I always used to wonder why I would be the only one in my family or friend group covering my eyes in a movie theatre during a super violent war type film or sobbing at the tear jerker ending in something as silly as a romantic comedy film. It was so embarrassing for me one time when I went to see “The Help” with my best friend a couple years ago and I was crying so hard that I was shaking my entire row of seats in a packed house theatre. I almost had to leave and compose myself in the bathroom, but I didn’t want to miss any of the movie. My friend looked over at me several times and laughed a little at my mascara smudged face and offered tissues from her purse. Her eyes were a bit misty, but she was nowhere near the level of my agony.
I had always been thought of as the “tough” girl who never cried and hardly showed emotion when I was younger. I prided myself on not letting little things get to me and never letting anyone see a vulnerable side to my personality. But a lot of people know, and I discovered, that the toughest ones are the ones who are covering up the most.
I wanted to keep up that tough as nails veneer for as long as possible but as an actor/artist, my deepest thoughts and feelings had to be unlocked in order to truly emulate other people and experience empathy. Through acting classes I was almost forced into getting to that place, lest I’d be known as a “bad actor” which I refused to accept. I let my guard down for the first time in my life and boy did I experience ALL THE THINGS. And once pandora’s box was opened, there was no going back. I can’t help but feel everything so deeply now. My own feelings and the feelings of others.
It’s nice to not be blocked emotionally but it’s also distracting to go through life feeling so affected by your environment. It didn’t feel normal until I discovered that I am a “highly sensitive person”. The personality trait “the highly sensitive person” (HSP) was made popular by Elaine N. Aron Ph.D in the 90’s. The characteristics, such as crying easily, being sensitive to smells, sounds, and light, and being emotionally reactive, describe me to an absolute T. I finally was able to identify why I have so many issues in my relationships with friends and lovers.
Fights with my friends or boyfriends can turn really nasty and hurtful because I only think from an emotional standpoint and not rationally. If they hurt me I want to hurt them even worse to experience what I’m feeling. When I get angry I get explosive and when I am hurt I am devastated. So when a relationship ends for me, I absorb a debilitating blow that affects me so much that sometimes I think I’m going to die of heartbreak.
I have been trying so hard for months to get over my most recent lover, who I felt I needed to cut out of my life because he couldn’t commit to me, to no avail. I have good days, but I also have really bad days where I can barely make it through without crying. And it got me thinking: out of the 3 times that I’ve been in love I have been an absolute mess of the most epic proportions after the breakup. More than most people seem to be. When I talk to other people about their breakups, they usually manage to speak rather objectively about it. I can’t even bear talking about my breakup because if I did, I would burst out into tears and make them uncomfortable and probably ruin their day. Sometimes I can’t even leave the house for fear of being made to talk about it but if I do, I make sure everyone knows to not ask me about it.
“IT.” The trauma that comes after lost love. What you tried to avoid but love made you do.
Everyone is different and every relationship is different, but for most people it probably takes a couple months to get over an ex-lover. For me, it takes sometimes years for me to come to terms. I just can’t stop intensely obsessing for so long. I care and I hurt and I cry more than the average person. It’s really not fair. And it’s no wonder that I’m so afraid of being open and vulnerable. If I do my heart will take a major beating when it inevitably ends. It makes me want to avoid it altogether. I have to be more careful who I open my heart to. I have to make sure they’re worth it and that they deserve me.
When I’ve had my heart broken I go through so many different stages of emotion. But it usually starts with depressive sadness to the point where I become a shell of a person. I have to read self help books to ease me through the process and to know that I’m not alone. Then it develops into anger and cynicism for life. And then it turns back to sadness and extreme attachment withdrawal. Finally it turns back to anger once more and throwing my body at someone else to help numb the pain. It’s awful.
Friends will tell me, “it’s time to move on” or “you need to be more open to other men” and it makes me want to throw a brick at their face. How dare you expect me to move on so fast. I’ll move on in my own time when I can actually wake up without feeling like I want to drink or shoot herion to make it through the day and to quiet the rollercoaster of emotions. I’d give anything to not feel the way I’m feeling but how could opening my heart to someone new HELP? I may never open my heart to anyone else ever again.
It’s quite the hard-knock life for HSP’s like me. If you are not one of these types of people, count yourself lucky. If you are, I’m sorry, I relate to you, and you are not alone. The good news for HSP’s is that because we experience everything to it’s greatest potential, imagine what we’re like when we’re happy! We are SO HAPPY!!! And when we love we love SO MUCH. So a relationship with us will be full of affection and attention. However, we may stab you in the eye in the middle of night if you cross us. But it’s worth it.