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Tag Archives: self doubt

To All Highly Sensitive Souls–You Are Loved

You Are Loved

Lyrics by Roxanne Smith

I once was lost but then I opened up my heart

It took time to see my journey’s sad start

Strength in me came with feelings inside

Courageous purging with joy on the other side

 

Somehow I know that love is all there is

Inside every dark and painful fear is bliss

This I know because I left no stone unturned

I face the pain when the bottom was learned

 

It lays waiting until you let it go

Forgiving those who don’t connect with their soul

The soul has answers and comfort and love

Go within to hear angels from above

 

Chorus:

They surround each and every breathing heart

You are loved every day right from the start.

You are loved, you are loved, you are loved, you are loved

You are loved, you are loved, you are loved, you are loved

 

Repeat from the beginning

 

Add end (slowing)

You are loved, you are loved, you are loved, you are loved

Original Song © 2017 Roxanne Smith

 

Hello Everyone! I am sharing this song to the public for the first time here on this blog. It’s such a personal song I have not performed it yet, waiting for the perfect audience, the right moment. You all, however are the perfect audience for lyrics like these.  Here on this blog I feel comfortable letting it all hang out and feel proud of the healing journey I am on with all it’s ups and downs but always “with joy on the other side”.

I just saw that it has been since April 5 that I have put out a blog post and I apologize for that! Time has been flying by since I decided to start my life coaching business back up. I just completed designing my brand new life coaching website.  I’m happy to report that this blog has gotten over 45 new followers in just the last 2 months even though my recent posts were short and not really up to my standards yet.  So I am getting the message that my blog posts here are important and to make them a priority in my life!

I am very excited about this.  I love talking to you all!  I love giving hope to all of you like-minded souls out there who resonate with my message of hope and healing to become your highest selves! We strive to be our healthiest, kindest, most confident, and helpful to the planet while being complex and highly sensitive souls who often feel we don’t fit in with others. We are overcoming deep-seated negative feelings and beliefs from the past that keep popping up out of the blue just when things are going well.  Phew!  Why are we so hard on ourselves when we already know that extreme self-care makes so much difference in our lives?

Time to pull back again. Get quiet. Go inward. Write out ALL your feelings with self-compassion as if you are writing to your most trusted friend in the world who really GETS you! Be your own container when you can’t find a safe person to vent to.  We all need to vent all the frustration we are feeling about EVERYTHING! I had a surprising amount of anger to release in April. It was all about codependency issues that I thought I had healed long ago.  Surprise!–there was more! Releasing it all (which was not easy) moved me to a new place of strength and independence at the core of me that I didn’t know existed.  And the month of May… well it’s starting out with a virus from some recent airplane travel that has got me layed up and resting to clear it all out.  So all my exciting plans for coaching and more performing are on hold while I rest and clear out this virus and with it lots of emotions too. My intuition tells me I’ve moved to a new level of vibrational success so I need to clear out more …whatever! 😳 I’m not as frustrated as I am fascinated and trusting that whatever happens it will be for a good reason.

Sometimes things are so hard and then we get through it and see the silver lining that was there all along. And that is that We Are Loved.  We are loved from above. We are here for a good reason.  We are highly sensitive souls who are here on the planet at this time because the planet needs our gifts, our light, our true essence. We can relax and just BE and know we are loved.

Just being here is enough.  You don’t have to do anything–just heal and learn to love ourselves.  If we really GET this we can recharge and become strong and then we have more energy to give more light and love to others. But we can’t do it if we don’t love ourselves first. Let the love in that is beaming down for you at all times. Believe it.

And if you can’t believe it at least be OPEN to the possibility. Let down your guard and allow the possibility that your guardian angel/spirit guide/God/ Universe/Highest Self  just might be sending you messages of love and comfort through your intuition.  They just might be sending you guidance on your next steps for the highest good of your soul.  Follow your heart to hear the inner guidance. Hear it? It is saying, You Are Loved! Exactly as you are! You don’t have to change yourself, you only need to love yourself. Let that sink in. Marinate in that truth for a while.  I’m sending all of you so much comfort, caring, and encouragement to see your unique gifts as highly sensitive souls. I’ll be writing more uplifting blog posts soon so stay tuned.

With love and light 💖 ✨,

Roxanne 😇 🎶

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The Process of Inner Child Healing and a Poem of Hope for Highly Sensitive Survivors

Hello everyone.  Whenever I write a new post, I “tune in” to you, my readers, and write from my heart.  Sometimes I plan what I am going to write and other times I write something entirely different from what I had planned.  At the beginning I used to worry, “how can I top that last post”, but now I just trust in the process and I know that what I write will turn out all right.

It is wonderful to feel such confidence. It is such a contrast to how I used to feel years ago before I gained access to the truth of who I am.  It was “self-doubt”–a looming horrible anxious feeling of dread and guilt…or more often a feeling of numbness and compulsions to avoid feelings by keeping busy with tasks that I felt I “should” be doing.  I had no access to my truth–I had hidden away my truth to protect myself from the unbearable pain that I experienced as a child.

Through my journaling I discovered a process that helped me to heal more than anything else I tried–it was writing out my pain from my inner child’s point of view.  I knew from all of my reading and training in psychology that blocks happen in childhood–and I had been encouraged by two helpful counselors to continue to write out my feelings in order to uncover them (I had been writing poems about my feelings since the age of 14).

Writing from my inner child’s perspective just kind of naturally happened and I found it to be the most powerful healing tool in my own recovery.  I discovered “her” voice by writing out “her” pain and then I had no choice but to feel compassion for what “she” went through and over time “she” became clearly “Me”!  And as I began trusting in this process of trusting “her” view of what had happened to me I began trusting my self.  My inner dialogue then gradually changed from critical to compassionate.  I remember that I started feeling emotions that had previously been repressed and could then label them.

I was excited about this process.  For example, I’d be at the grocery store and suddenly become aware of a feeling such as shame and say to myself , “this feeling is really familiar but I never knew until now that it is “shame”.  Wow this is shame from my childhood coming up.”  I realized I was feeling these feelings for the first time since I had hidden them away in childhood.  Rather then get caught up in them I was able to observe them and acknowledge them and release them.  I would often go right away and write in my journal about the origins of these painful feelings.  Repressed memories would often come back to me during these times.  It wasn’t always so simple–sometimes I would unconsciously drag my husband into a drama only to discover I was replaying a trauma from childhood so that I could finally voice my feelings of anger, grief, or fear to my envisioned N parent.  My knowledge of what was happening luckily allowed me to be aware of the process of healing–I would quickly reassure my husband what was happening so that he could then support the release of my feelings as a supportive witness without feeling blamed in any way.  Seeing me recover my feelings in such a way and feel relief helped my husband to understand this healing process as well and he began processing his childhood pain in a similar way (he had a Narcissistic parent too).

I am planning to put together a book in which I include the best of my healing writings directly from my journals that show this process of healing first hand from age 18 to the present.  Although it will be very personal I am hoping that it will help others to heal and develop compassion for their inner child and what they went through if they are unable to write out their feelings in such a way that I was able–I consider it a gift that I was able to do this and I am grateful to have such a vivid memoir of my recovery.  I believe this gift of writing I have been given is another way that I can help other highly sensitive souls to recover and to help them to feel relief from the inner prison of emotional abuse by a Narcissistic parent.  Please let me know if you would be interested in reading such a book.

Recently I wrote the following poem when I “tuned in” to you, my readers and fellow highly sensitive survivors.  I was planning to save it for my book but I have decided to share it with you now instead to show an example one of the kinds of writings that will be included.  Here it is:

Poem of Hope and Healing for the Highly Sensitive Survivor

By Roxanne E. Smith

March 22, 2011

Pain so deep, I can’t see the light

I know it’s there but it’s not very bright

The sadness is thick, despair all around

I envision a child giving up with no sound

Pain so deep, I hide all my hope

Afraid to come out, I feel like a dope

Worthless and horrible, don’t ever try

The pain is unbearable, can’t even cry

I can’t feel the love, I need it so bad!

So much fear without it, it’s really so sad!’

I am feeling much better just admitting this truth

You have to have love when you’re in your youth!

Without love you can’t heal all the hurts that come by

When bad things do happen we need love when we cry

Someone has to hold us and give us new hope

If there’s no one for comfort than there’s no way to cope

No wonder I hid my talents away

When I would do well then I was their prey

The taunting, the teasing, “Who do you think you are?”

Shame became my deepest scar

But who was this child all hidden in shame

An innocent victim who will never be the same?

She thinks she is nothing but she is so wrong

The truth is she’s beautiful, wise, and so strong

Scoop up that child all broken and battered

Love her and hug her and tell her she matters

She’s awesome and wonderful, they were so wrong

Talented, creative , and smart all along

Sensitive soul you were so beaten down

But you figured it out and now you can leave town

You’re safe now and free–no more bullies outside

Shine your light, spread your wings, don’t believe all the lies

Be kind to yourself when the pain comes back ’round

Love yourself through it, your true self is found

You know the truth and now you can be free

Fear is from “them”–in the past, don’t you see?

Relax into the pain and it will dissipate

Because the pain is from lies and it’s never too late!

To believe in yourself and your talents and dreams

You are good at compassion and so many things

They did not want you to succeed with your gifts

So they made you give up and they threatened with fists

You were small so you gave up but now you are grown

You can heal all the pain and make it now on your own

You can do it!–the words you’ve long waited to hear

Say them to your self!  And say NO to the fear!

Give them back all the bad feelings that they gave to you

Imagine this energy going outward from you

Then let in the light and the love from a place

Where angels don’t want you to live in disgrace

You know what love is because you give it so freely

To others who need it when they’re feeling needy

Give to your self all this love all the time!

You will find your true purpose and all will be fine

These lessons are so hard that we learn from our pain

But we discover our strengths again and again

So sensitive souls who survived from abuse

Your gifts are so needed to be put to good use

I know how you feel and I hope you feel better

Because we can overcome it if we do it together!

I hope that this poem has helped you to feel loved

You are!–and I send it to you from above!

I understand and I want to comfort your pain

I hope this is helpful.  Love, Roxanne Elaine

Hurts So Good?–Through Pain You Grow Stronger–Processing Childhood Emotional Pain So You Can Heal

Hi everyone.  Today I was out on my patio getting my morning dose of Vitamin D from the sun (hallelujah, the warmth is finally here to stay!) and writing down ideas for my next post.  When I was finished, the song “Hurts So Good” by John Mellencamp came on the radio I was listening to.  You know the one…”sometimes love don’t feel like it should…”  Anyway, I had to laugh out loud with amazement as it seemed like a sign from the universe/God that my topic was approved–it seemed clear that I should trust my intuition to write about what I had decided to focus on and that was:  what hurts the most in life emotionally can reveal the truth of who we really are–and physical pain can teach us the exact lesson we need to learn to move forward–both kinds of pain help us grow and heal to become our best selves.

Of course the lyrics of the song do not imply that, but the title jumped out at me as confirmation and I have always loved that song!  It always makes me want to get up and dance and celebrate being alive for some reason.  Sometimes when you are feeling the pain from childhood wounds, acknowledging you were wronged, and you know you didn’t deserve it, you feel so much more alive and you have the right to your feelings about it!!  Your anger can be channeled into positive energy to take action for your self and improving your life and moving forward towards your dreams!  Also the song implies that you know how love should feel but you are willing to take the painful risk of loving again for the chance of being loved in return.

I so look forward to dancing again to songs like this and forgot how much I missed it until it was taken away when I recently injured my back/hip (S.I. joint)!  My pain has almost completely healed. Yay! I still have restricted movements but I have so much to look forward to.  And I am on my way to complete healing and I learned much–I will spare you the details until the end of this post for those interested.

Okay, so about the lessons to be learned from the emotionally painful things that happen to us….   I believe that all of us are here on this planet to learn lessons about who we are, what we are capable of, how to achieve inner peace, love ourselves the way we deserved to be loved, and how we can use our gifts to help others.  For those of us who are gifted with high sensitivity and intuition it is so difficult to figure these things out until we realize that a lot of the pain we experienced as children was pain of the people around us that we just absorbed and internalized as our own.

One of the most complex examples contributing to many of my clients’ childhood wounds are when the parent is a malignant narcissist. I am sharing these examples of extreme cases in the hopes that they will be the most helpful. When a malignant narcissist starts to feel any emotional pain they get rid of it immediately by blaming the people around them. The highly sensitive child is the perfect target to take away the malignant narcissist’s pain because they absorb it completely and don’t retaliate.  As kind and loving spirits, highly sensitive compassionate children would never dream of blaming someone else for anything so they can’t imagine that their parent might be wrong or sick or unhealthy in any way.  Now that they are adults they are starting to see the light of how they were “used” to take away the parent’s shame, self-hatred, blame, and self-doubt. Hsps can heal as they acknowledge the truth that they were fine before malignant narcissistic parents took away their hopes and dreams and gave them their pain in its place.  They absorbed it all and believed it to be true–saying to themselves, “I am to blame, there is something wrong with me, I am not good enough, I must try really hard to be someone else other than who I am in order to be loved, I am not as good as I think I am, I cannot trust my feelings, I must not make any mistakes, I am unloveable, I am unworthy, I hate myself, or I must be a disgusting human being for upsetting my parent in such a way.”  This is what a highly sensitive compassionate child can determine to be true when they are not seen for the kind and sensitive soul they are but used for the dumping ground of the negative emotions of a highly dysfunctional family.

They numb their feelings to survive as children–They repress the pain and decide to be obedient (if they were the Golden Child) or they rebel (if they were the Scapegoat).  Either way their mind protects them with illusions about their parents in this case because they need them to survive.  They were after all children doing the best they knew how–there is no way for a sensitive child to detect danger when for as long as they can remember, this is what a loving family looks and feels like and it is ingrained in the neural pathways in their brains.  They believed the distorted view that their malignant narcissistic parent presented to them and insisted upon because they believe in the goodness of life innately–they trust completely which is a beautiful thing.  It is a wondrous gift to be able to trust in life, to trust in the universe, that it will support them and show them the way if they trust their feelings and our intuition.  We have the inner guidance and wisdom to be happy and fulfilled, enlightened and loving, full of vitality with the perseverance to press on through the ups and downs of life.  They all (HSPs) have this ability inside of them, this trust in the goodness of life, but it was taken away from them.

But what happened to them is not really about them at all.  They were victims, yes, but they don’t have to be victims ever again when they work through the truth of what happened to them as children–layer by layer, injustice by injustice, voicing the truth of how much it hurt, how they didn’t deserve it, and see how they lost their trust in themselves and their feelings.  Once you start this process of healing the layers, you feel lighter and a little kinder to yourself each time.  It is a blessing when you are in the midst of an episode of despair because someone you trusted criticized you and you suddenly realize, “Oh wait, this is how I felt as a child when my malignant narcissistic mother would feel threatened when I expressed a brilliant creative idea and put it down–I was smarter than she was!” –or something to this effect.

DOCUMENTING YOUR TRUTH STATEMENTS is a method I invented during my years as a life coach.  Journaling these revelations by writing statements of what you learned about yourself when a new layer of pain is uncovered  helps to document your progress.  Then when you are feeling lost, depressed, or blocked make yourself get out your journal and read over these statements and you will see the true voice of your soul being uncovered.  Statements like “I had brilliant creative ideas as a child”, “I discovered I was actually smart”, “I was kind, caring and innocent and did not deserve to be criticized and abused!”  These are truths come to light and will forever be true about you–they will help you change the internalized beliefs about yourself so you will develop your true voice.  This will help you stop listening to your inner critic and say,” No!  That is not true about me”.  Then say your new-found personalized positive affirmations (truth statements) to yourself instead. Your self-doubts will gradually fade and your confidence will grow stronger and stronger.

Childhood pain comes up to be healed in layers–it is like the truth of your untold story from childhood wants to be told and when you are strong enough, the painful feelings pop up unexpectedly in your lives.  You sometimes unconsciously provoke painful situations in our lives so that the original trauma can be healed.  For example:  you are feeling grouchy, irritable,  numb, and lost, and you criticize your husband for not supporting you enough, for not just listening, (he is trying to solve it and tell you what to do and you just want to be listened to and heard).  He responds with, “Something else must be wrong because I have been listening to you a lot lately but you are still really grouchy.”  You blow up and yell, “I wanted an apology but instead you are attacking me” and you fall in a heap of crying, blaming, angry despair. The feelings directed at your husband are so real to you but you are actually experiencing post traumatic stress from your childhood.  Your husband deserves about 10% of the anger that you are feeling but the other 90% is from your childhood. (90/10 Principle.  John Gray,…Venus and Mars).

