Recognizing Exhausted Woman Syndrome

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

“Burn-out” is an understatement of what you are experiencing; in fact it happened so long ago that it is now stored in long-term memory.  What you are experiencing is beyond burn-out and feels more like a chronic condition for which physical symptoms of stress have become the norm.

If this sounds familiar, then you might be suffering from Exhausted Woman Syndrome (EWS).  The symptoms are as follows:

·         Over-annoyed – little things set you off like people who can’t use their debit card fast enough at the check-out aisle.

·         Over-apologetic – saying, “I’m sorry” when you are not really sorry just to move past this item and on to the next one as quickly as possible.

·         Over-attentive – fixation on potential problems, trying to keep them from exploding into bigger ones to the exclusion of taking care of you.

·         Over-burdened – juggling too many balls in the air at one time resulting in a couple of them crashing to the ground.

·         Over-committed – taking on responsibility for things which others should do but aren’t doing to your satisfaction.

·         Over-competitive – driven to achieve in every area of life at one-time with no allowances for failure.

·         Over-conscientious – striving for perfectionism while denying that you are.

·         Over-dependable – so reliable that nearly everyone around you takes it for granted that you will get the job done.

·         Over-gratifying – trying so hard to please others that sometimes the entire point of the activity is lost (especially true for vacations and other fun family events).

·         Over-protective – feeling the need to defend your decisions, actions, beliefs, and emotions to the extent that you withdraw or withhold intimacy.

·         Over-thinking – obsessing over a conversation, decision or event over and over without coming to any new insights.

·         Over-whelmed – stressed to the point of exhaustion and feeling crushed by the weight of every day.

 If this sounds like you, you are not alone.  Many women suffer from EWS which is brought on by the competing demands of work, marriage, kids, extended family, friends, church, and community.  Unlike codependency which requires a dependency on a relationship, EWS strives to be independent of dominating relationships.  However this effort is met with great resistance from every relationship and consequently each relationship pushes for dominance.  This then results in exhaustion from trying to balance the conflicting requests.

There is hope for your exhaustion and it lies in repairing, restoring, and rebuilding your relationships to healthy perimeters.  Begin your journey by recognizing the need for help and then get it.



To make an appointment to speak with Christine please call our office at 407-647-7005. We’d be happy to assist you.

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