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How HSPs Can Heal From Inner Shame and Numb Emotions

Hi everyone!  Summer is upon us and I hope you are enjoying the many opportunities that arise in this beautiful season.  For those of us in the midwestern United States, we know the warm weather is short-lived so we try to get outside and enjoy it while we can.  As highly sensitive people though this “pressure” to enjoy the outdoors can add to our “to do” list that is already too long as it is!  Please look at the weather as a bonus to get outside in nature to recharge from the usual stress in our lives–just setting aside even 10 minutes alone in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening to walk, ride a bike, or even just sit outside and look and marvel at the sky or walk barefoot in the warm grass will help you enjoy the moments of summer more fully and not feel like the summer is passing you by yet again.

Today I woke up with a very strong feeling of shame and dread.  Along with it though there was very strong clarity about the truth of these feelings and the shame and dread very soon faded away as I got on with my day.  So I wanted to share with you the process that I go through and how I got to this emotionally healthy place!

Immediately when feeling this strong dread and shame this morning I went straight to comforting myself and saying to myself, “Wow, I must have done something really great for my true self yesterday–I must have really been expressing my truth and shining my light…. these feelings from childhood coming up to heal are the evidence and so I must be extra kind to myself today.”  I KNOW this now because of many years of analyzing and paying attention to my own emotional patterns.  I learned that when I wrote a great song,  poem,  or even when I just had great uninhibited fun or even exercise, this strong shame feeling would always pop up for me the morning of the next day.  This is because these feelings from childhood were my experience day in and day out until I had to give up as a child and repress my true self and all of the memories of this unbearable shame in order to survive.

Back then as a child, when I expressed my true wise self, or my joy in my own creativity, I felt shamed to the core.  I KNOW this now.  I no longer allow these dreadful feelings when they arise in me to negatively spiral in the following way:  My inner critic used to say, “What is wrong with me that I feel this shame, it feels terrible, almost unbearable, I feel disgusting, I must have done something horrible and shameful, I thought I had a good day yesterday but it must not be true, what was I thinking, I am never going to feel better, why do I even try”…blah blah blah, down down down the spiral went, draining all hope and positive energy out of me, leading to a depressed feeling and sometimes just numbness (dissociation) as I trudged though the day.  Wow, it’s hard to believe I used to spiral this way!!  But I did!  My inner critic has now completely been replaced with positive affirmations that I KNOW are true.  I don’t let my inner critic take over and I over-ride it with love and compassion for myself.  It took a lot of inner work but the whole process was well worth it.

My thought and feeling cycles are so different now as I know that how I treat myself with my inner thoughts create the kind of day and experience I am going to have.  This is more than just positive thinking or law of attraction techniques.  I had to go through a grieving process that actually changed my core beliefs about myself to the point that I learned that I had a lot to be sad about, angry about, and plenty to comfort myself through.  I had to delve into the past to see where the negative beliefs came from and get justice (inwardly) for the little girl inside who felt so much like an inferior being.  It was not the truth and I had to figure out what the truth was for ME.

As a mother I knew, and my college education in child development told me, that NO child is inferior and deserves to be shamed–so the inner grief work was a challenge for me to put together this puzzle to find out the truth about what happened to me to make me feel so bad about myself.  Memories started coming back to me and feelings that had been dormant and frozen in time became “available” to me again and I learned compassion for that little girl inside.  This took a while and everyone’s journey to healing will be different and take as long as it takes to work through your layers of illusions that keep you from seeing the truth of your brilliant shining light and true self.

So please be patient with yourself if you are in the middle of feeling all the pain and not yet seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Or if you are feeling comfortably numb but joyless and lacking motivation.  The light is there.  It is because you had this bright light and higher spiritual level that bullies in your life had to put you down and put out your light.  You may have been a threat to their distorted view of the world where “their” feelings were the center of the universe.  But your light never went out–it was just dimmed or covered up with illusions and blocks that are not true about you.  You have the power within you to turn your light back up high yourself!  No one can do it for you. It takes time to learn how to process through the layers of dormant feelings.

