You’re Too Emotional
The world can’t handle you. Bottle it, shut up, or get out.
We’re made to believe that if we’re sensitive, there must be something wrong with us.
My oldest daughter cried and cried and couldn’t handle the thought of re-homing our cat and dog when we move. Her tears encouraged mine, taunted them, pulled them over the edge and down my cheeks.
She sat in a pool of her pain and I sat beside her, trying to stave mine.
When I was medicated, I would yell at her for being so “whiny” or “too emotional” — I’d tell her she needed to get it together. Now, four months post-Celiac diagnosis and having to quit taking my anti-depressants, I’m drowning in a puddle of emotions just as much as she is.
It’s like everything is too big or too much to process.
I’d forgotten I was just like her, before the pills silenced my truth. Because they’re wrong, don’t you know. The feelings, the emotions—it’s wrong to break out into tears in public, it makes other people uncomfortable and, gosh, shouldn’t you be embarrassed?
Her pain is all-consuming. I can feel it—I can feel her breaking inside any time something negative happens. Someone makes her feel poorly about herself, her journal goes missing, she misplaces her school binder, she can’t find her shoes — it’s all devastating.
Then, I forget about the outside world. I forget until a woman across from me is tearing up on the phone with someone, presumably her boyfriend, and he’s causing her to feel pain and regret, like she’s done something wrong.
I can feel her.
I’m an adult and I feel her. I can only imagine being a child and feeling overwhelming empathy, sensitive to everything and everyone.
I think I was like that as a child. It was all too much to bear.
I shut down. I slid to the other end of the spectrum to a point where people thought I was a sociopath. But I wasn’t. In fact, I was so sodden with emotion I tried to turn it off, and in-turn became a little pre-pubescent monster, fresh-faced and sundress clad.
When I was a teenager, the suppression overwhelmed me. I wasn’t confident enough to just embrace it. I was taught to shame it, to shame myself — I was shameful for being such a wimp.
So I ate the pain.
I ate and ate until the fat became yet another flaw the world would not accept.
I carved my flesh with a serrated pocket knife to help it escape, to release the agony that drowned me from the inside-out.
I quietly scarred my upper thighs and arms, my soul—places I promised myself to never show the world again. And I don’t.
I live with the shame tattooed on my skin in a world that still can’t handle people like us.
I don’t want that for her.
Why should she hide and cry in darkness till one day she tries to find other means of escape, of relief?
No. I won’t shame her for her emotions. I won’t tell her she needs to bottle them, to suppress those feelings that overpower all reason because the world can’t deal with her.
But for us.
The Highly Sensitive Person: How To Thrive When The World Overwhelms You by Elaine Aron, Ph.D