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Emotionally Sensitive People: Survey Results, Part 2

a set of dried flowers

Thank you again to the many people who took the time to answer my survey and give such thoughtful answers. The information you shared has been invaluable.

Let’s continue looking at what you had to say about being emotionally sensitive. There were many experiences that you treasure. Feeling great joy and rarely being bored was one of them. Many believe that being emotionally sensitive enhances creativity.

Some feel special in their ability to enjoy the positive and some consider it a gift.  Several believe it enhances their spiritual connection to God. (Please see the previous post for more characteristics that they valued about being emotionally sensitive.)

What you dislike about being emotionally sensitive includes that your emotions aren’t under your control. Several people mentioned that they could be having a great day and one small thing can ruin the mood.  Some don’t like that they can cry easily. Sometimes you can’t say what you want or need because the matter is so upsetting that all you can do is cry.

You want support but worry about your emotions overwhelming others and asking too much of others. Being emotionally sensitive can be paralyzing.

At other times you can react too swiftly without thinking through the consequences. You are easily discouraged when life is painful. Many noted that they tend to give up easily (55.6%). Most of what happens in their world feels personal and it’s hard for them to let incidents go. Being emotionally sensitive can be exhausting.

Major events depress you and cause serious anxiety (79.6% had experienced being so upset they wanted to die). Being emotionally sensitive can be confusing. You sometimes don’t know what to pay attention to, what is real, and what is not important or due to your self-doubts. Sometimes you take feelings as facts: if you feel something, then it must be true.

Some of you believe that others take advantage of your sensitivity. Some believe being emotionally sensitive makes you appear weak and that others tend to take advantage.

Many of you feel alone. Being emotionally sensitive sometimes means you believe you aren’t worthy of other people’s company. Being able to love deeply also means the pain of losing love is very intense. Abandonment is a big fear.

Though you worry about being abandoned by others, sometimes you abandon yourself, hiding away from life. You can lose sight of important tasks because you are overwhelmed by feelings. Emotional sensitivity can limit your career and work success because you are afraid of criticism and failure. You have difficulty making decisions and second guess yourself frequently.

The emotionally sensitive feel vulnerable. Social activities can be difficult because you feel self-conscious and have difficulty being around people for an extended period. You have trouble trusting others and often feel misunderstood. In addition, you sometimes take on the emotions and issues of other people.

You worry about hurting others because you know how it feels to be hurt. Some said they are so anxious they have very strong reactions, like vomiting, in carrying out business tasks that might hurt others.

You want other people to know that being listened to is very important to you. You wish that others would not jump to conclusions, not judge you, and not take advantage of your kindness and vulnerability. You wish others could understand that deep down you are scared of rejection and of being worthless, that you are highly sensitive to criticism and being ignored, that you often need reassurance, and that sometimes you need time to be ready to talk.

You want others to know that being sensitive does not mean worthless, even though sometimes you think that way yourself.

Being understood when you need to be alone, not being seen as “crazy,” and having others realize that quiet and needing time alone is okay would be helpful. You want the people in your lives to know that you love and care about them even when you isolate from them.

You would like for everyone to know that being sensitive does not mean you are not smart. You wish that others could understand that change is particularly hard for you, that you are doing the best that you can, and that sometimes your emotions are so intense it’s hard to get out of bed.

Understanding is the first step toward effective communication, more positive relationships, and accepting yourself. Accepting yourself is also part of letting go of suffering. Hopefully the information about what it’s like to be emotionally sensitive will help both those who are emotionally sensitive and the people who care about them.


NOTE:  Another survey is coming soon.  If you are willing to share information about your experiences as an emotionally sensitive person, we hope you’ll participate.


Creative Commons License photo credit: rlaxman

Emotionally Sensitive People: Survey Results, Part 2

Karyn Hall, PhD

Karyn Hall, Ph.D. is the owner/director of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Center in Houston, a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Clinician, a RO DBT Approved Supervisor and Trainer and owner of, an online educational program. She is a trainer/consultant as well as a therapist and certified coach, author of The Emotionally Sensitive Person, SAVVY, Mindfulness Exercises for DBT Therapists, and co-author of The Power of Validation. Her podcast, The Emotionally Sensitive Person, is available on iTunes.

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APA Reference
Hall, K. (2012). Emotionally Sensitive People: Survey Results, Part 2. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 11 Apr 2012
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