Writing out your pain in a journal for your eyes only is so important to the healing process because it gets you out of your left brain’s spiraling or scattered thoughts and connects you to your right brain’s compassion for yourself and creativity.  Document your progress in the journal and then go back and make yourself read the hopeful stuff you write, you will begin to see how amazing and wise you are that you survived it all and that there is so much to look forward to as you grow and grow in your own compassion for your wounded inner child.  As you grow to protect your inner child and stand up for the rights to all of your feelings, the negative thoughts about yourself begin to change.

Another thing I had to realize was that no one was going to rescue me but ME and I had to make a decision to never ever beat myself up again.  I remember saying to myself once, “That is it!!, that is the last time!  I am never going to waste my time in such misery again!”  And it stuck.  I still had bad days when shameful feelings came up to heal but I comforted myself instead.  Maybe I stayed on the couch that day BUT I was kind to myself instead.  I put away my to-do list, watched a favorite movie, made myself my favorite warm soup or hot tea, wrapped myself in a soft blanket, “loved” myself through the bad feelings and had compassion for my inner child who deserved love  and comfort.  And I allowed myself to grieve the happy carefree childhood that I never had.  This is so important to learn to do for ourselves–we hsp survivors may feel like we got skipped as we nurture our children and everyone around us–I realized this was important for me to take the time to mother my self for a while.  Then I would feel SO much better after I took a day for myself like this–I would feel renewed and recharged and it started a habit of a positive cycle of healing and change.

These were the new patterns and beliefs that were laying groundwork for new neurons in my brain for a new future and over-riding the shame from childhood.  This is the process of recovery from emotional abuse.  It is not easy.  It is not fun.  It is painful. But with delving into the pain at first I noticed that I at least felt more “alive” and this was a “spark” of light that kept me going towards the painful truth and not escaping into a comfortably numb existence of denial and dissociation that had for years kept me from moving forward towards my dreams and desires.  Instead I started continually delving into and through the pain to find my truth and alivenessI acknowledge the painful feeling and released it layer by layer in my journal or to a trusted, safe witness and gradually I emerged on the other side of it all.  The shame and dread that I wake up to is now just a weak residue, a glimmer of the truth of the past and all I worked through to get here–to where the joy in my heart can’t wait to get started on another day of being me in a Universe that I feel connected to and know that it supports me!

And so I say to all of you out there who are on what feels like an endless healing path, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is awesome! When you can tap into the light and love from inside of you and believe and know that you deserve it, then you will be able shine your light and recharge and renew yourself anytime you want to!

P.S. More posts are coming soon!  I am working on putting together a post with all of the comments and replies from a frequent commenter who calls herself Belinda.  Her story is an inspiring example of a highly sensitive soul with bullying parents whose painful drama unfolded here on this blog–she bravely reached out and expressed what was in her heart and she came out the other side and into the light–and now she is shining her own light to help others.  Other commenters and my replies will be highlighted in upcoming posts as well.  (I ask all commenters for their permission first before highlighting it in a post.)  Be kind to yourself, HSPs, and I’ll be back in touch soon!

With love,

Roxanne 😀

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26 responses

  1. Just what I need to hear right now. To hear that other people saw my light as a threat makes so much sense. My inner child still hurts a lot. I seem to go through waves of letting out the pain. I think I am becoming much kinder to myself and realising that I have good reason to feel all that pain. I accept I need to release it now, rather than stuff it down.

    What I didn’t expect though is for the actions of my true self to result in some pain too. I also feel resistance to doing the things I love again, like drawing. If I sit with a pad of paper and pencils I feel an aching in my heart and a real block to doing any artwork. Everyday I think about drawing again, but everyday I feel stuck and scared just to draw! It doesn’t make any sense to me! I’m at a point where I feel unsure of where I need to go next. Should I just let the drawing thing go for a while? Or should I keep going through this pattern of aching heart and blocked creativity everyday until I finally release it?

    Working through these issues can be really confusing! But I’m so glad I found your site. It fits my emotional difficulties very well and validates my experiences. Thank you for what you give. It is very appreciated.

