Sometimes You're Going to Be 'Too Much' for People — and That's OK
Ever since I was a little kid, I knew I was too much for people. I was too sensitive, too dramatic, just too much for anyone to reasonably understand. This is one of the core beliefs that defines my personality today. That I am too much, and it is selfish to expect anyone to love me as I am.
If you’re thinking that sounds a bit depressing, you’re absolutely right, but I didn’t even realize how sad that was until recently. For most of my life, this belief wasn’t a depressing or self-deprecating thought in my mind. It was just the truth, internalized from years of shame, belittlement and dismissal. It wasn’t until I started doing trauma work in therapy that I realized this idea that I was “too much” might be wrong, or at least not completely correct.
After realizing that I wasn’t automatically too much for everyone all the time, I went through several different adjusted world views, and my understanding of all of this continues to shift as I heal, grow and learn more about myself. At first, I was furious. I was enraged that people ever made me feel this way, that I was ever given these messages to internalize in the first place.
Most days, I’m still angry.
But, I’ve also started to understand that sometimes, a person really can be too much for someone else. In a lot of ways, I was too much for my parents a lot of the time, but not because I was a bad person or because I was hard to love. I was too much for them because they had their own unresolved trauma that limited their ability to love and understand someone like me. Someone sensitive and dramatic, but not someone bad.
Or some days, maybe I was too much because my mom worked night shift in the emergency room and had to deal with incredibly traumatic situations and when she got home, she simply didn’t have the emotional capacity to validate and mirror my emotions the way I needed.
Other days, I might have been too much because money was tight, or because politics I didn’t understand were erupting into chaos, or because I was behaving poorly.
I used to think that because my internalized belief that I was too much and unlovable was clearly incorrect, that meant I wasn’t really “too much.” Now I am starting to see the different reasons I may have been too much for my parents and I’m learning to accept that sometimes this will happen. Sometimes I really will be too much, but that doesn’t make me any less lovable.
That is an incredibly radical idea to me.
Intellectually, I understand unconditional love but in my gut, all love is conditional and the conditions are that I have to be less sensitive and less dramatic than I really am. These internalized messages really stick in our brains, and it can take a lot of therapy and personal inner work to reprogram our minds to understand things differently. I’m still working through this process and probably will be for years (or maybe even forever).
And that’s OK. The important thing is that, on some level, I know that three things are true:
1) I am exactly who I’m supposed to be
2) I am too much sometimes
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