If you received a letter from someone who happened to be under a lot of emotional strain – would you see more of the writer’s anguish in a handwritten or typed version of the letter?
Undoubtedly the handwritten version would show more of the writer’s feelings and emotions. The underlying distress in such a handwriting would be almost tangible and even a novice would know that the writer was in an emotional state of mind because of the crossing out of words, the underlining of phrases, and the variable pressure.
Strong feelings and emotions such as anger or frustration are always plain to see in handwriting.
I wish I had kept the handwriting of my maths teacher. I was in great awe of her as she wielded her pen like a cutlass. It slashed into the page so forcefully that it tore a deep gash that buried itself in the pages below and you could see the indentations for many pages that followed.
She must have had reason because at age 12 I was a dreadful maths student. I couldn’t grasp the concepts the first time she explained them and I was too terrified of the consequences to even attempt an answer.
Thinking back I realize just how much frustration and emotion there was in her handwriting. On one occasion she actually apologized to me mentioning how she was going through personal difficulties. But the fact remains that to this day I use my trusty calculator and avoid mental arithmetic or anything related to it like the plague.
As a sample of angry handwriting I have this rare example of Donald Trump’s handwriting which he wrote on Airforce One and later submitted to the impeachment hearings. And while it does not bear any relationship to the handwriting of my maths teacher it is clearly angry, fearless and decisive. Now this is not a political comment. It’s purely related to the handwriting itself. Let me explain.
You can see anger in the combination of large printed letters, dark pressure, and downward slanting t-strokes. Then there’s the emphatic repetition of the first two lines, variable slant between forward and backward thrust and many little irritable hooks. The capital personal pronoun I is large and forceful. There’s a lot more but that should suffice to justify the impression of anger that exudes from this note.
And then there was the anxiety in my own handwriting . It was was spidery and tentative – light in colour and clearly cautious and fearful. In fact this angered my teacher even more as she complained that I should write the jittery figures with more clarity and positivity – which was something I clearly could not do.
And while I cannot reproduce a sample of my early handwriting which has thankfully undergone many changes over the years – I can show you a sample of the following gentleman’s highly stressed, fearful and tentative handwriting.
I don’t think I need to point out how very different these two handwriting samples are. But both clearly express the writers’ emotions in handwriting .
Notice the small middle zone, the large spaces between the words and lines and the seeming reticence or inability to move forward.
And lastly, here is an example of warmth, generosity and enthusiasm. It comes from my mother’s recipe book. Some of the pages are now yellowed as in this apple tart recipe and there are even a few splatters on the most used pages but each time I look at it I am reminded of her wonderfully positive and joyful outlook on life. It never fails to lift my spirits.
These three handwriting samples although vastly different, have one thing in common – they show how clearly the writers’ feelings and emotions come out in their handwriting.
And in fact, at the University of Haifa the department of human services has been working on a study to examine whether changes in handwriting can identify moods and emotions.
According to Clara Rispler, a doctorate student: “An ability to identify the subject’s emotions easily and non-invasively could lead to a breakthrough in research and in emotional therapy.”
A graphologist couldn’t put it any better! But clearly there is a lot more to be discovered in the future.
Maybe that is why a handwritten letter with all its emotion clearly displayed on the page can say so much more to us than a typed letter.
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