A highly sensitive person is someone who has more sensitivity to physical, emotional, or social stimuli. Typically, a highly sensitive person will feel things very intensely. This can look like picking up the feelings of others and having difficulty separating them from their own, or it can be an intense reaction to a violent or gory movie. With deep feelings and reactions, there can be strengths found as well as challenges that highly sensitive people experience. Research shows that highly sensitive people excel at being empathetic, making connections, and being able to notice things that other people may miss. Additionally, being highly sensitive also means that your mind can become overstimulated, which can lead to feeling emotionally burnt out or exhausted. This can lead to challenges and struggles in relationships for highly sensitive people, whether that means with friends, family, or a significant other. Here are 5 challenges that you may experience if you are highly sensitive.
1. Over Stimulation:
As a highly sensitive person, you have a lower threshold for being overstimulated as compared to others – in other words, it takes less to overstimulate you than it does other people. Your brain is wired slightly differently than those who are not highly sensitive. Your mind is programmed to process everything in your environment on a deep level and to take note of every little thing. This means that you can be sensitive to bright lights, hear quiet noises that others may not notice, and be hyper-aware of the movements of others. All of this can lead to exhaustion from intaking this information all day every day, and can require needing downtime to process everything.
2. Taking on Others’ Feelings:
As a highly sensitive person, you can feel things deeply. You can tend to place yourself in someone else’s shoes and be extremely empathetic. This is a great strength! However, at times, this can become challenging, because often you can shoulder another person’s feelings as your own. This means that sometimes you can find yourself feeling sad or angry after being around someone that has experienced these emotions. This can be challenging in relationships because you can have a hard time separating your feelings from those of others.
3. Difficulty Setting Boundaries:
Due to being extremely empathetic and understanding, it can also be challenging for you to set boundaries with others. If you can understand where another person is coming from, care deeply about them and want to help them, then you may find yourself saying ‘yes’ to things that may ultimately lead to exhaustion or feeling drained.
4. Avoiding Confrontation:
Due to feeling emotions deeply, being able to see another person’s point of view, and being understanding and empathetic, a highly sensitive person may also avoid confrontation. To some, talking things out with your partner and experiencing those uncomfortable emotions are difficult. However, highly sensitive people experience those emotions more deeply and can also take on the other person’s emotions as their own. It can feel overstimulating to take on these emotions, which can lead to an avoidance of bringing up certain topics that can lead to confrontation.
5. Not Feeling Heard or Understood:
As a highly sensitive person, you may have been told by others throughout your life that you are “too sensitive.” This can lead to not feeling heard or understood in your relationships with friends, family, and/or significant others. Additionally, it can take you longer to think of a response when you are talking in a group of people because your brain is also taking time to process the stimulation around you. This can lead to not speaking up as often when you are in a group and feeling like you cannot say what you wanted to say.
Jenngranneman. (2021, August 17). 21 signs you’re a highly sensitive person. Highly Sensitive Refuge. Retrieved May 29, 2022, from https://highlysensitiverefuge.
Brooks, Hannah. “19 Ways Being a Highly Sensitive Person Affects Your Love Life.” IntrovertDear.com, 18 Dec. 2020, https://introvertdear.com/
Elizabeth Scott, PhD. “Highly Sensitive Person Traits That Create More Stress.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 3 May 2022, https://www.verywellmind.com/
Alicia Davies, et al. “This Is What Overstimulation Feels like for Hsps.” Highly Sensitive Refuge, 14 Oct. 2019, https://highlysensitiverefuge.
Moderndayomblog. “19 Habits of Highly Sensitive People.” Highly Sensitive Refuge, 17 Apr. 2020, https://highlysensitiverefuge.
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