How do you define being "too sensitive", "petty" or being a "monster" anyway?

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DecimalRocket

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I use these words to describe myself too often in a way that's too hard on myself. Maybe I use it too much because I don't really make it clear what they mean. I usually find ways to recover by defining words in a way that's helpful to me. It's where I can define ideas for myself rather than what others who are judgemental think.

How can you tell if anyone is one of these things?
How can you tell they're not?
What should be done if I or someone else is like this?

At least one of these questions answered are fine. Honestly, I feel stupid for asking.  :disappear:
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 08:58:07 AM by DecimalRocket »

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ah

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This is a question I've been grappling with for many years. I have no answers but I've been thinking about it too, what it means to be "sensitive".
I've used it to try to explain myself in the past and I noticed it always got me a shaming or derogatory response from others. As though being sensitive is a vice. So I stopped using the word but kept thinking about what it means to people.

I get the sense sensitivity is nowadays seen as weakness, but it's not a weakness at all. Our feelings are our way to sense danger and safety in our environment, there are no "good" or "bad" ones. Sensitivity is beneficial in context, and maybe harmful in a different context.

It's as though nowadays to be a good citizen / person you need to be 100% extroverted, 100% confident all the time, perfectly self assured all the time, and happy all the time. But that sounds a lot like mania  :doh: if we walked into a psychiatric hospital and displayed that sort of behavior we'd probably be given psych. meds for bipolar disorder... so I personally don't know if our current beliefs about feelings are very wise. I think they're too extreme. Sensitivity, and all feelings, can be both good and bad. Maybe they're harmful when they're really narrow, one dimentional. When there's only one feeling and no flexibility. Then we don't react differently to different situations and contexts, we just respond in the same exact way always. That sounds to me quite a lot like a harmful habit.

Whereas if you're very sensitive in some situations, that's normal, universal, very human and justified. Especially if "sensitive" means other things. To me nowadays "sensitive" is so shaming I think about it in other terms. Like: self aware, cautious, making effort, temporarily withdrawing when appropriate. That sort of thing. Sensitivity that's a behavior that comes and goes.

Also, sensitive in response to what? For example, I'm super sensitive to being ignored because I'm ignored all the time so it's a very sore spot. In context, that's not super sensitive, it's just a normal reaction to circumstances. Are you sensitive to things that warrant sensitivity?

And does being sensitive also include finding things you like, or only things you dislike?

Introverted people are often more sensitive, and they're easily shamed for something that's actually a beautiful, important asset. There would be fewer poets, philosophers, artists, and paradigm changes if there were fewer "sensitive" people.

For me, I usually can tell someone is more sensitive than the average by looking at their eyes. It's related to so many different things, but when I see someone is more sensitive I feel closer to them because they're more like me. And they feel safer, there's less chance they'll shame me or totally misunderstand me. Also, talking to them will probably be interesting and stimulating  :bigwink: it's just my personal preference. I'm drawn to sensitivity.

Many people say they're sensitive but what they really mean, maybe, is that they're sentimental. I had a friend who would burst into tears if someone else was crying, unaware that others' pain isn't hers. She thought by doing that she'd seem like a compassionate person but really it meant if someone else was in pain, she'd become the center of attention so it was anything but sensitive. It was the opposite. Real sensitivity allows you the freedom to also step aside and let others take the lead role when circumstances demand it, it has humility in it. Maybe.

I hope I didn't end up confusing things even more.

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woodsgnome

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I used to be somewhat sensitive about being so sensitive LOL. I could explain all the why's of my having now turned that around to consider sensitivity as a treasured strength of my being; but I'll let the following poem speak my feelings:

TO THE SENSITIVE ONES...

Do not be ashamed of your sensitivity!
It has brought you many riches.

You see what others cannot see,
Feel what others are ashamed to feel.
You are more open, less numb.

You find it harder to turn a blind eye.

You have not closed your heart,
in spite of everything.

