“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.” Carl Jung
Over the years, as I have been getting to grips with my own hypersensitive nature, I find more and more high sensitive persons finding their way to my practice.
While every client is unique, and every story is different, there are issues in the lives of hypersensitive people (HSP’s) that recur time and time again in my practice. If you feel you may be hypersensitive yourself, you may benefit from some of the things I have discovered when working with hypersensitivity – my clients’ and my own!
Yes, it is possible to sense other people’s feelings – as a HSP, it is very likely you are subconsciously ‘tuning in’ to them all the time.
As HSP children, we are not always born to parents who know how to deal with this. They may be HSP themselves, but having had to repress their own sensitivity, especially their ‘undesirable’ feelings, they could not help you deal with it.
When sensitive children are born to troubled parents (and they often are, more about this in a next article), they often start ‘tuning in’ to their parents’ feelings from birth, subconsciously trying to alleviate their parents’ bad feelings – so their parents will be happy. As children, we don’t realize this is not how it works. We want our parents to be at peace so we can be at peace. We want our parents to be happy so we can be happy.
Worse, when sensitive children are born into families where there is violence or emotional abuse, they will often try to act as ‘containers’ for the bad feelings they sense in the atmosphere.
Whilst doing this, they will be constantly using their ‘psychic antennae’ to assess whether they are safe – a form of hyperalertness you also see in those who suffer from PTSD.
Because hypersensivites can sense danger coming (anger, violence, and so forth) they will use these ‘psychic antennae’ to survive, which is a good thing at the time – but as they grow up, start their own families and the danger has gone, they do not turn off these psychic antennae. They are still surviving instead of living.
So, as you have grown up as a hypersensitive child, you may recognize one or more of these ‘symptoms’:
- You feel responsible for other people’s happiness, especially your loved ones’
- You suffer from inexplicable fatigue, especially after being in the company of other people
- When your friends or relatives feel bad, you will spend hours talking on the phone with them, doing little favors for them, anything to make them feel better, even if it tires and stresses you out
- You not only feel but take on board other people’s feelings and physical symptoms like stomach aches, headaches, stiff neck and shoulders, etc.
In the years I have been practicing past-life therapy and inner child work, I have found there is one important aspect of hypersensitivity, of being able to feel others’ emotions, that is almost never explained to us as we grow up. It is so simple it is mind-boggling. When I tell my clients this, I can see them sit back and go: ‘Oh. Well. No-one ever told me that.’ And then the relief sets in.
Do you want to know the secret to dealing with hypersensitivity? It is very simple. And it is not a secret. Here it is:
Just because you are able to sense other people’s feelings, doesn’t mean you are responsible for those feelings.
Told you it was simple?
Now, please read it again. Let it sink in.
When you find yourself sensing other people’s feelings, worrying about them, sensing them as bodily symptoms, remind yourself: just because I can feel them doesn’t mean I have to deal with them. Take a breath, gently release the other’s feelings with your breath, and let them flow into the earth, of release them in the hands of the other person’s guardian angel. Just don’t hang on to them.
You don’t have to solve other people’s problems. In fact, it’s learning to deal with these problems that helps them grow as human beings – taking people’s problems away from them would be arrogant indeed!
Now, knowing this may not be the cure-all to the problems with hypersensitivity – especially when your inner child has become dependent on solving other people’s crises for their sense of safety or self-worth.
If this is the case and you still find it difficult not to make yourself responsible for other people’s feelings, you may want to read my next article: Healing your Inner Child!