As children, my husband and I developed very negative coping strategies for our sensitivities. But as adults, we are beginning to grasp the importance of becoming sense aware and learning to listen differently.
I remember this episode with my mom. We were on vacation and I had to go to camp. I did not want to. As an adult I now understand that this was because a) because I needed time with my mom, b) I was overwhelmed but did not know it, c) I needed to socially rest, d) this was a new setting with a lot of stressed out children. As a child however, I did not have the insight nor words to explain this, so I fought my mom, screaming, refusing to go. She gently forced me. The result, I had to find a strategy to cope and turn of the intensity of the situation. So, I calmed down (at least on the outside), found the snack box full of chocolate (in France you get chocolate+ a fruit for snack) and ate all of them (enough for 30 kids). … I made myself physically sick which numbed my mind and was a way to show something was wrong……
A pattern I have repeated all my life. I learned to over “do” to cope by numbing my senses. Over eat, work, feel, etc…. I have always been told I am intense and I used to block my emotions because I was afraid of them. My anger was so powerful, people would get very frightened of me. As I learned to let go I can now express it and move on but the first five years of my eldest child, these repressive coping mechanisms became dominant as soon as I went back to work.
As an adult, the more I understand what HSP means, the more I realize how much of my life has been spend numbing my senses… The thing I now understand and that science has demonstrated is that each being (animals/humans/plants) has energy flows. HSPs feel these energy flows as forms of communication and forms of perceptions of their environments, just like sharks do with electro-reception. Except that in the case of HSP, this reception means sensing all energy as waves of vibrations. Here is an example of how electricity travels through air, (its flux).
Notice how the flux moves away from the source (which could be human) and bounces off the walls back into the space.Now if a human is standing in the wave’s path, it is touched and affected by it, just like these candles are by electrical or magnetic energy.
When the energy is stressed, it moves faster and it can become a shock wave. Here is a sound wave example. Apply the principles explained in this video to people. A stressed individual can affect another via the speed at which the electro-magnetic vibrations/waves (energy) they release is moving through the air.since HSPs senses these things, it can be very painful to stand next to a person whose energy is stressed. Or, it can be a form of understanding and communication if we know how to listen to the energy flows/fluxes.
For instance, when I am overwhelmed chemically, when the wind touching my skin hurts. When I am not chemically overwhelmed and my skin is not working overtime to protect my organs and signal danger at any waves based stimuli, wind or the movement of air is something I use to understand my position in space. When I am overwhelmed I bump into walls, I can see it but not sense it in time, as I am moving too fast and not necessarily using my spatial sense.
But to an HSP, these vibrations and waves are only part of the meaning equation. Scientists have also discovered the mirror neuron as an essential evolutionary trait of humans. In this video, Marco Lacoboni, M.D., Ph.D., discusses data on mirror neurons that suggest that their role in intersubjectivity may be more accurately described as allowing interdependence. This interdependence shapes the social interactions between people. where the concrete encounter between self and other becomes shared existential meaning that connects them deeply. According to Francis Crick in this video , human consciousness exist outside of our bodies. While scientists in many fields are aware of this, we in the regular social world often do not know anything about this and believe we are a collective of consciousness and affect one another. According to physicist, Thomas Campbell, the nature of reality in terms of consciousness and spirituality is based on this. Objectivity and subjectivity are intertwined in our experiences and senses and can be a healthy force via self-realization.
But I have learned the hard way that when we are not mindful and walk the world unconscious of our impact on others, our collective force can be very toxic, particularly to children. When I am stressed, my children’s behaviors become very disruptive. When I am rested, they are calm. As my understanding of my sensitivities are increasing, I sense this “energy” in others as a sensation of waves. When someone is stressed, the waves are fast and furious, and hurt when they reach me, when they are rested, they are slow…. My husband has that effect on me when he is stressed and so do my children.
For instance, if I have an important meeting, my child used to get very stressed, until I realize he was mirroring my internal stress. The solution was simple once I understood the effect I had on my child. I learned to tell him I was stressed and that it was my emotions not his that he was enacting. The beginning of a solution is self-awareness, understanding how we each affect one another and then relearn how to communicate via the senses. For me qigong has been an awesome way to learn how to heal my body/mind/spirit.
