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Category Archives: excruciating

The Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and The Body–An Awakening To the Importance of Listening To It and Core Strength

Hi everyone.  I am back and writing again. Yay!  I hope you are enjoying the beauty of this spring season and all the brilliantly colorful flowers. Thank you to those who commented or emailed me such wonderful wishes.  It was quite a traumatic ordeal for me but I believe there are lessons in all things that happen to us–especially the painful things.

As a highly sensitive child, I have always been sensitive to pain and felt my pain more acutely than others–both physically and emotionally. I have childhood wounds related to how I was cared for during illnesses and also a hospitalization as a toddler.   Being “laid up” as I have been the last few weeks has broken open many of those wounds so that I could remember, reframe them with the truth of who I was, and finally grieve, release and heal the repressed emotions.

I had always had a hard time when I was sick–I would beat myself up, blaming myself for causing it–always finding it difficult to rest in order to heal–sometimes even prolonging my illnesses because of the stress I added to the illness.  I discovered this 2 years ago when I had 2 bad viruses back to back.  I had to face up to the fact that I had to change how I pushed my body too far and was terrible at resting and relaxing.  Things like this always have their foundations formed in childhood.  My husband could see the patterns I couldn’t see as clearly.  “Don’t be so hard on yourself, relax and let your body heal “, he would always say.  “Take it easy, don’t do anything today but rest.” It helped but as soon as I recovered I’d go back to my bad habits of not listening to my body.

If you’ve read my post from June 15, 2010 on HSPs and allergies and stress-related illness you know that I am recovering nicely from adrenal fatigue. Developing stronger boundaries has definitely helped reduce the negative energy in my life and the “fight-or-flight” responses to stress that I had a pattern of.  When your body reacts to stress with a fight-or-flight reaction you have increased cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body in the form of adrenaline.  This is an “extreme fear” reaction that I believe many HSPs with  childhood wounds do not even realize they are experiencing because it is combined with the numbing or anesthetic effect that goes along with the adrenaline rush.  What I now have learned is that even positive events in life can trigger this fight-or-flight response if you had the daily trauma in your childhood.

It’s like post traumatic stress in a way–any event, positive or negative,  can open the wound and the internalized belief  “I am not good enough as I am, I must work extra hard to be perfect to be loved”.  These are the roots of the compulsions of perfectionism, workaholism, burnout, and exhaustion etc.  It is automatic and unconscious until we become aware of it, give voice to it,  and then can reassure ourselves and calm and slow ourselves down. Sometimes it takes an accident, illness, or an injury for us to awaken to the knowledge of:  “this pattern has to change–I am hurting myself by doing this!” 

For me it was the event of both my children coming home.  My 24-year-old son who lives 3 hours away and I hadn’t seen since Christmas was coming home for 4 days at Easter.  And my 20-year-old daughter was coming home from her semester studying abroad in Australia 2 days after Easter. I overdid it!  I was drained and exhausted but still so excited by the end of Easter evening–my low back/hip was aching but I ignored it. My son left after a wonderful visit but my daughter would be home in 2 days.  I ignored my hip pain and exhaustion and just had to go to the grocery to get her favorite foods, just had to go to the party store to buy welcome home decorations and balloons, just had to clean up her room and get it ready for her, just had to hang up the banners and reach and stretch to hang lots of streamers in the main area of the house. All that stretching and twisting was way too much for my already injured sacroiliac joint! (I had moved boxes out of my son’s room to prepare for his visit).  I thought I just needed a chiropractic adjustment and I’d be good as new–but I was continually injuring the ligaments to my sacroiliac joint!  I didn’t listen to my body–it was begging me to stop, begging me to rest, “all this isn’t necessary, don’t do it” my intuition whispered to me. But “I have to” was a louder voice.  I now realize my childhood fear of “not being good enough as I am” was playing out my trauma from the past into the present.

I did cut back on some things I had planned to do and rested with heat and ice packs for 3 hours before we picked up my daughter at the airport–but it was too late!  The damage was done!  And as the adrenaline wore off and my daughter settled into our home with “Mom, you shouldn’t have!”, she ended up being so right!  I shouldn’t have!  And I will never forget this painful lesson of ignoring pain in my body again.  (I ended up in the ER with excruciating pain 1 and 1/2 days later–see my last post for more info.)

Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.  Besides adrenal fatigue, I have never had anything chronic and this was chronic excruciating pain. I thought I had discovered a healthy alternative to exercise with my specific carbohydrate diet that was and is the perfect solution for my highly sensitive digestive system.  Avoiding complex carbohydrates and sugar gave me more energy and kept my weight down.  So I fooled myself into believing I didn’t need to exercise.  (I tried exercising occasionally with fits and starts but the pain always made me quit–I now see there was emotional pain from my childhood tied into “getting stronger”.  I learned that often childhood wounds related to our bodies can have complex origins. Hsps can feel shamed with looks of disgust or disapproval when expressing themselves joyfully through their bodies–dancing, running, and playing can be seen as threats to a N parent who need their hsp children to stay dependent and near and “take care of them forever”.  This may be an unconscious act on the part of the N parent–The mixed message of “grow up”/”don’t grow up and leave me” leaves many HSPs to feel guilt about growing strong and competent and enjoying having strong bodies. HSPs can sense this message even though the parent may be completely unaware that they are projecting this onto their child.

Now I am told that if I’d had more core strength and the overall strength and stamina that only exercise can provide I could have avoided this injury.  With weak core muscles I put strain on the ligaments related to my sacroilliac (SI) joint and injured the ligaments severely. Sprained ligaments like I have takes 4-6 weeks to heal.  And you must be very careful not to reinjure them by doing too much too soon–I read that if you reinjure certain SI areas 4 or more times, you could end up with chronic pain there for the rest of your life!

And this week I did have a setback.  3 weeks in I was doing well and was finally able to pick things up off of the floor and drive etc. but I must have done too much and remember one sudden jolt that retriggered my pain and set my progress back a whole week!  Ugh!…back on the couch just when the pain was beginning to lessen.  But I learned from it and am now even more careful and even more grateful for the activities I took for granted before.

As bad as it sounds, this traumatic experience has changed my life for the better.  I learned:

1.  I avoided exercise because of the pain it caused me but that is nothing compared to the pain of being immobile and unable to function normally and perform the simplest of tasks like putting on ones own socks!

2.  I must commit to regular exercise as soon as possible after I heal.  My plan is to start walking and doing core strengthening daily and then I am going to do Pilates or yoga and join jazzercise again.  I loved Jazzercise classes in my 20’s and 30’s–I had stopped in 1999 when it became too fatiguing and painful for me (I didn’t know then that I already had symptoms of adrenal fatigue).  The adrenal fatigue is now better so I should be able to get back into it if I am very gradual and process the emotions as they come up.

3.  I must get in shape and get core strength for the first time in my life and stay that way!  I hope to get up to doing Jazzercise  3 times a week. Also I plan to do lots of hiking and biking with my husband which he loves to do but has always done without me because….well… honestly… I couldn’t keep up.  My body has now taken a front seat in my life–I am sorry I didn’t listen to it sooner!  Fear of this pain returning is a great motivator–muscle soreness is nothing compared to the intense chronic pain and the pain of being immobile and dependent on others for everything.

4.  I am too young for this kind of injury–I am only 49. Now my body has caught up to the “new beginning journey” that my heart and mind were already on!  And so for this wake up call I say, Thank you, Universe, for all that it taught me!!!

Wishing all of you love and kindness to your spirit, mind, and BODY!!

With love,

Roxanne

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Part 2–More Helpful Tips for HSPs With A Narcissistic Parent

Hi everyone.  I am a life coach for highly sensitive people with childhood wounds and I specialize in inner child healing.  Today I am releasing Part 2 of my More Helpful Tips post for those of you Highly Sensitive Souls trying to figure out how to thrive when you have a narcissistic parent.  It may help for you to review tips 1 through 6 in my last post. To summarize, they were about: your gift of intuition; the childhood traumas you repressed to survive; anxiety, self-doubt, co-dependence and PTSD; there is hope; inner child healing can help; and no contact with your Narcissistic parent may be vital to the healing process. So here are tips 7. through 12.:

7.  Know that the GUILT is relieved by acknowledging the anger and hatred you felt as a child that you were forced to repress.

