Excerpt from Bill Allen’s Confessions of a Highly Sensitive Man, Chapter 3: Being Different Growing Up
Quiet and Alone
I was a shy child and introverted. One of my earliest recollections was around the age of four. My parents had switched churches, and I can clearly remember the first Sunday we attended the new church. I was taken to a rather large room divided into sections. My mother and father knew I wasn’t going to go lightly into this strange place. The minute I knew I was being sent off to be with complete strangers, the waterworks began. I can remember screaming and kicking. I felt abandoned as I watched my parents exit the room and disappear down the hall.
At some point, I calmed down. To be fair, the Sunday School teachers were nice people, but I didn’t feel right. I know I didn’t want to be there. Some might say it was a good lesson for me. I needed to allow my parents to go do adult things, like going to the Adult Sunday School class, but I was not used to being out of my element. It was a process I experienced over and over again in the first ten years of my life.
The Changing Outer World Solved by my Room and Books
We moved several times in my young life. Probably not as much as a military family, but it was enough for me. Moving was hard; essentially, it meant I had to start over again. Not just meet new friends, but rediscovering my new baseline, find the new comfort zone. This was not an easy process for me. I was very aware of my surroundings. To be comfortable, I had to know who were friends, who were enemies, or folks I had to watch out for. By the time I was nine-years-old I had moved four times, each as difficult as the previous one. I had changed schools four times before fourth grade, in some cases bouncing from one state to another. Of course, there seldom was continuity in the educational systems in the sixties. I was in the South, at one point going from a state last in education to one just a couple notches above. …
I never thought of myself as bookish. I didn’t care to read Hardy Boy mysteries or books for young fiction readers. I was a more practical information enthusiast. In 1964 my parents invested in a set of World Book Encyclopedias. To me this was a fabulous gift. It had pictures and tables, lists and articles, the likes I had never seen before. I devoured the set, cover to cover book to book, from A to Z. I spent hours with a single encyclopedia reading about everything, everyplace, learning things I’d never heard of in school. It was the Internet version 0.1. And I loved it. It was then, at that tender age, that I became an information freak….
My room was my castle, my refuge, my sanctuary. I spent many hours playing with toy soldiers, cheap little plastic K-Mart soldiers. I didn’t play with them like a normal boy, no; I created scenes from a movie with dialogue, action and in the end, no one got killed. I didn’t shoot my soldiers up with BBs or throw rocks at them to knock them down. No one ever was blown up, but within my head was a deep orchestration of these plastic actors on a stage of bunkbed mountains, battlefields made of carpet, bunkers behind tables or chairs, and lakes and rivers made of throw rugs. Sometimes it took hours to set up the scene, long convoys of troops, tanks, and jeeps. It all played out in my head. There was a rich world of possibilities between my ears.
How to Avoid Humiliation: Become an Imposter
As I got older, approaching fifth or sixth grade, I discovered how easily I became embarrassed. Unfortunately, for me, the kids in class found that out, too. They could make me turn beet red by simply directing some unwanted attention my way. Some kid would fart and then point at me, chastising me for the rude breach of etiquette. I knew it wasn’t me, but because I was embarrassed, I blushed. Blushing is the equivalent of an admission of guilt for eleven-year-olds.
…I developed a pattern of avoidance behaviors. As I got older I avoided social interactions, the coed birthday parties, the swim parties, the chances for serious embarrassment, or in my mind, humiliation. Any opportunity where I would be out in public around peers or adults or frankly, anyone, I found myself avoiding. I shied away from Little League, because every game was a venue for rabid, trash-talking parents and spectators who became invariably attached to a team. I wasn’t very good at baseball, so the opportunity for humiliation was great.
This sounds over the top, but to me, humiliation was something that needed to be avoided at all costs. My shaky young man’s ego was not framed to handle the onslaught of criticism or mockery that screwing something up provided. It was sad that my ideas about myself and self-image were so hinged on my inner world. There was never outward confirmation because the only place I could get that was in the outside world. And sadly no one was pushing me gently to test the waters. It formed a lifelong habit of avoidance that I am just learning to overcome.
