How I found the Secret Key to Understanding My Sensitive and Intense Family

sensitive and intense family - boy upside down on the beach

Do you feel different from other people? Maybe more intense, sensitive, or just a bit weird?

When I was a little girl I knew I was different. I thought there must be something wrong with me. Why else did  adults so often tell me to stop being so sensitive, or ask me, ‘Why are you so intense?’

I  learned to squash my eccentricities, revealing my true self to only a few trusted friends. I did this so well I ended up in a job I hated, which everyone said I’d be mad to give up because I’d trained for so long to get there.

My sensitive and intense family

Then I had children. Two distinct personalities, parented quite differently from how I’d been brought up, and they were different from other children, too.

One wanted to join in every group activity and try every craft project she came across. The other couldn’t be in a group for more than fifteen minutes without having a meltdown. He  was happiest playing in his own imaginary worlds from morning until night.

My firstborn was intense but extroverted. Except for the occasional outburst, she fitted with the way our society says kids should be. By contrast, we spent years trailing my second child around ‘experts,’ trying to figure out what was going on with him and how we could help him fit into society better.

Those explorations eventually led me to a workshop in which all was revealed, not just about him but about my daughter and myself, too.

What was this well-kept secret?

My children and I  have nervous systems that are more sensitive than average. We have strong reactions to things other people don’t even notice. We’re easily overwhelmed by our emotions. And we generally experience life at a more intense level.

Psychologists call this combination of innate personality traits ‘overexcitability’ (OE for short).

Over the last nine months I’ve thrown myself into finding out as much about overexcitability as I can. What I’ve discovered has helped me understand not only my children but also myself on a whole new level. The sense peace this has given me is profound.

Since that first OE workshop I’ve worked as a volunteer with PowerWood, a not-for-profit social venture which supports families living with OE, founded and led by my heroine Simone de Hoogh. I’ve also written about OE in parenting magazines, and of course I share stories about how to live positively with intensity and sensitivity here on this blog.

All this has left little time for my home-education blog, Navigating By Joy.  I love being part of the blogging community, but I’ve often wanted to share more personal stories that I hoped would touch and encourage other people.

Join me

If you’d like to share experiences, information and tips about life in a sensitive and intense family, I’d love you to subscribe to receive e-mail updates of my blog – just leave your email address in the box at the bottom of the page.

You might also want to like my Laugh Love Learn Facebook page where I’ll be sharing interesting and  helpful ideas and resources.

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16 thoughts on “How I found the Secret Key to Understanding My Sensitive and Intense Family

    1. What a lovely surprise to find you here, Claire, and thank you for being my very first visitor! I’ve spent the last few days playing with this new blog and I was thinking I ought to invite a few friends to come and take a look, but you beat me to it! 🙂

    1. Ah thank you, Simone, for your very generous words. They are especially welcome as I feel like I am wrestling with words today as I try to write my next post! I am trying to remember that ‘good enough’ is okay – it doesn’t have to be perfect. 🙂

      1. That made me smile – my wise sister-in-law has been encouraging me to join what she calls the ‘good enough club’. I am working hard on it as I do see the sense, but it does go against my natural inclination towards perfectionism! Glad to hear I’m not alone in my struggle, and wanted to encourage you in yours.

        1. Hello Kirsty! It’s lovely to see you here. I like the sound of your ‘good enough club’. Your comment came through as I was wrestling with my next blog post, so perfect (!) timing, thank you! 🙂

          1. I love the concept of being ‘good enough’ and use it a lot in my work. It is really helpful for all those little hidden perfectionists in us;)!

          2. Simone, I remember the first time I heard you say that, in the first PowerWood workshop I came to. I was struck by how refreshing the words sounded. 🙂

  1. Hi Lucinda,
    Wow! I am about to pull an all nighter reading all the information about OE. I have a lot to think about, and sort out.

    I will be signing up to follow your blog. I have a lot to understand about OE. Thank you for posting about it. It has touch my heart.

    1. Hi Silvana, Thank you so much for finding me over here on my new blog. Celebrating neuro-diversity and helping our high-able children is a subject very close to my heart, too, so I am so pleased to be connecting here with kindred spirits like you!

  2. Lucinda,

    I can’t believe I missed commenting on your very first post. I guess it’s not too late to add one! Congratulations on your year of blogging. I have really enjoyed following along and learning more about OEs and your quirky, lovely family. xx

    1. Sue, Thank you for following along with me and for being a constant inspiration. I appreciate your support more than words can say. 🙂 x

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