Have you ever been hit up alongside the head with any of these winners?
“You’re overreacting. It’s not that big of a deal.”
“You are just too sensitive. That’s your problem.”
“I can never tell you anything without you having some kind of reaction.”
“You’re just too emotional for your own good.”
Yes, feeling too much can actually be worse than feeling too little. At least with the latter, you may be a candidate for Asperger’s Syndrome. But when you feel too much, what does that even mean?
Sadly, it can get a little bewildering even for counselors.
Feeling too much of an emotion can have a paralytic effect. That part of depression is correct: the whole psycho-motor retardation issue: a person just doesn’t want to get up, let alone do something to “snap out of it.”
It is normal, okay, and expected to be sad when something in our environment changes and it isn’t a good change: you lose your job, a relationship, a pet, your favorite incarnation of Doctor Who, whatever.
It is also fairly easy to argue that the people claiming to feel the least amount of emotions, in fact feel a great deal of emotion, but they push it aside, deny it, hide it, and believe that this creative adjustment is actually helping them.
But you can’t blame people for trying to hide their secret emotional selves.
Some historical explanations for the overly emotional (that you may find rather unfortunate):
You are weak. You are certainly not manly enough. Or maybe you are just hysterical. Or attention seeking. Perhaps even possessed by devils. Difficult. Something.
Maybe because there are more men in our culture in a position of either power or authority that identify with feeling less emotions than others, there is a natural bias against trying to understand people—men or women—who feel more.
Because there certainly isn’t a good diagnosis to give someone who feels all the time. Until fairly recently doctors labeled women as hysterical. In the 20th century, overly emotional female clients were slapped with the Borderline Personality Disorder. One of the best descriptions of BPD I have ever heard is that of a person who has no skin, and therefore every feeling they have is raw and overwhelming.
Where do emotionally attuned, sensitive people catch a break in our world?
No really, I am still waiting to find out the answer to that one. This post is more of a question I guess than anything else.
Let me reflect for a moment.
It can be very hard to accept our emotions, to feel comfortable with uncomfortable feelings when we all live in a world that doesn’t really acknowledge the complicated paths and obscure mental corridors that exist in all of us related to our feelings and our emotional lives/wounds/fantasies/selves.
It’s okay to hesitate and to question and to tentatively seek some insight into those dark, hidden away places.
That process doesn’t make you weak, or less of a person, or somehow damaged. It puts you in the same company as all the rest of us.
And because vomitoriums are so passe.