…From Boy Scout scoutmasters to pastors or coaches or any adult male family members, I was socialized to accept the prevailing norm for male role behavior. Which in so many words, is to be a man in the nineteen sixties, World War II definition. Conform or be rejected. This binary choice did not make room for kids who didn’t fit that model.
I felt I lived the life of an imposter. There was much incongruity of who I was and what I presented to the world.
On the Other Hand
Around friends, the neighborhood kids, I was much more confident. These interactions were more one-on-one, and I selected my friends carefully. As my family settled in to the neighborhood in South Carolina, where I grew up, I gained a newfound sense of confidence in who I was. I found that I was a natural leader and organizer.
Our neighborhood was almost a frame right out of The Little Rascals. We organized baseball, football, and basketball games with other neighborhoods. I found myself being the one everyone came to find out what was going on. We built campgrounds in the woods, organized campouts with the neighbor kids, and generally had idyllic summers. I was the one doing the organizing, and I liked that role.
At one point, I decided to create a neighborhood newsletter and received a student style typewriter where I crafted stories. The next-door neighbor’s mother was a school teacher, who mimeographed the newsletter so we could distribute them.
Yes, in the right circumstances and with a certain comfort level, I could easily rise to the top. I was a likable, smart kid and believed in the team concept, yet appreciated my friends as individuals. I was well organized and great planner for the neighborhood. I never realized that these characteristics were natural talents. I just never received the right feedback.
In school plays, I was always chosen to be the play’s narrator, usually the first kid out in costume, reciting my lines nervously, but flawlessly. If the costumes were dorky, I got the first laugh, which, of course, was embarrassing for me. One year, we performed a play about George Washington and the founding fathers. I walked out in front of the curtain to start the show, with a quick narration about the subject matter, sporting a concocted wig made of cotton balls that, by the time the play had started was beginning to disintegrate. I was tall and skinny and must have looked ridiculous because the audience burst out in laughter when I walked to center stage. Yet, somehow, I managed to execute on my lines and exit red-faced but relieved. My good memory and my conscientiousness were showing. Perhaps that was why I landed the same part every year.
What I learned was what I didn’t learn. I didn’t learn how to be confident in myself or who I was becoming. I never learned to deal with my sharp emotions, how to let them flow over me, immerse and release them, and not hold on to them. I struggled internally with those feelings and never felt the guidance of an older, wiser man. There was no one to steer me through the difficult process of expressing my emotions, my fears, and my constant worries about the external world…
I can relate to this very well. I was very shy and introverted as a child. We had moved 5 times by the time I was 9 or 10. That was difficult. I changed schools many times which was also difficult. My room was also my fortress, my sanctuary. I don’t recall any fart jokes, but other children knew I was very sensitive and would definitely bully or make fun of that. People have always tried to make me feel there is something wrong with being extremely sensitive, but as an adult, I view it as a gift.
Like you, once I had carefully chosen good friends as a child I felt okay around those people. My mom felt I was way too sensitive. However, I think when you are born with innate characteristics that are as much a part of you as your spirit, your heart or anything else….one should not be bullied or coerced into changing who they are to make the world more “comfortable.”
Unfortunately we live in a society that is highly desensitized to things they ought to be sensitive about. I applaud you for being so brave and courageous in telling your story. I just want to say, I get it, I understand, and you are not alone.
I can relate, though I am still just in my early teens.