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    1. Hi Rachel, Thank you for your comment. Yes, you said it: “keep going through this pattern of aching heart and blocked creativity…” The hardest part is getting started–the fear keeping you from your creativity is real but it is from the past. Just like in my post, you were most likely shamed for expressing your creativity and confidence as a child so it is coming up now to show you how bad you were treated back then. The shame is how you felt as a child, it is not about anything you are doing in the present. The core beliefs formed in childhood confuse us because that is how the bullies in our lives may have disempowered us–making us doubt ourselves and confusing us about trusting our own desires and gifts. Grieving about what happened to you as a child through your artwork might help. This is how Alice Miller broke through to her truth and began healing–she talks about this in her book the Drama of the Gifted child which I highly recommend. Inner child healing can take a while so be kind, gentle, and patient with yourself as you deserved to be treated as a child. Warmest wishes as you continue to heal, Roxanne

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      1. Thank you so much Roxanne for your views and encouragement, it’s very much appreciated.

        I have read the Drama of the Gifted Child- wonderful book!!

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  2. wonderful… thank you very much for your advice

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    1. Genesis,

      Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

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  3. Hi Roxanne,
    I love the article. It makes a lot of sense to me because as I have been increasing my creative output I have been noticing a lot of negativity coming up. And I diligently process it, and keep going and I get some more, and I keep wondering when it is going to ever end.

    I had two exceptionally narcissistic parents so I know whereof you speak. I am not sure there is always justice for you inner child. I think you have to see the narcissistic parent as a jerk, decide the hell with them and let go of your dream of feeling welcomed and loved. I think the real justice is in really knowing deep down that you deserve better and giving it to yourself.

    All the best,
    Maria

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    1. Maria,

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, you see the pattern–in my experience there will be an end to the worst of it and then things will get easier. However, I still get surprised with negativity coming up after especially big and happy achievements. Thanks for sharing your story. You said it!–Giving justice to yourself is the key. Best wishes with your creative output–I am sure it is wonderful! 🙂 Great to hear from you again.

      Warmest wishes, Roxanne

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  4. I am finding this site of immense support and re-assurance. I admire your strength and generosity in giving of your time and compassion to so many.
    I am in my sixties and turned to your site after a particularly difficult time with my N mother. I have minimal contact and thought I could manage her in her old age with strong boundaries. After a particularly vicious verbal attack I have kept away from her, My life is good. I have found my creativity, enjoy the company of a supportive partner and lovely friends, yet this last outburst from my mother threw me right back to the time when, as a small child I pleaded for her forgiveness – even though I’d done nothing wrong. Everything you describe in your latest post- shame guilt and the feeling that somehow I am in the wrong has been overtaking my life since. However, I know that by working through these feelings, I will come through that much stronger. This last event has killed any desire to give out to my mother. I will see she is cared for and keep her affairs in order but in the emotional sense she feels as though she is dead to me.
    I’m still hurting – it comes in waves, the relief between waves is wonderful and I experience everything in even greater focus. A great asset for an artist!

    Thank you for doing what you do.

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    1. harebells6,

      Thank you for your comment and kind words. I support all you say here and what you are doing and this healing path that you are on. Continue to nurture and love yourself through these waves from childhood as you continue to heal and gain clarity. You are a wise artist with strong boundaries–Yay for you!!! 🙂

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      1. Thank you for lovely response. I find all your writings to be just what i need to read at the moment. I tried to convince myself I needed to stop having such feelings as I thought myself to be well through the healing process having spent a lifetime coming to terms with my mother. I blamed myself for being self-indulgent and nor keeping a positive attitude. I devoured all the Alice Miller books some years ago, they really spoke to me. I worked as a counsellor, becoming angry on behalf of clients suffering under such a N parent, encouraging them to leave those people well alone and wondering at times why they were so unable to see what such parents were doing to them. It is ironic that now, in retirement, enjoying so much in the rest of my life that I find myself struggling yet again with feelings of injustice, more related to when I was a child than anything that happens now. Each time I see my Mother – once a week for a short time, I see more confirmation of how I was treated. Worst of all i think is the double message, the apparent pleasant caring person on the surface who leaves me feeling depleted and lacking. For a young child this is so cruel but no one sees it. Then to be told I have wonderful parents only makes matters worse when inside I know this is wrong. (when a child- now I do have supportive friends)
        I understand the predicament of those unable to be in-touch with their feelings, it is such a danger zone that we have leant never to go there. I found I had what felt like an electric fence guarding them, so to touch that fence was too painful.
        It is worth the pain of the fence and writing it out helps so much.
        A wise woman once told me that anger is energy – use it to do something constructive!!! I loved that and have done so many times. However confronting grief guilt and shame are a more complicated. I love your idea of comforting ones self, I’m doing that right now, writing to you and sipping a cool glass of wine.
        I really feel for those who have to have an old N mother live with them. They need every bit of support possible and you do such a good job providing it.
        This is a bit of a ramble. I hope it gives a little help to someone.

