A friend posted a link to my new podcast on her Facebook wall and someone had some not-so-nice things to say. Here’s some of it:
I think someone ‘realizing’ they are highly sensitive is about the worst thing that could happen to them. It’s the emotional equivalent of “What is your body type? Are you pear shaped?”
I guess I am worried by the amount of self-diagnosis going on in our generation and how damaging that can be to individuals: I’ve seen the psychosomatic affect on people and it’s kinda scary.[The podcast] would certainly help those with HSP! But it may damage those who read it who don’t have HSP.
What do I have to say to this?
It’s misconception, misunderstanding, and ignorance.
It reminds me of many years ago, like in the 1990s, when ADD and ADHD were becoming more and more talked about. There was a backlash: “Whatever happened to kids being kids? Why does there have to be a diagnosis? It’s not ADD, the kids are just misbehaving.” or stuff like that.
I feel like that’s akin to what this guy is saying here. “Why do people think they are ‘more’ sensitive than other people?” And he doesn’t say it, but I feel like he wants to say, “You aren’t a special snowflake. Why do people think every personal difficulty they face is an illness and simply not their fault? Stop whining and suck it up.”
By using the phrase “self-diagnosis”, we see that The Hater has no idea what high sensitivity is (and didn’t even listen to the first episode of the podcast before commenting on something he knows nothing about.) I’ve said it a million times: high sensitivity isn’t a sickness or an affliction. Saying you are diagnosed as an HSP is like saying you were diagnosed with left-handedness. Being highly sensitive is a trait; it’s just the way you are.
Does this guy honestly think that someone who is not an HSP is going to hear the podcast and try to start acting more sensitive because they think it’s cool or something? Like it’s the hip new thing to be HSP? That’s so nonsensical that I can’t even respond.
I don’t like being an HSP. Or an introvert. Yup, I said it. Life would be easier if I didn’t have to expend so much energy processing every damn thing. I wish I didn’t have to feel so much. But here I am, and I might as well try not to hate myself for being different.
Hate on, haters, and I will continue to educate you. Maybe someday you will expand your mind outside of your personal bubble of experience and understand that not everyone has the same life experience as you. We welcome you to the sensitive side!
- “I hate sensitive people”
- High sensitivity isn’t a problem that needs to be fixed
- I’m reminded that people don’t understand or respect high sensitivity
photo credit: cogdogblog via photopin cc
Man, responses like this are tiresome. Don’t worry though, you’re doing a great thing – raising awareness is absolutely integral because it validates those of us who need to know that how we interact and engage with the world is natural and ok. What you say about not liking being an HSP or introvert is so apt and sums the whole thing up. It’s not an issue of jumping on a latest trend or about ‘being cool’ etc. It’s about recognising that not everyone fits into an idealised notion of what it means to be human.
Plus the use of the phrase ‘those with HSP’ shows a lack of understanding to begin with. The notion that it’s some kind of affliction or syndrome or something.
Keep up the good work!
You can’t fix people. As an HSP I thought others around me would welcome an education about the trait, or at least it would give them a glimpse at another life experience that does not match their own. It turns out that, in my experience, HSP’s are the very people who appreciate learning and knowing the perspective of other people. Non-HSP’s appear to be threatened by what they do not understand. Sometimes I have seen people attack what they do not understand. Rarely have I seen an HSP attack what they do not understand. In other words, we are not responsible for other people, their reactions to us, nor can we force them to grow in their personal wisdom. We can, however, make the information available, process every event we experience, and enjoy our own rich experience of life. I personally have found peace knowing that our identity is not determined by the reactions of others, thankfully. In my experience, the non-HSP who accepts me for who I am rapidly becomes a friend or an ally. This is rare for me, but very enjoyable. In contrast, most non-HSP’s become a burden to interact with, kind of like trying to reason with a steam roller. Do not stop your efforts of participating in the world, you are making a tremendous impact. Enjoy the education we experience daily by interacting with difficult situations. We certainly lose out if we base our self worth on “Haters” responses. Thanks for doing what you do. It is the rare HSP that takes up a “cause” and places themselves in the public arena. For that courage, I applaud and admire you. Your response was very well thought out. I tend to overreact, and I have learned from you that there does exist an appropriate, measured response to difficult situations.
I love your response. It’s so strong, even-keeled, peaceful. I’m still learning abou being a HSP(with HSS) and I do get my hackles up sometimes, not just with others but with the trait lol. But living where I do + learning about this part of myself, I’m learning to stick up for myself, and also how to cope. My sensitivity has increased due to a health problem, so I’ve really needed to learn coping techniques. But anyways, I just wanted to thank you for such a great response. 🙂
I am so happy that I find your website! At least someone can understand me here. I am introvert and hsp, still do not have friends, but I hope that I will meet right people in physical life, not only in Internet. So happy to see people who are like me too! Sorry for my English..