Some scientists believe there is a strong link between these neurons and autism. But I disagree it means autistic people are built with a deficiency. What if, autistic people are HSPs who were in so much pain because their senses were so overwhelmed that these senses shut down… and if the stimuli continue, do so forever. Imagine living a life where everything is an aggression on your senses. Children start having focus issues, some becoming hypo-sensitive other hyper-sensitive and maybe, just maybe, eventually rewiring their brain to cope…. adhd or autism like brains and nervous systems?
HSPs hear the noise of nature, the stuff that glues the sky together, the “empty” space, which is full of nuances and signs… No wonder a large number of HSP thrive in the arts, healing and teaching/coaching professions. They sense poetry and hear the hidden codes of the universe.
According to M. Serres, the body hears in many different ways. In these notes, Steven Connor explains how the french philosopher M. Serres understand hearing:
There are three kinds of hearing offered in this chapter. There is first of all propriocentric hearing, the hearing of oneself, the gurgling of the viscera, the cracking of the bones, the thudding and pulsing of the blood, even the firing of the neurones, to which all of us are continuously exposed and that for most of the time, unless we are subjected to the rending tortures of tinnitus, we integrate unconsciously without effort. Then there is the hearing that constitutes the social contract: the blaring bedlam of the exchange of noise and signals, signals and noise. In fact, the first is the model for the second. In both of these cases, hearing attempts to close itself upon itself, in a circuit of self-hearing, tightening the coil of the ear. There is the hearing of oneself that forms the model increasingly for all communication: `We can neither speak nor sing without the feedback loop which ensures that we hear our own voices’ (140). This is autistic acoustics, a hearing deafened by itself.
But there is also the hearing that puts one apart from oneself, the hearing that doubles or remakes the body, just as the hand extends and exceeds itself and the body to which it belongs and which it is.
The I thinks only when it is beside itself. It feels really only when it is beside itself. The linguistic I is shrunk down to the large memory of language, the indefinite integral of others, the closure of its open group, freezing itself in habit…I only really live beside myself; beside myself I think, meditate, know, beside myself I receive the given, vivacious, I invent beside myself. I exist beside myself, like the world. I am on the side of the world beside my talkative flesh.The ear knows this space. I can put the ear on the other side of the window, projecting it great distances, holding it at a great distance from the body.
Lost, dissolved in the transparent air, fluctuating with its nuances, sensible of its smallest comas, shivering at the least derision, set free, mingled with the shocks of the world, I exist. (119)
This kind of exposed hearing, which breaks the circuit of hearing-oneself, constitutes the third form of audibility:
In myriads, things cry out. Often deaf to alien emissions, hearing is astonished by that which cries out without a name in no language. The third cycle, initiated by the rarest of hearing, and which requires that one be deaf both to oneself and to the group, requires an interruption of the closed cycles of consciousness and the social contract, may already be called knowledge. (141)
There is no question of merely opening oneself to the inhuman, or the natural, of bypassing the black box, not least because the exposure to things in themselves is what forms the black box. (The senses are in things, are in the self-sensing of things.) Our house of experience, which includes not just each individual body, but also what Serres calls the `orthopedic sensorium’ (190) of our social structures, must remain sufficiently open, the social ear sufficiently labyrinthine to allow the capture of the unintegrated, or the disintegrative, and the rapture of the ear by what forms and deforms it.
Hearing is finally the unlocalisable mediation, or labyrinthine knotting together of these two kinds of process, or the two sides of the black box, exposure and integration.”
Given these natural /scientific/philosophical discussions, my hypothesis is that we all release energy and social clues which becomes healthy or toxic depending on how we feel and the status of our health.
Slowly, I am starting to understand the experience of the world my children have and how often I and us are a full-blown aggression on their senses….Learning to cope in positive ways is very difficult but so worth it. Almost eight years into this, I see such a change in my children and us. Positive changes. We are developing very unconventional ways of dealing with things but what a difference listening to my heart and what my children need has made.
It is a continuous struggle to understand and de-learn negative coping mechanism and social interactions… Learning to be healthy holistically, which is the only solution for my family, is the biggest challenge of my life. Learning to let go and trust my children as well as my instincts and those of y husband has been, and continues to be, a very difficult road as it goes against everything I have ever been taught by the social world of schools, family and work.
Thank goodness I love change, and look forward to where this road, however bumpy it is, takes us.