View Full Version : Emotional sensitivity


Caffeinator
08-04-11, 11:11 AM
Didn't scroll through all the threads to see if this one was already started.

I have a very high degree of sensitivity as far as emotions go. In myself, but also in sensing others emotional state, to the point that I feel what they are feeling, especially the more intense they are feeling it.

In myself, I usually react strongly to ridicule, intimacy, humor, and things of this nature, to the point that something kind of "takes over", and through high impulsivity I act in ways that are unlike me when I'm alone and calm.

Can anyone relate?

Caffeinator
08-04-11, 02:44 PM
I think this pretty much answers that question:

Most of you already know that people with AD/HD seem more emotional, but now you know why. They’re no more emotional than you are. They’re more demonstrative of their emotions than you are. You keep that emotion to yourself. They don’t. They impulsively show the emotion when it occurs.


Page 25 of Barkley's paper.

LaVieEnRose
08-04-11, 07:56 PM
Didn't scroll through all the threads to see if this one was already started.

I have a very high degree of sensitivity as far as emotions go. In myself, but also in sensing others emotional state, to the point that I feel what they are feeling, especially the more intense they are feeling it.

In myself, I usually react strongly to ridicule, intimacy, humor, and things of this nature, to the point that something kind of "takes over", and through high impulsivity I act in ways that are unlike me when I'm alone and calm.

Can anyone relate?

I can relate perfectly. There's nothing I can add or say different.. you've eloquently expressed precisely what I experience.

I don't know if it's an ADD thing or not. I'm not sure Barkley's paper answers this in my mind. All I can say is that I have this exactly.

shysmile
08-05-11, 01:49 PM
Didn't scroll through all the threads to see if this one was already started.

I have a very high degree of sensitivity as far as emotions go. In myself, but also in sensing others emotional state, to the point that I feel what they are feeling, especially the more intense they are feeling it.

In myself, I usually react strongly to ridicule, intimacy, humor, and things of this nature, to the point that something kind of "takes over", and through high impulsivity I act in ways that are unlike me when I'm alone and calm.

Can anyone relate?

I can totally relate to a lot of this. I am a HSP. I used to think it was a bad thing, but not so much anymore. Just requires special care in managing life a little differently.


I like your sig by the way. :) I've read that saying before.

Caffeinator
08-05-11, 02:09 PM
I can totally relate to a lot of this. I am a HSP. I used to think it was a bad thing, but not so much anymore. Just requires special care in managing life a little differently.


I like your sig by the way. :) I've read that saying before.


I agree, I've noticed how certain emotions seem to pop up, especially when thinking of certain things in the past that were pretty intense. It's just finding that moment when it starts to explode, and not allowing it to, if that makes sense.
I like how in the paper it said we don't feel emotions anymore than the average person, we just have a low developed inhibition on how often we do feel them, and have greater difficulty in regulating them. It makes perfect sense to me anyway :D

Thanks, I like wolves and I like The Way, so it's an awesome combo!

shysmile
08-05-11, 02:20 PM
I agree, I've noticed how certain emotions seem to pop up, especially when thinking of certain things in the past that were pretty intense. It's just finding that moment when it starts to explode, and not allowing it to, if that makes sense.
I like how in the paper it said we don't feel emotions anymore than the average person, we just have a low developed inhibition on how often we do feel them, and have greater difficulty in regulating them. It makes perfect sense to me anyway :D

Thanks, I like wolves and I like The Way, so it's an awesome combo!

Yeah I get that. Emotions from past events can be like ghosts that haunt you repeatedly if you don't pay attention and catch them in time.

I think sensitive people process feelings differently than most people. So we get more out of the same feelings that most NTs get. So I dunno if I entirely believe that article, but maybe I'm just interpreting it wrong. *shrug* :)

Caffeinator
08-05-11, 03:15 PM
Yeah I get that. Emotions from past events can be like ghosts that haunt you repeatedly if you don't pay attention and catch them in time.

I think sensitive people process feelings differently than most people. So we get more out of the same feelings that most NTs get. So I dunno if I entirely believe that article, but maybe I'm just interpreting it wrong. *shrug* :)


Yeah, and I impulsively try to do things to help relieve those feelings, like trying to get a response out of someone who doesn't want to speak to me anymore, but I'm feeling a huge amount of guilt over things I did or said that made them angry at me.

Vivacious907
08-05-11, 07:13 PM
The exact same thing happens to me and it almost seems like it's getting "worse" as I get older. The "sensing-emotions" thing feels like one step below ESP sometimes.

I used to think that it was a good thing to be sensitive and human, but it often puts me in an emotional circumstance that I can't explain to other people and it therefor isolates me. Plus it is difficult to try to keep up with the impulses to cater to those intense emotions all the time; especially when they involve other people.

However, I like it when I am able to use it for good to help other people and come out unscathed. I am just bad at looking out for #1. :)

Kunga Dorji
08-06-11, 08:52 AM
I think this pretty much answers that question:


Most of you already know that people with AD/HD seem more emotional, but now you know why. They’re no more emotional than you are. They’re more demonstrative of their emotions than you are. You keep that emotion to yourself. They don’t. They impulsively show the emotion when it occurs.
Page 25 of Barkley's paper.

Now that is a good enough statement on the face of it- but it begs the question of what an emotion actually is- and I think that in his interpretation of this question Barkely shows himself to be out of step with current understanding of what emotions actually are.