You are able to hold
the most intense highs
and the darkest lows
in your loving embrace.
(You know that neither define you.
Everything passes through.
You are a cosmic vessel.)

Celebrate your sensitivity!
It has kept you flexible and open.
You have remained close to wonder.
And awareness burns brightly in you.

Don't compare yourself with others.
Don't expect them to understand.
But teach them:

Itís okay to feel, deeply.
Itís okay to not know.
Itís okay to play
on the raw edge of life.

Life may seem Ďharderí for you at times,
And often you are close to overwhelm.

But itís harder still
to repress your overwhelming gifts.

Sensitive ones,
Bring some gentleness into this weary world!

Shine on with courageous sensitivity!

You are the light bearers!

- by Jeff Foster

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ah

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Woodsgnome, that's beautiful.

DR, I wanted to add:

I have no idea how to even begin to understand what "monster" means. I've been called that, I'm still called monster and I identify with it, sadly. But I can sort of get that monsters wouldn't identify with it, so you and I aren't monsters at all. Well, you aren't.
My F is a full fledged monster. I called him Lucifer growing up. So there are real live monsters out there, I think, and you aren't one of them.
With real monsters, in my very bad experience the only thing to do is to try to get away. Cut ties and run away if you can.

I'm called petty by others, if I say I'm in pain people often try to make me feel worse about it (good plan if they want it to grow). It's... it's denial of suffering. Being in pain is every living being's right, sadly. No one can take that right away from you, you're not a cardboard figure with no inner world.
My F's wife once told me in all seriousness "Some people are rich but unhappy. I just don't get it." and I thought - oh good grief, really? Imagine rich people as people, just human beings like you, and now try again. Do you see it?
In her case I think it was maybe bitter envy.

And, I've heard it being said that if people want to hate they'll find any excuse to do it, the reason they pick may not be as important as the feeling behind it. I guess our ICr's are looking for any excuse they can find, calling us names and trying to keep their control of us.

You're the least monstrous or petty person I know. As for sensitive, I like Jeff Foster's words so much. I wish 'sensitive' could be worn like a badge of honor. I wish society didn't try to force uniformity. If it succeeded we'd have no DR.

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DecimalRocket

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Thanks Ah and woodsgnome for all the insights. It warmed my heart.

Iíd fully respond, but my shyness is getting the best of me. Maybe Iíll come back when Iím ready.  :whistling:

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DecimalRocket

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I came back. Sorry, my mental stamina for understanding people ran out, and reading about biology and numbers didn't make my head pound as much. My brain understands logic more than my and other people's emotions.  :Idunno:
...

Ah, interesting how you defined sensitivity as a benefit. I heard of it being seen this way, but not entirely in how you added detail to it.

Sensitivity to what? Well, I've never really thought of it. Growing up, I cried easily, and was often told to stop crying over and over. It's less of something that I defined myself with, and more of how others saw it. I still often cry everyday - happy tears and sad tears - though often alone, since my emotions feel like they're exploding inside me.

I guess I just internalized what people said about me growing up and how they reacted. Stop crying. Stop being so oversensitive. Stop being whiny. Stop being this, and that.

Maybe I am sensitive to what calls for sensitivity. I reflect deeply on things, and analyze things thoroughly and objectively. Usually the latter is seen as coldhearted, but my motivation around it is more of a powerful passion and curiosity for learning. As my emotions resurface, I get softer. I accidentally killed an ant, and strangely I got pretty guilty.

I'm struggling with feeling my emotions more powerfully the less I dissociate, and I'm overwhelmed with it sometimes. I don't know how to accept it as I go.

I envy that you can see sensitivity in their eyes though. I never really fully understood how people can understand emotions through eyes, but I can at least know about you through your words. And I think your words are wonderful.

Thanks for assuring me, Ah. I don't think I fully understand your acceptance of me and my shame isn't all gone, but it did make it feel better.  :hug:

...

Woodsgnome, that poem is amazing. I'm moved. It's a wordless experience I can't express like above, but I really am.



