HELP, I’M overwhelmed –
I can’t cope with all these feeling!
REVIEW Intro of ‘Under-Feeling’
IN THE PRESENT – keep in mind: “If it’s hysterical it’s historical”, so our emotional intensity comes from the Inner Child, who had to stuff & store all the hurt no one helped us process, day after day, year after year!
• WE add to the mountain of misery we already carry from our past by feeding our self-hate, guilt, shame along with the reluctance to leave people who are emotionally unavailable &/or outright abusive . Yet we stubbornly resist doing emotion-release work because we say we don’t want to feel the WIC’s pain – while we’re creating more pain with our damage! Over-Feelers (O-Fs ) are already suffering! Why not clean it out & be rid of it?
• Being swamped with old pain (and new) blocks our ability to have pleasure! We know we’re not happy but are so used to being miserable we believe we’ll never be free if it. “Does a fish know it’s wet?” Unexpressed grief & rage keeps us stuck & obeying our family’s Toxic Rules.
• ACoAs need permission and courage to express all emotions (Es), BUT in the right places & in safe ways, learning how to handle them appropriately whenever they surface. Yes, O-Fs are afraid of letting out intense rage & terror because we really don’t want to hurt others.
But sometimes, when our huge abandonment button gets pushed, our Inner Sadist (I.S.) raises it’s head, & we can’t stop ourselves from saying & doing cruel things. Afterward we usually feel guilty, ashamed & remorseful. So, as much as we can, O-Fs try to push those big feelings down too – just not as successfully as U-Fs.
IMP: If you think you’re over-sensitive (O-F) AND see it as a character defect – brainwashed to believe that by dysfunctional parents – because everything seems to bother you, consider this:
You were born with an active limbic system (brain-seat of emotions).
This is very much like having hyper-sensitive pale skin. If the person is out in the sun too long – without protection – they’ll get burned.
So too, an emotional ‘sensitive’ will have a very intense reaction to being burned by years of emotional abuse & neglect as a child – without the protection of an adult brain, & without safe adults to protect your little body & heart!
NOTE: t’s not the sensitivity but an abusive childhood that’s at fault!
2. OVER-FEELING (O-F)
O-Fs cannot easily hold in our feelings when hurt, so from childhood on we were reprimanded, punished, made fun of & misunderstood – at home, in school & at play.
We cried too much, were depressed, felt suicidal, threw tantrums, were clingy or rude, withdrawn or flamboyant…. The more we expressed our pain – the more we were abused, so the more pain we had to swallow. The more we showed our distress at being abused – the more we were punished for it! Vicious cycle.
Expl: Jinny was a very bright, intuitive & hyper-sensitive teenager. Not only had she been emotionally & mentally stressed since birth, but then the hormones kicked in. Her ACoA parents had no clue how to deal with her – the narcissistic mother wanted her to ‘shape up’ & the depressed father identified with her but was powerless himself. One evening, in the kitchen, yet another insensitive comment from her mother set Jinny off & she began sobbing.
— Her father came in & told her to stop, which made she cry harder – so he slapped her. His reason: “You were hysterical & I was trying to snap you out of it”. It’s something he had once read, so thought he was being ‘helpful’!
Jinny was devastated by his betrayal – as he was ‘the kind one’. She knew she was not hysterical & could think quite clearly! Not everyone can “walk & talk & chew bubble gum” but she could, yet after all these years (17) her father still had not bothered to find out who she really was!
• As a result of our experiences, O-Fs often hate having emotions but can’t stop ourselves, so we despise our ‘weakness’! Rarely or never comforted, we were left desperately alone with our pain – profoundly terrifying for any child. Combining no comfort with being penalized for expressing legitimate suffering taught us to loath being so sensitive. Therefore O-Fs also have pushed away some emotions, hiding them from ourselves, but still acting them out for everyone else to see!
• This enormous backlog makes un-healed O-F ACoAs very touchy & easy to flare up. One woman in early Recovery expressed it as : “I’m an emotional hemophiliac – touch me & I bleed”!
NEXT: Over-Feelers – #2