Having lived with emotional intensity all of my life you would think that writing a blog post on this topic would be easy, but it’s not.  You would think I would be an expert, but I’m not.  I am still reeling from a conversation that happened this morning.  I keep replaying the words over again in my head, feeling the sting of the energy again and again.  I have tried all day to turn it off but I just can’t.  The funny thing is, I don’t know this person, and this was the first conversation I have ever had with them.  The frustration and judgment I felt coming from them wasn’t even about me or my situation, my mind knows this, my emotions do not.  I know that these deep feelings will take me days to process and move on from.  I wonder if this person even knows how their energy affected me. 

                I have days that I wish everyone could experience one day of what it is like to live with emotional intensity.  Those days usually are the days that my boys are having very intense emotions, and I see the reactions on people’s faces. I also feel their energy.  My 8-year-old is a creative perfectionist.  If a project he is working on doesn’t come out the way he saw it in his head, he can react very big.  He has been known to scream, ball up the paper and either throw it or bite it.  Most people who see this look at him like he has three eyes, then look at me like I have no control of my child.  If people knew what this felt like, I think they would be more responsible for the energy they bring into our space.

                My son asks me why our family has these big emotions, while it seems no one else does.  I have often asked myself the same question.  Why has talking about slavery in 2nd grade left a deep scar in my heart?  Why can’t I watch any movies from that time period, without weeping or having bad dreams for weeks sometimes months after?  We have talked about being gifted, and all that comes along with it.  I’ve read all the books, but still don’t have a good answer for him.  I focus on the good that comes with it.  How we can walk outside and see a sulk in the clouds that no one else can see.  How he can create an amazing story about that skull as easily as breathing.  How he can hear a song and be inspired to create a whole scene of a movie around it.  It is because we can do these things that the world overwhelms us at times.  He tells me, “I wish everyone felt big feelings like us.”  Me too, son…me too!  At the very least I wish people would be responsible for the energy they bring into our space


8 thoughts on “Please be responsible for the energy you bring into our space.

  1. I sometimes find that I rememer things, conversations from years ago, and today they feel exactly the same. I’m just now learning that these “big emotions” I’ve had my whole life are normal and I’m not crazy. Thank you to the bloggers for helping me understand that I’m not alone, my family isn’t the only one and yes I really do feel what they think and project – especially when it’s not what they say. Thank you again!

  2. I am exactly the same…conversations can leave me feeling terrible for weeks if not years. My oldest daughter might be located under her bed crying when a group project not going exactly as she had planned in her head is moving forward downstairs. We’ve made progress, myself included, and I feel like helping her sort out these issues has helped me to recognize my emotional challenges as well.

  3. Thanks for your post!

    I’m going through the same thing right now–I wrote a long comment about it, but I definitely agree about being responsible about the energy you bring into a space. I know for me a lot of this is connected to my ego and just wanting to get along with everyone–I hate conflict and people who aren’t sensitive or kind. My inner child still cannot understand that people can be that.

    I believe it has to do with perfectionism, ultimately–everything has to be in its place–my rep, my home, my car, my everything. For example, I was so upset that I lost a hubcap on Saturday. I got angry that the dealership didn’t call me back yesterday, so I just went today and took care of it. It’s a waste of energy, though–my car was still driveable. Why should I be so upset about what people think?!

    All to say, it’s so great to be around folks who accept you for who we are, who aren’t jerks, who love us unconditionally. It’s great and rare. But that’s who I have to focus on–not strangers or people who haven’t earned the right to really know me. SOOOOO much easier said than done, but I’m getting to a point of getting angry enough to firm up those boundaries and protect my big feelings, because they are special and belong only to me and those who appreciate them.

    Again, thanks for your post!

  4. This is me in my house. My eight-year-old is a “creative perfectionist” who screams and throws balled up imperfect drawings.
    She too asks me why she is different. I’ve told her that she at least will understand other’s emotions. That maybe someday she will be a “feelings doctor” and help others.
    I feed her candy or treats WHILE I am correcting mistakes on her homework. She expects to get things without being taught them.
    I wish I were calm like my own mother was with me. Then again, I always felt like my mom, didn’t quite “get me.” I tell my daughter that I felt that way too. And I tell her it gets better, not completely better, but better.
    Some days, I feel “ontologically weak” and some days I am stronger. Sleep helps. And so do jokes.
    Once my husband made a huge joke about my being upset about an “incident” I had. At first, it made me more upset (because he was making fun of me) but then it ended up helping. I couldn’t think about the “incident” without laughing hysterically.
    They say to make the “monsters” of children into funny things.

  5. I don’t think it occurs to my daughter to ask why she is different. It didn’t occur to me as a child either. I think part of the reason was because of being in the gifted programs in school, I was brought together with similar kids, so I didn’t feel like I was the only one who sometimes felt this way. There would at least be one or two other kids with similar levels of sensitivity. My mother would call it “high strung.” So, I didn’t so much wonder why I was different, as wonder why the other kids were so…I can’t think of the right word….boring? That’s not quite it…thick? No….well, they just didn’t “get” it, and I kind of felt sorry for them –even as they were sneering at me for being “weird.” I was always proud of my “weirdness.”

  6. Oh, wow! I am so grateful to have happened upon this blog. Always feeling different, feeling deeper, reacting stronger, I have learned to accept my emotional intensity in the middle of so many others who do not understand. Still, it is nice to find others who can relate.

    I have a child who is also emotionally intense. We struggle in classrooms where teachers and peers do not understand. Instead of trying to be responsible for the energy they bring, it feels as if they antagonize his energy to full escalation. How do you help others understand the abuse in this? Of course my response is rage, embarrassment, and sadness. How do I calm my own intensities to a place where I can be productive for him?

    Sometimes it feels like a really rough road, yet somehow I know I will make it through, I will be stronger, and I will make a difference.

  7. Donna, I am glad that you were proud of your “weirdness” early on! I’m trying to help my boys see the postive side of this journey!

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