When my daughter wasn't quite two years old (over 20 years
ago, I gave custody of her to my husband at the time. I saw this
as a moral failing for many years.
Why did I do this? I wanted out of the marriage because it didn't
feel healthy for me. In the marriage, I didn't stand up for myself.
I took too much responsibility, trying to hold everything
together and be everything to everybody.
This over-responsibility included being the primary breadwinner,
emotionally in the relationship, tending to household chores,
keeping the finances, etc. Over the years, I had built up a lot of
I just felt "done." Life felt like too much. Long commute to and
from work. Job with a lot of responsibility. Daughter with cystic
fibrosis. Husband who was happy to let me do most of the work.
Yikes! It was a recipe for disaster...and it lead to me wanting out,
out of the marriage, but not out of being a mom.
I had a lot of internal conflict. Because I felt so much responsibility
for HIS feelings, I didn't find the courage to stand up for myself, and
hence for my daughter. In the years that followed, I carried around a
LOT of guilt and shame about this decision.
Just this year I got very clear that I am a Highly Sensitive Person
(HSP). This is someone whose nervous system is wired differently
than 80% of the population, according to Dr. Elaine Aron in the 90's.
I really don't like the sound of HSP, because for me, it sounds like
a weakness, being over-emotional and flighty, overwhelmed by life.
I suppose that when we highly sensitives are really immersed in our
drama it can feel just as described. And it would cause us to feel
over-stimulated, exhausted and different from other people.
Looking back, I see why I gave my ex-husband custody of my
daughter. Life felt like too much stimulation and responsibility, and it
felt like I couldn't handle it anymore. I was exhausted. I didn't know how
to manage my emotions and stand up for myself. So I took the path of
Do you feel different like this? How do other women and men handle
so much on their plate, go go go all of the time? Why do others feel okay to
run around to all the kids' activities, work a full-time job or business, and
still make dinner with a smile on their face?
What if it was okay to feel different and not push ourselves so hard to be
everything to everybody? What if it was okay to take a nap? To say NO to
all the many requests of our time?
What if we could do all of that without feeling guilty or selfish?
Being highly sensitive isn't a curse or a defect, and it doesn't make us
less capable than others. It just means we are different from others.
So I am OWNING my highly sensitive nature. There are many strengths
to being wired this way. According to Dr. Aron, we are the "royal advisers"
of the planet, intuitive, empathic, deep listeners.
When we apply effective energy management, we can actually mimic
the other 80% and be quite productive and successful. That's why I
fell in love with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or meridian tapping
over 11 years ago.
That's why I do Donna Eden's daily energy routine. I protect my
energy so I can give back so much more to others. In addition, I don't
try to be everything to everybody. I've arrested the unhealthy people-
pleasing that often accompanies being highly sensitive.
If you can relate, let's manage our energy together!
Come this Thursday to my monthly workshop called Frontier to
Your Freedom. We still have a few seats open.