I’ve never really liked labels, but when I heard about HSP, Empaths, and the power within introversion, I felt a singing and a soaring and a happy ‘Yes-ness!’ and ‘at last!’ inside…
Initially, this post was just going to be about, ‘On not being a dumping ground for other people’s issues and crap – Any More! Yes!!’ (even typing the word ‘crap’, for me, is liberating! Even when, sometimes YES! that IS what it is!) …but the post has changed a bit along the way… If it resonates with you, please do comment :)
It’s wonderful to know that others’ issues, when energetically projected onto you, unconsciously, and often consciously, too, CAN be returned. They can be returned to sender - dumped into an imaginary rubbish bin that stands beside them, ready for when they are able to deal with them later, themselves. For this, you need to stay centred and strong and observe what is happening – it can take quite a bit of practising, but it works. You can also release any energies from your body, feeling them, their colour and shape, texture…and move them out, flowing down and through to the earth where they can be organically composted and transformed into good…. There are many self-compassionate ways to help the body release the physical aches and intense pains that these energies and emotions can create.
There are situations you might come across every day… at home, at work, even brief exchanges that can knock you out, zap your energy in a moment, leaving you drained, confused and upset and perhaps unsure why… ‘energy vampires’ is a term often used and it is so fitting. There comes a time when you also Have to extricate yourself from others’ issues that have had a long-term grip, (you realise the issues are still holding on to you because you are complicit, in some way) and also the time comes to let go of others’ limiting opinions and beliefs about you, and stay true to your own vision. You have to release the associated emotions and feelings from deep inside your body, too, and then you find quite often that these were Never your own feelings anyway, but they took up home and over the years you identified with them and they kept you hiding and fearful; the lack of self-esteem, the feelings of ‘being bad’ – they belonged to the Other Person – but you took them on, took all sorts on from others, from a very young age – struggling and feeling split, with guilt, shame and responsibility for their load.
As an adult, things have to stop being all about other people; it’s a time to take responsibility for your own feelings, not others’, and to find out who you really are, to stop abandoning your own looking and to come home to your own self and recognise the happiness that is there – it’s not conditional on others and how they are with you. Then you can release the past so that it is not also your present experience. You can honour and forgive in order to free yourself (and others) and then you are no longer a ‘match’ to be triggered by them – something in their behaviour is no longer highlighting a lack or a pain that you used to feel – (yet the Return to Sender technique still comes in very handy in the moment at times!!). After a while you can develop a very good ‘Narcissist radar’ too, as long as you trust your intuition, your body will always alert you to all the warning signs and red flags – you feel it very quickly on encountering someone like this and so can then focus, or leave, or use a ‘grey rock technique’ and feel stronger, less attached, less vulnerable. You can also, much later, perhaps years later, wish them well ...this is easier with casual exchanges but much much harder with deep hurts from childhood and personal relationships...but this too may come. We realise too that our essence never suffers or is hurt.
To me, it has been so important and helpful to recognise again and again, (as I felt deeply when so little), that at essence we are ‘simply’ (but simply meaning So much!) life force/ energy/ a spark of consciousness/ Being-ness – and ALL of us are that! We are all the same infinite essence, all one life source on this planet – it is so uniting-ly clear! to me, (but may seem 'woo woo' to others?!)…. and as humans, in our lifetimes, we are also uniquely different expressions of this essence, just as waves on the sea are different from each other, but all the same sea, all the water; we are different ‘human expressions’ of the same thing. It is only when this is forgotten, through growing up with societal conditioning, family conditioning, ego ideas of who we think we are, etc etc that our different expressions become so divisive and separating; it is only when we get further and further away from remembering our essential selves, believing we are ONLY our ‘different types of expression’, our bodies, our ego ideas - that we experience anguish, breakdown, hostilities, war in the name of religion and politics, aggression, disorders….and situations of power, control, violence and manipulation in everyday relationships.... and ego energies forcing themselves onto others, knowingly or unknowingly. If only we could remember who we essentially are, and also, so wonderfully, accept ourselves for our human differences ALONGSIDE knowing our essential One-ness. Imagine the ludicrousness of waves on the sea having a sense of ego, or jostling to claim superiority as the ‘right’ wave or the ’best’ wave…. and all return anyway and melt into the ocean from which they came and of which they were always constituted...just as our life-force energy.
Back to the human uniqueness and our individual expressions …! I’ve never really liked labels but when I heard about HSP, Empaths, and the power within introversion, I felt a singing and a soaring and a happy ‘Yes-ness!’ and ‘at last!’ inside – this certainly feels to be my expressive ‘type’ as a being in the world 😊 – (whilst knowing that the essence of all of us has no ‘type’ at all, it just ‘is’ life-energy).
Sensitivity is a strength and a gift and I am reminded of this every day – with the ability to feel deeply, with intuition and heightened senses, compassion, thoughtfulness, attention to detail, dedication, empathy, wholeheartedness, gentleness, the ability to see all colours - beyond the black and white in situations … yet so often HSPs can be taken advantage of, treated terribly, abused - as a consequence of having these beautiful traits, by others who are so far removed from who they really are they cannot experience these feelings but instead are full of entitlement, anger, grandiosity, superficial ‘masks’; they are controlling, manipulative, bullying, and void of empathy - yet often initially charming, flattering and ingratiating and very good at playing the victim. Every single one I have ever met has been destructively ‘agonising and tortured’ inside, in a constant struggle of identity – and this IS sad and was the hook that kept me stuck as I could empathise with this - yet what you realise, with an absolute shock, is that theirs is a manipulative game - there is no 'depth' at all, it is not 'real'... And they have no desire to change anyway, it is always everyone else in the wrong, everyone else, the f***ing idiots, causing them this trouble and when you do care, and empathise with them, giving so much love into a black hole, (and it is never enough) you will ultimately be treated terribly ...and despised too.
I’ve met many HSP friends over the last few years, whilst exploring, learning and recognising the strength of sensitivity, coming out of difficult times, gaining courage… and also whilst starting to create my art business and I am so very very thankful to them all.
There is a definite connection between being HSP and my style of felting, the poetry I love, intuitive painting, spirituality and also the way I approach my business… and I’m hoping to explore this further as I learn and experience more.
When starting, the name Rowena Scotney Feltings chose itself – and the association and pun was present, but I truly didn’t realise it! - with being deeply felt, meaningful and an authentic expression, and it has become more and more apparent to me. My personal name isn’t really important to me, but the ‘Feltings’ is, because it is through this form of expression, in my case, that joy and colour and love of life can be expressed. It’s a way of celebrating and being so grateful that I am alive as this life energy – my work is a kind of honouring of this. And it doesn’t have to be ‘good’ – but I’m so happy that others enjoy it too and that it communicates something to them x
The exploring of this, and feeling brave and more visible creatively, only happened after many years of recovering – and then thriving! - from life patterns that kept me stuck again and again that were so destructive and upsetting, with narcissists, bullies, alcoholics and abusers.
…Also, to go back to the beginning of the post, what’s great is that there comes a time when the projected energy from others doesn’t even need to be returned to them, as you see it, blowing around them, like loose windy threads, reaching, but not coming close – you can witness, acknowledge the other’s personal issues, know that it is not who they really are anyway, and remember it is not your job to be entangled in them, or to try to heal them – this isn’t kind to yourself or the other person in the long run (and of course, you can NEVER ‘heal’ them). But, most significantly you don’t feel guilt, shame, or that you have 'failed' somehow for that any more. Hallelujah!!! (So many women in patterns of co-dependent – narcissistic relationships NEVER escape this abusive nightmare and it is heart-breaking; they become hollow shells and shadows of who they beautifully are.)
I’m still trying to find ways to be able to articulate this more clearly and am hoping to combine all of these issues somehow in the future, perhaps to help and encourage others, too, and together to share resources and ideas? – issues of thriving after narcissistic abuse, finding your joy (that is always, always still there, your essence!), setting healthy boundaries full of self-respect, being HSP and an Empath, Introversion and creating a business, being a mum, a single-parent... art, poetry, healing, spirituality...
….hmmm it will all unfold in its own time, little by little maybe, and gently…I can just feel it 😊
*** See also, for starters:
The Happy Sensitive - Empathy, Narcissism and HSPs – and much more invaluable info!
Melanie Tonia Evans - and excellent 16 min video 'How to Heal the Wounds from Narcissistic Mothers'.
Narcissistic Abuse Recovery expert - a mass of free videos and articles
Melanie Tonia Evans - Such an important article - 'Parents empowering themselves for their children's sake'
My blogpost on Narcissism and Codependency
'Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers' by Karyl MacBride - You are NOT your mother's NPD burdens, even if, as a loving and sensitive child you wholly took them on, setting up patterns for the future... this is not about blame or guilt, but about taking personal responsibility to understand, make sense, clean up the inner wounds and create a healthy, happy life and also, crucially, to break the generational patterns, so that we do not keep these wounds going, inflicting them onto our own children.
The Wellspring of Compassion by Sonia Connolly - beautiful book for trauma of all intensities - and with lots of helpful techniques - including asking, 'What if this energy isn't mine?' - if it isn't, you feel instantly lighter :)
...also many many other wonderful books and resources that I could recommend!
A few intuitive paintings ... over the years, expressing the journey...
Please click to see fully x
It's wonderful to be showing my new works alongside Marg Mason's beautiful paintings and Katrina Slack's quirkily fantastic wire sculptures in the current exhibition at Morvah Schoolhouse Gallery.
Exhibitions can be exhilarating and rewarding. They also take a lot of practical preparation and are often emotionally challenging too - with the old faithful 'imposter phenomenon' turning up once again, attempting to influence, derail and even sabotage the day, with its questioning, mocking and varied array of voices. The physical sensations in the body of fear, sickness, shakiness, shame and vulnerability, amongst many others, can take a strong grip too. Sometimes so strongly that not turning up, not going through with it seems the absolute best option. (Certainly not a 'for she is of the tribe of tiger' -type feeling! - see pic above :))
Does this sound familiar to you at all? ... whether exhibitions or any situation where you are 'being seen'.
Fortunately, in my experience more and more, these voices and sensations which occur can be observed and acknowledged for what they are - emanations from 'the monkey mind' :-) (I like this term, often used in Advaita pointings) or the ego, 'the conditioned self' that each of us has as our persona. The learned responses from over many years jump in on cue. These can be limiting beliefs, notions that keep us stuck, hiding... entrenched ideas of who we believe ourselves to be. Ironically, they could be seen as trying to keep us safe, too, when we're in situations that could threaten/are difficult... however, often these very situations are those that help us grow and therefore, ultimately, enable us to shed those layers of voices and conditioning. The ego doesn't want this to happen, of course, as it's secure in its comfort zone, believing itself to be the CEO, (because we let it) and needing us to stay where we are, so it can continue to exist and control/manage us, business as usual.
Recognising that as our real self, we are not our responses or feelings or fears or thoughts or behaviours has been a wonderful liberation for me, a sense that I've felt for so long, since very young, but have not actually 'lived' the truth of...
When new experiences and opportunities unfold, the fears can be recognised, acknowledged and even respected as intense sensations that are a part of who we are in the world; we can say hello to them and not 'mind' them. We can remain unattached. It's ok, they can be right there whilst I continue to plan, to organise the exhibition, to meet others on the day, to socialise... they fluctuate in their strength and presence too, whilst I bubble-wrap my work...' You're not good enough', 'who do you think you are?... yes yes, I hear and feel you, thank you :-) - they hate to be ignored and will up-level until I listen, then they're more at ease... and as Eckhart Tolle would say, on letting be and allowing, try asking yourself, 'Can I be the space for this?' - and that's what I wrote on the inside of my palm, in Biro pen yesterday, when the anxiety was very strong just before driving to the event.
And it was genuinely fun, fresh, spontaneous and enjoyable and yes! I could be the space for this, for all these emotions and I could let them 'be' and they didn't derail me... and they even disappeared into the shadows to rest for a bit at many points throughout the afternoon.
I often do EFT, meditate, read inspiring authors and poets, watch and participate in satsangs online, listen to music, carry rose quartz, write on my palms :-))) for learning, grounding, self-compassion and reassurance and pointers in the moment.
I'd love to know what you do to help at particularly anxious times.
Some photos from the (truly!) wonderful afternoon...fears and all
... and to be the space which does not change :-)
I love this 7 min video by Robert Holden which is so clear on the unconditioned Self, the conditioned self ..and ultimately all in Oneness x
My feltings to illustrate an accompanying resource for a life-changing course