Exploring Sensitivity.....

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by New Leaf, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    "You are just too sensitive". These are words I have heard throughout my life. It was as if there were something broken that needed to be fixed. I bought into this when I was younger and I tried to "toughen" up.

    In some ways, my attempts worked, in other ways, not so much.

    I always felt different, and saw that I reacted differently to experiences, cried at sad songs, movies, needed more time than most people to process everything, especially emotions, etc.

    I am learning to look at my sensitivity now as a blessing, not a curse. It is a trait that drives me to write poetry, sculpt and paint.

    There is ongoing research about highly sensitive people and how our minds work differently.

    I have the book "The Highly Sensitive Person" and am just starting to delve into it. It is helping me to understand a bit more about myself and how this trait affected my childhood and quite possibly, the way I was perceived by my FOO.

    There are articles and websites that are devoted to "HSP's" ( yes we have our own acronym) and it is nice to know there are kindred spirits out there in the big wide world.....

    Below is one interesting article I found.


    This is from a pretty cool personal development blog with the "goal to give you the tools to identify and transform the limiting beliefs that keep you stuck."

    I like that.....I don't want to be stuck, I want to move forward and live well. I think part of being able to do that is to understand my past with my FOO, to learn more about who I am. Part of that is acknowledging the effect family dynamics played in my development. This will help me see myself through a healthier perspective, I hope......

    I am understanding more and more that I am a highly sensitive person, the need to nourish and build on the good attributes of that trait, and to work on recognizing the extremes I can go to and find balance.

    We write in posts to one another,
    "You have value, you matter."
    When raising and caring for children, especially d cs, we can get lost in the responsibility of it all. When our children leave the nest the question can become
    " Well who am I anyway?"

    Defining ourselves as individuals again, that is an exciting prospect. To have the time and presence of mind to be able to work on ourselves. Personal development after parenting........

    To me the foundation of personal development begins with understanding who we are, and going from there.... I think it is a huge piece of the puzzle in facing the hard realities that brought us to CD in the first place. Surviving the battle we wage as parents of d cs. That battle is oftentimes internalized and we suffer greatly. It is a matter of not just coping, but learning to thrive, switching from intense focus on our d cs lives, to focusing on what we can control, ourselves.

    Knowing who we are and striving to build on that........we can make decisions from solid ground and provide an example through living well......for all of our children.

    Highly sensitive people.....
    Is there anyone else in our CD family that have felt similarly and explored their sensitivity?

    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Add me to the list of highly sensitive people. As are both of my kids, and my hubby, and my brother... for a minimum.

    I haven't had time to fully explore, I'm still in the middle of raising two (almost adult) teens, who aren't likely to launch for another 5 years or so.
  3. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Wow, IC, you guys must go through a lot of kleenex watching sad movies. That is a lot of HSP's in one family! Are you guys artistic, too?
    I think being HSP's makes it harder for me to figure out my FOO dynamic. I keep wondering if it was my extra sensitivity that fueled the tyranny of my sibs, and my folks just wanted me to toughen up for a hard world out there, you know?


  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I am sensitive but am getting a lot better. I think!
  5. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hey SWOT. I don't think it is something to "get better" from anymore. It is just a part of me. It is a trait that has been misunderstood for a long time.
    When I was growing up it was hard because of the deep feelings I had. I felt different from others, weird even. I am just learning and studying about this trait, so that I can make the best of it,
    instead of trying to fight how I feel.

    I don't think it is wrong to be sensitive anymore, it is just.....me.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Depends on what is meant by "better".
    Less sensitive? I don't take that as "better".

    Better at managing the inputs, over-stimulation?
    Better at managing the outputs - how we react outwardly to inputs?
    Better at looking after ourselves, so that the inputs and outputs aren't so overwhelming?
  7. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    That's insightful IC. Better can mean managing and coping. I am glad you feel better Serenity.
    Sorry if I came off a bit defensive there friends, it has been looked at as a fault for me for sometime now.
    I guess I am in protect mode......
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sensitivity is a blessing, and a curse. There are two sides to it. You can't have one side without the other. And so... we see more, we feel more intensely, we are more aware of unseen and unheard things, those "gut feelings"...

    Sometimes I think it would be lovely to be "blissfully unaware" rather than so doggone sensitive! But other times... it has really saved me.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Better at taking care of me and avoiding triggers. Better at staying away from places with.thumping loud music and large crowds. Better at analyzing what people say to me...sometimes I can minimize the hurt with logic, which is a bit part of how I think. I atll cry at sad movies. Worse, I cant watch any of the humane society commercials,,,I have to mute them and look away. I am stll sensitive to stimuli.
    But I generally seem to have developed more of a tolerance than I did. That makes my life a bit easier.
    My Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son has gained some tolerance to stimuli too, although less than me.
  10. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I too am a highly sensitive person. I have learned over the years to embrace this side of myself. I've been told by others that I should be more aggressive, well that's like asking a leopard to change it's spots. Don't get me wrong, I'm not some meek timid thing and when I need to be aggressive I am.
    I have great empathy and compassion for others and sometimes find it odd when others don't. An example of what I mean: My husband and I will be driving somewhere and he will become impatient with another driver for driving too slow. I always tell him "honey, have patience, you don't know what's going on with that person. Maybe they just had a fight with their spouse or found out some really bad news and they are distracted" He tells me, you're too nice.
    I would much rather be the way I am than cold and hardened.

