3 Big Causes of HSP Overwhelm: Stress, Bullies, Energy


In my work, there are 3 big causes of HSP overwhelm that I see – and they have nothing to do with whether the world is HSP-friendly or not.

Overwhelm Source No 1: Stress


I know stress sounds generic.

“Oh, you’re just stressed” is the “whatever” of the 21st century. But, most of us were taught to relate to our bodies, like we relate to a car: it’s supposed to just work, and if it doesn’t you take it to a mechanic.

The mechanic being a doctor.

We weren’t raised to sit quietly, tune in to our intuition and then do what it says (I mean, listening to your intuition is great, but do you also have the guts to act on it? That part is a lot harder).

Instead, we were raised to soldier on, to not chicken out, to make things work and not be a wuss. Most importantly, we learned that life isn’t always fun (which is true) but we often took that to mean that life couldn’t really be much fun at all.

When you are raised like that, you’re raised to get dramatically out of sync with your own body. The result of that? Stress.

Stress is bad for all of us, but especially so for us Highly Sensitive People. Stress throws us out of whack more dramatically, more chronically. As Highly Sensitive People, we need to understand how to really take care of our own bodies, and not just drag our body to a doctor when it won’t “start”.

And the kicker is, there is no SINGLE solution that fixes everyone’s stress. You need an approach that is tailored to your body, your natural likes and dislikes, your strengths, and your weaknesses.

But what most people don’t understand is that stress is not out there. Stress consists of all the self-care practices you lack, the boundaries you don’t set, the parts of yourself you don’t understand and the emotions you’re afraid of. Stress happens inside of you first. When things are overwhelming on the inside, you lose sight of how to make things work in the world around you.

So, this is good news. It means you have more options than you think. But it also means that what is needed is more than just leaving a stressful environment. (Leaving a stressful environment can be needed, but you also need to make sure new stress doesn’t accumulate in the new environment. Otherwise, you end up being on the run, switching spaces endlessly!).


Overwhelm Source Number 2: Bullies


Also known as narcissistic people.

The trauma that you accumulate from having to deal with unsafe, blaming, clingy and spiteful, full of themselves people, slowly builds over time.

Even when you “get away”, you take that trauma with you. Trauma is a tricky thing.

There are a few different kinds of people in the world. To (radically) simplify: there are the people who are kind to you, because they sense that you’re going through a rough patch. And then there are the people who see that you’re vulnerable and who elbow you even harder. They will use your pain to pressure, manipulate and try to control you.

Of course, this is scary! But there are two ways to respond to this. One: you freak out, focus on how bad those people are, feel powerless and stay stuck. Or two: you take this on as a challenge. Not to “win over” the bullies, but to fortify yourself on the inside. Maybe you thought you were doing o.k. until a bully got to you.


It’s like thinking your house is o.k. because it never rains.


Then one day it rains and you discover the roof is leaking!

What do you do?

You can complain about the stupid rain.

Or, you can say: “Hmm, I’m not happy about the rain at all, but it’s showing me where my house is super vulnerable and needs some repairs. O.k. let’s get to it!”

This same reasoning applies to bullies. They are the rain getting into your house. You can complain about the rain, or find a way to fix the leaks.

The leaks are the places where you are traumatised and hurting more than you realise. You probably thought you’d moved on from those hurts and fears, but the bullies smell a way to get you, and they will use that to get in, until you fix the leaks. And they will pick you specifically because you have leaks they can use against you.


A strong non-leaky house is worth having. A strong, non-traumatised self is too.


Trauma is a collection of survival mechanisms. Things you learned to think and do, emotions you learned to suppress, parts of your body you learned to tune out, bad situations you learned to accepts and make do with, all in order to make life work. And it worked once, but now it no longer does.

So now all those inner mechanisms need to be identified and released, so you can spring back to your natural, strong self. You don’t have to heal “perfectly”, just enough to keep the bullies out. I also see this as a wake-up call from your soul:

You know how someone can say something really mean to one person, and it just rolls off their back? And then they say the same to someone else, and that other person bursts into tears?


It’s not sensitivity, or character, it’s trauma.


When things really hurt, it’s because they’re already hurting on the inside. You can’t stop people from trying to hurt you, but you can do your inner healing so that hurtful words roll off your back.

Why does the N-word hurt? Because there are generations of trauma attached to it. Why would I shrug if someone called me the N-word? Because it doesn’t have that painful inner meaning for me, so it just seems like a strange thing to say.

As Sensitive People we tend to have baggage around being considered “crazy”. Or rather, perhaps that’s true for all women! We have generations of pain around being considered too emotional, considered “unstable” and what have you, simply for not being like men. So yeah, chances are, if you are a man and tell a woman “don’t be so crazy” – that’s going to stir up generations of inner pain. Whereas, other things we’d care much less about being labeled as.

Everyone has their generational hurts, and their personal hurts. It doesn’t matter what it is, narcissistic people will find a way to use that pain against you.

So, you can either get mad at them and try to make them stop (spoiler alert: that won’t work) or you can use their poking as a way to find your inner wounding and then do the work to heal it.

And, it’s more than that. When you’re not hurting, you can stand strong, you can see your options, you can find the words to say something back. You stop being a victim.

P.S. What doesn’t work though: just talking about it. Trauma lives in your body, not in your head. Your head is the part of you that can pretty much keep going no matter what, because it will tell you what you need to hear, not what is true.


Overwhelm Source Number 3: Energy Sensitivity


I have written a LOT on this site about different kinds of energy sensitivity. There is a lot of confusion in the world about this topic, and many people make all kinds of misplaced assumptions about it. Which is understandable – it’s complex material – but all those misconceptions aren’t helping people understand what causes what.

The hardest part about energy sensitivity though is that it operates “beneath the surface”. It’s not logical psychologically, and it’s not tangible. There are very few helpful words to describe what is happening. Overall, any attempt to study it in your life usually gets sabotaged – by yourself – because you worry you must be crazy (raise your hand if you’ve been there!).

So you’re dealing with a whole world which in a way you sense does exist, but growing up most of us were told it doesn’t exist. Hmmm.

Once upon a time it was really hard to find information about empaths, psychic abilities, clairsentience, energy vampires, psychic attack etc. Nowadays, the internet is inundated with articles. So you’d think things are much better now! But many of these articles are just recycling the same limited information. There are good articles and books out there, but you really have to hunt around to find them.

So not only are you dealing with an invisible world of energy influencing you. It’s also hard to establish which sources to trust, and which not.


When it comes to energy sensitivity, most overwhelm comes from one of these three scenarios:

  1. You are more sensitive to energy than most and don’t realise. So you try to tackle the problem in all kinds of other ways and none of those are really working.
  2. You believe that a problem you have is psychic, so you do all the psychic courses you can get your hands on, but none of them are helping. When there is no knowledgeable person to help you diagnose the real problem in the first place, you can end up on a wild goose chase. Psychic abilities seemed interesting and relevant to explore. So you dove in, spent lots of time and money, and your problem is still unresolved. (Usually this translates into “I can shield now, but I still feel terrible!”)
  3. You started working with an energy healer and – you can’t quite put your finger on it but – somehow your life got a whole lot worse since then. You suspect this person may not have the purest of intentions after all, or maybe they just didn’t really know what they were doing. (Sadly, there are a lot of energy healers out there who are drawn to the profession for all the wrong reasons. Many don’t even realise they are making things worse for their clients).

So, what are the solutions?


Well, I wouldn’t have this blog if I didn’t offer my own.

First things first though, if you’re overwhelmed and want help – set up a Clarity Call with me so we can diagnose the problem. No point doing “all the things” if none of those are addressing the root cause!

You can also browse around on my coaching page first to orient yourself on the different programmes I offer.

The world is a happier place with more Happy Sensitives in it!



clarity call after post transp

Share to spread the happy sensitive inspiration
Share on Facebook
Email this to someone
Tweet about this on Twitter
Pin on Pinterest
Print this page

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: