Most of my life, I have wished for the ability to Act As If…
Being intensely feeling in an insensitive world does have a priceless upside: Informed and compassionate, I support my older son (S1) who is also highly sensitive with neurological differences making him more vulnerable to sensory input as well as emotional energy. Atypical wiring holds our Limbic Systems at full throttle 24/7 . A constant state of “fight or flight” causes fatigue, and lessens resilience to stress. In my family, two of the kinder labels for this, were difficult and thin-skinned.
Without familiarity, I would be unable, perhaps unwilling to protect and empathize as children deserve. S1 becomes emotional over perceived unfairness or unkindness occurring in those subtle and hard to name ways. His large reaction can steal the show and focus might be directed at
teaching shaming him into gaining control of himself–purely to avoid punishment. With little inquiry or action around understanding the subtle or mistaken “offense”.
Whatever the offense, it will go
dismissed unaddressed by those not wired to understand. Granted, there are times where he is overtired and over-reacting…but not always the case. He recognizes the difference and we get to laugh later when he is ready to share without shame, that he was too tired to cope and had decomposed into crazy cryer. Demonstrating how it is real and ok to be sensitive allows him to know when it is necessary to seek serenity and safety
I reflect on times I was reduced to “crazy cryer” because of over-stimulation and stress. And how this can be used against a person. This condition needed a name in order to identify it when it is and is not happening. Boys have observed when others lose it over something that nobody sees, the less favorable kid reacting badly to a child who is groomed to perform in ways that are easy. S1 and S2 understand both roles. S2 admittedly enjoys the perks of being unaffected in this way and at times using it to exasperate his brother.
Sharing in detail, my experience has illuminated the price and the alternatives for showing emotion to non Trusted Others. In my life, my wiring invited an older individual, to take advantage, abuse, and campaign against me. (Sadly, I took this behavior out into the world–until I knew better) Labeled as unreasonably sensitive, I was handled like a dirty diaper, while my offender smugly bonded in discussion of my unfortunate sensitivity.
For Christmas, I want a dimmer switch for my five senses and my heart. I want to feel and care less. Or do I?
Danielle Laporte encourages living with a gentle open heart and a big fucken fence. The opposite: no boundaries, feeling used, a cold bitter heart, and heaps of resentment cloaked in righteousness. I am glad to feel and am blessed by those who also feel and love with open hearts. Open Hearts are BadAss!