Tag Archives: empathetic listener
Hi everyone. I hope you are able to enjoy the beauty in the spring flowering trees and all of the splashes of purple and pink that are so breathtaking–at least they are here where I am located. Wherever you are, I am grateful for the technology of the internet that helps me to feel as if I am connected to you–all of you who are highly sensitive and have endured a less than healthy environment during your formative years. I understand your struggle to make sense of the self-doubt and negative messages in your heads and of the occasional upheaval of childhood wounds that are sometimes too painful to bear. I used to feel that way–I have come such a long way from self-doubt to finding my voice as a person and knowing my true purpose in life. I can still remember the pain and confusion and sometimes I still have wounds that come up and surprise me. The difference is, now, I am no longer blocked and afraid of feeling my feelings and I am able to release them and comfort my inner child through them much faster and with positive results. This took many years but I am hoping I can help you to feel supported and encouraged by my sharing what I learned to get me from there to here.
One of the first things I remember vividly about my painful journey was reading Alice Miller’s book, The Drama of the Gifted Child. I was 28 when I first heard about this book and started reading it with the feeling that finally someone understands what I can not seem to put into words yet. The parts of this book that were most helpful to me was when she, the author, talked about her own struggles, her own denial about her abuse as a child, and her own ultimate acknowledgement of her childhood pain that she had suppressed until the age of 48. That is when she started doing spontaneous painting and began painting out her pain. Mind you, she had Ph.D’s in Psychology, Philosophy, and Sociology and was a practicing Psychoanalyst when she said that it was her own patients and her own innate compassion for what they were going through that made her look at her own life and begin to question her psychoanalytic training. She then started writing about inner child healing and about her discoveries about her own and her patients’ emotional childhood wounds–she wrote about how speaking their truth to an empathetic listener (enlightened witness) helped them to free themselves from their inner prison of self-doubt and loneliness. I used to have to read parts of this book over and over because the concepts were just outside of my comprehension. But each time I would read it I would grasp a new concept and then feel much comfort and relief.
TIP #1: One of the things I learned that really helped me a lot was when she said that “loneliness is a symptom of the traumatic separation from the true self in early childhood”. There are people who are alone who do not feel lonely at all; in fact they feel whole and complete and have much love to give because they have access to their true selves, their feelings, their voice as a person. This gave me so much hope–that this loneliness I felt was not my fault but the result of something that happened to me–something that was taken away from me as a result of a survival mechanism that I had before but I just cannot recall ever having it–this true self. When I think back 20 years ago and realize that I have now been able to recall and acknowledge that traumatic separation and access my true self and have compassion for the self that I lost as a child, it is just amazing to me and I want so much to help others to regain their vitality as I did.
That brings me to another helpful quote from her book that I will never forget:
TIP #2: It is that the opposite of depression is not happiness. The opposite of depression is “vitality and the ability to spontaneously express all the feelings of your true self” as they come up and release them. For me this concept was monumental in that happiness was no longer a goal of mine and I could relax and just work on releasing my feelings whatever they were so they would become unblocked and I would feel relief. This just reinforced me to continue journaling out my feelings even further which I had been encouraged to do by my wonderful first counselor at the age of 23. I couldn’t find an enlightened witness to talk to about my childhood pain but I would write out my truth and become my own enlightened witness. Whenever I felt blocked (depressed) I would write out my pain and find relief in my own compassionate heart. Alice Miller’s words helped me discover my own compassion because she paved the way with her own compassionate heart for others and then for herself. She was truly a pioneer in her time of validating one’s truth and finding our true self through compassion for the painful childhoods we endured that caused our feelings to become repressed–our truth was hidden from even ourselves because it was too painful to bear as children.
Many other famous psychologists have used her concepts and quotes in their books including John Bradshaw and his book on internalized shame and Charles Whitfield’s book called Healing the Child Within. Both of these books are included in my Recommended Books section under PAGES.
Alice Miller became famous because of her books and decided to take a public stand against child abuse of all kinds including corporal punishment (spanking) in schools and in homes too of course. She has a website which just this month she posted her last comment in the readers’ mail section that said, due to her ill health, she will no longer be able to maintain her website. She is 87 years old and I feel so sad about this. I am hoping you will visit her website at www.alice-miller.com. She is leaving it up and available so it will continue to help others. All of her books are wonderful and I highly recommend them for anyone with childhood pain issues and even if you do not recall any childhood abuse but still suffer from self-doubt and depression–it could be that your lack of memory (repression) is protecting you from the truth and her books will inspire in you a compassion for yourself that will make a difference in your life. That is certainly what happened for me. Compassion for what happened to us as highly sensitive children is just the beginning of the end to our suffering from deep loneliness. And it is the beginning of a life filled with vitality and love for ourselves. And when we finally can love ourselves as we truly deserve, then we have the energy to share our hopes and desires and gifts with others and that, my friends, is our true purpose in life!
Quite a few of you find my website by searching the terms “I have never been loved” and “hsps and emotional pain.” I hope that you feel much comfort and support when you read of my own struggle and journey and read the lyrics to my songs of hope and healing. The Number One most clicked on song lyrics by far are for the song “I Have Never Been Loved Before” so I am sharing this link with you today. I hope it brings you the hope and healing you deserve on your journey to finding your true purpose and your voice as a person. As a highly sensitive, highly gifted, and compassionate soul, your voice is so needed on this planet! I am grateful for your beautiful soul!
With love, Roxanne