Caregiving and the Highly Sensitive Personality.
I recently came across an article about HSP while researching information about coping with narcissism - I've noticed a LOT of people on this site are dealing with narcissistic parents and/or siblings. I myself have two SILs that (unfortunately) fit that same bill.
After reading this article I concluded three things about this so-called Highly Sensitive Personality:
1) the characteristics fit me to a "T"
2) matched with caregiving it's a two-edged sword - because of an increased ability to empathize it lends itself very well to the task; it also makes one far more vulnerable to the demands of caregiving (especially if caring for a very difficult and demanding person!!)
3) it is the POLAR OPPOSITE of narcissism!!!
According to author and psychologist Elaine Aron, PhD. this is an innate personality trait (NOT a disorder) that apparently exists in about 15-20% of the human population. It's also found in many animals, including dogs and primates. It results from having a "sensitive nervous system that makes it harder to filter out stimuli and easier to get overwhelmed by our environment."
You may be a Highly Sensitive Person if you...
- are highly curious, imaginative, intellectual, and/or creative
- are intuitive, caring, and spiritual
- are a good problem solver
- are especially conscientious and compassionate
- harbor an exceptionally deep fondness for art, music and nature
- were considered "shy" or "timid" as a child
You may also...
-be more acutely aware of your environment; loud noises, bright lights, big crowds overwhelm you more than the average person
- get rattled when there's a lot to do in a short period of time
- prefer to avoid confrontation (also violent movies, TV)
- tend to "sense" an uncomfortable situation more readily than most people, and then feel driven or obligated to "fix" it
- be more sensitive than most to certain smells, tastes, and/or textures
Another "expert", Jeffrey E. Young (who wrote "Schema Therapy: A Practitioner's Guide") states "if these individuals don't learn to handle their high sensitivity they may suffer greatly...when it comes to a self-sacrifice schema, which always lends itself to emotional deprivation"...."these people need to learn to focus on themselves instead of or before focusing on others, and to learn to get their own needs met first, needs they are typically not aware of."
Any of this sound familiar???