Things did improve vastly for me during my time at University in regards to being self conscious, but extensive noise and crowds are still a problem for me. I want to come back to this thread, it seems really interesting. (But Lost is on and I really want to watch it )
Coping for the Highly Sensitive Parent
Are there any HSP moms around? I'm referring to the term coined by Elaine Aron for people whose nervous systems are more sensitive to subtle stimuli. She says that about 15% of the population is high in the trait of sensitivity. To give a brief description, HSPs (highly sensitive people) are more easily overstimulated and overwhelmed than most. On the other hand, they are also tuned in to useful information that others tend to miss, like nonverbal cues. For instance, I am super-sensitive to noises that my husband can't hear and get very aggravated in noisy environments. I am also highly attuned to how other people feel, which can be a plus and a minus. If you're not sure whether you're an HSP and you'd like to learn more, I suggest checking out the website. It offers a free assessment that tells you whether you are an HSP or not?
For those of you who are HSPs, I'm interested in whether you feel that parenting has been different for you than it is for others who are not highly sensitive. It has always been quite a task for me to reap the advantages of my sensitivity and to manage my life so that I don't become overwhelmed, which happens rather easily. What, if any, benefits do you see in being an HSP and a parent? What drawbacks? Any particular coping mechanisms you've developed to manage?
Wow -- this is me --- I took the self test and my score was 24
It is one of the reasons we have only had 1 child... I need quiet and peace and that is not condusive to a large family. .. I quite often have to tell my family to speak more softly because their loud voices really bother me.
I find that even large groups of people bother me ... even if we have several people over for dinner ... I will usually need to go upstairs for 10 minutes to our bedroom and just be quiet! ... I have never had a label put on it before ..
It's also really important to me to have quiet time each day and I feel drained physically and emotionally if I don't experience that.
This is really interesting, and I have to study up on it.
Sara , Keith , Toby 6/08, Nomi 4/10, Mona 1/12
Mama of three, lover, student rabbi, spoonie, friend, musician, narcoleptic, space muffin, pretty much a dragon. Crunchy like matzoh.
Like someone else mentioned, I’m also sensitive to scents though it’s more of an allergy for me. Our home is scent-free except essential oils and products with essential oils since I am sensitive to aromatherapy (the good).
I was also a “special needs” child with no social skills until I reached Jr. High. I was very shy, didn’t like to speak, had to do speech classes because I never spoke w/anyone outside the home until the second grade and so on. I would spend hours and hours in my room listening to music and still do when I’m home alone. The “rich inner life” symptom really speaks to me as well. As an aduld now, part of my inner life is my life online. I am and always have been a severe day dreamer and talk to myself - a lot. My grandmother is like this too but I think she had it worse than I do (according to my mother while growing up)
Home and my environment are very important to me: colors, fabrics, materials, woods, etc.
My DP is a audiophile and owns a lot of super high-end audio equipment for our music and movies and when he's listening to music or watching TV at home, it can be waaaaaay to much for me to handle. The good part is, when I'm listing to music I want to listen to, its an amazing experience.
[COLOR=black][COLOR=black]I was also a “special needs” child with no social skills until I reached Jr. High. I was very shy, didn’t like to speak, had to do speech classes because I never spoke w/anyone outside the home until the second grade and so on. I would spend hours and hours in my room listening to music and still do when I’m home alone. The “rich inner life” symptom really speaks to me as well. As an aduld now, part of my inner life is my life online. I am and always have been a severe day dreamer and talk to myself - a lot. My grandmother is like this too but I think she had it worse than I do (according to my mother while growing up)
Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.
I can hear stereos on when they are not turned up at all, or they are in pause mode. At night I can't stand most electronics on because I can hear them "buzzing".
I never really have been shy, but am learning that I am a introvert trying to live an extrovert life. I have always thought I was an extrovert, but with the help of a therapist last year, realized I am not.
So i am going to sub to this thread. I love the ideas for self care. I can't stand my home chaotic, yet it always feels that way to me. I dream of having a open, decluttered home, orgainized and peacefull. I just can't seem to get there.
My DS 2 has been diagnosedwith Sensory Integration Disorder, mildly and is sensitive himself. He is not shy though and enjoys being around people. He is very bright, as is my DH and DS2.
Thank you for bringing up this topic.
I am easily overaroused and really need a lot of quiet, which means my oldest highly sensitive more introverted child and I are perfect. My middle child (4) is very physical, needs lots of attention and affection and sometimes its so hard for me. I'm really struggling with being a good mother to her. Anyway I just wanted to say that these threads, just in the last week have had a HUGE positive impact on my life. I feel better than I have in nearly a decade! I no longer feel like there is something wrong with me or that I have to apologize for meeting my own needs. Now I just have to figure out how to be a good mother to my beloved little girl. sigh.
This thread is a Godsend for me because it came while I'm in the middle of a dramatic shift in my world view and how I want to live.
Anyway I just wanted to say that these threads, just in the last week have had a HUGE positive impact on my life. I feel better than I have in nearly a decade! I no longer feel like there is something wrong with me or that I have to apologize for meeting my own needs.
Now I just have to figure out how to be a good mother to my beloved little girl. sigh.
This thread is a Godsend for me because it came while I'm in the middle of a dramatic shift in my world view and how I want to live.
You are wonderful just the way you are. Remember that.
I think that as you learn more about being a HSP and find more balance things will become easier for you and your little girl.
I was very much a HSP when I was a child. Very sensitive to fabrics and tastes of food, very sensitive to environment and I especially had very sensitive feelings, I would take alot of things personally and retreat when I felt injured. My mom did her best raising me, being that she was totally not a HSP, but she didn't really get me at all.
I find that I am actually less sensitive as an adult, and it's funny that noise isn't the thing that bothers me most per se. Like a loud rock concert is not a problem, but DS digging through his legos and the pieces all clacking together make me wince.
The thing that I am most sensitive to, though, is stress. I completely collapse and forget all of my coping and calming mechanisms when I feel stressed or pressed.
DS (also HS but in noise and visually)is only 5 and I am already having so much anxiety about his social life. He is teased a little.....in a 5 year old way. He lives much of his time in his inner world and is thankfully oblivious.
It is me who is crying inside. I was less HS as a child than I am now. And I had no problems socially to speak of. But I am so very worried about DS's
How can I detach myself? I do not want to influence him, I do keep my feelings from him, but sooner or later, he will catch on to mommy's worry. I need to find a balance, b/c I cannot do 12 more years of this!
I have trouble with noise (too loud or too many noises at once-like when everyone tries to talk at the same time), chaos, too much visual stimulation, crowds, being touched too much or having people in my space too much. I have trouble with the kids' meltdowns-I get can get worked up very quickly when they meltdown, it's just so...overwhelming.
Becoming a parent has added a new dimension. I generally can't just retreat when I get overwhelmed, as I was once able to do.
However, I am now in a situation where I work full time and dh is away from home from Monday to Thursday and I have to take care of everything so it is not exactly like I get hours to do nothing, LOL.
It is also strange but the doing nothing thing - for which there is some time in the evening after the kids sleep - seems in fact to be a craving that does not help. Like you know an alcoholic craving another drink. Even with a couple of hours of vegetating, I do not feel much better. In fact it seems I feel worse. I need to actually DO something for myself, be it even a warm bath, but not do nothing (especially that this usually translates into doing a million of stupid things and loads of picking up and reorganizing).
I envy those hardy mothers who work full-time, cutting back on sleep and food and whatever else the human body normally needs. I can do none of that.
Not only am I a HSP (I just discovered this via the HSC thread in Tribes) but I also have PTSD stemming from neglect and bullying while I endured a 45 hour labor with my last child. I'm starting to realize that being HS is a big reason why the whole experience was so hard. I'm still having a hard time getting over it (it's been a year come April) and forgiving my DH for the neglect. I can't even look into his eyes anymore. Maybe the two aren't related but I can't see how they wouldn't be, ykwim?
The book "The Highly Sensitive Person" discusses this. Based on her research, she says that HSPs are no more likely than non-HSPs to be depressed unless they have had traumatic childhoods or childhoods during which they were made to feel "less than" because of their sensitivity.
Okay, can I just say I totally suck at conflict resolution? Because I'm an HSC and easily get overwhelmed with chaos and noise, when my 3 girls start fighting over ANYTHING, I start getting really upset and want it to STOP RIGHT NOW! And sometimes the yelling escalates, because it's me adding to the ruckus.
And I love my dd2, but her voice just grates on me. And she never, ever stops talking. I try to honor her need to talk, but often I have to reign her in, "indoor voice, shh, calm down".
I feel badly about that, but being sensitive to sounds, and introverted too, I just want peace and quiet and can't get much of it.
I'm about to tear this house apart to find earplugs...dh used to have tons, now they can't seem to be found.
I am this person as well.
I always attributed it to being a pisces ( well actually a double water sign with moon in scorpio)
I am HSP, but I am not introverted. I was introverted during my childhood years, and although I had friends, I tended to just play with one friend at a time . In fact, I was considered a bit of a loner. I remember being incredibly self conscious at times and sometimes this still occurs during my adult life.
So how does a mama cope when she can't help but take everything her children and DP does personally? I know it's illogical and I try and reason with myself but it's not working...
I really enjoyed reading this thread. I feel quite understood just reading what your experiences have been. I will tell you about myself, and then I'll ask for some of your all's advice.
I am an HSP and an introvert, perhaps an HSS. My mother is also an HSP and HSS, and she introduced me to Aron's books when I was a teenager about ten years ago. I was a gifted child (my mother was a teacher and recognized this) and remember summers of just playing outside with my brother, reading a lot of self-help books and memoirs, and just daydreaming, napping, and organizing my room. During the school year I took long naps in the afternoon after school. All my life and since childhood, I've been sensitive to heat/scents/blood sugar, which caused nausea and I've fainted many times. I have struggled with depression in junior high and high school as well as during awful stents at a couple jobs. In high school I was extremely quiet and worried constantly until I received confidence my senior year. I have acted like an extrovert for several years in the social scene, only to go home and retreat, nap, read, journal, go on walks by myself, and turn down friends' and acquaintances' requests to go do stuff together. (I have always felt like I never learned how to be a good friend to people. Now I realize that I needed time by myself.) I always felt like I didn't belong in either the super-quiet groups or the extroverted groups. I relate to the HSP tendency to think and feel deeply, and I soak up good conversations like oxygen.