I am quite short tempered, in our society’s terms, meaning I don’t like people swearing next to me. English is my second language, and we moved to the UK a year ago. at first nobody noticed me, because no one bothered speaking to someone that it takes him almost a whole minute to form a sentence. then came the Coronavirus, in which I kept learning English by google translating words I didn’t understand for the work. now, as I understood, most HSPs have problems with moving, but my mental state and social place in my home country were so bad at the time, that I was in complete Euphoria moving to the UK. that changed. I am really good with languages, and quite quickly I learned English pleasingly enough for my year to finally notice me. that meant two things. First, I have friends. second, the bullies started noticing me. being short tempered and highly reactive to swear words and physical violence, I was bullied. badly. Me and my friends.
Nancy Chisholm says
I too at 59 still struggle with my emotions , sensitivity and desire to spend a lot of time alone ..
Trevor Huskey says
I had similar experiences growing up and it took me a long time to understand who I am and become comfortable with who I am without feeling an incredible amount of shame not only for “being so sensitive,” but for all the mistakes I made and things I didn’t do, because of my anxiety, but should have. The emotional trauma I experienced at home and school was absolutely punishing. It certainly is challenging to have an acutely sensitive nature and learn all the different ways it effects one. The good news is, I do love how creative, empathetic and astute I am. For the first time in my life (thanks in part to now knowing about HSP), I really know who I am, which has been quite settling.
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mary boland says
My young life was consumed with humiliation and shame, dreading everyday events which others took in their stride. My parents always said or almost accused me of choosing to be too sensitive, it became a ‘ family thing’ that I was the super sensitive one. To this day I still feel that anger and shame and process this word as an insult or as a negative connotation. It helps so much to read that others have experienced that same trauma as I, for just being a little different.
My heart breaks for that younger me who thought I would never make it as a successful adult. Although I suffered greatly through my life, its wonderful to come to the realization that my sensitivity was actually a positive. I can now see that the qualities of wisdom, creativity, empathy and intuition that were always there, I can now own as positives of my character and personality.
Thanks to a good therapist and discovering HSPs I have been on a very emotional but truly rewarding and informed journey that continues even though I am almost in my seventies.
The comment you made about your heart breaking for the part of you that never thought you would make it as a successful adult rings so true to me! I grew up with so much shame and guilt.
What you mentioned totally resonated with me. It was through a series of events that i finally knew that i am HSP after all the struggle, shaming, guilt and wondering if i have mental issues. This started the journey and i definitely will continue to explore more…
Hello. I suspected that I may be a HSP when first viewing a YouTube video earlier this month. Minutes ago I took the HSP test and scored 13. My recollections of growing up are very positive. Very little bullying and great parents. I was very popular in grade school and have, to this day, friends that I met at that early age. Even though very shy at times, I was able to function well with children of my age in all school situations. When I was in 5th grade, I was enrolled in Little League Football. This experience greatly enhanced my confidence and willingness to try new experiences. My sensitive nature was stifled to a noticeable degree. I was not a team star, but was very popular, since I was small and full of energy. I earned the nick name “Killer”. This was a complement for a small kid within the context of a football team. The name remained for me with several of my teammates through High school.
As soon as puberty hit, my HSP personality became an inflection. Puberty is tough on all of us, but I believe even more of a struggle for the HSP. I remained ok with my friends and family, but began feeling a darker variety of shyness that was new to me. I was especially shy around girls. My feelings were changing to be attracted to the girls and with this feeling, the torment began. I never dated in high school, but feebly tried. The fear of speaking with girls that I was interested in put me in a very uncomfortable emotional state. Never before in my young life have I felt trapped in a psychological hell. This lasted into my college years. My comfort level with women did become more tolerable, but rarely did I date. The stress made the experience intolerable, even though I felt that I had to participate. I didn’t actually obtain a girl friend until I was in grad school. I was 27. For the first time I enjoyed the experience. But it was short. Long spans of time separated my attempts to date. Years after the first girlfriend, I tried again. Another good experience. Then the third girlfriend. This was not a good experience. It was years before I wanted to try dating again. 18 years and I still haven’t dated. I am 59 and have not been successful with managing my “sensitive” emotions around woman. I believe I am ready to try dating again, but find my sensitive emotions make getting to know a woman very difficult.
