Heartbreak For The Highly Sensitive Person


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. Through acting classes my true feelings had to be unlocked in order to truly emulate other people and experience empathy, and boy did I experience it. 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. And through my most recent teacher and mentor, Diana Castle, 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 and 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 MORE angry than most people and when I am hurt I am MORE hurt than anyone else. So when a relationship ends for me, I absorb a debilitating blow that affects me so much that sometime 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 would be. And I know this because I am a nosy little fuck and also a good listener to my friends who have been through the same thing. They ain’t dealing with what I have to deal with. My friend who’s husband had been cheating on her for 8 years seems to be doing okay after 4 months. If that were me, I would never leave my house and probably take up heroin. My brain and my emotions churns NON-STOP. It’s so awful and distracting. Everyone deals with things differently, but to even be able to go out at night and have a good time like her at this point would be torture for me.

For most people it probably takes a good solid couple weeks or maybe months to get over an ex-lover. For me, it takes sometimes years for me to come to terms. I just FEEL ALL THE FEELS for so long and so intensely. 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. So it’s smart to just avoid it all together, right? Well, no. But I do 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 super fun. Not.

The relationship between my most current ex lover and myself is not over, that I know. And it makes me wonder if that’s why I’ve been in so much pain. Because it’s over right now by my own decision when there is still so much passion and love between us.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not trying to move on and experience other opportunities. But it does mean that no other guy is going to be able to have my heart until it’s TRULY done between him and me. Our timing just hasn’t lined up, but if and when it does I hope we can actually have a real relationship and the pain will subside.

It’s quite the hard-knock life for HSP’s like me. If you are not one of these types of people, you lucky bitch. If you are, I’m sorry and I hope that you can relate. 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. 🙂



15 thoughts on “Heartbreak For The Highly Sensitive Person

  1. I’ve been struggling with verbalizing my own depression lately and I think being an HSP was the root of it. I got so deeply hurt by so many things that other people just didn’t understand. Eventually I Just shut down and stopped feeling all of it. I wish I could go back.

  2. Thank you for verbalizing everything I’ve felt and experienced! It’s good to know I’m not crazy, and that I’m not the only one who goes through this. I’ve lost two very close friends who didn’t understand my depression and hurt after my latest breakup. I’m so tired of hearing, “Why are you taking this so hard? Why can’t you just move on? Why are you so emotional?” etc.

  3. Thank you for writing this. Its a little reassuring to know theres other people like me. Its so hard because most people don’t understand. We feel emotions soo deeply. I’m currently trying to get over a breakup and its tearing me apart. I just hope it doesn’t take me years to get over it..

  4. This is so refreshing to read. I seriously don’t know anyone else in my life or otherwise that has reacted to what I’m going through the way I am. I didn’t even know I was an HSP or that it was something to be until about a week ago. I just thought I was a pathetic weak failure. But was still so confused how I went from a strong person to someone so weak just over losing my love of 8 years ago I have 2 kids with. My mom did it just fine. Everyone else who has become a single mother or been through worse has somehow got through it. But I tried and am still trying but have basically ruined my life it feels like. But after reading this I know that I’m not the only person in the world whose emotions have stopped them from being able to move on. Thank you so much for sharing

  5. This is so accurate. I’m kind of envious of the people whose emotions shut down so they stop feeling things. I know they say it’s like being dead, but this is like constantly being electrocuted. I’m also in a breakup and I have days where I can barely breathe, the agony is so bad. I’m back on Prozac, which helps immensely once it kicks in, but there will come a day when I’ll want to quit it again to be with a guy (sexual side-effects of Prozac).

  6. Thank you for posting this. My boyfriend of 8 years broke up with me a month ago, and I moved all of my things out of his house a week ago. We’d been having problems for a while, but I kept having hope things would get better. A big issue for him was my high sensitivity and anxiety ABOUT having anxiety, because he didn’t like it. I was getting a little better the past few weeks, but I found out he’s started talking with another girl. I’m beside myself, can’t think of anything else. I don’t understand how he can get over me so quickly after so many years, because I can’t just shut off my feelings. And I can’t stop FEELING everything… yet, at the same time, I feel dead inside, like a shell. I feel everything except happiness or a sense that things will get better.

