Quite spontaneously, Diana and Will Harper (the producer and director of Sensitive: the Untold Story) and Art (my research collaborator and husband) and I were sitting around a table, continuing to plan for what we had been assuming would be the next film on the highly sensitive child, when we began to express private concerns which turned out to be shared. First, Sensitive: the Untold Story had quite a bit about children. More important, the subject receiving the least attention in the film was relationships—romantic partners, friendships, close family members. Wasn’t it time to remedy that? Why?
- Particularly we want to help with any relationship an HSP has with someone without the trait. Sometimes such a relationship creates some unhappiness for both people, and we want to show that much of this unhappiness could be fairly easily avoided. We will also address the specific kinds of troubles two HSPs together might have, which so easily arise because of the all-too-often learned negative attitudes about sensitivity, our own as well as our partner’s.
- When parents are unhappy with each other, we know this greatly affects their children also, whether these are sensitive children or not. Hence by making the parents’ partnership better we have an opportunity to help their children, to help all children in families in which there is either one or two highly sensitive parents. Because distressed children grow up to be distressed and possibly distressing to others, helping these families gives us another vital way to serve the world through a better understanding of sensitivity (our not-so-secret goal).
- My husband, Art, happens to be one of the leading researchers on the subject of love and what makes relationships last. He told us about some now well-established facts: For anyone, not just HSPs, a satisfying relationship with one’s partner, if one has one, predicts longevity more than not being a smoker or not being obese. In addition to this huge effect on physical health, relationship quality is the single biggest predictor of overall life happiness.
- I have no doubt that these physical and emotional effects of relationship quality are even greater for HSPs because of their well-established “differential susceptibility.” Surely we are more distressed by bad relationships and we benefit more than others from good ones.
- Because of our combined experience and research, Art and I have a great deal of practical advice we can offer to HSPs and their partners. We would like to do that, now.
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