    This has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. To take my life back after all the chaos and drama my son created.
    It's so satisfying to embrace who I am with all my quirks and to truly enjoy my life.

    For me, this is where control came into play. It's about who I can trust and can truly be myself around. I have learned over the years to be very careful as there are people (my son was one of them) who have used my sensitivity against me.

    I am a strong, sensitive, quirky lady. (yes, I cry at the animal Budweiser commercials)
  11. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    I'm another highly sensitive person.
    Yep. I've encountered many of those people. Some of whom are ex-spouses.

    I learned at an early age to lock up my true self in order to protect myself. At 14 I was sitting in the kitchen in my house with two of the tough biker dudes, a big one and a skinny one. The big one said, "We're murderers and rapists." The skinny one said, "Well, we're not really murderers." Much laughter and guffawing. I knew at that exact moment that if I showed any fear, something bad would happen to me.

    So I shut out the soft, vulnerable side of me and hid it away for years.

    From the ex-spouses, I've learned how to recognize when people are mistreating me. I can now assess the relationship and make a conscious decision about how to proceed.

    The flip side is that I am killer at figuring out what students need. My sensitivity helps me to determine what makes each child tick, and I'm often able to help the kids better than other adults.
  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Me too Tanya, thank you for sharing. Actually, I can cry at the weirdest things.
    LOL. I can too, depending on the situation, I surprise myself at times.....

    Hubs has passenger road rage, always mumbling about what idiots drivers are, he gets so mad, it is as if they are personally insulting him with their poor driving habits. One of his pet peeves. I just try to block it out. No sense raising my blood pressure over that stuff.
    Pigless, that must have been terrifying! OUCH! You had to grow a tough skin to survive that....
    I am learning this. I have been in some puzzling situations volunteering, and have chosen passion over sanity, stayed too long on boards for the "cause" when clearly, the leadership had turned sour and toxic.
    Hubs grew up in a violent home. His dad was very abusive. This caused us problems in our marriage, but I stuck it out through some very rough spots. I found myself understanding why he was the way he was, more than looking after myself. Things changed as we grew older. He is still a rugged guy, but can also be very tender hearted. I have had to toughen up. I think in the long run, it has helped me be a little more assertive.

    Sensitivity helps me in the health room, too. I am not a sap, don't roll over for kids who are frequent flyers. But I do see that some of these kids just need a little TLC. when coming in. Times are hard for a lot of our kids. Parents busy working. Some are in school from 6:00 am (morning care in the cafe) to 5:30 pm (after school care). I see kids going through a lot with divorce, one week with one parent, another with the other. That is hard on their minds and bodies.
    I am glad the kids have you Pigless, one adult who understands and shows kindness can make a big difference.

    Thanks for sharing. It's nice to know there are more of us out there and how others work with this trait.

  13. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Do any of you suffer from migraines when you experience what I call "sensory overload?"

    Sometimes I have to endure too much stimulation, say a pep rally at school, and the result is a terrible migraine. It's as if my brain just needs to shut down and reboot.
  14. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I stay away from noisy places. I cannot handle it. I don't watch the news, or violent shows.

    I used to get migraines from stress. I stopped drinking red wine. They went away.

    I do go into cyclic phases of deep feeling states where I need to be alone. Since I can't afford to stop working and go to a cabin in Walden Woods, I need to be creative in finding the time to release.

    Your brain shuts down with a migraine, I go into a feeling frenzy.......

    It is hard Pigless, our lives are so crazy busy. Do you have to be at the pep rally? Can you wear earplugs?

    On another note of being HSP, you are a really creative writer. I appreciate your posts. Are there other avenues that you express yourself- what is your creative outlet? I find that if I have time to expend creative energy, it helps me with my stress levels.........

  15. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    I did get out of the pep rally once when one of the kids lost the privilege of attending. ;) The last one that I HAD to attend, I went and stood in the corner by the trash can. It was a hair better from that location. I was next to the class, so I could still help with crowd control.

    Yes, I do other creative things like make jewelry, garden and my latest project is "tricking out" the cart we use at school to sell treats to the teachers. The kids all have jobs to do when we take the snack cart around. It is absolutely the coolest activity. A male teacher is the one who runs this project, so he never thought to decorate the cart. I'm having fun with it.

    Thanks for being a supportive pen pal, Leafy. :starplucker:
  16. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    You are welcome pen pal Pigless. I have the craziest, most done up health room, ever. It is really quite cheery in there. The Principal always jokes that I am "inviting" kids to come in. I think if the little ones are sick, it is good to have something nice to look at.

    Thanks for sharing your sensitive side Pigless.....

    • Like Like x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List