Reading this was like reliving parts of my own childhood. I also used to create scenes and stories with toys and inanimate objects that would take hours to set up. I had such a rich inner life as a child. And it took very little to get me to be embarrassed or humiliated which prompted me to seek conformity not to be included, but just so I wouldn’t be singled out. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I look forward to reading your novel.
Patrick Powers says
World Book Encyclopedia all right. 1960. I was five years old. Reading it was one of my favorite things to do.
Going red at school, man I went so red they used to sing ‘cherry ripe, cherry ripe’ over and over, I can feel the shame and hear the words right now, 50 years later. You could have fried an egg on my face it burned so.
I have lived inside myself for so long, I am a bit unsure about coming out of my head ; but it’s a comfort to understand myself as having some of these HSP traits, as if finally I can believe I am not going crazy anymore
Yes. World Book opened up everything in the world to me!
Dominique Martin says
Thank you for sharing this article. I am a single mom of a very precious boy with sensitivity characteristics. I have naturally guided him in this process with Sensory Therapy to explore his world and expose himself gently to all sensory inputs. This article is so encouraging for me and the comments, due to knowing how there is a community of other men out there and I am heading in the right direction with parenting him. My own life was not easy and that spurred me in creating a comfortable but encouraging environment where we face our uncomfortable feelings. It is not suprising that I scored 24 on this test. With lots of CBT life is quite peaceful for me now…
I too scored 24. I read this article so that I may better support my 11 year old boy who scored 17. Its so validating to hear these stories.
Because of my own experiences of being shamed and taken for granted, I am very aware of ensuring my son remembers our number one house rule: always share your feeling whether you’re sad, happy, guilty or angry. Emotions are welcome and valid.
Growing up, I was not allowed to be upset with injustices done to me.
I was often told, “I have to say something, but don’t get mad, I just have to say it.”
Now, anytime someone says,”can we talk,” I feel the fear and anxiety rise up in me.
Thank you for sharing.
I laughed at Bill’s observation – “Little League is a venue for rabid, trash talking parents!”
I remember when I was about 15 years old the coach discovered I could run and he threw a yellow T-shirt on me and convinced me to race the mile at High School track meets. In those races I found that if I won I then had to turn around and witness all that sadness and defeat on the faces of vanquished. However, I discovered, that if I placed second or third, then mine was the pleasure of watching others win right there in front of my very eyes and I could see them thrill at their victory and watch them wonder how in the world they could have beaten me, when they knew my clock times. I could then smile and congratulate them, and coming from me, someone they should not have beaten, those pats on the back were really meaningful, I could tell. Sometimes when I was running around that last turn, entering the home stretch I could hear the coach yelling at me. “What are you doing?!” I think I knew what I was doing. I was racing to lose so I could then do what I was actually the best at which was being a “good sport.” As you can imagine I had a very short racing career, alas.
If I avoid bleachers it isn’t just because of the toxic company that can be found up there. I think it is also because I don’t want to watch the event either, whatever it is. Competition in the sports arena is maybe just a little too much like conflict to me. I don’t like events that are designed to dash people’s hopes and dreams and divide winners from losers often on a technicality.
But, there is another thing, slightly more subtle about watching sports that bothers me – to me, I think it’s too much like gossip. And I don’t care for gossip. “Hey, buddy! Did you hear the home team won?” No, I didn’t hear and I don’t care and please don’t try to tell me the highlights. Let’s talk about anything else.
