According to Elaine N. Aron and colleagues as well as other researchers, highly sensitive people, who compose about a fifth of the population (equal numbers in men and women), may process sensory data much more deeply and thoroughly due to a biological difference in their nervous systems. The trait is measured using the HSP Scale, which has been demonstrated to have both internal and external validity. Although the term is primarily used to describe humans, something similar to the trait is present in over 100 other species.
Wikipedia also says it is considering deleting the article. Hmmm.
I am one of these people. My therapist did not scoff at the notion when I asked her about it — she had heard of it — and thought that I probably was a HSP.
It does take me a lot longer to work through emotional things. When you’re a HSP, other people don’t get why you’re taking so long to process something everyone else takes less time to go through – death, divorce, job loss, etc. They don’t understand and think you’re looking for special attention for something so common.
So, I’m constantly defending myself and my need for more time and space, and that sounds whiny to people.
NOBODY GETS ME!
I have actually said this. Not as a joke. Not ironically. Many times.
What I’ve also realized is that just because I am highly sensitive, I can crush the shit out of other people’s feelings sometimes. I am IN-sensitive, actually, quite a bit. Sometimes I get in a groove where I think everyone else is callous (compared to me), so I don’t need to couch anything I say, and it comes out very harsh. I have actually made people break into tears with my bluntness. I never would mean to do that on purpose.
Sometimes I am so hurting, I lash out at people. That’s not very sensitive. Way back I had a blog post called “poo flinger.” That’s where I was in the separation process.
Over 300 words in to say that the biggest challenge for me in this regard is my relationship with my daughter. In my mind she is more like her dad than me. She says some pretty insensitive things and seems fairly unaffected by barbs thrown at her, and there have been doozies. But, I’ve made her cry recently with an attempt at “straight talk.” Her mother. I don’t want to make my child cry!
I wish she knew how desperately I lover her and want to shield her from outside hurts, as well as inside hurts, like her dad “rejecting” her and becoming part of a new family. With fresh kids. I wish she knew that when she cries because of something I’VE said, I want to flog myself.
And yet, I need to wean her, and she needs to be weaned. It’s time.
Time, the ultimate lord of everything.