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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

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14 responses

  1. Hi Roxanne,
    I just printed out your article and also NP 1 and 2. I hope you can help me with this. I drank heavily about 4 nights ago and I havent had any contact with her. Anyway I left a message about how much she hurt me and I called her Jonnie dearest and I said very mean things to her. I havent heard back from her at all and its the 2nd time I have done this in about 10 months or so. After I left her house we left on bad terms and i called her back then. Its long story would like to share wit with you in another email. Anyway she made it all about her and there was family visiting her) and she got all the see what horrible daughter she is and I swear i am so pissed at myself for doing that. I called back on VM and said I am sorry and I wont call again. I have been working on this NP healing for 1 1/2 and my angry times gets the best of me. Sometimes i really hate her. I am still doing NC again — is there something I can do for myself because I know i only change me and to help me with this anger towards her. I thought I was pass this. Grieving goes up and down and all around. I believe its because of the family reunion she excluded me from. well i gave her more leverage and now she can definitley state her case against me. After that episode I put down the wine until i figure out my pain before i drink and try to not feel all this pain. Thank you so much. Thank God for your site.
    Dana Starr

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    1. Hi Dana, Thank you for your comment. I understand the pain you are going through. The first step to move forward is to forgive yourself for calling her when you were drunk. You apologized and that is so giving of you–a “loving” emotionally healthy parent would appreciate your apology and want to work things out with you. The unbearable pain that is causing you to reach for alcohol is from your childhood–a trauma that was the last straw for your sensitive soul that has probably been repressed from your memory. I am so sorry for the pain she caused you as a child and is still causing you. You deserved so much more as a child and you deserve so much more now as an adult. The more you “try not to feel all this pain” the more it intensifies–it will not go away by sheer will. This is pain from your early childhood that is coming up because the truth of what happened to you needs to be released so you can heal. It may be very helpful for you to get a journal for your eyes only and write out all of your rage and pain and grief. You might also like to try hitting a mattress with your fists or screaming what you’d like to say to her in a pillow. This will release the pain and heal your soul a little at a time, layer by painful layer. Never express these painful feelings to the narcissistic parent who hurt you–they always turn it back on you and it makes the situation worse. Don’t waste another ounce of your precious energy on what your parent thinks or anyone in your family that is caught up in her web. Now is your time for comfort and healing, Dana. I believe that unresolved pain comes up to heal when we get stronger–you must have done something good for yourself recently for the pain to come up so intensely that you reached out for alcohol to numb it. I make my living as a life coach helping people heal from emotional abuse from childhood. Please consider me as your coach (read about it at hspsurvivors dot com) or use my Ask the Coach services so I can help you further. Most of all Dana, be very kind to yourself now as you heal. Comfort the small child in yourself that has gone without love and support from your family of origin for so so long. Love and comfort the small child within you as you would any child that is abused unfairly–your compassionate soul can mother the wounded parts of your soul. Journaling can be the outlet to strengthen your true voice and true feelings that have not been validated by your family. You don’t need people in your life that fail to see your awesome gifts and bright shining light that is so needed on this planet. Blessings and comfort to you as you heal, Roxanne

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  2. Hi Roxanne,
    I am sorry for getting back later than sooner. Thank you so much for you words of encouragement. I started massage school on the 27th and i am so happy. I have been wanting to go for so long but fear of failure kept me back. I went through the fear and did it anyways/ Its very hard learning antomy and muslces and tendons and skelton! and techniqe. since I have had NP out of my life its amazing my choices i choose for myself. Again after the drinking deal its still no contact and I like it that way. I would of never believe its gets easier but it did for me. I guess that is called acceptance. I heard about the family reunion and through my aunt (she did not attend either) and even though they say it was wonderful . told to me it was way over the top like a wedding with name tags and a table for her and her brothers and sisters and I am sure she got her point across how much the image means to her and to show off her image and her new husband wealth. I am sure she felt like the queen she thinks she is. Look at me how special i am. It was suppose to be about my dead grandmother? How morbid dont ya think really when you think about it. She hasnt called or even concern how I am doing and she is one selfish bitch. Anyway off to school. I would love to work with you as my coach so let me know what i need to do for this to happen.
    Thank you so much . Thank you so much for blessing me with yourself and your experinces. Yes you are a true healer.

