Empaths and Addiction
Addiction has been a big part of my story and seems to run very high in people who are empathic and highly sensitive. It’s also very common in cases of trauma and sometimes there may be familial patterns and habits. There are lots of reasons that addiction occurs, and I think it’s valuable to address it.
For sensitive individuals, the world can be a very intense place - it can be very loud, it can be very bright, and it can be very emotionally overwhelming with so much stimulation. When we don’t understand how to manage our energy and our sensitivities, this can make everyday life very challenging.
Everyone knows how overwhelming a crowd can be, but it’s not just about that. For empathic and highly sensitive individuals, being in a home that doesn’t nurture sensitivity, being with parents or with family or partners who haven’t done their own emotional healing or have repressed emotions can be overwhelming.
Someone doesn’t have to be loud or noisy to cause a lot of “noise” to a sensitive person. An individual can be very quiet, but if they have a lot churning inside of them, a lot of repressed emotions or a lot going on within them, they can be extremely loud and overwhelming to a sensitive person.
We’re thrown into intense situations, like a crowded school, at a very young age. We’re told that we have to just get through it and not be so sensitive. Yet we aren’t taught how to manage our energy and sensitivities. No one stops to recognize us as a sensitive child and steps back to say, “How can we work with your sensitivities?” So at an early age we begin struggling with the need to shut out everything around us. Then, as we get older, we discover that drugs and alcohol allow us to experience that escape.
But it’s not limited to illegal drugs and alcohol. Even smoking cigarettes, sex, and food can be addictions that serve this same purpose. What’s really happening is that we are using addiction as a way to push things away and shut down or shut off from our environments.
In the video below, I share why various addictions seem to be serving, how to recognize what you might be abusing and why, and how to find different coping strategies…
Sending you so much love,