My happiest times of my life have been when I've been by myself and in tune with my feelings, or when I'm with one other loved one at a time. Thankfully I fell in love and married an introvert. We enjoy a very minimized home, and we greatly enjoy our very simple schedule. I am now in a time of renewal, I believe, as I have a better job, schedule, health, diet, and am learning a lot more about myself (and therefore gaining more confidence and setting boundaries more). We don't have children yet.
I am concerned about some things, though. It feels like I'm in the best time of my life. I am setting better boundaries with social engagements. I make a priority to read (this is where my high sensation seeking comes into play. I read tons). I journal extensively to work out my feelings and thoughts. I am doing yoga now, which I thoroughly enjoy. I am trying to focus on being more authentic with my "work persona," and this has reduced my stress by at least 25% I'd say. My husband understands at least some things about my sensitivity. We value our time together a lot.
I wonder if you guys wonder if I should have any cares in the world. But my questions are:
- How am I going to bear through the nausea of pregnancy?
- How am I going to maintain my healthy HSP habits through this intense transition?
- How am I going to deal with labor?
- How am I going to decide if I should have more than one child?
- How will I be able to take breaks for myself?
Huge questions, I know. If any of you has any answers or advice to any of the questions above, or comments, please let me know. I guess I've gotten myself scared that because life is good right now, that becoming a parent will kick down 90% of my work to get confidence and a healthy life. I believe I've built my good habits on sand, and they will shift with the season of parenthood ahead of me.
For the past five years, I have researched this topic along with Myer's Briggs (I'm an INFP/INTP) and giftedness, which has helped unearth how to cope and accept my personal refuge. Quiet stillness works best. As a parent of an energetic inquisitive toddler, who's remarkably empathetic which not only touches a deep space in my soul but it causes guilt about how his nonstop chatter and storytelling gets under my skin and exhausts every pour. Wish I could offer more patience to listen with undivided attention, but I can't. To boot, I'm an older mom at the ripe age of 46, who has a blood disorder and was diagnosed with a uterine blood clot one and a half years ago. This resulted in a hysterectomy last February 2012 and in turn, unbalanced hormones have intensified sensitivities. This, in combination with being highly perceptive, leaves me conflicted. Environmental distractions have positive and negative implications, and can further exhaust a sensitive mother. Without filters for chaos and overwhelm, I'm easily hurt over the human condition and the neglect of planet earth. My insecurities drive a wedge between self and potential. Many variables transcend our lives, sensitive people are creative and spiritual but real touchy and nervous if in unbearable situations. Motherhood must take precedence even though this role is naturally difficult for someone with low tolerance for noise, children require endless attention. Can't ever have ample time alone for recharge and self-actualization. It's all about them for the first five years if not longer, one solution for me is full-time kindergarten in about a year. My husband is a gem but he works over sixty plus hours to hold down the fort to only barely scratch the surface, he continually gets mistreated at work. The project overload burns out a handful of targeted staff who don't get overtime pay, exempt employees are declined rights in the system. There's struggle for many families in this economically broke cesspool; vicious cycle. This only aggravates my idealistic values, as I have no inner sanctuary to store intense revelations and low esteem. I don't have the energy to heal anyone; people take every ounce yet give little in return. By far and large, I must nurture my brain and read...even when I can't seem to focus nor write enough. They say moms suffer brain fog. Take this as an example of wheel of suffering in a nutshell, as highly sensitive nervous systems must always nurture their minds and body or else they can suffer on many levels. Wish everyone peace and joy. Mine comes and goes these days as I make strides to form a purposeful existence or else stagnation nullifies the unwritten agreement to succumb to environmental overwhelm and the harsh realities of the world. I must silence the noise and follow my desires, say no more, as well as find ways to get breaks from people/child.
I am as well. So I am subbing and going to take time later to really read through some stuff.
At times it's worse than others and I've learned to cope (not quite sure how) but my house is a loud house and my children are very loud. I believe that my children are overly sensitive as well.
This is me too. I read the Aaron book a while ago but have not yet worked through all the exercises. I think I need to. I find my HSP-ness has got harder and harder to deal with as my son's got older. I tried home educating him for a year and nearly cracked, so am now putting him in school from September. I find my tolerance and coping ability has decreased, I also suspect I have depression at the moment but not sure if it's 'just' that my HSP-ness has had to be overridden for so long. I'm a single mother and so I find it relentless. I would like to try and find more of the positives about being a HSP. Although my son goes to his dad regularly it's very rarely for more than a night, and I find I only truly recharge and recover and am able to really sink into myself, when i have a few consecutive days. I am going to see how him going to school works out for me... and will keep checking this page! Soooo good to hear others' stories and feel not alone and not weird or like a failure as a mother because i can't deal with what others find manageable.
Interested? Let me know here or by PM.