“How Highly Sensitive People Interact with the World Differently”

I saw this article about HSPs on Huffington Post today and wanted to share it on this blog.

How Highly Sensitive People Interact With The World Differently
The Huffington Post | By Lindsay Holmes

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Photo: ballyscanlon via Getty Images

Highly sensitive people have been labeled a lot of ways in the past, like fragile, over-emotional and intense. But there’s more to a highly sensitive person than just excess crying and a whole ton of feelings.

Those with an empathetic personality are actually biologically wired to behave the way that they do. As a result, they also have an entirely different approach to to their physical environment — and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Below are just a few ways highly sensitive people interact differently with the world around them than their “thick-skinned” counterparts.

They’re easily overstimulated by their surroundings.
Loud noises, big decisions and large crowds don’t bode well for HSPs without a little downtime to balance them out. This is because they have a very active emotional response, according to Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person and one of the original scientific researchers of the personality trait.

“The reason this happens is because they’re processing everything around them so thoroughly,” Aron told The Huffington Post. HSPs process their surroundings or life events based on emotions. In other words, the more overwhelming their circumstances get, the more deeply they feel.

They pick up on the subtleties in a room.
Did you rearrange your living room? Did your spouse make you upset at a dinner party? Sensitive folks can sense many subtle shifts, whether they’re tangible items or emotional moods, Aron says. “There’s just this intuition they have about their environment that other people generally aren’t aware of,” she explained.

That intuition also guides them in their own relationships as well. HSPs notice different attitudes that may not be picked up on by other people. So if you’re using different language or texting more abrasively than normal (think periods instead of exclamation points), chances are a HSP is going to take note.

They’re more emotional in their relationships.
HSPs crave deep connections. According to Aron’s research, sensitive people tend to get more bored in marriages than non-HSP couples, mostly due to the lack of meaningful interaction that naturally occurs as time goes on. However, this isn’t necessarily bad news. Aron says that the lack of meaning doesn’t mean an HSP is going to abandon ship — it’s only going to motivate them to have more stimulating conversations.

The key to a successful relationship for an HSP is communicating what they want out of a relationship and finding a partner that understands their emotions are part of their nature. “Sensitive people can’t help but expressing what they’re feeling,” she said. “They show their anger, they show their happiness. Appreciating that is really important.”

Sometimes they prefer to fly solo.
HSPs function best when they’re in quieter environments — particularly in the workplace, according to Aron. “Open office plans aren’t productive for them in most cases,” she says. This preference to operate alone may even go for leisure activities outside of the office. HSPs may also avoid group sports or physical activities because they feel like their every move is scrutinized, Ted Zeff, a researcher and author of several books on highly sensitive personality traits, previously told HuffPost.

They might be more sensitive to caffeine or alcohol.
This certainly isn’t always the case, but Aron says on average HSPs may have more of a sensitivity to stimulants like caffeine or substances like alcohol, based on self-tests she’s conducted for her research. HSPs are also more easily bothered by hunger, she said.

They get anxious around conflict.
Conflict is a tough road to navigate for HSPs, according to Aron. They have two approaches to dealing with it, and those ideas are often at war with each other. “Sensitive people get torn between speaking up for what they feel is right or sitting back because they don’t want a violent type of reaction [from others],” Aron said. “They’re very sensitive to environments where they’re being judged for their sensitivity or for anything else.”

On the other hand, HSPs have a way of managing disagreements in a rational way. Because of their high levels of empathy, sensitive folks can often put themselves in the other person’s position and see their side of the argument, Aron explained.

When it comes down to it, Aron says the key for sensitive people is to embrace their personality trait rather than work against it. “Highly sensitive people make excellent leaders, friends and partners,” she said. In other words? Keep on experiencing those emotions, HSPs — even if they do make you cry.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/09/highly-sensitive-person-behaviors_n_7543140.html?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000039

“The Survival of the Fittest”

The Survival Of The Fittest
By Audrey Michelle, Spoken Word Artist.

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“Sad Angel” — Photo by Nimiko Nara

Stranded in the ends of time
A mind that needs to unwind
Living too much within a past
That pain consumed and it still lasts

A view that still sees purity
Though only shown pure cruelty

Each and every person met
Is loved and proven a regret
They hurt a sore and beaten heart
While smiling as it’s torn apart

All shreds of hope and fantasy
Are sliced for crimes
Though not guilty

There is an image to pursue
Beauty viewed by any view
Beauty though has disappeared
Wept out and fallen with each tear

Assumptions made while viewing cover
Assumes there’s no more to discover

Forced each time by will inside
To try to force a truth denied
The goodness is seen, but then ignored
Beauty does not come with such reward

Others survive by turning bitter
While true of heart shall only wither

Though always just misunderstood
When saw the world as full of good
The sweetened mind can’t realize
A truth that offers its demise

Life would end with such resolve
So to bitterness, truth can’t evolve

This is the post that scared me so much I almost deleted it.

