Today’s article is an invitation for self-reflection but also the clear understanding that to comprehend other human beings, we have to look at them beyond the surface.
A few days ago, I wrote an article where I explained who is and how it feels to be a highly sensitive person. Unfortunately, exists around the internet so much misconception about personality traits that it is necessary to give real and scientific definitions of these topics.
As we all know has been fiercely defended the necessity to create an enlightened society where citizens can be who they are. But how can this happen when visibility is often given to people who don’t know or know very little about the topics they are talking about? How can we demand equality if we don’t interpret the power of being different correctly?
In reality, we live in a society that warms up with patchwork and loose information. Why? Because it is a way to keep people controlled and satisfied with sporadical crumbs of oxygen to survive.
When you possess SPS or sensory processing sensitivity, you perceive information and the world more deeply. Usually, these individuals were called all their lives too sensitive and overly dramatic. In fact, we are talking about men and women who have rich inner worlds and people who have developed over time a different way of being and acting throughout their lives with themselves and others.
Besides the fact that I had to deal with many things over my life, I knew from a young age that I was different. I was never into dolls playing. My childhood was all about climbing trees, play with chickens, pigs, lambs, explore the world around me, read scientific books, and write. I write poetry and prose since my six/seven years old. So primary school and almost all my academic journey were boring for me.
As a child, teenager, and even now, as an adult woman, I do need to be alone to recharge. I swim in the river, be it in the summer or winter. Intuitively I can understand what’s going on with people around me, who they are, and from where they are coming. However, not everything was rosy, and I had to deal with a health problem, which makes it impossible to get pregnant, although I can have biological children.But I am here, alive and thriving.
Now talking about attachment styles, our environment, and specific events in life shapes and creates our attachment style over the years. Attachment theory provides us the lens to see the effects of childhood treatment on our development, specifically on what is called our mental models of relationships, as well as our ability to manage emotions.
Based on my childhood and personality traits, I am a woman with a secure attachment style but, and here is the tricky part, when I’m under stress, in a hostile environment. Or if people I love hurt me, my secondary attachment style comes to the top, which is the avoidant attachment style. Translating into a simple language, I become emotionally cold, and people can feel it in their bones. I withdraw myself from any interaction as a form of self-protection and self-preservation. The hearty and loving Alexandra disappears, giving place to another Alexandra, the one who will never allow anyone or anything to affect her integrity.
Now let’s put all this information together and talk about relationships and breakups:
When highly sensitive people are with the right partner, they thrive and bloom like no one. But the reality is we have to be careful and learn how to say no without regretting it later. Some people will come into your life because they want you to rescue them. Others won’t want your love or help, just your energy. So in easy math, the better you know yourself and your needs, the better people will come into your life. The more self-awareness and consciousness you gain about your life and choices, the better and easier it will be.
My last breakup was a huge emotional turmoil for me. As I explained here, when I left social media, I did it for myself, but also because I started seeing emotional vultures around my ex as if he was a piece of fresh meat. Do you know the kind of people who never interact in your posts while you are in a committed relationship, but the moment you become single, they show up? I didn’t want to see that circus, because I knew that sooner or later I would say something, and it would be terrible.
I felt the energy of jealousy, the energy of “oh, she is too good to be true”. I felt, and I saw people feeding his fears talking about money all the time, how I dress, and that he was just infatuated with the image he had about me. I also heard that when he came to Portugal, he just came here to have a nice holiday, not to build a relationship with me.
After hearing all this and so much more, I did what I will always do, protect him. Protect this man for me was equivalent to let him go and respect his decision to go separate ways. I couldn’t handle more hearing many voices saying bullshit and see him with no reaction.
Now, I want to ask: Do people know or understand that they can hurt others by giving too many unnecessary opinions? Do they realize what happiness is? Because when we are happy with our lives and choices, we don’t behave this way. Instead, we have the curiosity to understand who is the other person and be happy for the fact that our son, daughter, or friend is being genuinely loved.
“As with any other challenges in life, understanding and acceptance are critical to overcoming the obstacles.”
Today, the main message I want to give you is, regardless of who we are, our culture, and ancestry, we must love ourselves and teach others how to love us because love is a class that we should practice every day in our lives. Life, relationships, and breakups are more intense for highly sensitive people. However, I will leave this challenge: When you call someone a cry baby, too sensitive or dramatic. Stop and try to see the world and emotions through their eyes. I am sure you will be surprised and learn a lot.
Elham Assary, Helena M. S. Zavos, Eva Krapohl, Robert Keers, Michael Pluess. “Genetic Architecture of Environmental Sensitivity Reflects Multiple Heritable Components: A Twin Study With Adolescents.” Molecular Psychiatry (First published: June 03, 2020) DOI: 10.1038/s41380-020-0783-8
Michael Pluess, Elham Assary, Francesca Lionetti, Elham Lester, Eva Krapohl, Elaine N. Aron, Arthur Aron. “Environmental Sensitivity in Children: Development of the Highly Sensitive Child Scale and Identification of Sensitivity Groups.” Developmental Psychology (First published: January 2018) DOI: 10.1037/dev0000406
Aron, Elaine N. (2000). The Highly Sensitive Person In Love: Understanding and Managing Relationships When the World Overwhelms You. New York, NY: Broadway Books.
Falkenstein, Tom (2019). The Highly Sensitive Man: Finding Strength in Sensitivity. New York, NY: Kensington Publishers.