One time in my life I did actually see a stand of bleachers being put to good use. I was maybe 10 years old and during the night a fearsome wind had blown a massive hot air balloon out of the sky. It fell to earth and came to grief in a stand of bleachers which held the fabric stretched out up there in its rails where the winds could then fill it with air like a sail, or like a pocket that pillowed out, up and away from the bleachers. It was more or less a fully inflated hot air balloon laying down on its side on the ground. Over and over again we climbed up onto the top rail of the bleachers where we would then leap off superman-style onto the turgid fabric of the wind-inflated balloon. I thought it was wonderful to land out there and feel the fabric envelope tightly around me as it cushioned my fall and gently carried me down to earth over a period of maybe 10 or 15 seconds. At the bottom you had to wrestle your way out of the fabric, roll off onto the lawn, climb the bleachers again and repeat. Meanwhile, underneath the bleachers, it was possible to climb through the wooden benches and enter a magical wind-filled balloony room through a rip in the fabric. At lunch time we went home for bologna sandwiches. We ran back to play where we found that the storm had blown through, the balloon was flaccid and the fun was over. So much for bologna. There stood about 5 disappointed lads. I was young and little did I know that would be one of the best days of my life and one of my fondest and most intense memories. Go ahead and hang your head with me, Bill Allen, because I’m sure the following Friday night those same bleachers filled themselves up again, only this time not with joy or wind or kids or balloons, but rather with parents and profanity and disdain.
This suddenly occurs to me. I think Elaine has pointed out that HSP’s especially sensation seekers avoid gossip because it is boring and useless. But, if we take the story of my balloon – It’s a story about people, but I don’t think it is gossip and I hope it isn’t boring. I wonder, exactly what is the poison ingredient that turns an otherwise acceptable story into gossip and spoils it. I don’t know the difference between gossip and normal stories but I recognize it when I hear it, and I instantly start looking for the green exit signs.
Your story really moved me. I scored a 14 on the emotional sensitivity scale and my boyfriend got 24 because he’s really sensitive and also wasn’t good in P.E.. But yeah, no one likes yelling sports parents. My parents didn’t care enough to make me do sports LOL. The way you wrote about the hot air balloon was really beautiful, I could really picture your memory.
You’re amazing. Thank you for your important input; it resonates.
JR, you are a great writer. I hope you are sharing more of your stories in some way, somewhere.
Your balloon story moved me. I have only recently learned that I am an HSP. I am still too sensitive to spell it out completely, lol. I think my sense of humor saved me, because I have lived 31 years in intense pain. I took the test and got full marks. I have survived an insensitive and abusively selfish upbringing and horrific emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. I have only in the last few days regained my inner monologue. However, I have had the pleasure of wonderful childhood friendships and I think the dream of someday having them again carried me through. I’m only realizing that last part now because of your story.
Today is the first day I was able to see people as people rather than terrifying things that I wanted to be around for some reason. I finally felt strong enough to visit this site despite intense shame about being sensitive. It has been a years of therapy and a lifetime of intense information gathering that led me to this point. I also found solace in the transgender community. The unconditional positive regard I received there made me so strong.
Beautiful things like your story helped to make life worth living and I’m glad to see that I will still appreciate them on the other side of understanding. Thank you so much for sharing.
Stephanie Charitonenko says
Hello, Anyone have tips of how to find other HSPs who are single? I went through an amicable divorce last year (after 18 years of marriage) and have decided I’d like to seek out HS gentlemen with whom I’m hoping I may have more in common. Are there HSP dating sites, groups or conferences? Any guidance in support of or against the idea would be appreciated.
Wouldn’t that be wonderful, Stephanie? I separated in 2017 after 26 years of marriage although mine was not so pleasant. I have spent the last 4 years battling loneliness, anxiety and depression. As an HSP, I find meeting new people challenging. I yearn to find someone to share my heart with who values a partner with sensitivity and empathy.
Hello fellow HSPs,
I found this website after discovering this amazing documentary “Sensitive – The Untold Story” and took another step on my journey to self-growth. I think we as highly sensitive persons need to show more compassion for ourselves. It’s not our fault society punishes us and rewards the less sensitive. There is actually a lot of strength to found in being soft and emotional. Wow.