The guilt of setting boundaries in your relationship with your Narcissistic (N) parent will be strong!  Ignore it! It is guilt induced from elsewhere that you internalized since you were a tiny child.  That has affected your freedom as a gifted child to become your own wonderful self!  It may feel as if they took that from you and gave you guilt, shame, and fear in it’s place.  So what do you do with the guilt you feel when stepping out on your own to become the person with freedom to do whatever you want with your life?  HSPs tend to feel guilt for feeling anger–allow yourself to feel angry about it!  Righteous anger is a healthy emotion that you were not “allowed” to express to them–but it is important that you release this anger in harmless ways (not to the parent who abused you) .  Acknowledge it, tell a safe person, or write it out in a journal (for your eyes only) in detail the anger you feel for all that you lost.  Because this rage inside that comes out sometimes in your life at the wrong people has an origin that needs to be acknowledged and let go of.  You have a right to acknowledge this repressed anger for the traumas that happened to you as a child–it was too painful for a child to survive this kind of excruciating, unbearable emotional pain of hating your parents when you needed them so desperately.  So the trauma is repressed and the truth of what happened to you needs to be released so that you can finally be free. Punching a mattress with your fist and/or screaming into several pillows for as long as you need to is helpful to release the rage you have kept inside all these years.  It helps to have a supportive and safe person present to validate your feelings as you release them. Do not hold onto this intense anger–release it and imagine this energy going away from you forever.  (Forgiveness is important but not until all the layers of repressed anger are worked through and this takes time and patience with yourself–do not attempt to forgive too soon or you may get stuck in a guilt about not being able to forgive cycle.)

8. Know that grieving the loss of your childhood is part of the healing process.

Often after the release of anger you will begin to feel all the hurt and pain of not being truly loved as you deserved. Letting this out and releasing this is so important as well in the healing process of your wounded soul. It helps so much to talk to another empathic human to feel fully validated and comforted through this grieving process–but if there is no one possible then you can write this pain out and you may even surprise yourself by the poetry that pours out of you.  (No rules when you write–just let it pour out).  These words of your soul will always surprise you– you will discover a richness and deep inner life inside of you that you never knew existed.  Because it was hiding in fear all this time–a very real fear–fear of your parent’s judgemental rejection and abandonment of your budding wise self.

9.  Know that it is okay for you to be FREE of them and put yourself first so you can heal.

It is a free country!  You are a free person to do as you wish.  And noone knows the pain that a narcissistic parent can do to the soul of a highly sensitive child except those who have experienced it.  So stop waiting for approval from the rest of society.  You may need to stop all contact with the harmful, negative, malignant narcissistic parent in your life forever and always if that is how long it takes for you to feel safe and have inner peace. You do not even need to attend their funeral if that is something that worries you. It is okay to protect yourself from all the negative energy and judgements of others at family gatherings if you are feeling this will happen. (This all depends upon your own personal spiritual beliefs–I personally now believe our souls live for eternity and those who truly love and support you will be there in heaven and watch over you in spirit–they will understand your reasons for staying away.  I believe you don’t need to go to a funeral to say goodbye or to appease family members who don’t support you either. This is something that must feel right to you and your own personal spiritual beliefs)  And to support you further, I just happened to hear on the radio today, a Christian counselor reminding someone that  “Honor thy father and mother” DOES NOT APPLY when they are emotionally abusive and use fear to control you.  Fear is the opposite of love!  It is a deal breaker and they are no longer honorable parents.  God wants for you to protect yourself and go towards love in your life and away from those who induce fear. I agree with this.  Loving parents want you to feel safe and loved–N parents do not care if you feel safe and loved, they want you to obey or else!  Please get yourself safe and free.

10. Know that Narcissistic people are known as “Crazymakers” for a good reason.

If you have malignant narcissistic parents, they are not going to change and they are not going to stop trying to make you wrong.  You are not wrong for putting your life and your dreams first for a change.  This is your time!  This is your life!  This is your time for healing and dreaming and learning to love yourself as God has always wanted for you.  Malignant Narcissism is mental illness.  It’s a severe problem and insidious in nature because they appear to fit in with other people and have friends and thrive and look fine on the outside. They may even be religious and say they are devoted to God but it is not true!  It is just words!  They may even appear to change and will be on their good behavior around your children but don’t believe it.  They may even turn your kids against you in an instant if they are able.   There’s a hidden self-hatred there underneath in a narcissist and a desire to control others with no remorse and no desire to change as a disconnected self-protection from emotional pain–a complete separation from their soul’s true essence.  That’s enough knowledge for you to know you need to get you and your children safe with safe boundaries in place.

