HELP, I’M overwhelmed –
I can’t cope with all these feeling!
PREVIOUS: ‘Under-Feeling’ (review)
SITE: “Handling emotional overwhelm
1. IN THE PRESENT – emotional intensity comes from the Wounded Inner Child (WIC), who had to stuff & store all the hurt no one helped us process in childhood, day after day, year after year! “If it’s hysterical it’s historical”,
• Our self-hate, guilt & shame add to the mountain of misery we already carry. As well as staying with emotionally unavailable &/or outright abusive people.
Yet we stubbornly resist doing emotion-release work because we say we don’t want to feel the WIC’s pain – while we’re creating more pain with our damage! Over-Feelers (O-Fs ) are already suffering! Why not clean it out & be done?
• Being swamped with old pain (and new) blocks our ability to have pleasure! We know we’re not happy but are so used to misery, we believe we’ll never be free. “Does a fish know it’s wet?” Unexpressed grief & rage keeps us stuck obeying our Toxic Rules.
• ACoAs need permission and courage to express distressing Es. We need to learn how to handle them appropriately whenever they surface, expressing them in the right places & in safe ways.
• One reason O-Fs are afraid of letting out intense rage & terror is because we honestly don’t want to hurt others. But sometimes, when our huge abandonment button gets pushed, our Inner Sadist (I.S.) raises it’s head, & we can’t stop ourselves from saying & doing cruel things. Afterward we feel guilty, ashamed & remorseful. So O-Fs try to push big Es down too – just not as successfully as U-Fs.
IMP: If you’re over-sensitive (O-F) AND see it as a character defect – brainwashed to believe that by dysfunctional parents because everything seems to upset you, consider this:
• You were born with an active limbic system (brain-seat of Es)
• It’s very much like having hyper-sensitive pale skin. If you’re out in the sun too long – without protection – you’ll get burned
• So too, an emotional ‘sensitive’ will have intense reactions to being burned by years of emotional abuse & neglect as a child – without the internal protection of an adult brain, & externally without safe adults to protect your little body & heart! NOTE: It’s not the sensitivity but an abusive childhood that’s at fault!
2. OVER-FEELING (O-F)
O-Fs have a hard time holding in Es when hurt, so growing up we were scolded, punished, made fun of & misunderstood – everywhere
We cried too much, were depressed, felt suicidal, threw tantrums, were clingy or rude, withdrawn or flamboyant…. The more we expressed our pain, the more we were abused, so the more pain we had to endure. AND – the more we showed distress at being abused – the more we were punished for it! Vicious cycle.
EXP: Jinny was a bright, intuitive & hyper-sensitive teenager. Not only had she been emotionally & mentally stressed since birth, but then hormones kicked in. Her ACoA parents had no clue how to deal with her – the narcissistic mother wanted her to ‘shape up’ & the depressed father identified with her but was powerless himself. One evening, in the kitchen, yet another insensitive comment from her mother set Jinny off & she began sobbing.
— Her father came in & told her to stop, which made she cry harder – so he slapped her. His reason: “You were hysterical & I was trying to snap you out of it”. It’s something he had once read, so thought he was being ‘helpful’! UGH!
Jinny was devastated by his betrayal – as he was ‘the kind one’. She knew she was not hysterical & could think quite clearly! Not everyone can “walk & talk & chew bubble gum” but she could, yet her father never bothered to find out who she really was!
• As a result of our experiences, O-Fs often hate having emotions but can’t suppress them, so we despise our ‘weakness’!
Growing up we were rarely if ever comforted, left desperately alone with our pain – profoundly terrifying for any child. Combining no empathy with being penalized for expressing legitimate suffering = taught us to loath being Sensitive.
• This enormous backlog makes un-healed ACoAs very touchy & easy to flare up. One O-F woman in early Recovery expressed it as : “I’m an emotional hemophiliac – touch me & I bleed”!
NEXT: Over-Feelers – #2