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Healing for Lonely Abandoned Hearts

This short story was written by a highly sensitive person at one of our Deep Emotional Healing Retreats.

I discovered that I was highly sensitive in early 2019. It was a great relief to learn that my tendency for deep thinking and being highly emotional were both quite normal.

In July 2019 I felt an increasing sense of separation and isolation from people, even at my church. I felt like no one really understood what it was like to want to be deep and emotional.

I had often felt isolated when I was younger, and I thought that I had finally accepted it, but the loneliness came back.

At the same time, I wanted very much to be vulnerable with my emotions, but I was very insecure about doing that. I thought doing so would make me stand out, and standing out was often very stressful for me.

I craved deep relationships, but I didn’t know how to find them.

I searched for resources about how to live as a highly sensitive Christian and found Benita Esposito’s book, The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert, in August 2019.

Two of Benita’s stories particularly resonated with me in a way no other book has. 
 
The first was about how her father punished her when she was a young child. I also had a similar experience with my mother when I was young, which I’ll talk about below.

The second was about a time when Benita was on a retreat and didn’t feel like socializing but just wanted to let herself be sad and cry. I felt like that so often, but I usually didn’t dare to show it.

I wanted so much to feel free to be my emotional self.
 
A couple of the exercises in her book seemed strange to me, and I was skeptical they would do anything for me. One was the “Sacred Inner Beloved” dialogs where I was supposed to write a dialog between God and myself. The other was the reparenting exercise where I was to write a reconciliation dialog between my mother and myself.

Mysteriously, within a few days of reading about each of those exercises, I found my mind was doing the exercise as I awoke in the morning. I jumped out of bed and started writing and the words just flowed.

The Sacred Inner Beloved speaks.

In my Sacred Inner Beloved exercise, Jesus told me how precious I was to Him, and how He longed to spend time with me in nature. He urged me to accept His love. I had an image of embracing Him and crying on His shoulder. I cried as I was writing, too. I felt Him say, “Don’t be afraid to cry. Your tears are an anointing to me. I am honored to receive this from you, like I received the tears from the woman who washed My feet with her tears.”

Jesus continued to speak loving, affirming words to me about how precious I was to Him. He promised to heal me.

One surprising promise was that I would be a healer of hearts. That’s something I wanted, but I wasn’t sure if I was hearing Him clearly.

Trauma and Re-parenting Myself

While I was meditating a couple of months ago, I recalled a traumatic memory. Here is the historical version as best as I can remember.

When I was about 5 years old, we were having a party at our house, and my mother asked me to open a bottle of soda for the guests. When I put the bottle on the table and twisted the cap, the foam overflowed onto the table. My mom saw what happened and scolded me in an angry voice, “You must have shaken the bottle.”

I was very hurt. I ran to my room, lay down on my bed facing the wall and sobbed. My mom came in later and tried to comfort me by saying, “If I scold you, all you need to do is scold back at me.” But it felt disrespectful to do that. I hurt too much to even say anything.

During my meditation, the following altered vision of the event came to my mind.

After the soda overflowed, my mom saw what happened, and instead of scolding, she grabbed two rags and ran over to the table. She put the soda cap back on, handed me one of the rags, and said, “Quick, let’s get this cleaned up together.” I didn’t feel shunned and ashamed any more. Then I said (still as a child in my mind), “Are you ok, Mom? Are you stressed or sad? Is something bothering you?” It’s as though I could see past my pain, and could show compassion instead.

Then my thoughts were taken to a scene that might happen soon in my present-day reality. I saw myself saying to my mom, “Were you stressed or sad when I was young?” (I think the answer would be yes.) I said, “I think I can forgive you now,” and hugged her with tears moistening my eyes.

But that was only a vision. Afterward, I felt like it would take a long time to be able to forgive my mom in reality.

Private Breathwork Practice

Benita explained the breathwork procedure so I could practice by myself before I attended her Deep Emotional Healing Retreat.

During a couple of these sessions, I became very sad and felt like God was abandoning me. Once the feeling became so intense that I said aloud, “Don’t leave me!” I felt like I was in a dark place even though the sun was shining brightly outside. Later, I felt God saying that He was with me. I felt that I would start coming out of the darkness soon by going to Benita’s retreat.

Traveling to the Retreat (October 4, 2019)

I didn’t know what I would gain from the retreat, but I felt a very strong sense that this is what I had to do for myself. As I was driving to the retreat, I saw the mountains in the distance and started to weep. I remember saying to myself with a deep yearning, “I’m going to get help.” I really felt God calling me to this beautiful place for healing and that He would meet me in a special way.

Trust-building at the Retreat (October 5-6, 2019)

I found myself quickly trusting the other retreat members. I think it was because I knew we were all there to find healing and that many (if not all) were highly sensitive like myself. I was very ready to remove my mask because I felt that if anyone could understand me, it would be these people.

During those two days, I wept more than I ever had in the presence of other people. It was incredibly freeing to finally express my emotional self and not feel like people were staring at me for being strange or different.

Retreat first day: Breathwork (October 5, 2019)

We did a group breathwork session for more than an hour on the first day. For me, breathwork is similar to a waking dream where my emotional self is freer to explore deep emotions, desires, and unresolved wounds from my past. I also connect with God. Some of the thoughts and images made sense, and others were more mysterious and symbolic.

Early in the session, I felt like I was lost in a dark unfamiliar place. I remember being afraid and wondering, “Where am I?” Then I felt like I was being rescued from drowning and was coughing up water.

After some time, I felt the presence of Jesus. A sense of peace came over me. The music changed to something that sounded like a choir, and I had a vision of angels standing with Jesus. I felt so loved and sensed Him saying to me, “I will move heaven and earth for you. My legions of angels will be with you and help you.”

Almost immediately I sensed the pain among the other members, and I thought, “I’ll take that pain upon myself.” But an inner voice told me, “You need to ask Jesus to take their pain.” I imagined bringing each member to the embrace of Jesus so He could bear their pain. I embraced them from behind so I could be an added comfort to them. It felt good to comfort a hurting person.

Some time passed, and I had an image of myself as a baby in the hospital. (When I was younger, my parents had told me that when I was a baby, I had a bad fever and had to stay in the hospital.) I felt really alone and abandoned. I also had an image of my parents watching me with concern, but not being able to come near me. I believe that this experience was the true source of my feelings of abandonment that I experienced during my private breathwork sessions.

Later, I felt my stomach tensing up. I don’t let people touch my stomach. If they do, I wince and get tense in that area. Benita came over and placed her hand on my stomach and also on my chest, and I relaxed a little. Her touch felt safe, and I didn’t feel any need to tense up defensively. I felt a healing power through her hands. As I kept on breathing deeply, I felt the urge to exhale violently as though I needed to expel something really dark and evil. At one point I even wiped my mouth in disgust and told the evil to leave me. After I felt like the evil was sufficiently gone, I relaxed.

Retreat second day: Reparenting (October 6, 2019) 

During the group reparenting exercise, one member took the role of the stern version of my mom and another member took the role of the compassionate version.

I was able to express to my stern mother how hurt and crushed and shamed I felt by her scolding during the soda incident. I was shouting, “How could you do that to me? I’m your son!”

When the compassionate mother was comforting me, I recalled all the reparenting work I had already done. I said to the stern mother, “I know that I didn’t come with instructions. I know you had your own problems at the time.”

Then I had the chance to play the role of the compassionate father for another retreat member. I placed my hands on her shoulders as she expressed her pain about being neglected by her father. I felt a deep sadness. When she started to cry, I was overcome with emotion and I wept, too. Then I knelt down face-to-face with her. I held her hands and talked to her as her compassionate father. I was still crying, and I couldn’t speak very loudly.

Benita guided me in what to say, such as, “I do love you, my daughter.”

I wanted so much to make the client feel loved, and I had so many affirming words in my heart that I wanted to express. I said, “I’m so sorry,” and went on to say all the different ways she was precious and the activities we would do together.

After a few minutes, the stern father also approached, facing her and standing behind me. He began to speak affirming words. I felt like I needed to allow them to reconcile more fully, so I moved to the side so I was no longer between them. Then I took her (the client’s) hands and joined them with the stern father’s, and I put my hands on top of both their hands, while the stern father continued to affirm her. We stayed that way until he was finished with his healing words.

That experience was one of the most fulfilling that I ever remember. Jesus said comforting words to me in my Sacred Inner Beloved dialogs, and now His love and affirmation were flowing through me to help others.

Post Retreat Debrief (October 7, 2019)

Benita and I had a private session after the retreat. I told her that I didn’t think I was ready to tell my mom that I forgave her. Benita encouraged me to be more intentional about writing reparenting dialogs, and I agreed to do that a few times before our next meeting.

An Unexpected Conversation with my Mother (October 8, 2019)

When I got home after the retreat, I felt a strong desire to ask my mom about the details of the time I was sick as a baby. I told her that at the retreat I recalled a feeling of being abandoned in that incident, even though I have no conscious memory of the event because I was a baby.

She told me that I had a serious infection which required me to stay in the hospital for several days. The doctors had to try two kinds of antibiotics to stop the infection. My mom went back and forth between home and hospital to keep checking on me. The nurses didn’t allow her to hold me because that might disturb the IVs I was hooked up to, so she could only caress me with her hand. But she was so adamant about holding me that she did it anyway when the nurses weren’t looking. She knew I needed that comfort.