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I have never been so scared to publish a post until this one. I had this set to Private for several days and drove myself crazy trying to decide if I ought to post it. It’s about some of my most vulnerable moments and posting about those is incredibly scary for a person who usually has their guard up. But I longed to post it. Something inside was telling me I needed to and I wouldn’t regret it. I also felt this post was my best written one ever because while writing it I allowed my emotions to flow unimpeded. What to do?

I even wrote a short post asking people if I should post something that made me feel so naked and vulnerable. Ultimately, the decision to make this post public was mine, but the consensus seemed to be that I should.

I read this post over again earlier today from the imaginary perspective of a random reader who just happened on the article and had never seen this blog before. I realized that as this “someone else” it would be something I’d want to read.

So here it is, guys. The post that made me feel like I was going to pass out cold when I pressed “Make Post Public.”

Milk and Open Hearts: Embracing the “Feminine” Emotions

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about vulnerability lately. I’m reaching a point in my healing journey where I can start to allow myself to become more open to my emotions and to sharing the feelings of others. It wasn’t my intention to write another post about crying so soon after my last, but I think my interest is due to something that’s happening inside…

For years I couldn’t cry, but wanted to. I was so numb from all the abuse that I had dissociated myself from my feelings. I felt like I was dead and in hell. Recently I’m finding a lump in my throat or tears starting to well much more frequently–usually because I’ve been touched by something or someone in some way, and it’s usually a pretty simple thing. I realize this is a sign that the long term dissociation within my mind is coming to an end because I’ve gained more courage to embrace my feelings instead of pushing them away or denying their existence.

I remember even during the darkest days of abuse by my psychopaths and narcs, when I walked around like an emotional zombie due to all the abuse I endured, there were rare moments of clarity when truth and beauty shone through the murk of depression and PTSD.

During my pregnancies with both my children (I was pregnant three other times–one abortion which I am writing about next–the child would have been a boy born in 1999–and two miscarriages), my brain’s marination in a continuous bath of pregnancy hormones made me very emotional. Not depressed-emotional–in fact, I was happier than I’d ever been. Things just touched me or made me feel some kind of ineffable euphoria or inexplicable sadness and suddenly there would be tears.

I think the increased emotionality experienced by pregnant and lactating women is the result of nature’s opening our hearts to connect deeply and lovingly with our children from the moment we know we are pregnant. The torrents of female hormones–mostly estrogen and progesterone–help wire our brains to to allow the limbic (emotional) system to run things for awhile. The heightened ability to feel is a gift that helps our species survive because under the right circumstances, emotional openness transforms into unconditional love and empathy.

The hormonal bath continued for some weeks after the births of both my children and I remember getting particularly emotional one dark and cold night as I held my firstborn against milk-swollen breasts, with Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” playing on the stereo. I watched as my son rooted for the nourishment he sought and found it. Latched on tightly, dark pink lips pursed in determination and a primitive and preternatural hunger, my baby son began to nurse. As I felt the milk come down, I was overwhelmed with tenderness and love for this completely helpless creature who so recently had lived inside my body and taken nourishment from my blood, and whose wastes were eliminated with my own, and suddenly my face was awash in tears.

I watched as if through antique swirled-glass windows as my tears soaked my tiny boy’s thistledown-fine hair and ran across a petal-soft pink cheek busily working my milk glands. There was a melancholy underpinning to my overwhelming elation and I allowed myself to feel that sadness too–and realized that melancholy welled up from an awareness of how fragile my tiny son was, how fragile we all are–at any age; and how easily a trusting, childlike soul can be stamped out by hurt, abandonment and abuse. I wanted to protect this child from any harm that might ever come his way. I didn’t realize then my son’s own father would set out to destroy his spirit. Thank God he did not succeed.

At the moment the first drop of salt water touched my baby, opaque dark blue eyes fluttered open and gazed at me, seeming to understand my feelings. Sighing a delicate baby sigh, this tiny human being I had created through my love for a man and sustained and nurtured by my blooming, hormone-soaked body, nestled in closer and suckled harder until swept away in blissful sleep. I marveled at the knowledge this tiny boy would one day be a man, taller and probably physically stronger than me, and that I would play a huge part in his journey to manhood. It scared me to pieces but I felt willing and ready to take on the challenge–because of love, the greatest power we have as humans.

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This wondrous connection–this moment of almost painful sweetness–was so honest and magical I almost dared not breathe. The tears poured down. I didn’t wipe the wetness from my face for that would have disrupted the beautiful connection I felt with my child.

