by Luz Helena Hincapie, Colombia
What does being hyper-sensitive imply in a woman’s life? Is there any real hope for it?
I walked most of my life being un-aware of how hypersensitive I was and I still tend to be. Why? On one hand, I was very closed off to my feelings and my inner world and on the other hand mainly because I never wanted to ACCEPT being like that. People (especially women) that I used to judge as hypersensitive put me off. I saw them as weak, shy, as the shadow of someone else, not able to speak out, hiding and uninteresting. My ideals of a great personality were to be outgoing, super-confident, funny, smart and popular. I tried very hard to have all those qualities.
The way I chose to become all of those was through the sophisticated ways of the mind. I trained myself to have a very analytical mind. I learned how to be clever, cheeky, ironic, self-righteous, how to defend myself, lash out and find the missing bit in any subject, person or conversation to then express and impress with my genius. I also managed to enlarge my social circles and reached people that were popular; I somehow became popular and unfortunately very un-popular sometimes. I managed to be noticed by others. None of these were ever based on how I was feeling. I used to constantly push myself hard to experiment and keep going. I took drugs, got badly drunk on a regular basis, got involved in complications, dramas and affairs and felt strongly identified with all of these. I also did very well on my academic assignments, especially those when I needed to concentrate on the theory. I could have been a good academic if I had chosen that.
The reality was that underneath I was permanently feeling anxious, unsettled and nervous.
It was very common to have an irritating sensation in my stomach, a mix between excitement, bad premonitions and tension, however nothing really ever happened. In spite of my numbed body and busy mind I couldn’t deny how fast my heart would beat most of the time. I don’t know how I didn’t have a heart attack while taking all of those recreational drugs and not resting for days!
When I finally accepted that I was highly sensitive it was a relief, although something inside of me protested! All that time and energy I used to train my mind to protect myself – I thought I’d managed to overcome my shyness and all of my insecurities. Not really, I was a mess inside, nervous and insecure yet behaving with arrogance and aloofness in many situations.
Let me share what has come up for me to look at on a regular basis – a long list of patterns, behaviours and rather ungraceful emotions:
- The streams of anxiousness travelling in my body and how I become hard in order to hide them. I tend to automatically contract the muscles in my chest, tummy and face especially in situations where I interact with others or express myself.
- I shrink in order to not disturb or make someone uncomfortable. I position myself in small gaps and walk along the margins.
- Sometimes I tend to look into the distance when speaking to avoid things I don’t like to feel from others or reveal from myself.
- I can get cold and shiver. I feel shaky easily.
- I breathe superficially as if this could protect me against unwanted energies and situations.
- I feel like a sponge – absorbing and taking on what is happening around me so I get exhausted very easily.
- I feel like I need to rush and speed up.
- I feel I can have a withdrawn quality in my presence.
- I easily feel intimidated and take things personally.
- I feel victimized and hurt but never choose to express it, instead I become angry, hard and sometimes aggressive.
- I protect myself by becoming aloof.
- I can be hyper-sensitive to be told off like a little girl. I feel I need to justify and explain myself to be approved and not taken as wrong.
- Little things can throw me out of balance.
- I can get very tense when I feel someone criticizes or makes a joke of me.
- Because I can be hyper-sensitive to others’ moods and needs, I can go into sympathy very easily and tend to anxiously smother and please. Deep inside I want to be taken into consideration and be included as well.
- I avoid fully committing to relationships, activities and facing certain situations. Life feels like a burden I must endure and too much to put up with.
- I can literally cry like a baby.
- I can easily get distracted and stimulated.
- I rely on hearsays.
- I second-guess and criticize myself.
- I can feel embarrassed for hours.
- I can fall into comparison easily.
- I blame others for how I feel and how they affect me.
- I tend to sort things out mentally, compulsively finding solutions to problems and conciliate with others, without truthful contemplation.
- I can dwell on past hurts and negative events for a while before letting them go.
- I can easily go into multi-tasking when trying to respond to all the external forces and thoughts in my head.
- I can make it all about how I come across and if I will be accepted or believed.
- I tend to go into stories and use more words than necessary to fill up the spaces in order to not feel uncomfortable and not feel whatever is going on.
- I can be very stubborn in my ideas, beliefs and ways to do things. As if in this way I can protect myself from being hurt and feeling less.
- I tend to feel that I don’t belong to any place, nor any place is right for me.
- I dream of a perfect world, not for others but just for myself.
- I have a need to check out, comfort myself and withdraw from life.
All of these can be summarised as:
Living in a permanent reaction and denial of life as it is.
It can be depicted as:
A fearful, pale, small girl in the centre of a vast world, surrounded with lots of arrows pulling her outside of herself and threatening to lead her towards disintegration. As a reaction and protection she holds on tightly to whatever is around, reject and fight hard – deep down she feels scared and helpless.
Is there really any hope for someone who is so hyper-sensitive?
Well…. yes of course there is! This is something I’ll explore more in my next blog on reclaiming Sensitivity as the Strength it Truly is.