In that moment you are reexperiencing the unresolved feelings of your self as a small child with legitimate needs to be seen and reassured and loved–you were perhaps rejected by a malignant narcissistic mother who was too busy with her own agenda to stop and be the loving mother you needed in that moment.  Perhaps instead she lashed out at you for being too sensitive, told you to knock it off and be quiet so she could think.  When you cried harder she may have slapped you on the bottom, screamed at you, and told you that you were giving her a headache and to go play somewhere.  You went to your bedroom and cried and cried and she ignored you–you felt rejected, scared, and humiliated but you felt so ashamed that your mother was angry at you that you wiped away your tears and went out and said, “I’m sorry Mommy I will try to be good”.  Then, she smiles at you and says, something like, “good, you learned your lesson about obeying me”.

This is horrible abuse for a highly sensitive gifted child whose only way of surviving this situation is to be a shell of her former self, deny all of her legitimate feelings and needs for pursuing her gifts and talents and dreams, and become a little robot shell of a person with all her feelings pushed way down deep to the point of repression.  A child incorporates the internalized message of, I must not trust my feelings or I will upset my mother/father and I need her/him.  To the less than sensitive observer this exchange seems harmless enough and they might even think “what a good child” or worse “what a good parent to have such a child that obeys so well”.  That is one reason that it is difficult for HSPs to change our negative beliefs about ourselves–most of society doesn’t yet understand or support a childs need to express needs contrary to the parent in charge.

You won’t feel guilty about leaving your abusive narcissistic family members behind when you understand that if malignant narcissists are in emotional pain for even a second, they lash out and blame someone else for it–they are not feeling pain the way you and I do–they get rid of it immediately.  They put on acts of great suffering because they know it works to make us feel guilty.  Don’t fall for it–it is all an act.  They are going about their merry way without a trace of remorse or guilt. They pull out the tears and anguish when other family members are around to get them against you–they get relief and control back from these antics so don’t feel guilty about leaving all of the craziness behind.

So back to how pain is helping you have a better life….  The truth too painful to bear as children has to come up as the painful truth or you can’t acknowledge that it happened, release it, learn from it, and find yourself!  It is a painful process but you are worth it!  Your true voice has been in hiding for far too long.  Next time something happens to you that is so painful it makes you want to give up on a person, try telling yourself,  “this pain is exactly how I felt as a child when ___ happened to me!”  Then write it out with all the pent-up emotion you can conjure up and see if you don’t feel better when as you write you realize you were an innocent victim and have a right to all of those feelings!

You may just be so grateful for the realization that you were a child who deserved so much more that you will even feel grateful for the person in the present that hurt you! They helped you bring a painful truth from your childhood to the surface to be healed.  You healed a layer of pain from your childhood!  On to the next!  Soon you will begin believing in your goodness and see your inner wisdom and kindness. You will begin attracting only loving giving people like you because your bright shining light of your special highly sensitive intuitive soul can now shine through the existing layers making them much easier to process through.  The illusions that helped you survive will fall away and a new-found confidence and ease will emerge.

So remember, from the layers of pain and hurt emerges the wonderful and amazing true YOU!  You can do it!  I hope that my words can assist you through this complex healing process.

Part 2

Okay, now for the health update:  The recent painful injury to my low back/hip sacroiliac joint (S.I.) is another example of how the universe/God  helps us along our path with painful obstacles that are lessons in disguise.

My holistic chiropractor was unable to answer my many questions about what I could and couldn’t do and what would help and hinder my recovery.  So I made an appointment with a physical therapist that was prescribed by my family doctor. She was able to tell me exactly what ligaments I had sprained, the reasons for my pain, exactly what movements to avoid and which ones were so safe so I could heal in the fastest amount of time.  She explained exactly why it had happened to me–with no core strength in my pelvis from lack of exercise, the ligaments were sprained severely requiring 6 to 8 weeks to heal completely.

She explained that sitting and standing hurts because those actions depend entirely on the ligaments I strained, whereas walking uses different muscles.  I can sit for a one hour at a time now, can drive for short periods, am allowed to walk on flat surfaces only, and should avoid all stairs as much as possible until I am fully healed.  She showed me the correct way to pick up something from the floor, bending at the knees and holding onto something for support–I had been doing it wrong every time.  She has given me homework of daily exercises to start strengthening my core muscles as I heal and I am doing them diligently!

Before I went to my physical therapist, there were 3 occasions when I had no pain in the morning (that is usually when I was in the most pain).  I  had gotten so excited I ended up doing too much that day and the next day I paid for it with pain that sent me back to the couch with ice and rest.  The third time it happened I had this surreal moment of anguish but at the same time a moment of grace and surrender–a reminder of how, even though I was exiled to the couch, I had a glimpse of what I had learned spending most of the month of May on the couch unable to move without the severe pain recurring.  The month of May gave me an entirely new perspective on my life and this moment of grace made me permanently slow down and appreciate that the small things in life were actually huge things to be grateful for.

It made me realize:  the things I missed being able to do most were things I did not expect because they were lost in all the busy activities I took for granted.  I missed most being able to sit up and play my guitar and sing my songs without pain. I missed being able to sit and write creatively on my computer for long periods (my last post I had to write and edit in long hand first).  I missed being pain-free so that I could concentrate again and get back to coaching my clients–having chronic pain is exhausting and I had to put my coaching on hold for a while (but it has now resumed 🙂 ). Biking, hiking, and dancing were also activities I loved and never found time for.  These are all things that have now been moved even higher on my priority list–maybe this injury is the only way for me to really learn what is most important to me in life.

A bonus from all this is that my husband had no idea how much I did around our home and has a new appreciation for all the years I spent managing our home because suddenly, he had to do it all!  I didn’t even realize how much I took on. Now he has wonderfully agreed to continue taking on his share of these tasks even after I fully recover (including half of the grocery shopping 🙂 ).  After all, I have a successful career too now and it is only fair!  My husband was really amazed at how much work it was and he now has a new appreciation of how much time and energy I spent doing it.  As I recover I am learning to delegate tasks that need taken care of, but more important than that, I learned to just let the unimportant things go so we can just spend more quality time together and be in the moment enjoying life! I am very grateful for a husband with such a kind and compassionate soul.

With every new victory in my physical abilities, we celebrate together and both of us appreciate our life together and our health so much more.  Soon I will be able to dance again.  We both loved to go out dancing together when we were younger–why don’t we do that more often!  Now with my physical therapist teaching me core strengthening exercises, I am determined to get strong and enjoy things with my husband that we both love to do together: biking, hiking, and dancing! Yay!  Through pain came important changes: the ability to slow down, be grateful, and relax and live in the moment; delegating tasks so I have more time to commit to the work and activities that I love; commiting to getting and keeping core strength and stamina; and letting the unimportant things go!

I hope my words have inspired you to look for and find the lessons amidst all the wonderful ups and painful downs of life.  I hope I have helped you to find strength in the truth re-experienced by your wise and gifted inner child. And I hope I’ve helped you to slow down and discover the joys in the small blessings in your life.

With Love,

Roxanne

The Connection To Learned Helplessness in Highly Sensitive People (HSPs)

Updated March 2016

Hi everyone.  Today I want to write about a subject that many of my clients and readers can relate to as Highly Sensitive People.  It is something called Learned Helplessness.  Learned Helplessness is that feeling of powerlessness that we all feel at times, and for some of us it is more pervasive and all encompassing than for others.  There is much hope in talking about it because if you can understand the roots of this feeling, you can understand that it is “learned” behavior and that you can become aware of it when it hits you and ultimately heal from it completely.

I first heard about Learned Helplessness in my introductory psychology class in college.  And you probably have heard the story as well–the story of Pavlov’s dog. Pavlov used a dog in an experiment in human behavior to demonstrate the result of conditioning. I can’t recall the exact details except that the dog was given rewards or withheld the rewards and the resulting behavior of the dog was recorded and studied. There were other dog experiments by a psychologist named Seligman in which he shocked sets of dogs to demonstrate learned behavior and conditioning and punishment.

The main thing I remember vividly about the whole thing was that at the end of the Seligman experiments, the dogs were shocked repeatedly both when they completed a task correctly and also when they did not.  The poor dogs were so confused that they layed down depressed and GAVE UP and even whined–and this was Learned Helplessness that the dogs were experiencing.  I still remember learning about this vividly because I felt SO bad for these dogs–I was empathizing and upset beyond what the average person reading this would expect to be.

