S1 EP49 – The Challenge of High Sensitivity

Episode Summary

Do you believe there is something wrong with you because you have been told that you are “too sensitive?” Do you often feel out of place and like an alien in some groups? Do you feel guilty and responsible when others are hurting? If you are a highly sensitive person, or if you are partnered with a highly sensitive person, it’s vitally important to understand this essence gift, and this podcast may help you to value and embrace it.


Hi everyone. Dr. Margaret Paul here With the inner bonding podcast. And today I want to talk about the challenge of high sensitivity. Do you believe there’s something wrong with you? Because you’ve been told that you’re too sensitive. You sometimes feel out of place and like an alien in some groups, you sometimes feel guilty and responsible when others are hurting. If you’re a highly sensitive person, or if you’re partnered with a highly sensitive person, it’s very important to understand this gift. And my hope is that this podcast will help you to value and embrace it in yourself or in others and or in others.

When you were growing up, did you hear things like you’re too sensitive? Don’t be so sensitive. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve psychologist. Elaine, Erin has done a lot of research on highly sensitive people. And she’s written a number of books on the topic such as the highly sensitive person and the highly sensitive child. These books actually changed my life. She’s discovered that about 15 to 20% of both, the human and animal population are born with nervous systems that are more sensitive to various kinds of stimuli than the rest of the population in indigenous societies.

These highly sensitive people were the shamans and they were the medicine. Men and women are left. Brain society has diminished the value of high sensitivity and has even ridiculed it. Many of the people who are drawn to inner bonding are highly sensitive people who had painful experiences regarding their sensitivity during their growing up years. And as a result, instead of valuing this wonderful intrinsic gift, they think there’s something wrong with them, for their sensitivity when 80 to 85% of other people are different than you and no one in your family has learned to value your sensitivity.

It’s very easy to conclude that there’s something wrong with you. I want to encourage those of you who feel that there is something wrong with you because you’re too sensitive to do some reading and learn to embrace this incredible gift. Highly sensitive people have different levels of sense of sensitivity in different areas. Some are very sensitive to sound or to light or to smells and to taste or to fabrics and to textures. Some are highly sensitive to energy, to electromagnetic energy and or to people’s energy. Some are highly empathic and are very sensitive to feelings, both human and animal.

Some highly sensitive people feel overwhelmed by the energy of being around. A lot of people. These people are generally highly sensitive introverts. Some people are very tuned into the energy of spirit and have an easy time hearing or even seeing spiritual beings or to seeing the aura of our soul that is around us. I want to share with you some of the great value that I’ve discovered in having high sensitivity. I was an only child born to parents who both had a very low level of sensitivity.

So as a result, my sensitivity was an enigma to them and probably a little scary to them. One of the forms my sensitivity takes is being an empath, which means being able to deeply feel what others are feeling when I felt my parents’ feelings and ask them about it, they would get very flustered and go into denial about what I was experiencing regarding their feelings. So as a result, I learned to mistress this empathic ability and spent many years of inner work reclaiming it. Now I Know that it’s a great gift and there’s no way that I could be doing the work I do. If I did not have high sensitivity to people’s feelings.

In addition, while I know that everyone has the ability to access their spiritual guidance through their intention to learn, and of course, keeping their body clean. I’ve been able to develop this ability to a very high level in my work with people. I not only hear my guidance, I hear theirs as well. And I’m guided by spirit in all of my work. So instead of thinking of your sensitivity as a liability, I encourage you to learn to deeply value and to utilize the gift you’ve been given. You are different, but in a very positive way that can enhance your own and others experience in life.

And if you’re partnered with a highly sensitive person or your children are, I really encourage you to learn more About it While being highly sensitive as a gift. It’s not an easy gift. And if you have this gift and you don’t know much about it, so important to learn about it, if you’re not sure if you’re a highly sensitive person, you might want to go on the internet and take the highly sensitive test, just type in highly sensitive test. Even if you just Mark a few of these questions is yes, it can help you to understand where your particular sensitivity lies. The more you read about and come to understand your high sensitivity, the easier it will be for you to cherish this gift or to cherish it in others who are important to you.