I relate so much to this article! Growing up, I was considered shy, had a couple of close friends with being very afraid to perform in talent shows. I was homeschooled as a child, then began private school at 13. I then learned the embarrassment and humiliation that you discussed. In high school, as soon as a teacher called on me or multiple people looked at me at once, my face would blush bright red and my ears would get hot. Every day was a lot of work and I always wondered when it would end. I remember my parents making comments about me not going out with friends or having that many, and they hurt. I always just thought that something was wrong with me for being so sensitive. The one comment I began to hate was “why don’t you grow a thick shell?!”.
As an adult in my late 20’s and interacting with co-workers, I’ve learned that more interaction helps with blushing less, but it still happens when a bunch of attention is on me.
I do have trouble working under bright lighting, loud music, lots of talking between patients and co workers. I also have learned to stop watching any movies related to deaths, things happening to parents or children, horror films. This has helped me a lot! I also keep the lighting in my home dim and calming most of the time aside from natural lighting.
Thank you for sharing this. My experience is very much the same but also very different.
I am in my 50s. I can read every one of you by the way you use words and the way you do not use words.
I mostly stay away from people in public because they are situations I can’t control. When I do go out I am everybody’s best friend and it drives my guy crazy because we have to spend hours in line at the grocery because everybody is talking to me.
I am far too personable and understand people far too well.
This also backfires. When I don’t get the feedback I know should be there. When I don’t see the body language I know is missing. When I absorb someone else’s anger they never expressed but I can clearly see and then feel in my own anger which often far more powerful than theirs. It overwhelms me. I usually stay inside for months and months after that.
I hate the word empath. It makes a joke out of a very serious condition that has affected my life a lot. I have learned to exploit and use this to my advantage. I’ve also learned to use my emotional intelligence to help others. However… It can also be a very powerful tool that harms others in ways I’m embarrassed to talk about.
I have a strict set of rules for myself. I still fall into my own traps because I am pulled somewhere and I just don’t say no.
I have blocked so many people online. I assume most of them don’t know why. I stopped caring about it along time ago. I can feel and understand how upset it probably made them but I had to put myself first.
They are too many places I don’t belong and won’t go and not because I am afraid of them but because I’m afraid for them. I always feel the need to tell them what they are not seeing. Usually when carefully orchestrated so they can see it, it is devastating for them. I have come to understand that people who are not sensitive should not always see what sensitive people do. They are unable to process this information. Much of the time it makes them an absolute monster because being able to understand how their actions affected the emotions of others, they are forced to realize they have done some pretty terrible things.
Anyway, while my story is much different than yours, I can completely relate to much of it. I think my coping skills were much different than yours. I did not hide if I felt embarrassed, I felt angry. I don’t think I ever doubted that not one person had a right to put me in that position and I realized early on that they weren’t intelligent enough to realize what they were doing. Even when explained to them… They couldn’t understand and they still don’t!
Rose Margaja says
“I always feel the need to tell them what they are not seeing. Usually when carefully orchestrated so they can see it, it is devastating for them. I have come to understand that people who are not sensitive should not always see what sensitive people do. They are unable to process this information. Much of the time it makes them an absolute monster because being able to understand how their actions affected the emotions of others, they are forced to realize they have done some pretty terrible things.”
I’m so relieved after reading this part. I happen to have the same predicament when it comes to my family. Oftentimes, I get into conflicts with my mother who is non-HSP because she would take offense when I would tell her the things that I observe about her, (actions, intentions, words) that aren’t so pleasant or are hurting other people. Even though I do it in a respectful manner, she still gets upset. My intention is always to help her realize that some of her actions have adverse effects on people and I just want to help her become more amiable. But to her, it meant that I am just criticizing her. Honestly, I just thought that she would reflect on them just as I do when I am given a feedback (good or bad). Apparently, they don’t see it the way I see it. And so, I feel bad because in the end, I thought I was helping but they end up seeing me as the person who made them feel about themselves. And I never intended it that way. But as an HSP, I notice so many things that they are unaware of. What can I do? Sometimes, I just shut up. I’ve learned to pick my battles.
