelings.