Monday, September 10, 2012

"I can't take it anymore" - Overwhelm as a normal response to overwhelming life experiences

"Overwhelm" is a common place for those who hail from backgrounds of drama/trauma/dysfunction.

Why? Because we are defective?


Because we were often required to live life in survival mode where we rarely got reprieve from balancing learning and growing with staying out of harms way (be that emotional, psychological or physical harm). 

We also did not learn valuable life skills like prioritizing, choosing, organizing, boundary setting, self care and so on.

But today we are talking about that place of overwhelm...

That place where we want to stand up....

Stomp our foot...

And scream from the top of our lungs...

I can't take it anymore!!!!!!!



Maybe instead of lashing out...

We try to escape.

We run away.

We avoid.

We say one thing....

Why yes! I'd be delighted to help you paint your house, pack it up and move you across town!  

Yet do another....

That was yesterday? OMG! I completely forgot! 

Or maybe we'll get "sick"...or "hurt"

I am so sorry....I woke up with a sore throat/was up all night with my son/daughter/cat/dog...vomiting omg...I feel so sick, my foot is broken, I twisted my ankle chasing the damned cat....

Or maybe we'll pick a fight...

You said you would ____________. You are such a jerk/bitch/a****le. Well hell no - I'm not going to help you move. 

Or maybe we just....go away and fall into a place of depression and despondency...

Hoping no one finds us but ...wanting someone to rescue us, to pay attention to take care of us. 

The point is....

A feeling of overwhelm is a normal response for those of us who have not had the life experiences that would allow us to know how to balance life on lifes terms. 


We can learn the coping and life skills that will enable us to feel empowered.

We can choose to change how we view ourselves....and the world around us.

We can learn to live as the creator of our "best life"...

That we can live our own "Un-limited life".

Where to begin? 

Right here.

Right now.

We begin by taking this off "auto pilot" and...

1. Acknowledge where we are right now - and that we don't have to stay there

Recognize and acknowledge that people, places, things and life circumstances are not causing our feeling of overwhelm but - that our inner resources are exhausted. 

Acknowledge and come to an understanding that the coping and life skills we learned in the trauma/drama/dysfunction were insuffiencient to allow us to not feel overwhelmed. 

Acknowledge that to create this change will take time and by knowing where I'm the first step to getting where I want to be. 

2. Accept this as a normal response for our life experiences and that we can learn to live beyond it. 

Practice accepting that we are not defective but - that we are complete and full of an inner wisdom that once we begin to tap into it and become the creator of our life rather than a perpetual victim of life. 

Learning to view overwhelm not as  disorder or character defect -  but a normal human response to life circumstances that have overwhelmed our ability to cope is where I found the power to create this change. 

3. Awareness that this will take time. 

Grasp that there is no magic bullet, no one can fix this for us - but when we begin to see ourselves as capable...we will also begin to see how to create this change for ourselves

Focusing not on what we see as impossible but - each day rehearsing what we want for ourselves and the infinite possibilities that await us

Understand that it takes time to create change - that it is only in our childlike pain of never "being enough" that keeps us stuck in the magical thinking that we "should" be "better" "by now. Awareness and acknowledgement that we are human, that this is a normal thing to struggle with and that by taking action today I can have the tomorrow I want. 

Understanding that the expectations of others are often way below or way above where are at any given moment. Learning to become aware of how others expectations affect us can enable us to let go of the idea that we have to be anything other than who we are. That we ARE "enough".

4. Knowing that engaged action will take us from where we are to where we want to be

We can spend years...decades...a lifetime....wishing, wanting and talking about what we want - but never achieving the kind of change that can change our life. It is often when we stop talking about it that we finally do something about it.

Taking one action each day will get us to where we want to be tomorrow. Creating a plan on purpose is the beginning of shifting our wishes, dreams and desires from "some day..." to today. 

Not knowing where to start...makes it tough to start. Begin the day with remembering to live in awareness of the feeling of overwhelm as well as some new coping strategies.

A few tips to get you started on learning to live beyond overwhelm...

  • Step back, don't say "yes" right away, always wait 3 days before making a commitment to a new idea or project, 
  • Get honest with yourself. If you don't want to do something - make it ok to admit that instead of blaming someone else for your overwhelm. 
  • Practice saying "no" in little ways to develop the confidence to say "no" to bigger issues. Saying "no. I'd like that table over there" at a restaurant is sort of a pre-requisite for being able to say "No. I'd rather see this movie" to an intimate relationship. 
  • Recognize when you are falling into avoidance by picking a fight, "forgetting", getting "sick" or hurt in order to find an excuse to say "no". There is no shame and much power in choosing to live in conscious awareness of the subtle intent behind our actions. 
  • Own up - when you catch yourself using old coping strategies like picking a fight and blaming others for your overwhelm.....first - admit it to yourself then apologize to the people involved."I was feeling really overwhelmed about coming over yesterday to help you paint and I took it out on you instead of telling you how I was feeling and that I really just wanted to stay home. I'd like to apologize for blasting you." (NOTE: This does NOT mean we have to stay around if the person involved starts chastising or shaming us instead of accepting our apology. It is ALWAYS ok to excuse ourselves from situations that feel bad)

Understanding that our current method of dealing with overwhelm are learned behaviors (responses to stress) AND that as such...

We can learn how to do it differently.


Go forth and rock your world:)

Show em what you've got....

Let a little light in....

And you'll light someone else's life a little:)

Always here,


This link is where you'll find some related posts on learning to let life unfold...naturally. Click here to go there. :) 


The "how" behind the journey is a learning process. Join us at the Facebook Community page here for the daily notes and get on the list here for upcoming events and news. 

PPSS...thanks for reading and please consider sharing:) 

Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!


CLICK HERE to register to get more empowering solutions in your inbox and be on the list to receive news and updates about upcoming events. 

No comments: