This post was previously published and is being listed on a new date …
Being a highly sensitive person makes you more aware of the energy of others. You can feel other people’s emotions as if they’re your own and you’re quick to feel that gut instinct kick in than those who aren’t as highly sensitive. This can be dangerous, as not everyone in this world has your best interests at heart.
At some point in my adult life, I realized that I was what is referred to as a Highly Sensitive Person or an empath, really. I always felt my high sensitivity was a negative thing. I felt like I cried too easily. I got my feelings hurt too easily. I was emotionally drained too easily. I wore my heart on my sleeve and all too often I was the person people would come to for advice.
I never followed my own advice, but that’s another story.
That was until I realized that my highly sensitive personality could be used against me. What happened shocked me, shattered me to my core and mentally screwed with me. It sucked and still sucks to this day, but the positive is that it doesn’t suck as bad as it did when it first happened.
Pay Attention to Face Value
I’m starting to learn how to take some things for face value. I’ve learned to pay closer to attention to the red flags, albeit I’m still a little slow on this part of personal growth. I am learning to pay closer attention to what my gut tells me sooner rather than later.
Listening to my gut does make me question my sanity. The thing is, if I think back to anytime my instincts went haywire, I was truly in a bad-for-me situation. That doesn’t mean I was in an abusive situation, it simply meant I wasn’t living a life that was working for who I am and my gut was telling me to switch up, change, run, whatever it needed to tell me by making me completely ill.
Listen to Your Gut
Being highly sensitive is exhausting because even when your mind isn’t quite ready to embrace the reality of what you’re dealing with, your body is ready and fully aware. The subconscious and your gut instinct are always working to keep you safe, even if you don’t realize it immediately.
I started getting sick again. My gut was screaming at me. I started feeling anxious about everything. I started questioning if I was good enough. I started having this huge desire to just sleep. I avoided people who would have been able to read me like a book. I knew something wasn’t right after about three days of feeling sick to my stomach with nerves.
I was starting to get depleted. Again.
All I could think of is, “what the hell, Brandy?! Did you not learn the first time around?!” That’s when I realized that my gut was trying to tell me something. It wasn’t just my Generalized Anxiety Disorder kicking in for no reason, it was my instincts screaming at me for a reason. It was a reason that I had no clue was even there, until I stood up for myself and my kids, again.
We All Have These Traits of Certain Labels
We all are a little selfish from time to time. We all show signs of narcissism from time to time. I truly believe labels aren’t really perfect. All human beings have habits and personalities that could slide into some of the mental health labels from time to time. I do believe in listening to your gut instinct and I learned a heavy lesson on not listening to it a couple of years ago, with it finally exploding a year ago.
Yet, there I was .. sick to my stomach again with my gut instincts screaming at me to LISTEN.
This is why I had to just deal with things. I had to realize that something wasn’t right. That the situation was actually starting to cause more harm than good. That the situation wasn’t healthy for my kids or me. That I deserved better. That I am worthy of respect, healthy boundaries and healthy friendships.
I have to learn how to set healthy boundaries, as well. That’s another area of personal growth for me to work on.
I may still be a bit broken, but I have to wake up each day reminding myself that I am a highly sensitive person. I like to help others. This makes me happy. I also have to remind myself that I cannot help everyone. That some people will, knowingly or not, use this power I have to suck me dry while they benefit from my ability to boost their ego/emotions. They will treat me poorly. They will give me the silent treatment. They will push me away only to pull me back in.
You Deserve Peace
This rollercoaster ride of emotional abuse, so to speak, isn’t healthy. It’s bad. It’s time to stand up and make the choice to NOT tolerate it. Ever. It happens among friendships, family, and relationships. It can happen to you, me and your kids. Emotional abuse has no limits and no boundaries.
Unhealthy boundaries can lead to a highly sensitive person down a bad path. I found this path was occurring again and it sucks. I really didn’t want to listen to my gut, but I had to for so many reasons. The risks were starting to get way too high. Things that truly matter to me were starting to fall apart. As I continue to evaluate myself and work my strength back up, I need to reduce the unhealthy friendship connections and minimize my exposure to other people’s emotions.
One article I read recently gave me some insight into using a “we lens” method, although this will only work if you’re in a healthy friendship or relationship, to begin with. I’m not so sure I even know what that is anymore, which is a huge reason why I need to figure myself out. I am just getting out of the winter season blues and finally living back with my kids after spending a handful of months away from them. We need to heal and I need to stop letting toxic people into our life.
Accepting Reality Will Still Hurt
I may be a highly sensitive person, who feels with big emotions, and I hate to be selfish, but man my heart aches. It aches so much and I’m just getting tired. It’s not the time or the place to allow anything into my life that’s disrespectful, that’s inconsiderate and doesn’t benefit my mental health on a whole.
We are all a little broken, but highly sensitive people feel your brokenness on top of their own emotional stuff and that is what depletes a highly sensitive person.
I don’t know what a healthy relationship or friendship is anymore. I lost that idea many years ago. I do know what I need or don’t need and one thing for sure, I don’t need anyone taking more from me than I can handle. It’s not fair to my kids and it’s not fair to me. Everyone says I need time to heal from what occurred over a year ago. I agree to some extent. I do know I need time to feel my feelings. I have pushed feelings down as a means to avoid crying, as I see crying as a weakness. I have pushed my feelings down because my self-esteem and mental health was damaged. I put high expectations on myself as that’s how I’ve always been. I am a typical firstborn overachiever who can handle ANYTHING. That’s what I’ve told myself all of my life.
Here’s the thing though, due to all of the mental health damage, aka emotional abuse I experienced over a year ago – I’m more aware of my surroundings and behaviors that don’t make sense, and my gut is quicker to let me know something’s wrong, or perhaps I just pay closer attention to my gut than I did all those years ago.
One piece of advice I have for anyone going through this type of situation where they were mentally broken down and now not sure how to get back up is this:
Pay attention to the reality around you. Do not confuse your emotional thinking with what’s realistically happening. Just because someone else is trying to show you that they changed or that they’re heartbroken, doesn’t mean that’s your reality. All too often highly sensitive people allow highly manipulative people into their life and it can screw with us. Pay attention to the reality around you!
I am still a work in progress and will always be. I believe we all need to be open to growing with every experience and learn something from each person we interact with. I will never stop learning and trying to grow, but I’m sure to make more mistakes along the path of this life I’m living. It’s okay to make mistakes, pick yourself up and figure out a way to learn something from that mistake and move forward.
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