While you were growing up, or even recently in a relationship, were you told that “you’re just too sensitive”? Or an old expression-“boy, do you have a chip on your shoulder!”
Well, we are who we are, at least as children! Studies show that immediately after birth, still in the newborn unit, it is obvious who startles easily and is “too sensitive.” We are born that way. We can’t help it if we have mistakenly arrived on an “insensitive” planet!
A while back a commenter on this blog, Coach Chuck, recommended a book, Toughness Training for Life, by James Loehr. The idea that many addicts try to dull their over-sensitivity made a lot of sense. Last week I found a related book, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, by Elaine N. Aron. It contains a quick self-test (not that we really need a test to know this about ourselves), but it is also on the web at the the author’s site .
If this idea resonates with you, I highly recommend the book. It has certainly helped me understand myself better. One of the worst times in my life was while I was in high school. My mother kept telling me that I would “look back on (those) years as the best years of my life, my golden years.” I remember thinking, “If this is as good as it gets, I might as well end it now.” So this is also a valuable book for parents of sensitive teens.
We have many reasons to self-medicate, but it seems to me that a great number of them do fall under the classification of “dulling the hurt.”