  7. This is great. I’m a male HSP and just right now i am in the process of breaking up with my first ‘guy crush’ r’ship type thing . He has decided he is going back to his girlfriend and yet still messages me ‘i really care for you’. I feel like puking , the pain is that unbearable. I have stopped eating and sleeping because of the torture. I literally feel like i am on a rollorcoaster and my breath dissapears. Lie the OP, it’s such a horrendous experience that i promise i’ll never fall for someone again. I said that last time with my ex GF, but this fucker was so hot that knocked me the hell out of me.Plus he was my close buddy friend.. It’s that sense of aesthetics that HSPs have and beauty is our weakness. I just want to be better again. I ‘hate’ you Kelvin for saying i had a handsome face and hugging me that night in your room . sniff 😦

  8. it’s such a relief to know there are other people out there like this. i’ve been called everything from intimidating to non-emotional to a steel trap because deep down i’m so sensitive I’m afraid of getting hurt and it’s all an act. i use “safe” relationships as a buffer from the real thing to avoid getting hurt because i feel everything so deeply. i cry at sunsets but i don’t want anyone to know that i’m not made of steel! i broke up with my boyfriend of 8 years because i wasn’t in love with him and i knew it so i let him go. i jumped into a passionate and whirlwind relationship with a younger man and i feel so vulnerable it’s destroying me. i let myself open up to him in a moment of weakness and i feel humiliated and weak all the time because i’m scared of how deeply i feel for him and what he can do to me. eating and sleeping have pretty much ceased! it can be such a miserable way to live when its bad but on the flip side i feel such intense happiness and joy and even though everyone who knows me thinks i’m incapable of sadness, they say i’m one of the most passionate and excitable people they know. the extreme highs and lows are truly exhausting.

  9. Thanks for your story.

    It appears I’m an HSP. Which sucks when you’re a big muscular guy too. Most people take me as a cop or firefighter, but then I talk about my girls and can’t stop the tears. It’s humiliating to tear up in front of my boss and co-workers. Unfortunately, I do it all the time – even when I’m telling/hearing a moderately happy (usually) or sad story.

    I do appreciate your story though. I was wondering if others had the same painful separations I’ve had. To date, I’ve had my heart obliterated 4 times. The last time was 2 1/2 years ago and I’m finally to the point where I feel like I could fall in love again. But holy crap – I don’t want to risk that again. The last one beat the Hell out of me. I cried every single day for at least a year. I knew I was different because there there would be a lot more suicides if everybody else had to suffer through that.

    I had to laugh about your Heroin comment though. After the second heartbreak, I actually did turn to heroin (clean 19 years now). I now understand that I was using it to cope with the intense emotions I experienced throughout my life. I suppose it worked because that second heartbreak (out of four) didn’t hurt as badly as the other three. I did however, have some pretty significant weight loss, job loss, car loss, everything loss and wound up sleeping under a bush for awhile. Somebody stole my blanket too, so I wouldn’t recommend that as a solution.

    Anyways, it’s nice to know heartbreak lasting more than a year isn’t abnormal for some of us. It doesn’t make me “sick” in some way. For some reason, I always felt like it put me in the same category as stalkers and pedophiles. I was ashamed by it and didn’t want to talk about it because, face it, if you tell people you’re still pining over a love 2+ years ago, people think there is something seriously wrong with you, especially if you’re a man.

    Thanks again for you story.

  10. thanks for this article. Its nice to know that I am not alone and someone out there understands what its like to be me. So many times people say I’m too cold and hard because none of them have ever seen me cry (its an art I’ve perfected) but beneath the mask I feel more than I let on. I feel everything from the little sounds that seem loud to my ears to the emotions of other people to the intense discomfort when someone touches me anywhere to the smells. I can’t even watch a sad movie because I know it will make me sad for days after watching it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m glad that there is someone else who gets it and that being HSP is not a “problem” we have that needs to be “fixed” its just who we are.

    • Much love to you. Thanks for reading. We are valuable people to this world because we can empathize fully…which is a gift that not everyone possesses. It’s hard to be in our shoes but the benefits are great. ❤

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