    God bless
    Dana

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    1. Hi Dana, Thank you for your comment and for your kind words of gratitude. I am so happy for you about massage school! Yay for you! You “went through the fear and did it anyways”!! It’s a blessing to have your Aunt to talk to–just one other person to support us can be so helpful. I would love to be your Coach, Dana, so just email me at elaine@hspsurvivors dot com and we can get started soon. I am so happy that you feel that sharing my words and experiences have helped you to heal. Thank you so much for letting me know! I look forward to a hearing from you. With warmest wishes and blessings to you, Roxanne

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  3. Hi Roxanne

    Touching base I finally went to this site I trulylove it I am ready to start. Where do we begin.? I tried to use that email address and it came back undelivered?

    Thank you

    Dana

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    1. Hi Dana, So glad you love my Coaching website. I am so sorry you had trouble getting through with the email address. It is elaine@hspsurvivors.com (I wrote it the other way with the dot or the [at] because I was told it will help me to avoid getting a lot of spam). Sorry for the confusion. I look forward to receiving your email and answering any questions before we begin. With love and light, Roxanne

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  4. Dear Roxanne,
    You are a very lovely person. Your messages have taught me so much and also confirmed thoughts that had been coming to my mind. Its as though I was being taught from inside myself. God is good. I need to heed your messages about trusting others and the universe and also to live happily and healthily. At the moment am so tired and in pain and consumed with righteous anger. But I am seeing that I can have a good life, maybe soon.
    A lovely rose will bloom from all the suffering.I hope that mine will be used for good like yours has.
    take care
    D:

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    1. dd, Thank you so much for your kind words and lovely comment. Thank you for letting me know that my posts resonate with what you feel inside of you. When I started reading books on spirituality I felt the same way–what I was reading I somehow already knew, even though I had never read it before–like it just brought it to my consciousness. Yes, God is good and he doesn’t want us to suffer. I think of God as the most ideal parents ever, loving and comforting me and helping me heal my inner child. I understand your tiredness and pain. I am so sorry for the suffering you have endured. Righteous anger is healthy anger and you can use the energy that this anger provides to take action for yourself and go for your dreams! it is obvious you are on the right track–you are healing and you can see the future will blossom for you! Yes! Yay!! Your time is coming, I can tell you are a highly enlightened soul and you have much compassion in you that is rare and so helpful to others. Thank you again for your lovely words, your comment came on the day when I was scared and in pain from my eye injury–your words gave me a much needed boost and helped me get through it! Warmest wishes to you dd :), Roxanne

