Sometimes just knowing that others have the same experiences as you can be helpful, and I appreciate your time and thoughtful responses.
Coping Skills and Strategies
How do the emotionally sensitive cope with their intense feelings? What a variety of answers you gave!
Accepting the emotions, going to therapy, becoming a Buddhist, mindfulness, learning that others are emotionally sensitive, understanding that being emotionally sensitive can be a strength, dancing, exercise, faith in God, learning that thoughts are not facts, dialectical behavior therapy, the support of compassionate loved ones, Yoga, medication, setting boundaries, joining a loving church, and understanding that emotions pass were all ways you cope.
Do emotionally sensitive people tend to hold back in relationships? Most of you believe that is true. Only 19.7 percent said they didn’t, with some stating they gave too much or did not establish healthy boundaries. Fear of being abandoned (46.6 percent), shame (35.7 percent) and fear of being taken advantage of (43.2 percent) were some of the reasons others protect themselves by not getting too close.
Your explanations included a lack of confidence, feeling that you aren’t important to others, fear of not being liked, fear of losing yourself, past hurts, dislike of commitment and fear of being too needy. Some expressed that people don’t accept others who have physical differences.
The people who responded to the survey considered themselves good problem solvers (80.3 percent). Your comments indicated that many of you are good at solving others’ problems rather than your own and that people often come to you for advice.
Some of you are able to see many solutions at once and many of you noted that you are best at problems you can view intellectually rather than emotionally. Some said they were good in crisis situations but had difficulty after the crisis had passed.
About half of you are very clear about your identity and half are not. One person stated: “I’m not sure who I am, sometimes I’m who I need to be for that situation.” Other comments included: “Still trying to discover me,” and “I feel I tend to flip flop. Try to be what others want until the real me becomes invisible.”
Many said they wear masks to please others and some are clear but hide their true self from others. A number of you said that on some days you were clear about your identity and then confused on other days. Based on your answers, knowing who you are seems to be easier when you are by yourself than when you are with others and many are working on finding their identity.
Many of you have families who understand emotional sensitivity. Others do not think their families know and fear it would not be positive if they found out. Still others have family members who are emotionally sensitive. For some that has helped and for others made it more difficult. Some did not think it matters if their families understand and others thought it could make a big difference. A number of you are estranged from your families and others have no family.
One respondent even noted that understanding is not enough, and structure and solutions are also needed.
Fear of Emotions
Some of you described feeling overtaken by your emotions; you couldn’t trust your own behavior and decisions when emotionally overwhelmed. This situation seems unpredictable, so that adds to your fear. You don’t know when you may be emotionally flooded. Being out of control is a strong fear. Having your judgment clouded is another fear. Hurting others, hurting yourselves, feeling strong anxiety and falling into depression were other fears.
At the same time, some of you see emotions as making life more colorful. Some have worked to accept emotions as information. And 60.8 percent feel joy just as intensely as anger and sadness, and many noted that though it is as intense, it doesn’t happen as frequently. Some of you feel it rarely and some of you fear joy, expecting that something will happen to take it away.
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Last reviewed: 29 Jul 2012