It’s during these moments our hearts are open and we allow ourselves to become vulnerable, that we are fully engaged and connected with life and open to the bliss and pain of pure unconditional love. That kind of love is expressed in tears (often combined with laughter or smiles) because there are no words that could ever express the depth of this sublime emotion–an emotion of such beauty, rarity and truth it nearly hurts.

Tears are the mark of our common humanity and connect us with each other. We are pushed into the world crying, and are (hopefully) cried for when we leave it. Crying marks the most important milestones of our lives, whether they are happy or sad. There are always tears at graduations, pregnancy and wedding announcements, falling in and out of love, weddings, births, baptisms, death and funerals. There are tears wherever there is honesty, intimacy and love.

The happiest people in the world are often people who cry a lot. Their hearts are open, so everything and everyone touches them. They’re not afraid to connect and to empathize. Their love sometimes overflows the confines of their physical composure, and so they cry. I used to know a beautiful young woman who said she cried five or more times a day–just because she was so happy all the time. She wasn’t annoying happy. Honest joy never is annoying. She moved through life regally and with dignity and compassion, appreciating everything and loving everything and being touched by everything, and everyone loved her right back because they knew she was an empath. People wanted to be close to her, they wanted to be touched by her, both emotionally and physically. Her large expressive eyes were almost always wet with tears. At first it seemed a little strange, but soon we got so used to seeing her that way it just seemed normal after awhile. And it WAS normal, more normal than anything could ever be.

empathic_badass

I was so envious of that girl for her emotional openness. But she showed me a great truth about myself. I could be that girl because that was me. I just needed to find a way to knock down my thick concrete walls of fear. It’s getting easier. I still have a lot of emotional blockage, but I no longer feel like one of the walking dead.

In the Stephen King movie “The Green Mile,” John Coffey is an autistic man who nevertheless is an empath. He’s been unjustly sentenced to Death Row for the murder of two little girls because he was the last one seen with them (and probably due to his being black as well). You sense Coffey never killed those girls and in fact you realize how empathic this man really is. He has no defenses against the world due to his inability to hide his emotions (some autistic people have trouble regulating their emotions), and at the same time this very defenselessness gives him unbelievable strength and goodness. Coffey cried almost constantly, feeling the emotions of everyone around him and freely giving unconditional love where none existed.

A couple of years ago, there was a very popular video that went viral. It featured a 10-month old baby girl apparently crying from empathy as she listened to her mother sing. I’m not usually a fan of “cute baby” videos but watching this baby was fascinating because she cried like an adult would have–and the purity of her emotion was an achingly beautiful thing to see.

We are born withour hearts unguarded. When life begins to hurt too much (and it always does), children eventually learn to guard their hearts or in the worst cases (NPD, ASPD and some other mental disorders), dissociate themselves from their true feelings so thoroughly there is no turning back to the emotionally open state we were born with.

It’s a sad state of affairs that all the tender (“feminine”) emotions such as sadness, deep connection or friendship, love in all its forms, joy of the non-shallow type, feeling touched or moved, gratitude, and empathy– have been so devalued in modern society and are often seen as proof of weakness in a person when in fact they show a person who has the strength and courage to leave their hearts unguarded when it matters the most.

It’s interesting that all these softer emotions indicate goodness and purity of heart. They possess enormous potential to eliminate or reduce darkness and evil because they are emotions of healing, love, and our human connection with the Divine.

In a perfect world where all human beings had open, unguarded hearts, an alien from another planet upon first meeting a typical human would see smiles and laughter graced by tears. If the alien were to question what these signals meant, the answer would be “Love.”
The angels in Heaven would tell you the same.

Are You An Empath/HSP Who Was Almost Destroyed By a Narcissist? Watch This Video

I found this fascinating video on Kim Saeed’s blog. Even though Jenna Forrest doesn’t use the term “narcissist” (she uses the term “adversary” instead), we who have been victims of malignant narcissists know exactly what sort of dark forces she’s talking about. Very interesting analysis of the dynamics of codependent relationships and why HSPs/empaths and Narcissists are drawn to each other. The video is kind of long and uses a lot of new age terminology but is still worth watching. Listen and learn.

Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed

I recently subscribed to Jenna Forrest’s YouTube channel and as an Empath myself, I would highly recommend watching this video.  Although Jenna doesn’t mention the term “Narcissist”, she talks about how the Adversary (any dark force) tries to destroy us by:

  • exhausting us by manipulating us to use our emotions against ourselves
  • making us afraid, thus having control over us
  • making us sick (which often leads to cancer or suicide)

The video is almost 13 minutes long, so you’ll need to account for that.  I hope it enlightens you as much as it did me.  She answers questions that come up on my Stats page often, such as, “Can the Narcissist change”.  This video will help you understand why they can’t, as well as help you understand why you need to detach from the relationship if you haven’t already…

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