Charles R Quinn says
Hi, I am a 49 yr old man in Eastern Washington state. And I believe I am a highly sensitive person.
And thanks to that talk at Google, this is the first time I have had any definition or name describe my personality.
It is almost eerie how closely the test hit the mark. I checked all but 2 boxes. And I found myself getting excited when the questions were so uncannily matching my whole personality! I have felt like an outsider or abnormal person my entire life, and I have had such inner conflict whenever I was forced to have interactions with other people I didn’t know. I absolutely hated school and church, except for recess (where I sought out my best friend Doug. I met Doug in the third grade, and we have been best friends ever since that day. And believe it or not, we have never once yelled at each other, or called each other names. And I talk to him nearly every day. I’m not sure why we are so well matched, but I am extremely grateful for the luck that brought us together.
And then there are my troubled areas, bullies, narcissistic people, authority figures, injustice of any kind, etc. I mean those people are everywhere but they grate on my inner peace like crazy! I was very small as a child (3rd shortest person in my class, including the girls) so bullies naturally were attracted to me. But I did learn how to present myself as more masculine to make it more difficult for them to physically hurt me. But I was absolutely terrified every single time I was confronted. But I could be vicious with my words if I felt threatened. And I guess I should mention that one of my pet peeves is when someone threatens me or anyone else I know. I strangely have a compulsive tendency to be defensive of my friends and family. Only if I actually believe it is a threat of physical harm do I jump in to face the person who is threatening.
That is the only time I have ever had any physical altercations. I abhor violence and go to great lengths to avoid it. Truthfully, even when I am threatened, I try to fool the person into thinking it will be costly to physically engage me.
Secretly, I tried to appear like nothing frighted me, but I felt extremely stressed and scared to my core. But I must have been a decent actor because I have only had a half-dozen fist fights my entire life. And all but two were in grade school.
I feel I should apologize because I had really wanted to cover more of my personality with this comment, but I feel I am going on and on. Lol
Anyway, thanks so much for your work. I am deeply interested in learning more about HSP and how to mitigate the negative parts.
I scored a 17 on the test and I have to honestly say that I am finally glad to know that there is a name for what I went thru as a child. Being child number 7 of 8 I was labels the sensitive one. I cried at the drop of a hat. I stayed out of the spot light and my inner life was the best. My kids often tease me about the full dialogue I still have with myself on occasion. The best part about learning about being a HSP is that I know my younger son is one too and I can educate myself to support his needs.
Thanks for the article. It should be read by all the teachers out there in early learning programs so that they stop labeling HS children as shy or think that they are helping when attempt to push children out of their comfort zones.
Den här sk blygheten kan bli så dramatisk för oss som haft en knepig barndom o uppfostran.
När jag var barn o i tonåren fick jag ej vara tillsammans med min familj i det gemensamma rummet och vid matbordet skulle jag gå in i mitt rum innan familjens far kom hem. Min mor var otrogen och fick mig mitt i 8 barnsgruppen och skulle egentligen blivit adopterad men blev kvar, men som en som inte fick höra till gruppen.
Detta gav mig naturligtvis många svårigheter under min uppväxttid.
Tex När jag träffade min blivande make och satt tillsammans med hans familjen, vid matbord eller vid tv tittandet. Jag ville bara försvinna. Det var så hemskt jag gömde mig med tröjjan eller lotsades sova . Redan från början tyckte de att jag var lite märklig så de behandlade mig därefter under alla år. Jag som redan hade den uppväxten utan rättigheter, kunde ej göra ngt åt allt detta som skedde mot mig . Alldeles ensam och ingen som kunde stötta mig och jag hade ju fått med mig att jag inte var önskvärd. Så med min HSP vilket jag inte förstått under alla åren, även om jag visste att jag egentligen var helt ok. Men tänkte o tröstade mig med att jag att jag var förstörd av min barndom. Men sedermera började jag undra varför jag inte var som andra.