11.  Know that highly sensitive people absorb the negative energy of others. Time alone and the beauty of nature can help recharge your positive  energy.

Malignant narcissists are like energy vampires sucking the good energy out of you and replacing it with all their unconscious negative feelings about themselves.  You feed them, so to speak, and they take it and feel better about themselves. And they constantly want more, not seeing or caring how it is hurting you.  Only you can stop feeding their endless need for your supply of positive energy. This is what it means to develop healthy boundaries.  It is your very essence, your “gift” that they are taking–your ability to give light and love to others.  You must protect this gift. It is meant for those who are also of light and love so that we can build each other up and help each other so that all of our dreams can come true and we can improve life on our planet.  These dreams and desires that you have deep inside are the innervoice that connects you to God and the light that feeds all of us (HSPs).  It is the LOVE that you never got from your N parents that you begin to feel has been inside of you all along.  As you begin to connect with your real feelings and your vitality you connect with God and the love and bliss that was there innately in our true selves.  Love exists and you can give it to yourselves when you realize you were loved all along and were born with this love to give to others who don’t exploit you.

12.  Know that you can rescue yourself!  Noone can do it for you.

Take the first steps and start on a path of healing today!  Be strong and stay away from your malignant narcissistic parent while you heal and anyone who judges you for doing so.  You don’t need to explain it to anyone.  Most highly sensitive people will understand without explanation.  They are out there–don’t give up! I am proud to be a highly sensitive person and now as a life coach of inner child healing I shine my light brightly to help other sensitive souls out of the dark.  You have a light inside of you that has just been hiding in fear.  Everything is going to be all right now as the truth of who you are comes to light. Please take extremely good care of yourself so your highly sensitive soul can shine and inspire others. I hope these tips have been helpful to you.

With Love and Light,

Roxanne

Perfectionism, The Highly Sensitive Person, and How Grieving Our Childhood Pain Is Essential To Healing

 

Hi everyone.  I hope you are enjoying the summer.  I hope you are not heaping lists of  “shoulds” on yourself (home improvements etc.) to accomplish–only to realize, “What was I thinking?!  I can’t do all this stuff!–the KIDS are home!”  ha ha.  Yes I remember, and I still do it somewhat but this summer is SO much better.  Back then it was a priority for me to make happy, fun summer memories for my children and connecting with them emotionally. I always ended up throwing out my long list of shoulds.  If you don’t, you end up saying to yourself, “I didn’t get this done and I didn’t get that done.  Instead make a list of all the things you DO accomplish after they happen–write down each special conversation, each walk in nature, each memorable meal together etc.  By the end of the summer you will have a wonderful memoir of how special your summer actually was instead of a list of what you didn’t get done.

Even with my best efforts when my children were growing up, I was too busy satisfying their needs for a fun summer and way too many “shoulds” for myself that I often felt like I missed it–summer would just zip by me and I was left feeling regret.

I think often times we are busy like that to avoid our painful feelings that we may have experienced in childhood. We found ways to cope and survive the lack of love, encouragement, acknowledgement, and acceptance we all desperately wanted and needed. We are perfectionists, compulsive over-workers, compulsive shoppers, compulsive list-makers, and then call ourselves procrastinators because we put things off–but it’s really because we have unrealistic expectations of what we need to accomplish.

As highly sensitive children, it seemed to us that nothing we ever did was praised or applauded as we deserved unless it was something others wanted us to be doing.  This was so confusing to us so we rationalized that we must not be doing enough or doing it well enough.  Now when we overwork because of perfectionism it is because we are still trying to fill an unmet need from childhood–one that will never be met but can be resolved if we allow our sadness about the truth of it all to come to the surface.  Grief is a positive, healthy emotion that is necessary to heal your childhood wounds.  You deserved so much more–you deserved…”love”.  You did not get what you felt you needed and you may feel you are still not getting it.  The problem is not with you…you are so loveable!  Aren’t you!  You know it.  You are smiling right now aren’t you because you know it on some deep level. 🙂  That is the truth that you must listen to.  The love you need and deserve exists–we know what we deserved.   

