Hello and Welcome to Eggshell Therapy!
This is a place for people who are emotionally intense and sensitive.
My name is Imi, I am a qualified Psychotherapist, Art Therapist and Coach.
I am committed to your growth and transformations as an intense person.
Are You Emotionally Intense?
Emotional intensity is not an illness or a problem to be solved, but a unique trait, a gift in its own right. It can be expressed and experienced in different ways, for a full description, see here.
You have strong and intense feelings, both positive and negative. One moment, you may feel joy and love, and the next moment, you feel lonely and depressed. Sometimes, your emotions come and go so quickly you feel out of control.
You form strong attachments with people, animals, and sometimes places. Separations can be traumatising for you.
When you are inspired, you have bursts of creative insights. They might be so intense you could not eat or sleep!
You are an old soul: Being acutely aware of the suffering and complexities of life, you feel older than your peers.
You are deeply moved by the arts- music, film, theatre. When something moves your soul, you are overtaken by ecstasy. When you were younger, you get ‘absorbed’ into books and movies, and identify so strongly with the characters that it takes you a while to come back to reality.
From an early age, you have deep empathy. When others are abused or mistreated, you feel the pain as your own. Others around you may not understand this, and you were often told to ‘just lighten up’, ‘just relax’.
You are a passionate lover. You might have serial infatuations, especially when you were younger. You love fiercely and can be wounded deeply; even other people will never know.
When you enter a social situation or a crowd, you can detect and sometimes ‘absorb’ other people’s emotions and psychic energies. This can get overwhelming; therefore you are often exhausted after being in a big group.
You have a sense of knowing when something is about to happen, and you can guess what other people are thinking and feeling. You are often right.
You may be shockingly accurate in noting the unspoken social nuances. Even this overwhelms you, you cannot ‘un-see’ things, and you cannot stand hypocrisy.
You are sensitive to loud noises, strong smell, or sensations caused by rough fabric and clothing tags. You may suffer from allergies, asthma and migraine headaches when your physical environment changes.
You have always found it a challenge to fit into the mainstream world or to take on a conventional life/ career path that is prescribed by your family or tradition. You feel like a misfit, or like a Martian on earth.
You are always pushing boundaries, especially when the rules do not make sense to you.
You have little tolerance for lies and hypocrisies. When you see injustice, you have to name it. This might make things difficult for you- you may be scapegoated as the black sheep at work or in your family.
You are highly driven and perfectionistic. You have a clear vision of what can be achieved, so you become restless and impatience towards progress- both in yourself and others.
You live with existential angst, a sense of urgency, an impulse to move forward, and a constant need to learn and explore. You find it difficult to stay in one place or do only one thing for a long period of time, though it makes you feel guilty for leaving people behind.
You are prone to existential depression, and from a young age, you think about issues such as meaninglessness of life, death, and loneliness. This is not understood by most people around you, and you struggle to find a place to share these concerns.
You have been diagnosed/ misdiagnosed with mental illnesses such as Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, or ADHD.
COMPLEX TRAUMA FOR THE EMOTIONALLY INTENSE CHILD
Emotional Intensity is a form of ‘neurodiversity’— You are wired differently from the get go.
However, the world does not always understand also accept it. This is why the sensitive and intense people often find themselves on the margin of society, being condemned as being ‘too this’ and ‘too that,’ or that somehow they are deemed as being too fragile for the world.
The trauma of being misunderstood starts early.
Not all of us have parents and families that understand us and meet our needs as intense people. Our parents and siblings may not be intentionally abusive or exploitative, but limited by their vulnerabilities.
If you are born intense and sensitive, your reactions to toxic family dynamic or abuse are also stronger. Things that do not affect your siblings or peers affects you deeply.
Many mental health professionals misunderstand emotional intensity and chronic childhood trauma (also known as Complex PTSD). You are more likely to be over-diagnosed and medicated than to get the understanding you need.
The invisible nature of Childhood Complex Trauma might have left you confused. You may assume that your experience are not justified, and turn to blaming and shaming yourself.
Here are some of the symptoms of Complex Trauma:
YOU BECOME DISSOCIATED AND FEEL EMPTY
The usual reaction to pain is to withdraw. But since you were a dependent child, you could not leave your parents. Your only option was to psychologically withdraw. When the pain gets too much, you even had to ‘split off’ a part of yourself (dissociation) to cope. Dissociation is mostly unconscious. Like the circuit breaker in an electrical system, it is hardwired into you to protect you.
Unfortunately, when you dissociate, you also dissociate from your true self— the part of you that is your vitality. Numbing means you are disconnected from your body, your emotions, and other people. It is as though you are watching life goes by without being in it. Being a detached observer, you also lose touch with your intuition, spontaneity, creativity.