It’s really important for you to learn, to love yourself with this gift rather than judge yourself. And if you’re not highly sensitive, as I said, it’s so important to understand the possible high sensitivity of your partner, your children, your friends, your coworkers, employer, employees, understanding this can make a huge difference in all of your relationships. Loving herself with high sensitivity means that you learn to deeply value your, your ability to perceive subtle energies, both positive and negative. It means that you deeply value your perception of people’s feelings and moods means that you deeply value your rich inner life and how profoundly you might be affected by art or by music.

And by the environment you’re in. You also need to learn to value how easily you can become overwhelmed and make sure that you learn to set up your life in a way that isn’t overwhelming, highly sensitive. People can become easily frazzled when too much is going on at the same time, or you have too many things to do at once, or people are making too many demands on you at the same time. One of the reasons I’m a list maker is that knowing exactly what I need to do at any given moment of a Workday keeps me relaxed rather than overwhelmed people around me know that they can’t throw too much at me at once.

And they respect this because I respect it. One of the other things I do is I don’t watch violent movies or the news. I glean news from others, but watching the news can scare me and keep me up at night. My nervous system can’t manage the violence. That is generally a part of the daily news, nor can I handle hearing about other people’s meanness to each other. I’m very grateful for my high sensitivity, because as it, as I said, it enables me to do the work with others that I do well. I used to wish I could just let things roll off my back, like so many others. Can I now fully accept that not being able to do this as part of the package of high sensitivity.

And I fully accept that this is intrinsic to who I am, that I was born this way. Loving yourself means cherishing all aspects of your essence, including your high sensitivity, if you are a highly sensitive person. And I hope that if you are, that you learn to value this gift in yourself. And if you’re not a highly sensitive person, I do hope that you learn to value this quality in others, particularly, particularly if you’re partnered with a highly sensitive person, highly sensitive people can be both introverts and extroverts. I’m a highly sensitive introvert.

And this has been quite challenging to me in my life. Particularly when I’m in groups, one-to-one has generally been easy for me, but groups have always been quite challenging. She’s very shy. My parents used to say to people when I was quiet around people from their tone, I thought it wasn’t a good thing to be shy. I thought being shy meant there was something wrong with me, took me years to discover that I’m an introvert and that not only is there nothing wrong with being an introvert, an inter nothing wrong with being introverted, but that it’s an inborn trait just as it was a huge relief to me.

When I read Elaine errands book, the highly sensitive person was also a relief to me. When I read Susan Cain’s book quiet, I saw myself on every Page. Unlike most Asian cultures, our Western culture is primarily extroverted. It’s not always easy for introverted people to navigate an extroverted culture, particularly in social gatherings. Social anxiety is quite common among introverts In Asian culture. Since it’s, it’s more normal, it’s, it’s more in their culture to be introverted. It tends to be easier for them. The more I learned to love myself and to value my intrinsic qualities of high sensitivity and introversion, the easier it’s become for me to be fully present in groups.

Here’s what I learned to do to love myself in groups, which of course I haven’t been in in person this last year due to COVID. I go to events with the conscious choice to offer my caring and my warmth rather than to get approval. I go with the intent to listen rather than to be heard. I enjoy authentic connection. So I give myself permission to politely excuse myself, from any conversation that’s boring and superficial, and from any person who’s needy self centered or addicted to over-talking, it’s not loving to me to continue conversations. That don’t feel good to me. I focus on what is loving to me and in my highest good, rather than taking responsibility for other’s feelings.

I give myself full permission to be quiet. I might be enjoying a conversation while having little to add to the discussion might be a topic that I find interesting, but that I don’t know much about. So I don’t judge myself for not contributing. I make sure that I don’t judge myself at all. When I have nothing to Say before Going to a group event, I give myself full permission to leave. If the energy at the event doesn’t resonate with me, I’m very sensitive to energy and my inner child needs to know ahead of time that I’m going to listen to my feelings and honor them by taking loving action.

