At age ten, empathic Tess experienced a sudden and abrupt disconnect from her mom, which would affect her for the rest of her life. One day her mom was hugging her after school and teaching her how to cut vegetables. The next day, her Mom did not see her, but looked past her with a distant gaze, spaced-out eyes. Mom told Tess that the voices in her head told her to pull the plugs out of the walls.
Such a rapid disconnection from her mom was worse than losing her mom to death in Tess’ eyes. Rather than being able to say goodbye, Tess had to renegotiate the emotional environment with her mom still alive, yet not present.
Tess was empathic. She felt as her mom felt, and had no way to talk about it or understand it. The result was that Tess withdrew, cried and felt isolated and hurt.
Tess felt threatened by her mom’s withdrawal. She also loved her Mom, so Tess split her attention in half. One half stayed hidden inside a sensitive heart, protecting and armoring. One half re-learned how to live in a home with her mother’s mental illness, diagnosed as Schizoid Affective disorder. Tess was on constant psychic alert.
An intuitive cannot sustain the long-term division of attention in a situation such as Tess experienced without negative emotional consequences. Have you ever walked forward in life while trying to watch your back every two minutes? It would distort your attention and create tension in the same way emotional intensity or trauma strike empathic children. Empathic children will
- Internalize the toxic feeling that they are the burden
- Feel inadequate or unloved and turn the messages into negative self-talk.
- Feel inconsequential, like they have no power or resources in their environment.
These adversarial moments are also brilliant opportunities for developing flexibility and strength rather than being resigned. Help your children develop habits of coping so they become self-confident and trust their intuitive intelligence.
Tess’ therapist had her close her eyes, relax, and go back to age ten when she disconnected from the Mom she knew. Tess felt a giant creature standing beside her left shoulder much like a Wookiee of the Star Wars epics. This imaginary friend became Tess’ protector. She could hide behind him to feel safe, and could control her world in this way. This was a resilience creation, which let Tess control her inner world when she couldn’t control the outer environment.
For further information, check out Raising Intuitive Children.
© 2011 Dr. Goode is the founder of the Academy for Coaching Parents International, a global online school for training successful, wealthy parenting coaches in home-based businesses. She is the author of fifteen books, including the international best seller, Kids Who See Ghosts, the national award-winner Raising Intuitive Children. See and review all of Dr. Goode’s books here.
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