I’m sorry that you face this type of backlash. I got the same thing from family of all people when I tried to share some of the research on being highly sensitive with them. I’m 48 years old and have always faced intense criticism and skepticism regarding the migraines and headaches I get due to noise, light, scents, chaos, etc. My family tells me I’m faking, exaggerating, or lying and that I just need therapy and medication to “get over it.”
I truly appreciate your blog. I think what you’re doing to educate others is fantastic, hopefully fewer people will have to experience the intolerance and criticism and doubt that I have from their loved ones. At the very least, those of us HSPs are finding community and support and aren’t feeling quite so misunderstood and alone out there.
Like you, “I don’t like being an HSP. Or an introvert. Yup, I said it. Life would be easier if I didn’t have to expend so much energy processing every damn thing.” But it is also easier after reading your blog and the thoughtful, positive comments your followers leave.
Thank you for taking the time and, again, I’m sorry you are also met with criticism and hate. What you do is beautiful.
Wow, Kathy, thank you so much for the sweet comment. Maybe a few tears in my eyes…. 🙂
Thanks to your blog I have finally been able to understand me and my children. Especially my HSP/HSS daughter. I thought I had Asperger’s or some mental illness because I’m so different than most people. I’ve even yelled at the top of my lungs, “What the hell? Do people not care at all, or do I care too much??!!” Turns out, I care too much in most people’s opinion. My daughter and oldest son’s childhood were a complete carbon copy of mine. Lots of tears and drama over issues the average person would deem unworthy to worry or care about. Today I brought HSP awareness to my oldest son and I could see the relief flooding his face. He has been seeing a psychiatrist and taking anti-anxiety meds recently. They say he’s bi-polar, I say he’s passionate and becomes overwhelmed by it, leading to depression at times due to a lack of knowledge on this subject. Worrying about every little thing all day, every day can take it’s toll. He is learning to walk away for a bit when he gets overwhelmed to avoid having breakdowns. I worry about them constantly because that’s what I do best, and having an HSP life can be taxing and lonely to an extrovert HSP. I’m an introvert, so the lonely part doesn’t apply to me.
For me, the general lack of emotion by people to what I consider serious issues, and their general lack of attention to detail and pervasive attitude of no one matters more than they do causes me great grief. I must escape these people as often as possible because, after a few hours, I can hardly contain my shock. Not that they’re bad people, just shocked by the expansive gap in how we perceive life. I could not, and will never be able to, understand. With that in mind, I accept that they are completely unable to understand me. For those I’m around often, we have struck a balance. They allow my over-caring attitude to flourish without comment (finally!), and I have agreed to allow them the peace of being who they are without judgement as well. We all need each others differences to thrive. Sometimes, having someone I know well tell me I need to calm down because it isn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be can very helpful and grounding.
There will always be haters. I’ve caught myself being one at times. Hating that a lot of people live care-free, oblivious lives and seem to be completely happy about it, while I’m spending the day worrying about the details of next week! Heaven forbid a wrench gets thrown in my plans because coping with the unexpected is hardly tolerable. Must be nice to be them. **sigh**
Karen, thanks so much for your sweet comment! I can empathize with so many of the things you said. I am just floored by peoples’ lack of care, perception, or awareness sometimes. I think, “how can they be so inconsiderate?” but I have to remind myself that not everyone is like me. I’m so happy that this site helped you and your family. This phrase struck me, “shocked by the expansive gap in how we perceive life.” That’s such a good way to put it!
Hope you don’t think I’m weird commenting on multiple of your posts (I had to say that coz I am HSP :b). So many “amen!” moments reading your posts. This one is also a big time “amen sista!” moment 🙂
I think non HSP people who react negatively to HSP is triggered because;
1) They may feel that they are denied their non-HSP ‘trait’ by us. They don’t see/understand that we, HSP do not mean to compare the two and say which is better. We just craves to be accepted and understood as the way we are.
2) Non-HSP who says “Geez, you didn’t get enough hugs as a child?” to HSP people is in fact the ones that may have grown up in the environment that they had to “suck it up” and “solder on”. So it’s like a mini temper tantrum that saying “We had to solder on, how come you guys get to pass just because you are HSP?!”
And I said these above with maybe a little bit of resentment, I should admit. Because I felt so abandoned and judged from some of the non-HSP in my life I see them as “them” which in the eye of universe, not the truth 🙂 In any case, reading your blog has been so nice because I know I am not alone!