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  5. Hi Roxanne,

    Its been awhile sinse I wrote. So many things seem to have been going on. I droped out of school due to the school not being what i thought it was going to be. I still plan to attend another school in March. I have to pay the money myself but seems to me to be a small intimate type schooling and right up my alley. The other was all teenagers and mirco mgmt staff, not for me.
    Anyway my NP came back into my life over the last time I drank and no I didnt call her with mean words (believe me she doesnt allow me to forget it) She does and has always come back in a crisis or a seem crisis. I guess to make sure she feels she is the one who is helping. I know the act all to well. Yesterday was my birtday and she bought me a really nice sheets and has sung happy birthday on the phone for as long as i can remember i guess for she is actually really good at buying things for me. But anyway I am talking all is going good then out of freaken no where well let me back up I told her that my dad who she hates and has no problem telling me how to feel about him. she always saids things like you only lived him with him 2 years yea NP bitch because she made us sisters go live with him so she could get a rich man cannot get a rich man with 3 kids.. We hinder her freedom . anyway i am telling her dad and i are talking and they are being very supported and bought me a joel osteen book and gave me money in a bitchyy voice she said 20 i said no 50. well then a few minutes later she started in on the when your drunk in a blackout you said the most horrible things and went on to tell me before i stop her and said i am forgiven by christ and if you need to talk about this after i already ask you forgiveness than i suggest you talk to someone who can help you with it because i thought we were already past this. Elaine from going on 2 years working on my healing and my book i read saved my lifed “:will i ever be good enough” I knew at that moment when she said that she was punishing me because of what i had said early about my dad!! that is growth for me she sling and it did NOT pentrate me. it bounced off. It stung alittle but nothing like the olden days. I have actually felt sorry for my mom with her bitterness and shame and her mask and her not be able to be her real self but i know because she doesnt know who she is. I never knew i could be at place where i am now ever i mean that. I am healing to wholeness and its places of your writing and that book that have saved my life. I dont have to reject me (2much alcohol) when she rejects me or anyone else for that matter. I see right through her insanity and even though my sisters are not talking to me i go with it. because i know one day she will see her ways even if its on her deathbed you know. I give God these issues with my sisters I know He can make it happen if its meant to be. My mothers is very mentally ill woman I know it even if she doesnt or anyone else. I am learning to heal and take care of me and that in itself is a miracle/I believe in karma and I know it/she is keeping my sisters from me. she needs to lean on them so they feel sorry for her. her allieds. I am not afraid nor am going to be used or abused ever again by her. SHE DOES NOT DEFINE ME ANYMORE.AND I DONT C MYSELF THROUGH HER DISTORTED VIEWS/i talk to her but i knoiw how to handle it learning to./ when i get off the phone i ask myself what i learned and if there were any games or NP crap. I am learning alot thropugh these conversations now. I am careful when its good to o/she has called back when its been a few days to say sorry thats a first so i am just on guard as i get stronger…
    I still want to work with you its a money thing right now but i live by faith so i know it will happen when its supposed to Roxanne.

    Thank you for you
    Dana

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    1. Dana, Wow, it’s so wonderful to hear you talk with such wisdom and strength and an ability to clearly see the truth of who you are!–and you are able to see your Mom and her narcissism with such clarity too! Congratulations! I am proud of you. I like everything you say here and your words and story will help other readers who are not as far along in their healing as you are. Your true voice is shining through in your strong statements of truth about yourself–this is so wonderful and shows how strong you have become because of your emotional healing. It’s wonderful how you get strength from God and listen to your inner guidance. This is so much what I help my clients do–you already are on a path of healing and self-knowledge on your own 🙂 . Warmest wishes and prayers, Dana, as you continue to heal and learn, Roxanne

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  6. So my mom is not a narcissistic parent, I know this because she does feel remorse, and guilt, and my sister gets along with her well, and I know she cares. However she believes that she might have had a narcissistic parent and I can’t help but wonder if that is why I feel like I relate to your posts, maybe she inherited some of her mother’s demons. I believe I am a HSP, and I always wondered why I reacted so strongly to things, but people just told me that I was too sensitive and that I just needed to build myself a tougher skin, which I did. I also could never get rid of my emotional baggage because I would absorb it all and believe I deserved it all. The thing about my mom is she is a very scary person when she gets angry, it is only vocal anger but it still hurt just the same, and I am hesitant to say this but the more I learn about the healthy side of anger the more I see her anger as something twisted, rageful even. I am just realizing now, I am 20 years old by the way, how harmful her anger was to me. The only way I could deal with it at the time was by detaching myself from the present conflict which might explain why now I am a very spacey person, I also freak out when any little conflict arises and let my friends deal with it or if it is a personal one, just ignore it, until it goes away. I also am realizing that I have been steadily going through the process of numbing myself to all bad feeling, by association the good feelings are being numbed as well. Even though I realize this, it seems to be a conditioned response that feels impossible to change. I feel like I am even more sensitive because I was born with a speech impediment, I had to go to 10 years of speech therapy, but in the beginning when I was just learning how to speak, people had a hard time understanding me and kids my age just wouldn’t be bothered, which is one reason why I feel like I have no voice. But along with that no voice thing is my inability to get angry or feel angry because my mom who I believe truly loves me is someone I am scared off when she is angry, so because I see what it does I am truly scared to be angry because I am afraid of not being loved due to it, so instead I have repressed it so deeply I forgot what it feels like and therefore I am unable to speak my truth. I am currently about to take a break from college because I feel like the institution is numbing me to my natural love of learning and inquisitiveness and that I am only their out of the guilt of my mom working so hard to put me through college saying it is her responsibility as a parent. I also feel so stuck on these issues that I can’t seem to figure out what to do with my life, like the child in me needs relief before I can move forward, but I don’t know how.