        with love

        Janice

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        1. Thank you for the kind words. Your story is so eloquently put and will help many others! Love and light to you, Roxanne

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  5. Hello I hope my comments are not too off topic..I am definitely an empath. I feel I am generally truthful and have integrity. I put out truth and integrity, I also am reliable. I feel I have slowly over the years lost faith in humanity. I find that people just do not seem to elicit these qualities, but that cannot be so, all of humanity , there have to be lots of lovely people who try to be honest, ie they rate it as important and try to have integrity. But where are they?

    Perhaps I just have such a strong antennae, and perhaps I just feel much more let down when people think nothing of teling lies..for some its just fine by them , they perhaps don;t even mean to have such a negative effect on others,

    maybe as an empath I take it all too personally? I do lots of self work with a lovely energy psychology technique, and got very lucky to find a really good empathic practitioner, but this seems to be a biggy, I admit I now just do not trust people and almost expect for all people to be this way…I know you will say law of attraction, and yes,. now I am aware of it being a conscious things , rather than subconscious….

    It must be amazing to meet what I call salt of the earth people, their word is their bond…
    I am working on this aspect ..but as I say its quite deep. I know that as a child I was wary of people, and had extremely low self esteem ..low confidence, those have imporved a great deal, but I think I am still fighting rather than going with the flow, do others here have trust issues, do you feel let down easily by those you meet , who think nothing of telling lies here and there and just not treating you will respect?

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    1. Hi Jan, this is months after your comment, but just replying to say your comment resonates with me very much. I feel exactly the same way.

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    2. jan, (and Cate who replied to jan) Thank you so much for your lovely comment and for sharing about your feelings! I apologize for missing this comment the first time it was put through–it was not my intention to ignore it. You are right that most people are not compassionate to the feelings of others–you are compassionate and have much integrity and this is a gift you have that makes you very special indeed! We HSPs get into trouble comparing ourselves to others and waiting for others to validate us instead of seeing that we are highly evolved souls who are just afraid to believe that we have much innate wisdom to share and teach others who are interested in self-growth. Move on from people who do not see your specialness easily–learning to have self-compassion first to heal our insecurities will lead the way to shining our lights to help others. Feeling frustrated with the people around us is a natural step to realizing who drains us and who lifts us up–you are on a healing journey and I hope time has helped you see how special you are, jan! Sending warm and caring wishes of hope and healing to you, Roxanne

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  6. Ps I don’t beat myself up so much as get so dissapointed with how other people are, I know perhaps it may sound as if I think I am perfect, and should try to accept people are they are, but I don’t like it when I know someone is not up front and decent and reliable and with integrity. I am of course no where near perfect, but no one would say I am not realable truthful and with integrity, and no I am no try ing to convince myself either.:)

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  7. Dear Roxanne,
    This was the article I needed to read this morning when I woke up with that awful shameful dread again this morning. And you wrote it right there, “I must have really let my light shine yesterday to have these awful feelings today” because it is true, when I’m doing well, it is followed by feeling bad again. I was able to figure out that I started feeling bad again yesterday after seeing you had gotten my post, but I was scared that I wrote too much, I was too ‘cheerful’ in it (didn’t talk about how miserable I really am, which is how a lot f the other posts seem to go) and you didn’t respond. I’m such a validation ‘junkie’ it is crazy. I was just feeling self conscious that I did something wrong because for once, I reached out, and as you know, as a child of a very selfish parent, that doesn’t go well. Like “Belinda” my biggest problem with my mom was never ever ever having difficult feelings validated. Therefore asking for help or reaching out with what’s going on with me leaves me really raw and expecting a scolding, a “you should be happy because” response. Thank you so much for putting your experience of healing here. It is a light in the tunnel that will help me get out of the darkness of my own emotional spiral and back to taking good care of myself mentally so I can thrive. I am hopeful that this sad and depressed state wil not be my forever baseline and instead, I will feel good about myself more often than not one day. Blessings for the end of the year. Hooray for 2013. Tea