For some reason, we may feel we were born into situations where we couldn’t get love the way our souls needed to be loved.  I had a hard time resolving this–it didn’t make sense.  I was drawn to reading a lot of new age books on spirituality to figure this out.  Reading all these books really helped me get a new perspective.  I now believe that I may have more innate inner strength than certain family members.  I am able to grow and give to others even more because of my childhood wounds. We (HSPs) see the truth, we KNOW we deserve love and better treatment and we know we don’t deserve feeling bad about ourselves any longer.  When someone sees you as LESS THAN and you know you deserve more–you don’t have to be around that person.  You may need to try a few times to get them to see you and understand you, but if you keep on coming up short in their eyes, and this is causing you a great deal of stress, then it’s time to distance yourself from them and get some healing support. Some of us can’t even try to be ourselves with them–it’s too excruciating to re-experience the rejection, so we must just leave for as long as it takes so that we can begin to heal.

We all NEED acceptance.  It’s very important to look elsewhere for people who accept you and understand your self-expression for support.  We (HSPs) eventually grow from the pain of it all, and we learn to rely on our selves if we can get away from the negativity that unhealthy family members, bullies, and/or society use to control us and keep us DOWN.  They know we are different and special and yet maybe they are not as evolved as we are and so it seems they do not have the inner strength to say,  “Wow you have these great gifts of sensitivity and awareness and depth–you are different from us, you should go out into the world and share your knowledge, vision, gifts, and message of love and peace to the world–we understand and we are in awe of you.  So GO, fly away and be the best that you can be!” ha ha Wouldn’t that be the greatest to hear anyone say that!?!

In order for them to say that to us, they would have to be very secure and love themselves a lot (or be an HSP like you).  It could be they don’t love themselves at all. They may want to control us because they have so much pain and if we leave them it makes them feel their pain so they blame us.  They may not have the “insight” to see what we see or want what we want and to see that their pain has nothing to do with us.  We are holding ourselves back, waiting for their permission to leave.

Reading the books on spirituality helped me to believe that my spirit (everyone’s spirit)  is going to live for all eternity and the lessons I learn in this lifetime will never be forgotten. I believe we all evolve at different levels and different speeds and some of us souls are more advanced than others. We (HSPs) are continuously healing our post traumatic stress from our very real childhood wounds, and it is necessary for us to separate from those who caused these wounds and move forward toward new healthier people.  We must not feel guilty for healing–I believe GOD wanted us to be all that we can be and he is with us in all our healing.  We each have different limits to what negativity we can be around–we need to honor these limits and take care of ourselves whatever it takes!  Alice Miller often talks about the “never-ending work of mourning” in her books and how important the grieving process is for our recovery–we must accept it as essential to our healing and to our eventual freedom from our inner-prison of self-doubt.

 Perhaps our highly sensitive souls are more evolved and we chose (with the gift of God’s free will) to have these experiences in this lifetime to learn about the pain of rejection and about our own strength in overcoming it.  Maybe we chose them so we could learn what not to do to our own children and develop empathic skills to help others by surviving such treatment as children. I know that I am finally glad to be me, and I am proud of myself for all that I have figured out and how this knowledge has helped a lot of other people to heal. 

The grieving process has opened my life up to the most wonderful feelings of joy, love, and trust in my creativity, and this is what keeps me going in this direction.  When I love and value myself and my feelings, all of them, I have more to give others to help them to heal as well.  I believe we are all highly sensitive for a very special reason and may need to heal separately from our families until we are strong enough to not be triggered and to give back to others…others who are ready to heal and ready to feel.

With support we can grieve for not getting the love we feel we needed and we can have a happy, healthy, guilt-free, and independent life.  The joy and relief you will feel when you allow yourself to grieve will feel wonderful and so you will know you are going in the right direction.  If you need help grieving and someone to listen, this is what this blog community is here for.  Thank you sensitive souls out there for being here on the planet.  

Thank you to all my commenters for sharing your pain and experiences and encouragement–your words are so helpful to others who have not yet found their voice.

Please also check out my new pages called “Portrait of an INFJ, …INFP, and …INTJ”.   Very many of my clients have turned out to be these three temperament types (but not all) and I believe it would benefit those who are to read the description of your true potential as was written in Keirsey and Bates book on temperament types. (See Recommended Books).  It certainly gave me hope when I read it and I hope it does the same for you.  

With love,

Roxanne

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