The biggest challenge I’ve had in moving to another country for the man I love more than words is an unexpected one. It’s not even dill pickle cravings.
It’s been being around completely new people who are often very different to myself.
I’ve always been told I’m very “sensitive” a “deep thinker” or an “old soul” but I never saw it as a problem, and I felt that about 50% of people were empathetic the way I am and about 50% were not. I often wondered why some people didn’t seem bothered by things that deeply disturbed or unsettled me, but It didn’t factor into my life too much as most of my family members are sensitive and I surrounded myself with like-minded, “sensitive” friends.
Since I have moved to the UK I have been exposed to all sorts of people and have found myself being offended often and having strong emotional and physical reactions. One person in particular who is close to my man, upsets me on almost a weekly basis and causes me a lot of distress. The stress and anger sprouts from comments that are disrespectful towards women, violent in nature, bragging about violence, extreme crudeness and constant expletives.
There have been many moments where I feel like I’m screaming inside, where I retreat, heart pounding, body shaking to cry in my room because I can’t listen anymore.
Now, my better half is not sensitive like I am, but he is respectful of my feelings and I think we do quite a good job of caring for one another, making compromises and making one another happy. I have felt extraordinarily happy nearly every day since we’ve been together these past three years. I mean like 99.9% of days.
I never realized until doing some research last night that actually my sensitivity is more than just a personality trait. I am an HSP. A highly sensitive person. And that means that my nervous system works differently (it is more sensitive to stimuli) than in the average person. Approximately 15-20% of people, men and women, are HSP’s.
Since moving, I have really began to feel the weight of being such a minority.
My man is very easy going and tends to see the good in everyone. He is very adaptable and can fit in with all sorts of people which is a lovely trait to have but also has it’s challenges as many of the people he likes tend to clash with one another.
This friend of my man tells him that he acts differently around me, that he doesn’t seem happy, that we are too different and it will never work, ect,. He causes a lot of strain on our otherwise beautiful relationship.
I haven’t yet decided whether I feel comforted or terrified in finding out that I am an HSP and that there really isn’t any way to change who I am. No amount of hours of watching disturbing content will desensitize me, or at least that is what studies show.
I always believed that I was “normal” and other people were missing the ‘human’ gene. I’ve always believed if everyone was just like me there would be no war, no killing, no bullying, no pain except for accidents. But then, I realize there would also be no doctors as I can’t stand the sight of anyone or anything suffering.
I’ve always found it very difficult not to see people who aren’t disturbed by things I find upsetting, as bad people. What is comforting to know is that the average person probably isn’t a “bad” person, and knowing there is an actual difference in the makeup of our bodies, and realizing that I am the one who is ‘not normal’ might make it easier to be more forgiving. It’s something I will have to keep trying to remind myself of, and something I will need to work on.
I often lay awake at night for hours trying to figure out how I can fix the world so that no living thing ever hurts. I reflect often on the beauty of the world, but also on the parts that I just can’t accept. I automatically put myself in the shoes of others without having any control over it. I feel their pain as if it were my own. Whether it is a bug or a bird or a child or a stranger on the news.
I don’t feel I can live in a world where there is torture and suffering. So I don’t watch the news, I avoid negativity as much as possible, I avoid violent movies and insensitive people. I do this for my sanity and happiness.
I’ve been told often that I have so much love to give and I’ll make someone really happy. I put everything I have into a relationship. All I want is to make my man happy.
But what if his friends feel I am stuck up if I have to walk out of the room, what if they convince him I am no good for him. What if no one here understands me. What if being sensitive, something that I always felt was a blessing, makes me unlovable?
I’ve really developed a strong sense of self love over the past few years. I know how I deserve to be treated and I like who I am physically, mentally, emotionally. But I think that being sensitive isn’t seen as a good thing by a lot of people, especially here. And suddenly I a part of me wishes I could just be “normal.” But I need to remember how to be kind to myself and not slip back into my old ways of unhealthy self-hatred.
I miss my friends and family who would validate everything I’m feeling. I feel like I need to impress people here by pretending to be someone I’m not. I haven’t felt truly sad inside for a long time, but this week I remember what sadness feels like.
We love each other so much and we’ve done such a wonderful job of finding common ground; meeting in the middle where I have learned to brush off things that at one time would have offended me and he, being more sensitive to my emotions. We have many different interests but we take an interest in each-other’s interests and find common ones along the way.
I’ve always felt that we have an unbreakable love, that we make such a strong team. I just hope that the views of those who can’t understand me, won’t come between us.
Can anyone relate?
Traits of an HSP (that are also consistent with myself) include:
-Feel more deeply (happiness, sadness, love), reflective
-More emotionally reactive
-Mate sensitivity (paying close attention to what others want and acting on this)
-Very cautious in making decisions, and takes longer to make decisions
-Amplified emotions over making bad or wrong decisions
-Work well on a team
-More prone to anxiety and depression based on environmental factors
-Heightened annoyance over repetitive noises
-Don’t react well to change
-Above average manners (because they don’t want to offend or upset others)
-Avoids violent tv and movies
-Affected easily by other peoples moods
-Low pain tolerance
-Sensitive to caffeine
-Often make great writers (check), teachers (check), psychologists (was once my back-up career choice).
-Heightened stress over having a short amount of time to get things done
-Arrange life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations, and enjoy downtime
-Can’t perform tasks as well when being watched
-Often described as “sensitive” or “shy” by teachers and parents
-Overly sensitive to criticism
-Enjoy being near water