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    1. Hi Tea, Thank you so much for your amazing and wonderful comments! I am delighted that you found my blog–Welcome to our community!! I am sorry for my delay in responding…My two grown children are visiting me for the holidays so I hope to be more available to respond further after the holidays. Always remember when you leave a comment you are validating and giving strength to many many readers out there who have not yet found their voice to speak out. Thank you SO MUCH for your story and also for expressing that you experience that shameful feeling that many of us wake up to every day! We all must fight our inner critic that is deeply negative since childhood when we dare to express ourselves with strength and confidence–good for you for seeing the pattern. Thank you for sharing your insights–Your comments are awesome!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you from all of us. Hooray for you, Tea! 😀 …more later. With love and light, Roxanne

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  8. Where should I start ? By fighting my parents and the rest of the world that doesn’t understand and cares for me or by loving myself ? I want to feel safe with myself, warm and tucked away inside. I feel fragile, I don’t want to break contact with these people, they will make me sorry for it, and I do not have the strength to go to battle

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    1. Hi Martijn, You are right, it is best to get stronger first and get a safe and strong support system to help you get stronger as you gradually get stronger boundaries to protect yourself from any aggressive family members who attack you. Be very gentle on yourself during this stressful time of your recent breakup and don’t make any big changes or decisions that may make your life even more stressful. Put yourself first and be kind to yourself–you deserve compassion.

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  9. hey Roxanne

    im a 18 year old from canada. I have suffered tho anxiety and depression for a long time. Then i took weed and i became less grounded. Then i sort of had this panic attack but then i thought i was a narcissit and all these feelings came out. I was healing myself but i didnt even know it but at the same time i thought i was a narcisst. There was even a point where i became my inner child where i wanted attention. I was dumb even to ignore this. Within that week i had epiphanies that I was the cause of everything i had so many epiphanies. Then i brushed it off and now im feeling very numb and dissociated. Exactly like a narcissist. As you said i’m comfortably numb and i know i cant force myself to think im a narcissist for me to feel these feelings again i just wish WISH i would of gone through i would of been healed or somewhat had a big improvement.

    Is there any advice you can give me? It seems like what i dwelve into people take years to resolve and this is what scares me because now i am very numb. I always fake it but i am numb. Any advice? any thing you can link ?

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  10. I am feeling emotionally drained after it. I just can’t get it back. I think the reason why my inner child came out was because i didnt know it was coming out so i intrepreted it as something else. I just keep on thinking that i would have improved so much if i just did it..now im worse of can’t express anything. sorry for the negativity.

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    1. Thank you, yama, for your comments and for sharing what you are going through. I don’t know anything about taking weed but it sounds like you may have had a post traumatic stress episode (the panic attack) which I always believe is an Opportunity for Deep Healing: You had feelings from your childhood come up to the surface to show you how bad you felt from abuse you endured in early childhood. This may have happened because the weed made you feel uninhibited.

      We all have healthy ‘narcissistic needs’ as toddlers that “need” to be met in order for us to feel safe in our bodies and as our true selves–when this doesn’t happen because of emotional abuse, these unhealed traumas are forced to wait in our unconscious lying dormant until we are strong enough to process the truth of what happened to us. Grieving (allowing the sadness) for the deep loss of not being made to feel safe and loved (and also grieving for the pain of the emotional trauma that was so unbearable for our tiny budding selves that we have to repress the memories) is an important part of the healing process for HSPs. As we recover, we go back and forth from dissociating and numbing out our pain (a survival mechanism) to feeling the painful truth of what we endured as tiny children.

      Please be reassured you are not a Narcissist, yama– because part of the definition of a Narcissist is inability to look within and grow, inability to take responsibility for actions, and inability to feel remorse, none of those apply to you! 😀 It sounds like you may have needs that were never met that someone in your childhood may have blamed you for or shamed you for having these needs and labeled you ‘selfish’–that is crazymaking behavior for someone to do that to a child! You have legitimate needs that were never met is all–you can eventually learn to meet these needs by being loving to yourself.