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    1. abbey, thank you for your comment and for sharing your struggles in such great detail–there are many others that can relate to all you express here. You have learned much about yourself and have much wisdom and compassion that is innate in you. Being such a highly empathic person it is very harmful having a mother who seems to take out her anger on you in an unhealthy way like that. This is very toxic for you. If she is a remorseful person then you must make it clear to her that she must stop this abusive behavior or you cannot be around her anymore–if she is not a narcissist then she will look inward and grow and change in order not to lose you. You deserve this kind of respect and love. As for the anger issue, your are right–there is healthy expression of anger and unhealthy expression of anger. It is so important that you acknowledge your anger and release it in healthy ways like by screaming into a pillow, writing out your feelings in a journal, hitting a mattress with your fists, or role playing with a safe person so you can express your hidden anger and rage at your mother without talking to her directly. I would advise you to try to be “assertive” with your mother but if you are not able to do so yet out of fear this is understandable–first you must take some time and heal some of the deeper wounds from childhood and release the rage, pain, and grief that you may have built up and repressed. Over time you can heal your childhood wounds that keep you from speaking your truth but, as John Gray says, while you are healing you must stay away from negative toxic people who drain your energy (see Recommended Books). When you are stronger and better at recharging and have a strong grasp on your voice and your compassionate true purpose then you will be better equipped to decide if the negative people in your family are supportive of your newfound role or not. Building a “tougher skin” is unhealthy for HSPs–this results in creating a mask or false self and denying our authentic feelings which are meant to be our guide to finding our true purpose in life! You are sensitive for a reason and it is a special gift–embrace your feelings and you will find your true voice. 🙂 Warmest wishes, Roxanne

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  7. Dear Roxanne,

    Just found your site and articles! WOW!!! Thank you SO MUCH! Your posts are extraordinarily validating. Having just recently climbed out of my shell enough to discover info on HSP, I’m soaking up everything I can find. (Hahaha. Just noticed what I said.)

    I don’t have time now to share everything I’d like to say. However….

    In the last year or so, my PTSD — which I didn’t even realize I had — intensified, including vivid, paralyzing flashbacks. It can also really trigger me when people are so certain about things that are so obviously NOT true from my perspective. I only recently realized that they may not being lying, as I supposed, but simply don’t see what I see. I even told a woman once that I see too much, feel to much, know too much to have a normal relationship. (That may still be true. But she was suppressing a LOT and I got triggered a LOT.) Well, and being a guy HSP has it’s own set of issues.

    Your description of an HSP child and narcissist parent was spot on. Years ago, I realized that I was the scapegoat and emotional dumping ground (my exact words) for (esp. mom’s, but also dad’s) rage, shame, fear. (I was adopted as a newborn.) Until the day she died, she showed no remorse whatsoever. Apparently, when I was a child, we both agreed that I was bad and wrong. That part of me that knew otherwise got buried long ago. Seems I’ve spend the last 24 years trying to recover from the first 24 years. I am progressively realizing that I was NOT bad/wrong, she was!

    I still have a lot of healing to do. But for the first time in a long time, I feel like I have some solid ground to stand on. I may still have a long way to go. They say recovery is like peeling an onion. After the flashbacks, this feels like a whole ‘nother onion I didn’t realize was there. But thanks to a good counselor, lots of journaling, EMDR, and what I’m reading about HSPs and also PTSD, I feel I’m on my way. Thanks again!

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    1. Bradley, Thank you so much for your comment and for your kind words of gratefulness. Your wonderful sharing of your healing journey is helping many others who can relate! Wishing you love and light, Roxanne 😀

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