At that time in college I did not have the insight or self-awareness yet to realize it was because I resonated so much personally with how the dogs were treated. As a highly sensitive, empathetic person I knew just how those dogs must have felt and I related to them giving up and laying down, hopeless, and helpless, in fear, and self-doubt.  Those dogs were experiencing the same damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don’t no-win situation that those who were bullied consistently (or even neglected or controlled) by a caretaker or narcissistic or controlling parent were subjected to day in and day out as children.  Years later I remember talking to a counselor about this, knowing just how a dog in those experiments must have felt and it helped the counselor have a picture of the frustration, fear, desperation, loneliness, despair, hopelessness, and helplessness.

After I voiced this to the counselor, I was able to picture myself as a small child with the same compassion I had for such a dog and finally realized that I deserved so much more.  The roots of my anxiety were then exposed–no wonder I felt anxious all the time, no wonder I was a perfectionist and afraid to disappoint anyone, no wonder I didn’t know how to relax, no wonder I had no access to my own dreams and desires and was filled with self-doubts and negative messages in my head.  It helped to talk to someone about how I felt what I experienced could compare to the treatment of those dogs–the feeling of not being given consistent love and support and feeling rewarded only if obedient and punished with emotional rejection if not.

My life coaching experiences and studies have taught me the following in regards to those highly sensitive people with a narcissistic parent:  The Scapegoat child of a N parent can very much relate to this constant punishment and criticism.  But the Golden Child (GC) can relate as well because they are often the obedient one who needs desperately some kind of loving approval and, out of fear, becomes what the parent or  wants for them to become.  Outwardly to others it may appear as if the GC has it all–the love, attention and admiration of the Narcissistic parent.  But inside there is so much emptiness and pain, an absence of the knowledge of self and true feelings–feelings that had to be hidden away because they were too painful to bear.  The false self is developed and honed in, the GC knows exactly how their N parent feels even before they do.  The GC develops a radar that helps them to survive the lack of love and support–and they develop an illusion that they are the ones at fault if, even with their best efforts, they fail to win the acceptance of the N parent.  They blame themselves and have very low self-esteem, crushed by criticism, holding relationships at arms length so no one will get too close and cause them further pain.

The roots of co-dependence are also linked to this learned helplessness–victims of such abuse telling themselves that there must be something wrong with them and that they are deeply flawed and it usually goes in one of two ways–either they decide they need to find another person to love them and take care of them and then they will be happy (co-dependence) or they become a porcupine not letting anyone one else near, lashing out at anyone who suspects that they just might have some insecurities underneath their outwardly successful yet workaholic exterior shell. People who suffer from panic attacks and even agoraphobia often have learned helplessness from childhood as a root cause as well.

“What can a person do?” you may be asking if you relate to what I am describing.  Plenty!  Just being aware and believing that this happened to you as a child is the first step. Just as you have compassion for the dogs in the experiments, you need to develop this same compassion for yourself and make a decision to stop being so hard on yourself.  Make a decision to be kind to yourself every time you are feeling bad–it is almost always childhood pain coming up to tell you the truth of what really happened to you.  Become aware that the negative messages in your head were put there by someone else and that you did not deserve them.  Change them to positive messages.  Write in a journal all the things you were good at as a child and never given credit for.  Writing out the truth is powerful and go back and read it often to remind yourself.

It takes time so be patient with yourself.  Taking baby steps in the direction of healing is wise because there is pain to work through and release but you can do it!  You have many gifts and talents that have never been acknowledged yet and only you can bring them out from their repressed state of Learned Helplessness.

Whether you were the scapegoat in your family or the obedient golden child, you can heal from the trauma of Learned Helplessness.  Often people who experience post traumatic stress from an abusive childhood fall into this state of learned helplessness when their wounds are triggered.  It can feel like an inability to function, a numbness–but sometimes the feelings along with that are a mix of rage and despair.

If you have lashed out at loved ones with an intensity beyond what is appropriate then you probably were a victim of a person that controlled you in an abusive way far far too much with no remorse. If you were extremely sensitive (extremely emotionally gifted 🙂 ), just a mean look from his/her eyes could cause a traumatic reaction in you as a child and the fear may have felt like a spear through your heart.  The rage and despair you feel is understandable and appropriate but needs to be directed, voiced, and released at the person that did this too you in a journal, letter that won’t be sent, and/or perhaps even read outloud with a safe witness friend, counselor, or coach present (never to them or to their face) .  You will find a sense of relief each time you release some of this truth and the light inside of you will become brighter and brighter and you will feel lighter and lighter. You will begin to experience the essence of your true self and the vitality you deserve.  This is the process of healing. Don’t hold onto the anger and resentment that comes up but release it completely each time, visualizing the negative emotions going up to heaven or into the earth,whichever appeals most, to be healed by love and light–Imagine love and light coming to you as well to replace these negative emotions each time to center yourself again to a peaceful state.

Why did you experience learned helplessness while your siblings did not?  Perhaps you had the gift of high sensitivity and along with that the knowledge and expectation of a higher level of love.  And when you did not receive this love that you innately knew existed, you had no choice but to blame yourself because…it made no sense to you.  Your siblings possibly just got mad at your parents and rebelled–they may have had no higher vision of a loving existence so it didn’t feel as traumatic to them.

So you see, the cure and the answer to all of your self-doubt and learned helplessness is LOVE Love yourself as you deserved to be loved and give yourself the love that you so easily give to others because that is your gift.  Compassion and love for yourself will help you overcome all of the many symptoms of Learned Helplessness just as consistent love and affection and kindness would help Seligman’s abused dogs to learn to trust people and trust themselves again.  I hope my words have been helpful to you.

With love,

Roxanne

Holiday Survival Tips–An HSPs Recovery From Artistic and Creative Self-doubt

Hi everyone.  It’s November!and there’s a briskness in the air and the awareness of the holidays approaching.  For many highly sensitive survivors that comes with a bitter-sweet feeling–of light and love from God above (the true reason for the season) mixed with the grief of a lost childhood and sad or painful holiday memories of being misunderstood and diminished.  Or it can be an overwhelming feeling of dread on some days for many reasons related to your present relationship with your some bullies in your life, and on other days of stress–being caught up in the busy-ness of getting ready for the big days ahead for your loved ones–often too busy to feel anything at all.

Depending on where you are in your recovery, it is normal for you to be feeling all of these different ways.  Be kind to yourself no matter how you are feeling and please try to slow down, breathe deeply and take self-care breaks–stop and be aware of the negative messages in your head and change them to kind words that you deserved as a child such as:  Everything is going to be all right,  You are doing a good job,  It’s okay to make mistakes,  You are special, deep, and a rare gift to this planet.

Affirmations you can say to yourself are:  I love and approve of myself, I am safe, and, my favorite, I give myself permission to be the best that I can be. This last one is helpful especially because often others may have been threatened and jealous of your gifts and so, sensing this, because you were highly sensitive and empathic, you protected them by hiding your gifts away so they would feel better.  Giving yourself permission to be the best that you can be can be so empowering and satisfying–like suddenly realizing, “Oh, wow, I don’t have to protect anyone anymore and I can just relax and be awesome!”  Many of you feel guilty for everything even for your own creative and artistic gifts! A caretaker from childhood may have caused you to feel shame for expressing them.  Please take your gifts out of hiding and take a good look at the truth of the gifts and talents that you brought with you to this planet.  They are your gifts and yours alone and you deserve to enjoy and feel good about them and share them with others!

With love,

Roxanne

For more about overcoming creative self-doubt please read my post from January 28, 2010 On Overcoming Self-doubt–The Story Behind My Songs Of Hope and Healing. 

 

  

Journaling for Joy and Finding My True Voice In A Poem

Hello to all of you sensitive souls.  I hope you are enjoying this beautiful week of Indian Summer we are having. The news says that most of the U.S. is experiencing gorgeous mild temperatures and colorful changing leaves right now.  It is definitely my favorite time of the year and it feels like such a gift from above now that I can relax and take it in and be in the moment and fully appreciate it.  As many of you who follow my blog already know, it wasn’t always this way for me.  I used to be numb to my feelings, keeping too busy to feel, compelled to be a people-pleaser and a perfectionist, and full of self-doubt and anxiety.