      Be very very kind and loving to yourself whenever you have a panic attack or anytime you feel bad about yourself. All of us HSP survivors have what is called a ‘narcissistic disturbance’ that can be healed because we are compassionate souls willing to look within and grow kinder and more compassionate as we learn to be kinder and more compassionate to ourselves and ultimately heal all our wounded parts a layer at a time. This is the opposite of a Narcissist who doesn’t want to change and grow but just keeps blaming others anytime they feel bad. See the difference? As you get in touch with the truth of what happened to you, writing in a journal and telling your story (for your eyes only) about your deepest hidden feelings will help you when you feel stuck in a numb state.

      I want to welcome to our community! I hope my blog and the comment sections will continue to be helpful to you as you heal, yama. Reaching out for help from a safe and trusted counselor is sometimes a necessary part of our healing journey–there are many good ones out there. You have helped many others by sharing your feelings about the confusing process of healing you are experiencing. Thank you again, for sharing this with us.

      Feeling like you are a narcissist is a common topic that comes up with HSP survivor clients who are made to feel ashamed of having any “needs” so I may use your comment and this reply in an upcoming blogpost in order to help others if you do not mind, yama. 😀

      Sending you warm wishes of love and light as you continue to heal, Roxanne

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  11. morgaine has won | Reply

    Hello, I found this post over a search engine after typing in ‘infp numb’… I have recently taken the time to get to know my personality type INFP and it has helped me in understanding myself a bit further. Not so recent is the issue of numbness for me. I am a 19-year-old person who has had to endure a narcissistic father.

    I know that I ‘looked inside’ my father when I was three in an anger-fear-love-grief fueled moment of wanting to get closure on the source of the constant pain. I know that he managed to have frequent alone time with me and my brother where he kept us ready to be emotionally exploited anytime and in too much fear – like a binding contract. I know that he tried to control my grasp on reality and sullied all my relationships to other people with slander. I know that I built a controlling force that watches and judges me, holds me together and keeps me from falling into the abyss, out of my daydreams of fictional characters and worlds. I know that I build very strong controllers out of characters that have strong narcissistic overtones.

    I know that my father ‘broke the contract’ of the illusion we held up together (That he loved me and that I loved him) over the phone when I was twelve and that I changed a lot because of it and broke off communication in an act of indignation and courage.

    I know that I started tapping into slight feelings of my childhood and healing waves when I was fourteen, and broke through to a formerly diminished understanding of the world when I was sixteen. Up to that point, the world was still so terribly beautiful and I had access to an almost divine-feeling empathy.

    I think though that dissociative tendencies run all the way back to that moment when I was three and abruptly and finally understood why my father seemed ‘impossibly’ evil. That this was strengthened by that horrible phone call when I was twelve.

    But when I was seventeen, my mother, a figure of light even if sometimes shaky trust in my life, decided to override my /explicit/ wish that my father was not to enter our house because of a flighty concern that could be taken care of otherwise. I said it weeks in advance. That he would NOT enter our house, and if he had to, I would be informed of it.

    One morning I was getting ready for school. I had an important exam that day and was dealing with usual anxieties, along with an unwell feeling about the coming day and a suspicion. When I came down the stairs into the kitchen … he sat there with his usual air of nothing being wrong in the world. He greeted me smiling, I greeted back and acted along. My insides felt dull and my bones and ears were humming. Everyone was acting like everything was fine. When I packed my things I felt only detached and like I just didn’t care anymore.

    Over the course of the first year my apathy grew. After half a year I couldn’t go to school anymore because the exhaustion was in my bones and I couldn’t emotionally recharge anymore. The second year I was definitely numb … I tried to accept it and it never truly worked; I was dead set on ‘getting back to how I used to be’. I’m very willing to work with what I’ve got, but my numb detached self stays hard to accept. I used the time to amass knowledge about the world and myself though.

    There was/is a tumult in my mind: What if I never feel again? Isn’t my existence futile if the one thing that fulfilled me the most my whole life is gone? I had just begun to connect to the world in the truly empathic fashion I had unconsciously craved all my life – and it’s all gone? There is no purpose in this. None at all. Everything that had so much meaning to me .. is completely devoid of it now. The story that I felt so honoured to be able to appreciate so much … is gone in it’s entire weight.