YOU FEEL DEFECTIVE ON THE INSIDE
Children naturally blame themselves for what happens to them. When you were abused, neglected or bullied, you believed it was because you were not good enough. If your parents dismissed you, you thought it was because you were too needy. When bad things happened, you believed it was your failure — Failing to achieve good grades, failing to be trouble-free, failing to take care of your siblings, failing to take away your parent’s sorrow and anger.
Perhaps you were scapegoated in your family as the ‘trouble maker’, ‘the sick one’, the black sheep, as a result, you have you subconsciously adopted the belief that you were defective. Carrying toxic shame makes you feel you deserve only little, so you hold yourself back from your full potential.
YOU FEEL YOU HAVE SPLIT PERSONALITIES
As a result of dissociation, your being has partly disintegrated. Unlike a psychotic state, you are conscious of who you are, but you feel different from moment to moment on the inside, as if you are different people. One moment you feel like a healthy adult, the next moment you feel like a vulnerable child. All these ‘personalities’ in you have different ways of feeling, thinking and behaving. When you are in a destructive mode, the calm part of you is nowhere to be seen. Often you are not even aware of what triggers the flip. This constant mode shift also makes it difficult for you to hold onto a solid sense of self, and as a result, you feel empty and confused most of the time.
YOU ARE HIGHLY ANXIOUS AND PERFECTIONISTIC
If your parents were emotionally volatile or vulnerable, you might have to become the ‘little adults’ at home, taking care of yourself and your siblings, as well as becoming your parents’ confidant or counsellor. You were hyper-vigilant, jumpy and tense because you were watching out for any clues of your parents’ emotional fluctuations to protect yourself.
Your body has a memory. Taking your childhood physiology into adulthood, your nervous system remains in a continual state of high arousal. You may be irritable, suffer from insomnia, and other anxiety-related disorders and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. You may also feel like a scared, vulnerable child living in an adult body, always feeling shaky and close to breaking down.
YOU RESORT TO MIND NUMBING STRATEGIES SUCH AS ADDICTIONS
Through addictive behaviours such as overeating, drinking too much, shopping sprees, compulsive sex, you can temporarily keep away painful memories that keep come back and haunt you. However, the effect of these strategies never lasts long, you will keep reaching for more. Being stuck in addiction eventually derails your self-esteem and sense of wellbeing, leaving you in a dead-end escape route that never leads anywhere.
YOU HAVE AN INCREASINGLY RESTRICTED LIFE
Many present day cues bring back painful memories. For example, someone not looking into your eyes triggers feelings of being dismissed and neglected. Or, perhaps loud noises make you jump because they brings you back to the violence in your childhood home. To avoid being triggered, you may live an increasingly restrictive life, avoiding people, places, social situations.
Having been wounded before by betrayal, abandonment and rejection, you find intimacy and relationship difficult. Trusting others requires a degree of vulnerability your wounded skin finds too hard to bear. At the same time, a part of you yearns for love, so these two parts end up in a push-pull pattern. One moment we seem warm and giving, the next moment you need to withdraw from your partner. Unfortunately, this may sabotage the relationship you cherish.
On the other hand, you might have grown up with overprotective or overbearing parents. In these cases, you have a fear of being smothered and you may withhold yourself from giving too much of yourself away. However, this also means you are not able to take in warmth love from others. You may become increasingly cynical and lonely, and lose hope in finding happiness in life.
WE SABOTAGE YOUR SUCCESS
Your life experience might have taught you – consciously or unconsciously- that being successful would attract envy and attacks. Perhaps your parents had warned you not to outshine your siblings, or that you have been criticised as being arrogant or selfish. If your parents were not satisfied with their lives, you might feel guilty for surpassing them in your level of abundance, as if you will be betraying them. As a result, you become frightened of your power, and would hold back from achieving what you want in life.
AN OFFER FOR YOU
If you resonate with the idea of Emotional Intensity, you will like the book Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity.
Emotional intensity is not an illness or a problem to be solved, but a unique personal trait, a gift in its own right. This book is for you if:
All your life, you have felt different to others or wondered if there is something wrong with you. You have been told that you are ‘too much,’ ‘too intense,’ ‘too sensitive,’ ‘too emotional.
You long to be accepted by the world just as you are, but feel held back by other people or society’s judgments.
You often feel misunderstood— your passion for being excessive, your sensitivity as a weakness, or your excitement as being immature.
You no longer want to hide how fast you think, how much you feel, and how deeply you care.
You have trouble managing intense emotions, maintaining healthy boundaries, and finding fulfilling relationships.
You want to be free from self- sabotaging behaviors, or unhealthy relationship patterns.
You have a niggling feeling that there is something important you need to be doing, and would like to have a clearer vision.
You have a sense that you are not reaching your full potential, and you are ready for your unique gifts and creative calling.
For a limited time, I would like to offer you Chapter 9 of the book – Building Emotional Resilience- for free.
By signing up, you will also receive Letter to the Intense Souls. Using psychological theories, wisdom in spiritual traditions and practical exercises, we will help you to reclaim your unique empathic and intellectual gifts, and fulfil your creative potential.