The loving action might be to leave early. I don’t generally put myself into group situations where I know there’ll be no way to connect with the people there. Most of all, I don’t judge myself for being quiet for being introverted. I stay tuned into what resonates with me and what doesn’t and I trust myself to act and my own highest good. So what allows me to feel comfortable in groups is giving myself full permission to be myself, even if I’m very different than many of the other people in the group, as long as I love and value my true self, my soul essence, which is my beautiful inner child.

And of course we all have this beautiful essence. And as long as my inner child knows that I’m going to take loving action on my own behalf. And then I won’t abandon her. I feel safe and comfortable in most groups. And if I don’t feel that I don’t blame myself or think there’s anything wrong with me, I just do whatever I can to feel comfortable. And if I can’t, then I allow myself to leave or remove myself from the situation. If you’re an empathic person, you likely have the challenge of not taking responsibility for other’s feelings and for feeling guilty. When others make you responsible for their feelings, the gift of empathy has been extremely challenging in terms of not taking responsibility for other’s feelings as a child, if either of my parents were in pain, because I would feel it in my own body, that’s, that’s part of my sensitivity and I’d be so saddened by it.

I want to do anything I could to take away their pain. My parents quickly learned that I would try anything to make them feel better and not having sensitivity or empathy or compassion themselves. They use this to control me. They were constantly angry at me, blaming me for their feelings. And I took this on often feeling guilty for causing them to hurt causing in quotes. Cause that’s what they wanted me to believe. Taking responsibility for their pain, by trying to do everything right, was the way I learned to have control over their pain. So I wouldn’t have to be so saddened by their feelings, but the more I took on and feel guilty and responsible, the more they blame me and the more they blame me, the more I took on taking on their pain made me very ill.

As a child, as an adult, took me years to understand the toxic system that gets created when a child is sensitive and empathic and his or her parents are not often work with these people in my counseling practice. And in my inner bonding five day intensives, Joanne, a participant in one of my intensives had a similar experience to mine. As I sat with her and experienced her energy, I could see that she was when I call a quote, innocent, a deeply sensitive caring, compassionate, and empathic woman who was in a lot of pain.

The toxic system of her being blamed for others, feelings that started in her family was continuing in her marriage. And even with her kids, she was taking on all of her husband’s anger and blame and doing everything she could to fix everything. She was overwhelmed with guilt. Whenever anyone in her family was unhappy. She had never learned to stand up for herself, fearing that she would hurt her husbands or children’s feelings. But she was getting annihilated In the course Of the intensive. Joanne learned that she had such a loving heart rather than being bad.

She thought she that she was a bad person that due to all the anger and blame that had been directed at her, she started to value her ability to feel empathy and compassion towards others. She started to value her level of sensitivity, but now her job became being compassionate with herself, her own inner child. She learned that if she directed her compassion toward others first, she would lose herself in taking care of them. But if she directed her compassion toward herself first, then she would know that she didn’t deserve to be treated badly and could begin to stand up for herself.

We rehearsed some of the things she could say to her husband when he was being mean to her, such as I don’t want to be around you when you’re blaming me. So I’m going out for a walk or I’m no longer available to talk about anything when you’re angry. Let me know when you’re open and we can talk about it Took a lot of Practice before. Joanne could say these things without guilt, having taken responsibility for other’s feelings for so long and still feeling other’s feelings deeply within her own being because of her sensitivity, it was not easy to take care of herself instead of caretake others. Yet she saw that and not taking care of herself.

She was losing her husband and children, her children who were 10 and 12, also blamed her in the same way. Her husband and parents blamed her. They were often angry and judgmental toward her having little respect for her since she was not taking care of herself and had allowed others to constantly disrespect her. She often felt very lonely in her own family. And she now finally understood why her family was treating her in the same way that she was treating herself, ignoring her or judging her just as she was ignoring and judging herself.

Joanne finally saw that caretaking others feelings rather than taking care of herself was enabling others to continue to be angry and blaming that it wasn’t loving to them to take responsibility for their feelings. She realized that by learning to love herself, she was also loving to her family. Caretakers often have empathy for others, but lack empathy for themselves. Sometimes due to this empathy, they give themselves up to try and help others with their pain, which they may think is loving. But giving yourself up is never loving to you Others.