For several days after I was released from the hospital, I cried and fussed whenever my mom wasn’t carrying me. Apparently, I was so traumatized that I needed to feel safe in her arms. My mom barely slept for a week because she walked around with me in a sling or I wouldn’t fall asleep.

After hearing this, I realized it was getting late, so I went back to my apartment to sleep. (I live in the same building as my parents.) My soul was so moved with admiration by what my mom did for me that I felt I needed to tell her. I remembered a story that I read in Benita’s book when she saw a beautiful ski jacket. She said, “My inner voice told me to share my joy because expressing my joy as well as my pain was part of being true to my Authentic Self.”

I went back to my parents’ apartment. I didn’t have words, so I just opened my arms to hug my mom and started to cry. She thought it was because I was still feeling the abandonment as a baby. But I said it was more than that, and that we could about it talk later. She wanted to hear the rest of what I had to say right then.

I told her about the soda incident and my “revised version” where we cleaned up the mess together, and where I asked if she was stressed.

She said that was very mature of me to think that way, and remarked how much the retreat must have done for me. She told me that she was stressed when I was young because of family tensions and mistreatment. I knew about some of this mistreatment, and now she was confirming what my intuition had told me. The mistreatment was likely the cause of her outburst at me when the soda overflowed.

After a few moments, I felt a strong desire to reconnect with her, and I reached out for her hand. She gave me her hand but also hugged me, and I cried again, and she cried a little, too. Then I told her that I was ready to forgive her. I now understood that her harshness was due to her own problems at the time.

We talked about some of our recent conflicts. One was where she made a comment that I was neglectful for not putting away the leftovers. (I couldn’t do it right away because I was occupied with something.) Her comment had really triggered me and after stewing on it, I had told her it wasn’t ok to attack me for being irresponsible.

When recounting this incident, my mom said that she often says things in an off-handed way just to make conversation because she feels like silence is “stuffy.” She suggested that I just “argue back” in a friendly way when she says offensive things because she feels better when doing that. But I told her that I feel worse when I need to confront people and that my feelings are easily hurt. I told her I prefer nonverbal communication, so instead of filling the silence with banter, how about just a hug?

The amazing thing is that I realized this “nonverbal” preference of mine during a private session with Benita, and now I had the knowledge to express that to my mom.

We hugged one last time before I went off to bed. I didn’t cry this time but felt very much at peace. When getting ready for bed, I had a song playing in the background. Before the retreat, this song would bring up a sad yearning feeling, as in “I don’t like where I am now, but I know somehow it’s going to get better.” But listening to the song now felt very different, as in “I’m in a good place. I feel ready to spread my wings and soar!”

This was an absolutely miraculous outcome … one I didn’t expect to happen so soon.

So many different things that I experienced while working with Benita came together at once: reading her book, the private reparenting, the group reparenting, the breathwork visions, the one-on-one sessions, being with kindred spirits at the retreat, remembering Benita’s jacket story.

I feel that God brought everything together. Each piece was necessary for this transformation.

Now my mom and I have made a habit of embracing almost every day.

Final Closure (October 10, 2019)

I woke up feeling very loved by God. He said to me, “Though you are lost, I will go to the ends of the earth to find you and bring you to Myself.”

God had one more thing to teach me about my past trauma.

Up to this point, I had two versions of the soda incident when I was five years old: the historical one that originally traumatized me and the one where my mom was perfectly reasonable and we cleaned up the spill together.

A third version came to mind.

Mom scolds me, and I start to cry, but then she immediately says, “I’m sorry for saying that. Come here.” She embraces me until I feel accepted again. She says again, “I’m so sorry I said those hurtful things. You’ll always be my precious baby.” I hold her tight and feel her warmth until I feel entirely comforted. When she feels that and notices that I loosen my embrace, she looks into my eyes and says, “Ok now? I’ll hold you as long as you want.” I say, “I’m OK now.” Then she grabs two cloths, hands me one and says, “Let’s clean this up together.”

I realize now that it’s important not to completely cover over a traumatic memory with an idealized version, or to hold the traumatic one and the ideal one as separate versions.

Loved ones will hurt us sometimes. That’s the reality of this fallen world. But God provides means of reconciliation and understanding and healing. When that happens, in God’s time, we become free to merge the hurt and the love into the beautiful tapestry where both darkness and light play their part. The light appears so much brighter when seen against the backdrop of darkness.

~ The End. ~   Lovingly shared by “KL”

Did you find this story compelling? If you are interested in attending a Highly Sensitive Person Retreat or a Deep Emotional Healing Retreat, please click here for the retreat schedule in Georgia, USA.

Click here for a complimentary 10-minute phone interview to see if you are a good fit for these retreats. Make your plans well ahead of time because you will need to fulfill prerequisites.

Complete the contact page and Benita Esposito will do her best to reach out to you within 48 hours.

Credentials: Retreat Facilitator, Benita A. Esposito, MA, LPC

My Journey Toward Wholeness

Remaining a Square in a Triangle World

How I Recovered My Authentic Self

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This story was written by a participant in the Deep Emotional Healing Retreat and the Highly Sensitive Person Retreat.

Even though I am a very capable person and I dearly love God, I have battled feelings of worthlessness and shame my entire life. No one would ever guess this by looking at me. I can remember as far back as preschool that I didn’t like myself.

It’s been a little over a year since my last retreat with Benita A. Esposito. I’ve attended two breathwork retreats with her about a year apart along with a handful of individual sessions.

Read more

One-year Book Birthday Celebration

***Scroll to the bottom for your free gift.***

I hope this story inspires you to move ahead with a project that compels you to birth it. Maybe it’s writing a book. Maybe it’s getting an advanced college degree. Maybe it’s landing a truly fulfilling job. Maybe it’s developing your company. Maybe it’s developing a special project at work.

Whatever it is … do you dream of doing something much bigger than ever before? Is it outside of your comfort zone? Read more

Webinar: Conflict Management Skills for Highly Sensitive People Who Crave Harmony

Highly Sensitive People love peace and harmony. We want everybody to get along and we do a pretty good job of mediating most of the time.

But when we find ourselves in the middle of a situation where people are uncaring or contemptuous, we may flounder. We feel anxious or irritated. Even devastated at times. If we’re not highly trained in Emotional Intelligence skills, we may say things that we wish we hadn’t. Or we get quiet. People get offended. People lash out. People withdraw. All of this hurts.

It may take us longer than we wish to get over a poorly-handled conflict. By the time we do, our relationships may suffer or our career may be damaged.

My first mentor told me: Conflict is a necessary part of intimacy. I didn’t want to hear that, but now I realize it’s true. Knowing how to manage conflict well is one of our most important life skills. It’s the stuff that high-quality relationships are made of.

Everyone: Please email your answer to this question:
What is your most challenging conflict situation?

You can learn how to create meaningful relationships even in the midst of conflict.

I know how important this is because I’ve struggled to learn good conflict management skills for years. I want to pass on what I’ve learned to you so your life is easier than mine has been.

Instead of …

• Complaining repeatedly when your partner doesn’t cooperate with you
• Analyzing what’s wrong with your partner and trying to convince him to change
• Getting quiet and waiting for the storm to pass
• Criticizing your partner or getting defensive

You’ll learn an easy-to-understand template to quickly figure out how to express your thoughts and feelings in a responsible tactful manner. This technique is called “I Messages.”

People will be more likely to open up to you instead of distancing.

You’ll feel more confident and competent to show up as your Authentic Self and speak from your heart while respecting others.

Webinar Format

I’ll give a short lecture that includes a story about how I handled a conflict. Then I’ll coach participants so everyone can learn vicariously. You can make comments and ask questions.

Do you want to get the most out of this webinar?

Volunteer to be coached during this webinar. Two people will be selected for live coaching on this webinar. Email me with a description of your most challenging conflict situation and what makes it so difficult for you.

RECORDING: You may purchase a recording of the webinar for $39.00. Complete the Contact Page and ask me to email the recording link for this webinar. Specify the webinar title.

Make your $39 payment on PayPal.com to Payments@EspositoInstitute.com.

Facilitator: Benita A. Esposito, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Life Coach, and Spiritual Counselor. Click here to read Benita’s credentials.

P.S. Benita Esposito’s bestselling memoir and teaching stories, The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert: Wisdom for Emotional Healing and Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self, is available on Amazon.com. View the book video on the home page at www.SensitiveIntrovert.com.

Webinar: How Highly Sensitive People Can Find Peace in an Angry Storm

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

How do you feel when your family grumbles at you because your sensitive feelings have surfaced once again?

How does your body react when a friend rants at you? You know the feeling. You can’t understand what they are saying because your nervous system is overwhelmed. It’s hard to think clearly. It’s like a valve shuts off in your brain.

What do you do when a family member blasts you because you confronted him for kicking the dog?

Welcome to the highly sensitive person’s Achilles heel: criticism and anger.

Highly sensitive people often feel intimidated in the face of anger. We try to be understanding. But when people dump on us, we feel flooded. Our nervous systems freeze up or we explode.

Neither is a position of empowerment. Nor is it the highest expression of love for others or self-love.

But we have a conscience, and we feel bad when we don’t behave in healthy ways. Our pain motivates us to learn a better way.

In this webinar, we’ll explore how to:

• stop cowering or exploding
• remain centered when someone is angry with us
• identify what we’re feeling and manage our intense reactions
• help our loved ones understand us
• ask for other’s support to help us
• stop feeling rejected when people dump their frustration on us
• energetically protect ourselves
• assert ourselves, e.g., respect others and respect ourselves equally
• build our self-esteem
• identify and strengthen our HSP gifts.

WHO’S INVITED: Highly Sensitive People (HSP) and their loved ones who want to understand them better.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 8, 2019. 6:30-8pm Eastern

FORMAT: lecturettes, life coaching and spiritual counseling based on participants’ questions.

RECORDING: You may purchase a recording of the webinar for $39.00. Complete the Contact Page and ask me to email the recording link for this webinar. Specify the webinar title.

Make your $39 payment on PayPal.com to Payments@EspositoInstitute.com.

Facilitator

Benita A. Esposito, MA, LPCBenita-A.-Esposito,-MA,-Licensed-Professional-Counselor

I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor in Georgia. I’m also a life coach, an ordained minister with AIWP and a spiritual counselor. I earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Illinois State University in 1976. I see adults (individuals and couples) in private sessions and in intensive retreats.

Want a preview? Watch my book video: The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert: Wisdom for Emotional Healing and Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self. Click here.

Smart HSP High Achievers Meetup Group

Facilitator: Benita A. Esposito, Licensed Professional Counselor

Highly sensitive people (HSPs) often feel “different,” and in this case “different” means inferior. That’s a terrible feeling, and I want to help you change that experience.

How many questions can you answer “yes” to?

1) Are you a highly sensitive person (HSP) who feels stressed when there’s too much to do?

2) Are you a smart high achiever who has struggled with anxiety or depression?

3) Do you feel compelled to do your best? When someone criticizes you, does it sting?

4) Have people said, “You’re too sensitive. Just let it go.”

5) Do you find yourself wanting to please people to avoid conflicts?

6) Do noisy crowds, time pressures and brash people stress you?

7) Are you an empath? When others are angry or sad, do you have trouble remaining centered?

8) Do you tend to lose yourself in relationships?

9) Have people taken advantage of your compassion without returning your kindness?

10) Does your heart ache when your loved ones won’t emotionally connect with you?

11) Have emotionally abusive relationships left you exhausted?

12) Is it difficult to take time for daily meditation, exercise and to prepare healthy food?

If you see yourself in these questions, you are not alone.

Attend this Meetup group and get acquainted with other like-minded HSP’s who understand you.

Who’s Invited: All highly sensitive people.

Myers Briggs profiles INFJs, ENFJs, INFPs, ENFPs, introverts and extroverts.

When: 2nd Wednesday of the month. 6:30pm-8pm. Attend one or all meetings.

Arrive 6:00 – 6:15pm to allow time for the registration process and to mingle.

1) Wed., March 13, 2019. HSP Strengths and Struggles. RSVP by 3/8/2019.

2) Wed., April 10, 2019. How to set energetic boundaries to protect our empathic nature. RSVP by 4/5/2019.

3) Wed., May 8, 2019. RSVP for Meetup #3 by 5/3/2019.

Mark your calendar now. There will be no refunds after the RSVP date.

If you attend a meeting, you’ll get to vote on the next topic. Choose from …

• Manage your strong emotional reactions.

• Create a self-care program for work-life balance.

• Develop assertiveness so conflicts don’t overwhelm you.

• Identify and stop codependent relationships.

• Set boundaries so you don’t take on other’s emotions.

• Discuss the components of healthy emotional intimacy.

• Meditate to reduce anxiety and increase spiritual intimacy.

• Cultivate inner dialogues to develop self-compassion.

• Design a fulfilling career and a peaceful home.

Where: My office. 5885 Glenridge Drive, Suite 130. Sandy Springs, Georgia 30328.

If you travel south on Glenridge Drive from the intersection of Hammond Drive, turn left at the first driveway past the tennis courts at Hammond Park. Look for the sign: 

Plaza 400 Office Park. Drive to the building in the very back of the complex. Our entrance is next to GA 400.

Tuition: $39 per meeting

Registration. Space is limited to 8 people.

• Make a PayPal payment for $39.00 to Benita@EspositoInstitute.com.

• RSVP and payment are required no later than 5:00p.m. the Friday before the Meetup.

If you would like to attend this “Smart HSP High Achiever” Meetup, complete the Contact Form at SensitiveIntrovert.com, and I’ll get back to you. If you don’t hear from me within 48 hours, call me. There may be a glitch in the system.

If a meeting is full, you’ll be added to the waiting list or you may request a full refund. Or you may apply your fee to a future meeting.