« Last Edit: March 25, 2018, 11:37:41 AM by DecimalRocket »

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woodsgnome

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..."I am sensitive to what calls for sensitivity."...Decimal Rocket

That appears to function for many of us, but it gets stifled, as you say, and we're programmed against ourselves, contrary to our own instincts.

Even dissociation, usually referred to in negative terms, can perhaps play a role in this. Maybe by dissociating one is temporarily holding the sensitivity back, as that seems the safest route sometimes. When someone's actions or talk or whatever is pushing me to sensitivity, I hold back on its full expression for fear of rejection, or worse. But later on, free of danger from an EF or other reaction, my sensitivity can result in anything from tears to other emotions now safe to accept back into my life.

I'm thinking this might work the same for many of us who've had our sensitive natures trampled on and ridiculed. It's ironic, that our very sensitivity can take in this judgement from someone else so easily. So I think it's important to reclaim this vital part of our life force. Re-finding one's sensitivity may not be a panacea, but it seems vital if we're to recleim our rightful place in the world.

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sanmagic7

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sometimes i think being sensitive, at least for me, is both a blessing and a curse.  i've been sensitive to the pain of others for ever so long, held the sadness of the world's pain in my eyes which people often mentioned to me for as long as i can remember.  now i'm sensitive to my own pain as well, and cry at the drop of a hat.

i once talked to a friend about it, and she told me how great it was to be sensitive, to be able to cry because it meant that the feelings were deep enough to stir that up (or words to that extent).  i've held onto that, and it helped me feel better about it.  i'm just embarrassed at crying so easily at times when i'm trying to get a sentence out.  that depth of sensitivity doesn't always allow me to.

with my alexithymia roaring, i had very little sensitivity/empathy to others.  personal pain or fear meant nothing to me cuz i didn't feel it or recognize it in myself.  my sensitivity was generic and worldwide - like, when my father died, it took a few hours before i began crying, and it quickly switched to crying for all the boys fighting in vietnam.  crying for my own pain wasn't allowed.

now i cry and i don't often know why.  i'm accepting it about myself more lately, and very grateful that my d also accepts it about me.   i guess we just are who we are, the way we are.  i've found it easier on myself to accept rather than fight it.  warm, loving hug of acceptance.

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Rainagain

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There is sense and sensitivity I find.

If I had more sense I wouldn't be so sensitive to negativity from people who are trying to hurt others because of their own damaged twisted personalities.

I can see where it is coming from sometimes and it doesn't harm me, other times I don't see it for what it is and it strikes home, those are the times I am too sensitive.

Without sensitivity there is little warmth and kindness. And that's the good stuff.

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DecimalRocket

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Thanks for all your acceptance of me.  :grouphug:

To be honest, when I mean sensitive as a child, I wasn't sensitive for others.. I cried easily, but only for myself.

I didn't become kinder here in the first place because I cared about people at all. I did it because I wanted to be cared for, and I realized to do that I had to genuinely care in return. Simple as that.

Now I genuinely want to be kinder just for the sake of being kind. It's new, and I rather stay this way.  I bring myself out in the world to connect because I'm human and I need it, but my home lies elsewhere.

Maybe Iíll never fully get used to feeling and Iíll always be overwhelmed with too much of it. As time passes, being overwhelmed by feelings isnít a sign that Iím not accepting myself anymore. I do much more these days. It means Iím not taking enough of a break in the safety and calm of logical analysis.

My entire life I was always slower to understand my own emotions and others. How will I ever find a complete feeling of safety from something I so struggle to understand?

As I heal, my emotions regulate into something calmer, while still remaining kind. My analytical mind comfortably settles in where everything is said in an absolutely blunt way, which I see as advantagable for accuracy.

But I'd come back still to people I care about. It won't be my home, but it'll be a nice place to settle in as a second home when I need some company.  :whistling:

See you.  :grouphug:


« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 11:42:32 AM by DecimalRocket »