Reframing my experience

There are more explicit comments, like:
“Overwhelmed is not an emotion.”
“You’re too/so sensitive.”

“You’re doing this because [fill in fairly unrelated reason].”

Then there are questions like:
“What do you mean it’s loud?”
“Why are you reacting that way?”
“What are you doing?”

“Why aren’t you joining us?”

For years, I heard, and then internalized these sorts of comments and questions. I adjusted my behavior accordingly, hid my stronger emotional reactions (well, except around those in my inner circle, who sometimes saw explosions), and tried to blend in.

Last Monday, I brought three phrases to my therapy session.  In DBT there are myths, which are somewhat similar to limiting core beliefs. Myths have a grain of truth in them, and can be traced back to internal or external experiences in a person’s life.

I brought these phrases because I realized that they are actually not myths.  As originally written, they are not fully accurate, but when I revise and expand on them, they are.  They have much more than a grain of truth to them.   These are phrases that I’ve used (sometimes with some variation) for years.  So I wrote them down, along with my new translation/interpretation to make them fully true – and also less limiting – for me.

I can’t do it.  I can’t do this. 
Translation/New Interpretation:  I’ve reached my limit.  I can’t push myself any further right now.  I may have the ability to do this, but not the capacity.

This is too much for me. 
Translation:  I am experiencing sensory overload and cannot take any more input at this moment.  My nervous system is interpreting what’s happening as too much.

I’m too sensitive.
Translation:  I am very sensitive; some would say hypersensitive. My nervous system is wired in a certain way and I experience life intensely.  My sensitivities bring both joys and challenges.  I react strongly and I feel deeply.

It takes time to adjust perspective, to allow myself to believe in and validate my experiences.  It can feel disorienting to have someone discount something that is true for me, and then I may start to question it myself.  Since that has been a long-term pattern, it also can be unsettling for someone to tell me that what I’m experiencing is real.

Excuse me for a while – I’m going to work on reframing my sense of reality and claiming my truth.
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2 responses to this post.

  1. This is wonderful! I think one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves is to accept ourselves in all our uniqueness and stop trying to be what someone else thinks we should be. Your reframing is a great example of what we can all do for ourselves. Thanks for being such a good role model.

    Reply

    • Thank you. : )

      I think part of the journey, for me, is allowing myself to be who I am instead of who I think I should be (which has been, of course, influenced by other people’s opinions). Reframing can be challenging, but it’s definitely worth it.

      Reply

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