Suggested books available on Amazon:The-Gifted-Highly-Sensitive-Introvert-Book

1) The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert

Author: Benita A. Esposito, Licensed Professional Counselor

2) The Highly Sensitive Person by Dr. Elaine Aron

 

Facilitator: Benita A. Esposito, MA is a licensed professional counselor. Click here for credentials.

Benita has passed an exam by Dr. Elaine Aron to counsel and provide life coaching for HSP’s.

Click here to watch my Book Video at www.SensitiveIntrovert.com.

Atlanta (Sandy Springs) & Blairsville, GA

Got questions?

Please complete the Contact form.

Counseling & Life Coaching for the Highly Sensitive Person, Atlanta and Blairsville, GA

Bestseller Banner awarded to Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert

Drum roll, please!

I’m excited to announce the debut of the paperback version of The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert: Wisdom for Emotional Healing and Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self.

It is my memoir and teaching stories to guide highly sensitive introverts on the journey to the Authentic Self.

The eBook version launched 10/16/2018. Amazon awarded it the Bestseller banner in 9 categories during the first week.

Amazon began posting the #1 New Release banner for the paperback version in 8 categories on 12/3/2018.

If you ever wanted to achieve a cherished goal, but you doubted you could do it, you’ll be inspired by my story.

Most of the time my book sells more copies than When Bad Things Happen to Good People, The Dalai Lama’s Book of Wisdom, and the Whole-Brain Child which was written by one of my teachers.

I thought that if my book received the Bestseller banner, tons of other books must, too. But that’s not the case. Brian Berni, who manages my Amazon ads, explained that it’s rare for a book to become a bestseller.

There are 4 million eBooks on Amazon.

My eBook ranked #3,305 during the first week.

That means that only 3,304 books sold more copies.

Brian says that he’s happy if a new book ranks 20,000. It’s excellent if a book ranks 6,000.

But it’s absolutely amazing for a book to rank 3,000-4,000. Especially for a first-time author who doesn’t use much social media or have a big platform.

How did this success happen?

For years I had hoped that I could write a bestseller, but it seemed like a pipe dream.

It took me two years to write this book. I didn’t feel confident while writing and publishing my book. I changed the title a thousand times. I fretted over learning the technology required to publish and advertise a book on Amazon. There were hundreds of things to study and memorize. But week after week I learned.

I didn’t study writing in school. I’m not an English major. I enrolled in an adult education course on writing once, but I quit the first time the teacher criticized my work. Highly Sensitive Introverts feel stung by criticism. I have dyslexia so I read slowly and I don’t like to read much. Most writers are readers. Not me.

I consulted the guidance of the Holy Spirit every step of the way:

• what topics to include in this book and which to save for another book
• what writing style to use, and how to edit it.
• which self-publishing school to choose. I found several schools that cost $20,000. I refused to spend that kind of money.
• which sub-contractors to hire for editing, proofreading, cover design, formatting, copywriting the book description and ad management.
• I asked for prayer support. One of the women on the prayer team at my church crocheted a white loose-weave scarf with a tiny cross embedded in it. That scarf hung around my neck 24 hours each weekend while I wrote for 20 months.
• The Holy Spirit sent angels who lifted me up. I acknowledge them all in my book.

I did my best to follow instructions from the Self-Publishing School (SPS) founded by Chandler Bolt. He and his staff have the highest integrity. My book coach, Marcy Pusey, was perfect for me because she is a highly sensitive person, too. She deeply understood me and she was so warm-hearted that I was moved to tears. I had tons of questions and I didn’t hesitate to ask every one of them. The SPS online community is warm and friendly. They provided the support that I needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other, especially when I felt discouraged.

*** If you would like to join the Self-Publishing School so you can learn how to write and publish your book, shoot me an email. I’ll arrange for you to receive a sizable discount.

I knew I could write my book. But, I also knew that if I didn’t learn how to market it well, few people would find it. My goal was to reach masses of people to help improve the quality of life on the planet.

The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert eBook sold 849 copies in the first month. Some books don’t sell that much in their lifetime. I hope that the release of the paperback will catapult sales.

I had no idea that my book would become a bestseller. None.

But now, my confidence is growing. I can look back and understand what I did to create a bestseller even though I was a first-time author, a babe in the woods.

I hope you feel encouraged by my story. If I did it, you can do it. My book coach told me that 80% of people want to write a book, but only 2% actually do.

Always remember this:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” ―Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Here’s to your success in achieving your most cherished dreams.

Hop on over to Amazon, and buy your copy of The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert.  Buy a copy for your sensitive friends and for the family members that you want to understand you.

I’d appreciate it if you would write an Amazon review because great reviews boost the rank of the book. Then more sensitive introverts will find the help they need.

Please share this notice on your social media sites.

Author: Benita A. Esposito, MA, is a licensed professional counselor, life coach and spiritual counselor. Contact her for a complimentary 10-minute get-acquainted phone chat to schedule a coaching session to catapult your success as a sensitive introvert.

Visit www.SensitiveIntrovert.com and www.Flourishing-Lives.com.

Click here to visit the Book Page for The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert.

Highly Sensitive Introverts’ Strengths and Struggles

This is chapter 3 from the book by Benita A. Esposito, MA, LPC:

The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert: Wisdom for Emotional Healing and Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self Read more

Attachment Styles and Highly Sensitive People. What predicts healthy romance?

This is chapter eight in my book. Let’s look at the research on attachment styles to help us understand how to create healthy romantic relationships.

We unconsciously act the way we do in romantic relationships for a good reason. Human beings have an innate drive to form emotional bonds with people who are precious to us. We suffer when we aren’t able to create secure bonds. The need for secure attachment is part of our inherited survival strategy.

Historically, we survive better in packs than alone. Solitary confinement is one of the most devastating forms of punishment. Even though children in orphanages in war-torn countries have food, clothing and shelter, they get sick and sometimes die without adequate loving attention. That’s how important emotional attachment is to us.

Healthy relationships are the number one predictor of our ability to heal from serious disease and maintain emotional and physical health. We live four years longer when we have healthy bonded relationships. (See reference 5.)

Psychological research shows that when we’re babies, we develop one of four attachment styles based on the parenting style of our caregivers.

According to Dr. Edward Tronick’s research, the attachment style of a one-year-old predicts the attachment style of a 25-year-old. (See reference 1.)

As adults, our childhood attachment style influences all of our thoughts, emotions and behaviors at an unconscious level.

Attachment styles have two categories: (1) secure and (2) insecure.

The insecure styles are divided into two sub-categories: anxious and avoidant. Some people have a third insecure style called anxious-avoidant.

1. Secure attachment style
Fifty percent of us enjoy a secure attachment style. Our parents were emotionally healthy, responsive and physically present. As children, we felt understood and cherished. We felt safe and secure. Our physical needs were met. There was no harsh discipline or emotional neglect or icy distance. Appropriate discipline was coupled with warmth and reassurance that we were loved and liked. We were given the appropriate amount of freedom to explore the world in a safe way, and encouraged to develop our unique personality. As adults, we anticipate that people will like us and we will like them. We develop healthy relationships and set appropriate boundaries for self-care.

2. Insecure Attachment Styles

2a) Anxious Attachment Style
Twenty percent of our population has an anxious attachment style. Our parents were inconsistent in meeting our emotional or physical needs. We became watchful, trying to figure out how to please our parents so they wouldn’t abandon us. As adults, we worry that our partner will leave us if there is conflict. We still try to please people. We might feel jealous.

When we don’t get our needs met, we get angry because anger is easier to feel than the loneliness of separation. This is called protest anger.

When we feel misunderstood and unloved, we become stressed. We may act in a manner that is critical, defensive or contemptuous. We’re trying to get our partner to connect with us, but inadvertently we push our partner away. We’re called “pursuers” in the language of Adult Attachment Theory.

An anxious attachment style isn’t right or wrong. Don’t beat yourself up if you have this style. The description helps us understand each other and ourselves. Pursuers often mate with avoidant styles who distance from deep emotional connection in the heat of conflict, leaving us feeling more anxious because we feel the pain of being left alone.

2b) Avoidant Attachment Style

Twenty-three percent of us have an avoidant attachment style. Our parents were emotionally or physically unavailable, neglectful or downright abusive. Scared and tense in our bodies, we became hyper-vigilant trying to intuit our parents’ unpredictable behavior. We had a big dilemma. How could we protect ourselves from parents who emotionally or physically hurt us while being dependent on them to meet our basic needs for food, shelter and clothing? Without the much-needed emotional nurturance, our bodies didn’t feel safe, and we braced ourselves for potential threats. We emotionally distanced and tried to become as self-sufficient as possible.

As adults, we may be independent high-achievers, driven to succeed. We hesitate to ask for help.

We may experience physical pain, chronic fatigue, addictions and other diseases predictable from a lifetime of physiological hyper-arousal. We may fall into depression, or swing between anxiety and depression. Even when we want to form healthy relationships, we anticipate people won’t like us if they really know us, or we won’t like them. We guard against getting too close. We may assume people will judge us, hurt us or try to control us. We’re called “withdrawers.”

2c) Anxious/Avoidant Attachment Style

One percent of us have this combined style. We may jump into relationships quickly, loving the endorphin high of romance, or we may hang back for a long time trying to determine if we’re safe with a potential partner.

We’re often attracted to a person who also has an insecure attachment style. When conflicts arise, we try to work it out, but if our partner doesn’t respond positively, we withdraw to protect ourselves. It’s difficult to open our hearts again, even when our partner begs us to connect, unless there’s a strong friendship already established.