Men från att förstå det till att komma till insikten vad HSP innebar i de olika känslorna osv har varit så svårt, en överlevnad. Jag tror att vi har stor o stark
kreativitet inom oss som gör att vi klarar det mesta trots mycket svåra situationer. Detta är ett av mycket svåra händelser som kan drabba oss med HSP och om vi dessutom haft en dålig barndom.
När jag upptäckte , ja bara för ngt år sedan HSP gm Malous program avsnittet om HSP så förstod jag direkt att detta är det som jag har ärvt och jag förstod när jag kom mer i kontakt med möten varför alla mina svårigheter funnits och varför jag inte kommit över dem , jag är trots allt en gammal o erfaren kvinna 70.
Livet blev så otroligt my lättare när jag fick svar på allt. Så nu jobbar o kämpar jag med att komma igen
och få känna mig som en vanlig människa o vågar ta för mig. Bli accepterad även inför mig själv. Jag har rätt att leva och livet är underbart egentligen. Om jag ser till bara allt det underbara som finns här i livet, naturen, konsten och de ljuvliga barnbarnen.
Som nu är blivit stora. Vi skickar ibland lite sms tillvarandra och det ger mig stor glädje o de älskar mig.
En trasslig barndom.!!
Jag skickade artikeln med ett felstavat ord.
Tack för ordet. Hoppas det finns andra som också har upplevt liknande situationer och vill dela med sig
det är så oerhört värdefullt så känner jag.
Jeg opplevde noe lignende. Jeg ble kastet ut av familien fordi jeg var høysensitiv. Utrolig men sant. Og helt forferdelig.
I recently read about Hunter Johnson being picked on for riding a pink bike as a kid & then being conditioned to fit into a masculine mould. He retained his sensitivity to create an initiative which has since over 15000 young australian school boys discuss what masculinity is in order to embrace more vulnerability & grow beyond toxic masculinity. The power of one highly sensitive person!
My entire childhood adults labeled me as “shy” because I didn’t respond as quickly as other kids to inane jokes, stupid questions, and other things that I just didn’t recognize the value of. How is someone supposed to respond? And yet, “shy” was hardly the description of me. Also, I have an unrecognized disability of a very high IQ. Just having a vocabulary or information made many people uncomfortable, suspicious, and believe that I was acting or making things up. “Stuck up,” “putting on airs” and “full of herself” were words often used to describe me, sadly as much by adults as by my peers.
I believe that I’ve been very fortunate. My Mother understood me and offered security and guidance. I’ve had a very good education with a few HSPs to like me and hold fast with me through so many challenges.
But understand, it never felt just ok to be me outside of an insular group until I was about late teens.
By then I had developed massive adaptation and coping mechanisms to be able to fool or work around the group or situation I was in and to fit in.
In the end, there’s nothing like meeting like-minded HSPs and the right profession to make life tolerable!
My problem is, I haven’t encountered any other HSPs with high HSS, so I seem like a danger rabbit to some of my friends, but I’m also the first person they call when they have a serious problem. So, we take the good with the rest and look for new, interesting experiences along the way. Cheers.
Emily Pindar says
Thank you for sharing your story and experiences. It was really brave and vulnerable. I loved reading about your non-violent soldiers, rich internal play dialogue, and love of encyclopedias. It broke my heart to read about how you had to hide your emotions and feelings as a young boy until you were alone and safe to express them. I think normalizing expressing feelings for HSPs is so important, but it is especially so for men and boys. Sharing your story helps others share and identify with you, and helps us question the societal norms around what is “appropriate” in regards to expressing emotion and feelings.
I am a male who was just like you as a child. Now that I am an adult I still avoid humiliation and my apartment is now my castle, my fortress, my refuge, and my sanctuary where I can decompress, unwind, and shut out the world.