There are many facets to my journey to finding my voice as a person, many of which I describe on my blog so that I might inspire other highly sensitive people (HSPs) to believe in their dreams.  Writing out my feelings in a journal has been one of these many facets that contributed to my awakening to my true spirit which was hiding inside. I have been writing poetry in a journal since the age of 14, but it wasn’t until about 2002 that I set out to to try to do Julia Cameron’s morning pages (3 pages of free writing every day) which turned out to be extremely therapeutic “inner grief work” that took place over a period of 5 years.  It was during this period that I wrote about the feeling that I was “growing a backbone” and this felt very miraculous indeed.  I knew I was finding my voice finally and it had been hidden away in fear for so long.  I was writing songs and poetry and it never really occurred to me to seriously share them with others until one day when an extra special one poured out of me.  When I wrote this poem, it dawned on me that I had been transformed and now, finally, I could reach out and help others–something I had always wanted to do but I always felt I had to figure myself out first.  I had a new found sense of self and there was no going back.  I am very happy to be sharing it with you today.

After I wrote this poem, I got the idea to write a book sharing many of my poems and my growth along the way to finding my voice and that this poem would be the final one in the book–a finale of sorts.  However, since then I have written even more special poems and songs so I have decided to go ahead and share a shortened version of it here in my blog. (I haven’t written my book yet but I plan to start it in the near future.)  This very special poem is entitled, “Joy, Our Birthright, Waiting There”.  I want to explain that I wrote this with my children in mind– when I say “and I was never there for you the way I thought I was, it’s true”.  What this means is when I went through growth and gradually had more access to my true self, then I couldn’t help but feel regret about the past when I had been doing my best but I was not able to be my strong confident true self yet.  When I expressed this regret to my children expecting them to agree and feel relief and tell me it had been hard for them, they both instead said they always felt I was always emotionally available to them and it meant a lot to them that I always apologized to them whenever I made emotional mistakes and they felt fully validated at each step along the way in their upbringing. For this I feel extremely grateful because nothing has ever been more important to me than my children feeling good about themselves and their unique gifts and breaking the cycle of dysfunction that my husband and I experienced as children.  Still…I can’t help but wish I knew then what I know now….

So here it is:

Joy, Our Birthright, Waiting There

By Roxanne Smith

Feb 21, 2007

Telling someone helped me heal

All the pain inside was real

No wonder I had been so tired

My whole heart had been so mired

So much grief to lead the way

Let it out, so much to say

I was never there for you

The way I thought I was, it’s true

Because I was empty – none to give

Alive but I just now learned to live

Soulful is the proper word

I have “me” – it sounds absurd

Let your painful feelings out

You can’t be whole and live without

Expression of unfairness do

Your soul will help you live anew

And learn compassion for your self

Don’t put feelings on a shelf

Any doubt is harmful thought

The truth is–look how far you got!

Negativity and blocks

To true self and joyful shocks

Being blamed can stunt our growth

Fear of feelings: anger, both

Also fearing joy and bliss

Pain comes up and we all miss

The connection to our rightful heir

Joy, our birthright, waiting there!

Love is what we all deserve

Joy it feels when then observed

Share it then and it comes back

Filling up the past we lacked

Helping others heal their wounds

Nothing like it – glowing moons

Stars are twinkling, warming sun

Nature loves us one by one

Let the love come down on you

It is there don’t block the view

Doubts of self will keep it blocked

You must trust your soul’l be rocked!

With this truth I’m trying to tell

Creative soul fear-blocked is hell

Heaven is a word away

Love is here please let it stay

You deserve its welcome home

Inside you it does belong

Love yourself I’m trying to say

God is trying – just light the way

Ask him to comfort your soul

Believe!  And he will rock and roll!

I’m not kidding this I know

I let out grief and felt a glow

A light inside I did believe

I’m OK. I feel. I grieve.

Compulsions all have fear beneath

God has no “shoulds” or “work hard” teeth

Be yourself and kindness do

Serve to help others heal anew

Help them see that love transcends

We can all relax and mend

“Relax and enjoy your life

and everything will be alright!”

This phrase came in a dream so real

I hope this poem will help you heal

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

With Love,

Roxanne

More Helpful Tips–For Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) With A Narcissistic Parent–Part 1

Hi everyone. As highly sensitive people, many of you are struggling with how to cope with your relationship with your narcissistic parent and your unsupportive siblings and extended family.  First of all I want to tell you that as a life coach for people with childhood wounds, I understand your pain and how hard it is. There is very little support in our society for not having a relationship with ones’ parents no matter how negative and destructive they are to you or were to you in your childhood.  Many people have difficult parents but they tolerate them and seem to get by okay so why can’t you, right?  The pressure is very real.  But let me help you understand the difference between you (an HSP) and everyone else with some more helpful tips that are very important for you to know.

1. Know that your greatest gift is your intuition.

As a highly sensitive person (HSP), you were naturally giving and loving and trusting as children.  You had high hopes for yourselves and others including your parents.  People with loving and supportive parents are more likely living lives full of vitality and creative fulfillment and healthy boundaries to keep negative, manipulative, harmful people at a distance naturally and sharing their unique gifts with others.  These people don’t feel guilty about not getting along with everyone–they just “know” there are some people who are unhealthy and dangerous–they pay attention to their natural instincts.  But people with a narcissistic parent were taught at a very young age, even from birth not to trust their own instincts, their own intuition.  The horrible thing about that is, that was their greatest gift, “their sensitive intuition”, and it was often used against them.

2. Know that you may have repressed a terrible trauma from your childhood–the loss of the knowledge of your gifts.

Possibly, if you had an N parent, then part of your sensitivities were seen as a gift for “them”.  They could control you easily because of your trusting nature–so often they used fear to get you to be quiet, anger to get you to obey, and shame to keep you from feeling independent and strong.  And it worked.  You trusted them and needed them to take care of you and protect you from a world that overwhelmed your sensitive souls so you…experienced a trauma that caused you to shut down your true selves and become what they wanted you to become.   Something happened that was “the last straw” for your fragile but wise self that was developing.  Typically it happens around age 5 or 6, according to Alice Miller (Author of The Drama of the Gifted Child).  After an incident that you can’t remember because you have repressed it, suddenly, you are obedient and sweet wanting only to please.  And please them you did.  And that is why it is so hard for them to let go of you now.  You took care of them.  Completely and amazingly.  They felt loved by you and validated by you filling a void inside of them that was caused in their childhood.  It is as if you were the loving parent that they never had.  That is how gifted you were.  Those gifts of intuiting the needs of others are still there–they were just misused and abused by your needy and narcissistic parent.  Those gifts of being a loving and giving and caretaking soul were mis-directed.

3. Know that your childhood holds the roots of your anxiety, self-doubt, post traumatic stress, and co-dependence issues.

As you grew up and tried to do some of the creative endeavors that were driven by your soul, your parent probably did not support you because they did not want you to leave them or stop taking care of their emotional needs or they just saw no harm in controlling you.  As narcissistic parents with no conscience or guilt, it was easy for them to manipulate you, so they did.  The pain of your original trauma at the age of 5 or 6 would come up for you each time you tried to express your true self and these outbursts of emotion may have been shamed and punished by your parent and made you give up each time.  This is the beginning of the post traumatic stress that still plagues you today. ” Why do I over-react in these explosive ways”, you may have asked yourself.  This is why.  Your true self and all your repressed feelings and desires from childhood still want badly to be heard and understood and validated and “loved”.  Your narcissistic parent was not capable of giving you this love and still is not and never will be.  Your love needs are still unmet.  You searched for love from others but sometimes, because parts of you are still undeveloped and childlike, you end up being attracted to people who seem wonderful and charming at first but then turn out to be needy and manipulative and unable to comfort you when you need it most–just like your N parent.

4. Know that there is hope and you can heal.

So what is a highly sensitive person with an N parent to do?  You can heal and learn to love yourself and slowly unblock all those creative parts of yourself that never got a chance to be expressed.  You can learn to trust your self and your gifts of emotional intelligence and intuition that were seemingly robbed from you and misused and abused.  You can gain clarity amidst all the confusion, and hope amidst all the despair.  You can learn that it is okay for you to say no to other people’s demands and put yourself first.  You need to learn about extreme “self- care” (Cheryl Richardson–author of the book Life Makeovers) and you need a journal to pour into all the feelings from your deepest heart.  You need support from like-minded, highly sensitive, safe people to share the pain and grief from the loss of a childhood that feels as if it was taken away from you.  All your desires and free impulses were repressed so that you could survive with an illusion that your parent’s needs were more important than your own.  But surviving was not really living your life.  Surviving is not good enough.  Your survival skills just cause you trouble because they are not driven by your heart, they are driven by a needy inner child trying to please a parent that felt unpleasable and without remorse about what they did to you.