    I block out sensory input as much as I can, yet I constantly try to test myself on how much input I can handle. Things and events feel slightly unreal and removed from me. I never feel emotion intensely, I instantly go into my head and stay there.

    I can only write this because of how hard I worked for an understanding of my situation. Now, I’m starting to sense that, if I get back to living in the world of feelings, that my insight will be all the sharper. Maybe there is something to be learnt from this hellhole. The cost still feels too high, though.

    (Also, I constantly tell myself that I’m not suffering – I feel it’s even ‘easy’ to get through this ???)

    I’m writing this because … no one can tell me: Is this going to get better? With pain I would say yes, but this isn’t pain. It doesn’t hurt. It’s not hard. I’m just never … there.

    I’m making progress, though! I’m noticing how MUCH I’m actually in the head, for example! I’m very committed to seeing this through, but there has been only this wide desert so far … In the last year I constantly gave in to the thought that this is incurable.

    Please, can somebody help me? Is this somewhat of a common thing in cptsd and the like? I always feel like a faker with fake pain.

    In my despereate searches on the internet there was never any useful stuff for my situation – until I came across the book ‘Healing Through The Dark Emotions’ which acknowledges ‘psychic numbness’. I’m starting to realize that my struggle is real.

    And, oh yeah, this also made me deathly afraid that I was turning into a narcissist. But I’m not of that opinion anymore 🙂

    (This website is … great. If I get the narcissism-anxiety-periods in the future, I’ll be turning here!)

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    1. Dear morgaine has won, Thank you for sharing your email. You are incredibly insightful at your young age of 19 and I find much hope in your recovery to feeling joy and vitality again. Dissociation is a protective survival state that occurs when there is no safety–so safe person to go to to express our fear, our disappointment, our anger, our sorrow for not having been loved, protected, honored, and respected by those primary caretakers who we “need” to take care of us during our foundational years! As tiny children we don’t dare express our feelings for fear of more pain so we numb ourselves out and push our feelings down (dissociate) until we are stronger, and able to self-sooth, and have compassion for ourselves. This takes time and much self-discovery–journaling can be a way to find your true voice and your feelings again. Imagining how you must have felt as a child and describing it in a journal–expressing the injustice of it all–this can link you to the feelings you repressed– expressing them in your journal for your eyes only will help you a great deal! Of course reaching out to an intuitive counselor to be a safe witness for you while you regain your frozen feelings and express them would be ideal for you–but if you cannot yet find such an understanding person yet–you may be able to be your own safe and compassionate witness.

      The good news is it is clear you are empathically gifted, a sensitive soul and highly evolved–which means you know things innately and these things can never be taken from you–you have a divine wisdom and a compassion that will help you to heal yourself as you learn to trust YOU again and know that now it is safe to express the feelings that were only temporarily repressed. Sensitive souls such as us in recovery encounter many triggers that cause us to regress back to these survival patterns–but it is all an opportunity to tell ourselves “no wonder I had to learn not to feel, the pain was too unbearable for a child to bear alone without support–now I can love myself through any feelings that come up”.

      I believe those of us sensitive souls with difficult beginnings are strong enough to overcome it all. And when we get to feeling whole again, we realize how strong it made us–someday the painful lessons of the past will make more sense to you. You are a very impressive 19 year old to understand the complexities of having narcissistic parents–the depths of the pain endured by sensitive children is unbearable and not to be made light of–it is very real and not in any way “fake”. But what makes us sensitive also gives us a higher vibration of light, love, and compassion to spread to the world once we heal ourselves first. Take your time and put yourself first with self-compassion being your rule #1! Thank you for your kind words about my website–so glad it is helpful!! Sending you warm, caring, and healing wishes, Roxanne 😀

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  12. The fire is not going out
    It burns within
    Keping me warm, when it is cold outside
    But it makes the heat unbearable

    Many times I tried to contain it
    But it never worked.
    Every time I attempt to extinguish it
    I feel like I am dying.
    And I want to live.

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    1. Thank you, Parsifal, for sharing this piece of heartfelt writing with us! With love and light, Roxanne

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