The healthiest relationships contain at least one person with a secure attachment style.

When conflicts arise, the secure attachment style partner provides a stable emotional base so the other partner feels loved. To use an analogy, when the couple is dancing and the insecure partner stumbles, the secure partner is grounded and warm-hearted enough to help the other regain their balance. (See reference 4.)

With individual and couples therapy, people with insecure attachment styles can learn how to repair attachment injuries and connect in emotionally healthy ways. They can develop “earned secure attachment” so they both feel safe, understood and loved.

The science of Adult Attachment Theory is relatively new. With the development of fMRI machines, neuroscience has been able to understand the interplay between our emotions, our physiological reactions and our behaviors, and what happens to make us feel safe or scared in our relationships. (See reference 3.)

Highly Sensitive People and Attachment Styles

Let’s circle back and apply attachment theory to highly sensitive people. Research by Dr. Elaine Aron indicates that highly sensitive children raised by parents who meet their emotional and physical needs develop secure attachment styles just like non-highly sensitive children who have healthy parent styles. (reference 8) As these highly sensitive people mature, they thrive in relationships and they reach their life goals even better than many non-highly sensitives. They are creative, conscientious, compassionate, intuitive and innovative.

However, when the emotional and physical needs of highly sensitive children are not met, they react stronger to deprivation or abuse than non-highly sensitive children.

Their nervous systems respond with more hyper-arousal, like pressing their foot on the car accelerator. Or they experience more hypo-arousal, like pressing their foot on the brake to slow down. Or they vacillate between the two, fluctuating between anxiety and depression.

Highly sensitive people are more prone to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when they experience trauma, but with adept psychotherapy the effects of trauma can be healed. (See reference 6.) It’s best to seek therapy as soon as possible after a troubling incident to return the nervous system to resilience.

Highly sensitive people are no more likely to report insecure attachment styles than non-highly sensitive people.

Nothing about highly sensitivity impairs a person’s ability to form a healthy intimate relationship. Highly sensitive people are more attuned to subtle meanings of conversations, and they are able to gain more benefit from loving attention. They’re more empathetic, and better equipped to detect the unmet needs of others and fulfill those needs. They are more adept learners than non-highly sensitive people when healthy relationships skills are modeled for them in therapy. When they receive affirmation and appreciation, they thrive. (See reference 8.)

Conclusion

It’s challenging to form healthy bonded intimate relationships as an adult if we have an insecure attachment style. However, if we’re fortunate enough to mate with a secure attachment-style person, or we learn how to change our patterns in a course of successful psychotherapy, we can change our style to “earned secure attachment” and enjoy flourishing relationships.

Contact Information

If you are a highly sensitive person who wants to heal and learn how to form healthy adult relationships, contact Benita A. Esposito, MA.  She is a licensed professional counselor, life coach and spiritual counselor who specializes in helping highly sensitive people. Benita earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and has four decades professional experience. Complete the Contact Page to schedule a 10-minute complimentary phone interview to see if her services are a good fit for you.

Visit these websites: 

www.SensitiveIntrovert.com

www.flourishing-lives.com

 

References and Resources

Aron, Elaine. (2001). The Highly Sensitive Person in Love. p. 92. New York, NY. Broadway Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Aron, Elaine. (2001). The Highly Sensitive Person in Love: Understanding and Managing Relationships When the World Overwhelms You. New York, NY. Broadway Books.

Poole Heller, Diane. (2017). Healing Your Attachment Wounds: How to Create Deep and Lasting Intimate Relationships. Audiobook – Original recording by Diane Poole Heller (Narrator, Author),‎ Sounds True, Inc. Louisville, CO.

Poole Heller, Diane. Attachment Style Quiz. https://dianepooleheller.com/attachment-test

Levine, Amir and Heller, Rachel. (2010). Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love. Jeremy P Tarcher/Penguin Group. New York, NY.

Levine, Amir and Heller, Rachel. (2018). Attachment Quiz. http://www.attachedthebook.com/compatibility-quiz/?step=1

Tronick, Edward. (2007). Still Face Experiment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apzXGEbZht0

Johnson, Sue (2013) Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships. New York: Little Brown.

Johnson, Sue. (2011). Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. New York: Little Brown.

Johnson, Sue. (2014). How Your Attachment Style Affects Your Relationship. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pruIGfJewhs&t=1s

Ornish, Dean. (1998.) Love and Survival: 8 Pathways to Intimacy and Health. New York, NY. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Bolby, John. (1988). A Secure Base: Parent-Child Attachment and Healthy Human Development. New York, NY. Basic Books/Hatchette Books. (John Bowlby is the father of attachment theory.)

 

Copyright 2017. The Esposito Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.