5. Know that the answers are inside of you and support is available.

You need to take a new direction.  A direction into your own soul.  You need to excavate the desires of a child who never had a say in the development of his/her own life!  Write it out!  Talk it out! Cry it out!  Shout it out!  You can do this in a journal that is meant for your eyes only.  Or you can find a counselor or coach who does inner child healing therapy.  It’s important to find support somewhere so you can find your true voice and express it.  There are HSP meet-up groups in larger cities.  You might also look into Unitarian churches or Unity churches to meet people of a spiritual nature who are not necessarily “religious”.

6. Know that no contact with a malignant narcissistic parent is not just recommended so that you can get the time you need to heal, it is vital!

One of the first steps into this new direction of healing for yourself is ending the old song and dance and unhealthy relationship that you have with your narcissistic parent.  If you’ve tried everything else and you are still miserable, that means setting boundaries on contact is an important step so that you can heal and move on with the life that you always deserved.  The fact that you understand the words Malignant Narcissistic is crucial here.  We are not talking about a parent that is capable of being remorseful about your childhood and trying to change, we are talking about a parent who blames you every time the relationship isn’t going their way–they resent the loss of control over your life that they always had. Control is not love. It may be time to cut off contact so you can finally heal.  You do not owe them another ounce of your precious energy.  You owe it to yourself to stay away from them as you heal, because being around them at all always takes a toll on you,  a toll that is much heavier and destructive and stressful and toxic to you than you may realize.

There are a total of 12 tips that I have written about here today, but I am going to stop here and give you the other 6 in my next post in two weeks because this is getting really long. I hope that what I have written has been helpful to you.  I hope that you can enjoy this last week of summer and get out in the warmth of the sunshine–slow down and feel the connection to God’s love that nature provide’s and really take it in. Walks in nature are a great way to recharge your energy.  Your highly sensitive soul and body deserve this special treatment.  It’s never too late to start on the path to the healing you deserve.

With Love,

Roxanne

Helpful Tips About Healing Childhood Pain–From Self-doubt To Finding Your True Purpose

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

Forgiveness Is For Your “Self”

Hi everyone.  I have been wanting to share my song “Help Me to Forgive” for a while, but I wanted to explain what I mean by forgiveness because it can be such a confusing and guilt-inducing concept.  For myself, forgiving was something I kept trying to do because I thought it was the right thing to do.

As highly sensitive people (HSPs), we want so badly to be compassionate, fair, and kind.  I kept forgiving and forgetting the past. I pretended like everything was going to be okay if I just forgave and moved on but I continued to let myself be walked on. I ignored my feelings and kept telling myself I was forgiving and that was the right thing to do.  For me, it was the wrong thing to do and the pattern continued until I felt so hurt one day by  blatant disrespect for my feelings–when I made a simple assertion that was not to this person’s liking and then they said they were going to do it anyway whether I liked it or not.

I could not deny my feelings any longer.  My rage shocked me–I knew it was from childhood and way out of proportion to the event at hand.  But I listened to my feelings and it felt good to feel this truth–it was how I had always been treated me and I kept giving out the benefit of the doubt.  The anger awakened something in me that needed to come alive–my assertiveness about my needs and feelings and about the boundary that kept being crossing and I kept letting it happen all because I felt it important to forgive and forget.

Now this anger fueled me in a healthy way for a while. It felt good to feel instead of being numb and self-doubting for so long.  I wrote a lot about it and found myself in my journaling to have a lot of wise insights and a lot of reasons to be completely fed up with the insidious and mean things that were said to me with a smile.

But I was still so angry, it scared me how angry I was because it was so intense I felt hatred.  And this makes sense really when, as highly sensitive children, our trust in ourselves and our spirits feel consistently stomped on until we give up and repress and hide our true selves and feelings away so completely–this is a trauma!– not feeling safe to express our intense anger we hide our true selves away.  Now for the first time, I was so angry but I felt alive, I knew it was the truth I was feeling.  I was somehow grateful for everything that had happened to me to give me the self-awareness to finally know the truth! Writing my feelings out helped me make sense of it all.  I was able to see actions from my childhood which were the cause of much pain and self-doubt. It was very clear!  I will never forget this moment in my whole life when I realized there was absolutely nothing wrong with me and that I had just been the victim of a person that I wrongly trusted with my heart and soul.  So I made myself a promise not to trust this person with my private feelings (a healthy detachment) and set some boundaries for time and space to heal and it has been a very important decision in my life.

All these emotions coming up helped me connect to this wonderful aliveness–a connection to my true spirit and a connection to God and that he was there with me all along.  I know it sounds strange–how could all that pain be so awakening in a positive way but it was.  In the midst of the pain, I felt bliss and freedom and truth and so I knew it was right to stop trusting this person.  And after a long period of intense anger, pain, grief, and then acceptance,  I finally understood what all the talk and importance of forgiveness was all about–I needed to forgive God/The Universe and stopped blaming Him/It for “giving me” such a painful childhood.  And I needed to forgive myself because I knew I did the best I could at figuring out a very confusing situation and for blaming myself as a child out of survival.  I needed to forgive the whole situation and all the pain it caused me because I had ME again.  I do not have to forgive a person who is not sorry to their face and never will be–but I do forgive what they did.   I had been holding onto a lot of resentment which I didn’t realize was hurting me and taking a lot of energy.

And that is when I sat down and wrote the song “Help Me To Forgive”.  I’ll never forget writing it.  It was a very spiritual and pivotal moment in my life.  It helped me to start the process of trying to forgive God, The Universe, and me, and the whole situation, and my pain.  That is what forgiveness really means for me.  Then, a few weeks later, I wrote the song “This Too Shall Pass” with a newfound ability to comfort myself through the worst feelings of rejection and betrayal.

Yes that was quite a month–September 2007.  And I am glad I have these two songs to commemorate that special time when I reclaimed my true self and found inner peace and acceptance. And I also discovered a way to let God’s love in my life and really feel it and believe it. As the saying goes, ” The truth will set you free,”  but you must feel your feelings to get there.

But in all my writing just now about forgiveness, I don’t want to forget my reasons for writing this post.  It is to support you, the highly sensitive child with childhood wounds, from not feeling guilty that you cannot forgive yet. And that trying to forgive even God and yourself before you have gotten through all of the anger and all the repressed emotions from your childhood can leave you feeling guilty and beating yourself up.  Please do not feel guilty if you are not ready to forgive anything yet.  Please be kind to yourself and love and comfort the wounded child inside for all the feelings you were denied being allowed to express. That is the first step and it takes a long  time to tell your whole story–to let out the entire truth. The song “Help Me To Forgive” is meant to comfort you on those times you are filled with anger and resentment about the past–and you are realizing how strong you are because of the pain you’ve been through and you are ready to stop holding on to blame.  I share the lyrics with you with the utmost compassion and love in my heart.

With love,

Roxanne

How My Best Counselor Helped Me to Break Through My Illusions and Self-doubt

Hi everyone. Yay it’s Spring!  I hope you are enjoying the beauty of nature as it comes to life again.  That’s how I’m feeling too–as if I am coming to life–happier than I’ve ever been in my life.   And it is a new feeling–I catch myself out of habit being tensed up in my shoulders and neck and then I realize it and relax.  It feels like for the first time I can finally… really relax!  It is really quite amazing to me–this feeling of exhilaration with my life and how I can feel happy in the moment.  As highly sensitive people (HSPs) we are all too hard on ourselves–as children it HURTS to be different from almost everyone else around us–so without proper encouragement and support, we hide our gifts away to protect ourselves from further pain.

It’s taken me so long to come to this place where I understand what it means to be my own best friend. I used to hear people say that or I’d read about it and it just sounded like Blah, Blah, Blah, (like the adults sounded on Charlie Brown ha ha).  But now I get it.  I found it difficult to feel good about myself or love myself growing up. I grew up in a time when I felt I wasn’t even supposed to like myself.  I could feel the “Who do you think you are?” judgement of those around me much of the time.  I didn’t know who I was but I felt who I was trying to be was never ever good enough.

I have realized that illusions play a valuable role in our survival as children when we have been emotionally diminished (abused), whether it was intentional or not.  The pain of our disappointment is too great to bear as highly sensitive children, so we make decisions about ourselves that help us to cope with the situation.  For example, rather than facing this pain we say to ourselves, it must be me, I need to act differently in order to get love and approval so I will become obedient and do what others want, then I will be loved and seen.  And it appears that we feel accepted as long as we keep up this facade and keep our “real” selves and feelings hidden away.  I believe this is why journaling “for your eyes only” works so well to uncover the truth of how we really feel about things–and we can then break through those illusions and gradually free ourselves from our false self that we created to survive and eventually find our true voice.  But you really need to do it often enough that the voice in your journal (and your heart) becomes dominant over the negative voice in your head. I know I’ve written about this before, and I apologize if I am repeating myself.  But I guess I feel it is crucial to really make this point–the way you speak to your “self” is ultimately what ends up mattering the most in your ability to be able to comfort yourself and relax and enjoy your life in the way you truly deserve.

I apologize if I make it sound easy.  It can be really difficult if you don’t know where to start and when you write it’s all bad feelings and it doesn’t help you feel better.  I guess my real success in journaling really didn’t start until after I had found a person I could trust to talk to–an outside support  for the hidden “me” that I was sure was supposed to be hiding away because I was sure I was flawed and thought “something is wrong with me”.  I had forgotten about the fact that I really felt that way most of the time but it wasn’t even in my awareness–I didn’t know I was hiding–I just existed that way–it was completely hidden from me.  I thought, this is who I am–an insecure and anxious person who will always and forever need someone else to take care of me. Until that special day–the day I went to my first counselor who turned out to be the best counselor I’ve ever had in my life–and she really changed my life.

At the time I had no idea how hard it would be to find another counselor who came close to her compassion and depth of understanding ever again. But I will never forget her words and wisdom and how she saw the potential in me that I didn’t dare even imagine.  I was 22. She listened and cared and I learned to trust her with my deepest feelings and I shared some of my poems with her. She told me, to my surprise, that I was a gifted writer and that I could be my own psychotherapist if I kept on writing in this special way.  Together we discovered the roots of my self-doubt and she revealed to me that she had benefitted from counseling too in the past. She confided that, as a counselor, she felt it was important to have been on both sides in order to really understand the helping process. Another very helpful part of this special counseling experience was when she had me take the character and temperament test from the book Please Understand Me (See Recommended Books).  My results were that I was an INFJ–Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judicial and that this type is only 1% of the population. Then she told me I had the gift of empathy like her and that she was an INFJ too. (I will explain more about the 16 temperament types in a future post). I thought how could this be…like her?  She had a Ph.D and was a successful professional clinical psychotherapist and yet she said I was like her.  Unbelievable…could all those hopes and dreams I had in the back of my mind actually be a possibility? I went out and bought that book and I studied it a lot.  The book talks about the positive aspects of each of the types and my type described me so well I felt special and normal and understood for the first time in my life.

I went to see her once a week for 6 months and then I had to stop because our health insurance only covered 25 visits per year.  During that time, my confidence soared and, I remember now, I joined the Sweet Adelines and had fun performing in a barbershop quartet. (It was easy to perform with these other ladies on stage with me–I continued to have stagefright about performing alone or singing the kind of music where I expressed my soul though, but it was a start in overcoming it ).  I also started taking some guitar lessons and learning to play and sing the songs I had always loved.  Even though I had my college degree, I had temporarily taken a job at JCPenney’s catalog ordering service because I thought I wasn’t ready to help other people until I figured myself out first.  But she said this job was way beneath me and encouraged me to go to graduate school in counseling psychology.  (Even with a 3.8 in my major, much praise from my professors, internship experience, and letters of recommendation–when my graduation was barely acknowledged, all my confidence had evaporated.)   “Make sure it is a program that is APA approved,” she said.  And I listened.  And I grew in confidence and continued writing my self-help poetry.  And you know what happened next…I was so confident in myself, I thought I could even change my relationship with my extended family!  Without talking to her first, we moved many states away from my wonderful counselor.  We decided to start a family and I put graduate school on hold…

And now, telling you my story, I realize I do NOT want to emphasize  how tragic it was…and that I had to wait so long to find myself and be happy and figure myself out so I could finally be that counselor/coach and writer that she saw that I could be.  Instead I feel strongly that it all really worked out for the best.  I grew so much as a person watching how my children thrived with our unconditional love and emotional support and I saw the world through their eyes and healed my soul right along with them experiencing the wonders in this world.  And I continued to write in a way that I was able to be my own psychotherapist–writing through the layers of pain and breaking through the illusions that helped me survive a childhood of feeling emotionally diminished and misunderstood.

And I see how I had to try everything before I had the ability to start setting boundaries in certain relationships in my life. My counselor back then never used the word narcissisism and I wonder if that would have helped me realize the futility of my quest for healthy give-and-take in certain relationships in my life sooner.  It is all right though, because I know the meaning of the word now and had to find out the depth and scope of it’s meaning in my own way.  I hope my journey inspires you to embrace the path you are on but also to look inward and explore your true feelings and write about them–and keep listening to your hopes and dreams that exist in the back of your mind . For I believe that is the voice of your true self that you must not ignore.

Finding a caring, empathic counselor to support the true reasons for my deepest fears, and self-doubt, and to believe in my unique gifts made all the difference in my life.  Her words kept me on the right track and kept me writing through the layers of pain that would arise between the numbness or anxiety. Her words kept guiding me towards the release of my pain and ultimately to the joy and pride on the other side. It changed the course of my life and to her I will always be grateful.  I hope my story has been helpful to you and provides you with some comfort and encouragement.

Today I am releasing the lyrics for the song “This Too Shall Pass”.  This song was written to ease myself through a period of my worst grief and anger when I started setting some boundaries for myself–and instead of getting respect and love, I felt rejection and experienced guilt-inducing manipulations.  It was a pivotal point in my recovery when I let go of my illusions about the potential of  certain relationships and grieved for what would never be and comforted myself by writing this song. After writing it and singing it, I felt stronger than ever before that everything was going to be alright and that ultimately I must take care of myself and honor my feelings. This song still comforts me when I am feeling my worst and I hope it does the same for you.  I hope you enjoy it.

With love, Roxanne

Feb. 4, 2010 My Ode to Michael Jackson

Hi everyone.  Michael Jackson was definitely a highly sensitive person (HSP) with a narcissistic father and he suffered from much childhood pain because of it. There has been a lot about him on the news again lately. So it seemed timely and appropriate for me to write this post about him.

I think it is wonderful that they are doing a remake of his co-written song “We Are The World” to raise money for Haiti.  Also, the DVD of  “This Is It” just came out and I bought a copy yesterday.  On Sunday, I cried when his two oldest children spoke at the Grammys.  I am always surprised at my strong reaction.  It reminded me of my severe and unusual reaction to his death and especially watching his funeral on TV.  I cried, sobbed, and grieved non-stop for 3 hours watching it.  I was shocked at my reaction.  I had been a fan but I hadn’t been a devoted fan in his recent years.  It made me look at a deeper part of myself and how important music was to me and how fearless he was about expressing it.  I didn’t know how much I loved him until he was gone.

I had been profoundly affected by his musical gift as a child and watched him on TV every chance I got.  I had two Jackson5 albums which I can remember joyfully singing and dancing to in my room.  I’ll never forget how, in sixth grade, my classmates and I practiced a line dance to Rockin Robin everyday at recess.  And I can still remember where I was when the Thriller video came out.  The Thriller album was the last album of his that I bought and I am ashamed to admit that in his later years I gave up on him due to the media’s negative slant on his behavior.

For two weeks after he died I could do nothing else but watch and record everything about him on TV at the time.  I know now he was innocent of everything he was accused of.  My family thought this all very odd of me and, although supportive, they couldn’t really relate to it.  All I knew was my heart was grief-stricken.  And so I wrote this poem (as I often do to relieve myself of my pain) and it helped.  Here it is:

My Ode to Michael Jackson

By Roxanne E. Smith

July 7, 2009

Michael,

Your light was bright when mine was dim.

You gave me hope. Felt I could win.

When as a child with doubt within

My love for music did begin

You showed me how to celebrate

Life is good whatever your state

There’s something to look forward to

God must be good ’cause he gave us you

Now I know how to dance and sing

My soul said yes this is my thing.

When so alone you were right there

Telling my soul remember you care

“You care about this music stuff.

You forget to sing and dance enough

It fills your heart with joy to do it.

Music! You’re important to it.”

My heart aches that you’re not here

The gift you gave was oh so clear

We didn’t know how dear you were

Now that you’re gone the silence stirs

Can we keep up this music gift?

Share our hearts and move our hips

Can we still feel joy again?

Who will show us how, my friend?

I will try to keep up my end

Music has helped me transcend

From frightened child to now a voice

You have helped me make that choice

Music it can change a life.

Give new courage, heal the strife.

Sharing feelings gives them strength

You have helped me see this. Thanks!

I am still so sad and lost.

You gave your all and look the cost.

Now you are in bliss with God

Without you here it seems so odd.

What is there to sing about?

I don’t want to do without

Not that I’m as good as you

But God gave me the singing too

Maybe I’m supposed to sing

Because I love to do this thing

And write these songs and play guitar

Give to others near and far

Look at singing as a gift

To other people as a lift

Not be so focused on my self

And get my writings off the shelf

And share with others what I do

And be a little bit like you

‘cause you had compassion just like me

Your life and death has set me free

Thank you Michael for helping me.

Thanks for reading. Today I am going to release the audio for my song “Free To Live.”  This song always takes me from feeling bad to feeling good and I hope it has the same effect for you.

I felt it was appropriate to release this song tied into this post–because, as we all can relate as highly sensitive souls and a difficult childhood, Michael Jackson often did not feel…Free To Live!  Thank you again to my readers.  I care and I am here for you.

With Love, Roxanne

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN->Free To Live  (For the lyrics, click on the song title under Pages on the side bar on the top right.)

*You may listen to my songs for free on this website.  If you would like to save or download my songs though,  please make a donation.  Thank you for your support!

On Overcoming Self-doubt: The Story Behind My Songs of Hope and Healing

Hi everyone. I believe there are many, many highly sensitive people (HSPs) out there that are gifted in so many areas but are suffering from self-doubt from their wounds from childhood and by being misunderstood in our society in general.  I want to tell you about how I came to be able to write songs and share them with you in the hopes that this will be helpful or inspire you in some way.  My being able to write songs is a story about overcoming self-doubt and finding and expressing my true self.  It was my songs that helped me uncover the truth of who I really am and what happened to me in my childhood.  The ability to write and sing these songs gave me a connection to something spiritual so that I learned to love myself and stop doubting the gifts and feelings that were within me.   Writing these songs turned me into a believer–and I now know I am loved and supported by the universe and I became more spiritual and drawn to reading more about what that means. 

I feel there is something in the words and melodies of most of my songs that came from something bigger than myself–I was just the channel.  I want to inspire, encourage and empower others who are in emotional pain and afraid to show who they really are.  I believe those highly sensitive souls are voices that are needed in our society and they are sensitive for a reason.  They have a connection to something bigger than themselves that they do not realize and don’t dare show to others because they don’t want to be hurt anymore–so they are hiding.  I understand this hiding.

The songs were an instrument in me telling my truth–and gaining the strength to stand up and assert my self and my true voice. These songs were instrumental in my gaining strength and energy and learning finally that there are people who we must avoid while we are healing and people of light and love that are safe to go towards. Being highly sensitive is a gift!  And I am grateful and honored to be one of those people.  I  feel blessed in this gift I have been given and I now have the positive energy to give to and love others only by loving my self first.  That is what these songs have done for me.  Here is my story:

In 2004 I started writing songs.  I had been writing  poems in a journal since I was 14.  At that time, I was told that things I wrote were crazy but I kept writing anyway because it made me feel better.  At that time I trusted others more than I trusted myself and so when I was criticized, ignored, and shamed for my singing too it broke my heart and I gave up on my dream to sing.  But I was compelled to sing and write anyway–in secret and in private. I dreamed of being a singer like Linda Rondstadt and sang in my bedroom to all of her albums.  I started learning the guitar at 17. (A boyfriend bought it for me–not my parents.)  I slowly started learning to play chords to my favorite songs. These were songs by Carole King, James Taylor, Carly Simon, and Linda Ronstadt. (Later on it was songs by Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow).  I sang in the choir in high school and college and got great praise but I didn’t believe it. My college voice teacher told me I had the best voice in the whole school of music.  But my fear felt too big to overcome so I refused to do any solos–I had stagefright and by graduation I gave up on my dream.

But about once a month something in me would make me sing and play the guitar.  I would sing and play my favorite songs for hours for only my self or sometimes for my husband and kids and then put it away for another month.  They liked my singing–but I was sure that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was in my heart.  I did that for many, many years.   Meanwhile,  I heard about a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  I  began writing 3 pages a day of free writing called Morning Pages to unblock creativity. (Ellen Degeneres has mentioned on her show that she also does this). Something started happening to me–I was finding out who I was and how I really felt about things.  More good writing and poetry started coming out of me–I was feeling more confident in myself and happier.

My children were having big successes in singing at school.  I had been careful not to push them in any direction but the ones of their own choosing.  To my surprise they both were drawn to singing in their own way.  My eldest became a soloist in high school and eventually a lead singer in a cover band in college.  My 2nd child was successful in acting and sang beautifully in solos in musical theatre productions at school.  They had no stagefright at all!  I was so proud of them and proud of myself for raising children with no stagefright!   I would often joke,” I can die now”,  but it made me realize how important singing was to me but I was still paralyzed in fear that my voice was not good enough for others to hear.  I knew this was irrational and started singing more often but there was still so much doubt in my mind.  It was exhausting to try and easier to just not try to sing for others.  I sang more often but still just kept it to myself.

When my eldest child went off to college and my husband started traveling more throughout the week I had more time to myself to recharge and suddenly one day I was inspired to put music to the poem I was writing in my journal.  I remember a melody came to me and it seemed as a gift from above to go with these words I was writing.  Not until after I was done writing it (long hand), with this melody in my head, did I pick up the guitar to try to play it and miraculously it fit perfectly with the few chords I knew well.  I recorded it on a tape recorder and, during a rare and brave moment, I dared to show it to my other child’s voice teacher who really liked it and said “you are a folk singer/songwriter” and also that he was jealous because he had a masters in music and couldn’t write any songs. This first song was entitled I’ll Believe and it felt like this song may have been a gift from above and that I had just been open to receive it and put it all together.  After that, songs just started pouring out of me and I always put the date on every song I write because it is important to me to acknowledge when it was given to me. 

Not only that, each song was prompted by an emotional state and a painful learning experience.  Sometimes I would feel a lot of shame after the song was complete because I dared to pour out my truth.  I soon realized that my best songs were the ones I felt the most shame about initially.  I knew this shame was not the truth. Then I would make myself listen to a tape of my recorded songs when I wasn’t feeling good about them or myself.  Every time I listened, I was surprised that I had written these songs and they changed my mood from feeling lost and numb to finding myself and finding my joy in life again for that day. It was a very healing experience as I saw myself getting more and more confident in expressing my “voice” in more ways than one.  I realized that because of the internalized shame from my childhood, I was beating myself up all the time and it was up to me to start believing in myself and to stop believing the inner critic inside my head.  It wasn’t true.  I was actually good.  How many other things I believed about myself also were not really true?   I was finding my voice as a person as well and speaking up for myself and standing up for myself in all areas of my life.

So it is the lyrics and the music that I feel helped me to find myself and I hope that they will be a source of hope and healing to you as well. Right now, I have written about 40 songs.  20 of them that I am releasing the lyrics to you I call my “Songs of Hope and Healing”.  And that is the inspiration for the name of this website.    Please let me know either by comment or by email if there are lyrics that speak to you.

15 to 20 % of us are Highly Sensitive People (HSPs).  We are a valuable and essential resource to our planet!  Overcoming self-doubt and finding our voice IS our true purpose in life.  Find the courage to trust that those gifts you were given are meant to be expressed and will be helpful to others by inspiring them to find their gifts as well. The desires deep in your heart are the path to finding your true purpose in life.  You can overcome your self-doubt! You are sensitive for a reason!

Thank you to my readers.  I have been getting emails and it’s great to know that I am reaching you and that what I am doing is helping.

With love, Roxanne

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