Okay? I believe that most people are born with some ability to be empathic and compassionate as part of their essential selves, but that they can shut this down. When the pain of their sensitivity is too great for them to manage. Some children may shut it down. When one of their parents has deep empathy and compassion for others, but not for themselves and ends up being walked on or abused because of it. The child doesn’t want to be vulnerable and walked on like the highly sensitive and empathic parent. And so they may decide that it’s safer to shut down their sensitivity, shut down their empathy and their compassion. Sure. Major relationship Problems can result from a lack Of compassion.

When both Both partners tend to shut down their empathy and compassion, especially in conflict, then their conflicts rarely reach satisfying resolution difficulties also come up in relationships when one person maintains more empathy and compassion than the other, especially during conflict. If one person is able to maintain his or her compassion for the partner, even when angry or upset, but the other person shuts down his or her empathy and compassion when angry, this creates an imbalance in the relationship, the more sensitive and compassionate person may end up feeling abused by the interaction. It may also be the one who usually opens and takes responsibility for patching things up problems also arise when one partner due to his or her level of sensitivity, empathy and compassion cares deeply about the other person’s happiness and freedom.

But the other partner due to shutting down their empathy and compassion does not support the others, happiness and freedom. However, they did come together at their common level of woundedness. So it’s important to understand that they’re each equally abandoning themselves. It’s only when individuals are able to stay open to empathy and compassion for themselves and others, even when angry or upset that they become reliable in their caring, because caring disappears when there’s no empathy and compassion. The partner on the other end of this may feel as if they’re walking on eggshells.

They never know when the caring will be gone. And of course, they may try to control that by caretaking, by giving themselves up. Most of us feel very lonely when a loved one behaves in an uncaring way through name-calling threatening wine slamming doors discounting saying mean things being physically violent and so on. It’s the loneliest feeling in the world. When someone who says they love you, treats you in disrespectful and abusive ways. Those people who have a deep level of sensitivity, compassion, and empathy for others, need to respect themselves enough to bring that empathy and compassion inside to their own inner child.

They need to make sure that their empathy and compassion for others does not mean that they allow themselves to be abused or disrespected. And this is what often happens in relationships where the, the more care-taking person doesn’t have compassion for themselves. They, they they’re sensitive to the other person, but they abandoned themselves. And this creates a big problem in relationships. Those people who have a deep level of sensitivity and compassion need to make sure, sure that they bring that to themselves.

Those of you was shut down. Your empathy and compassion can begin to open to it again, by opening to compassion for your own inner child. It’s unlikely that if you shut down your compassion, when you’re a small child, you’ll be able to feel deep empathy and compassion for others until you can feel it for yourself, whether or not one or both partners are highly sensitive. People, relationships can achieve growth and balance. When both partners are intent on developing empathy and compassion for themselves and for each other, you don’t have to be a highly sensitive person to have empathy and compassion for yourself and for others without empathy and compassion.

There’s no true intention to learn because it’s only the loving adult. That’s capable of maintaining empathy and compassion for both oneself and the other, because it’s only the loving adult who can stay tuned in to your own feelings and to your higher guidance. The wound itself is incapable of empathy and compassion. So I Really encourage you all To be aware, Erasing your own sensitivity or the, or the sensitivity of others to be working on developing compassion for yourself so that you can share that empathy and compassion with others in your life.

And I encourage you to take my 30 day course love yourself, an inner bonding course, to help you to embrace who you are and to learn, to have that empathy and compassion for yourself and for others. You know, of course, I always encourage you to go to inner bonnie.com, take advantage of all that we offer. There there’s so much that will help you to learn, to know who you are and your essence, and to discover whether or not you’re highly sensitive. I really encourage you to take that test and to learn, to embrace that and to take the test.

Even if you’re not, even if you don’t think you’re highly sensitive, take the test, see your levels of sensitivity, where you are. Everybody has some, but it’s so important. So vitally important to learn, to understand and embrace that in others in your life. I send you all my love and my blessings.

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