Sorry misspelled “solder on” to “soldier on” :b
Yellowowl, I so agree with you! I think there’s a real tendency (in the U.S. at least) to denigrate sensitivity, and MANY of us – HSP and non-HSP alike – have learned to be ashamed of our sensitivities and to put down others for theirs. I’ve experienced hatred and invalidation towards my sensitivity from more hearty, knock-around types, as well as people I suspect are HSPs themselves (including, and in particular, my blood relatives). I think we’d ALL be happier if EVERYONE were more accepting of sensitivity, but it be up to the most sensitive of us to bravely lead and model for others what that that acceptance might look like. So thank you, Kelly, for doing just that!
And thank you so much for openly admitting that you often don’t like being an HSP! As one of those rare birds – a high sensation-seeking, extroverted HSP – I sometimes feel painfully alone, like there’s simply no one around who really “gets” me. But what’s really frustrating is that it’s just incredibly difficult to meet my needs for excitement and society without also experiencing extreme overstimulation and overwhelm: often after highly social or highly stimulating experiences, I feel painfully *too happy,* or *too excited,* and like an introverted HSP, I may need many days of downtime to get back my equilibrium. Who has time for that? But if I act like an introvert, I get really bored!
I also appreciate your openness about the frustrating aspects because, in my opinion, there are a number of HSP blogs and resources (not naming names) that *do* present HSPs as “special snowflakes” who are somehow better – more gifted, more intelligent, more blessed than mere “normals.” Sure, like any sort of temperament, high sensitivity has its pluses – and humanity probably needs people like us, otherwise HSPs would’ve fallen out of the gene pool a long time ago! 😉 But I bristle at the tendency to over-compensate for feelings of inadequacy, shame, marginalization, and lifelong difficulty with a “we are better and more blessed” attitude. It’s simply not true, comes across as extremely arrogant, and understandably alienates non-HSPs. I personally suspect that an easy, matter-of-fact tone, mixed with humorous, self-effacing personal examples is probably the best way to let people know about my high sensitivity, as well as introduce them to the concept generally. And if they hate? So be it; I did my best. So maybe once I have 5-10 good, solid scripts that meet this criteria – and have run them each a few times in my head – I’ll be ready to selectively “come out” as an HSP! Because frankly, much as I loathe to open myself up to possible criticism, argument, and misunderstanding (Ouch! The worst!!!) I think it’s really important for HSPs not to remain a silent minority. Remaining so only isolates us and perpetuates myths and misunderstandings – including that we’re all just introverts, or that there’s something wrong with us, or that we are airy-fairy narcissists – rather than, LIKE EVERYONE, people with a few wonderful, unique gifts and a good number of burdens to bear.
Leah, thank you for this awesome comment! You definitely *get* my blog and my tone! I am trying to present HSPs in a slightly different way than usual–with a little more attitude and humor. 🙂
It is very cute reading everyone’s characteristically long comments 🙂
Found this blog whilst seeking comfort and grounding and I have found it among my people.
Thanks for sharing yourself, Kelly, and creating a safe space for others to land. <3
*high five, wo-man*
To be fully honest, I HATE it when people say they hate being HSP, autistic, ADD, ADHD, or what have you! It upsets me even more than the haters.
“I don’t like being an HSP. Or an introvert. Yup, I said it. Life would be easier if I didn’t have to expend so much energy processing every damn thing. I wish I didn’t have to feel so much.”
This might come as a surprise to some of you…I wish I was MORE sensitive! Or moreover, I wish I had the ability to directly control how sensitive I was, and what to be sensitive, nonsensitive, and desensitized to. If I needed to be sensitive to pain for 2 seconds, I could, then after 2 seconds, drop that down to 0. If I needed to know what being schizophrenic was like, I could willingly go into that state, then if it become to much, I could snap myself out of it just by thinking about it. Much like how a cuttlefish can change it’s coloration through thinking it.
When I get sick with influenza, or anything that generates fever, I get extremely sensitive to everything, and a greatly enhanced synesthesia. Strangely, there comes a point where I become desensitized to pain, probably due to the high release of dopamine and increased serotonergic system activity. Yet, with this desensitization to pain, I actually become more careful about moving around too much, or overworking, because I cannot feel the pain it causes! I can even go into altered states of consciousness, as if to be a mild to moderate dose of psychedelic substances, and my dreams get really intense and lucid!
I become extremely empathetic, but in a much more compassionate way, not in the “I feel your pain” kind of way, but strangely, it makes me more capable of empathizing, yet this is contrary to how many view feelings of empathy. My executive functioning enhances, I become much more optimistic, loving and extroverted, and even more sensation seeking.
If I had the ability to WILLINGLY go into that state with the ability to control what I’m sensitive to, I’d be much more outgoing and willing to help others! But, I don’t shame or blame myself for being who, and what I am.
I’m an HSP and don’t see hate in the sample responses you posted. Take some time for self care when you read things like this. Or just stop reading comments on Facebook. It’s a tough place for us HSPs to be.