Friday, October 24, 2003

HSPs and Woundology

I have not been paying attention to this blog, and I feel somewhat guilty about it. I suppose-- to some degree-- I have felt a little discouraged, this summer and fall. At first, I thought I just felt "low" as a result of missing the atmosphere from the HSP Gathering in California, but there has been more to it than that. Having spent a few days in California, I have become profoundly aware of just how NON-HSP Texas is, as a place.

But that's not what has brought me back here.

A recent discussion in one of the HSP web groups revolved around HSPs and "playing the victim." That is, turning the HSP trait into something to "hide behind" and use as an "excuse" to not participate in all manners of things.

Actually, I believe what's going on is the more subtle practice of "woundology." Maybe that sounds like a matter of semantics, but there is a difference.

Victimology is a fairly active process, in which there is an element of "woe is me, feel sorry for me, because of how I am." It's not uncommon, and is by no means limited to the world of the highly sensitive.

Woundology is more pervasive. There's usually no "feel sorry for me" aspect involved... merely a pattern of behavior in which "the wounded" chooses to live in such a way that they avoid the majority of life because of their "wound." In the case of HSPs, they avoid being active agents in their own lives, choosing not to do things "because they are sensitive." In their own minds, they are merely "honoring their sensitivity." But are they really? Sometimes, perhaps. But remarkably often, the "wound" is used to mask deeper psychological issues that aren't about sensitivity, at all.

An example might be the person who always says "no" to going out to eat with friends, or going to see a film, citing that she will "become overstimulated and have to leave." The "reason" used is sensitivity... but underneath, we find something else. Perhaps "I'm highly sensitive" is merely a "cover" to avoid looking at what is actually a case of Social Anxiety Disorder. By saying "I'm sensitive," and using the HSP trait as a "shield," the person gains not having to deal with a deeper problem.

It is not always easy to look at our "bag of goods" truthfully.

Sometimes, however, it is essential that we do so.

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