An emotion is a complex made of thoughts, physical sensations, gestures and neurohormonal changes.

Now the interesting thing is that we know we can alter our emotional tone by adopting physical postures or facial expressions (ie putting on a fake smile- or even laughter therapy).
We also know that there is a one to one correlation between facial expression and certain core emotions that is stable even between cultures that are isolated from each other ( Ref Paul Ekman).
http://www.paulekman.com/
Equally- we are beginning to understand the role of mirroring in creating the conditions for intuitive empathy.

To put it simply- if you gesture more and are more demonstrative of your emotion you actually generate a more intense internal experience of the emotion.

A simple example- if I act anxious- I will hunch up and push my neck forwards with my chin somewhat elevated - into a defensive posture.

What that does is stretch the superior cervical sympathetic ganglion and actually generate a stress response, by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system externally. This is quite easily demonstrated if you care to get hold of some simple biofeedback equipment (a simple example of scientific method- ironically enough given the bucketing I just gave to the "worship of science" on another thread).

So what this means- is if you are more demonstrative of your emotions you actually generate a stronger emotional experience.

This is kind of interesting and may go "under the radar" in an academic culture which is somewhat "stiff upper lip". Barkely is very deeply embedded in that very academic culture, and by his own admission struggles to get across the papers in the pure ADHD research area, so I suspect he has not been exposed to the developments that are occurring in that part of the psychology field.

Interestingly I have just been to a conference in which Ekman and his daughter presented as well as Prof Marco Iacoboni, who specialises in the study of mirroring and mirror neurones- so I am pretty well getting this stuff straight from the horse's mouth.

http://www.happinessanditscauses.com.au/speaker-marco-iacoboni.stm

http://faculty.bri.ucla.edu/institution/personnel?personnel_id=46207


Professor Marco Iacoboni is the Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Director of the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Lab at the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles. Marco is originally from Rome and joined the faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine in 1999. He pioneered the research on mirror neurons in humans, and their role in imitation, empathy, social cognition and its disorders. Marco Iacoboni's new book is entitled Mirroring People: The Science of Empathy and How We Connect with Others

Caffeinator
08-06-11, 09:28 AM
Yeah I get that. Emotions from past events can be like ghosts that haunt you repeatedly if you don't pay attention and catch them in time.

I think sensitive people process feelings differently than most people. So we get more out of the same feelings that most NTs get. So I dunno if I entirely believe that article, but maybe I'm just interpreting it wrong. *shrug* :)

Now that is a good enough statement on the face of it- but it begs the question of what an emotion actually is- and I think that in his interpretation of this question Barkely shows himself to be out of step with current understanding of what emotions actually are.

An emotion is a complex made of thoughts, physical sensations, gestures and neurohormonal changes.

Now the interesting thing is that we know we can alter our emotional tone by adopting physical postures or facial expressions (ie putting on a fake smile- or even laughter therapy).
We also know that there is a one to one correlation between facial expression and certain core emotions that is stable even between cultures that are isolated from each other ( Ref Paul Ekman).
http://www.paulekman.com/
Equally- we are beginning to understand the role of mirroring in creating the conditions for intuitive empathy.

To put it simply- if you gesture more and are more demonstrative of your emotion you actually generate a more intense internal experience of the emotion.

A simple example- if I act anxious- I will hunch up and push my neck forwards with my chin somewhat elevated - into a defensive posture.

What that does is stretch the superior cervical sympathetic ganglion and actually generate a stress response, by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system externally. This is quite easily demonstrated if you care to get hold of some simple biofeedback equipment (a simple example of scientific method- ironically enough given the bucketing I just gave to the "worship of science" on another thread).

So what this means- is if you are more demonstrative of your emotions you actually generate a stronger emotional experience.

This is kind of interesting and may go "under the radar" in an academic culture which is somewhat "stiff upper lip". Barkely is very deeply embedded in that very academic culture, and by his own admission struggles to get across the papers in the pure ADHD research area, so I suspect he has not been exposed to the developments that are occurring in that part of the psychology field.

Interestingly I have just been to a conference in which Ekman and his daughter presented as well as Prof Marco Iacoboni, who specialises in the study of mirroring and mirror neurones- so I am pretty well getting this stuff straight from the horse's mouth.

http://www.happinessanditscauses.com.au/speaker-marco-iacoboni.stm

http://faculty.bri.ucla.edu/institution/personnel?personnel_id=46207


Very interesting stuff, and I see and agree with the connection between the mind and body, it does make sense! Here's my thing though, for me personally I sometimes feel very strong emotions regardless of my posture, setting or activity. Sure I can sometimes overcome their power by doing something physical, like bike riding or shadow boxing, but ultimately I end up back in that pit. Especially when I'm talking to or am about to talk to someone who completely disarms me, like the woman I've been making pathetic posts about, I get uncontrollable bodily reactions: my hands shake, my heart beats like I'm running a marathon, my speech gets quicker and more nervous, I can't get a solid lock on thoughts I want to convey verbally and end up sounding like a school kid giving a weak speech in 1st grade, that sort of thing. I'm not saying that lightly either, these events are extremely pronounced, and the aftermath results in me feeling very embarrassed to the point of self-loathing, and things of that nature.
But thinking about it now that I've written all that, I guess there are people out there who feel emotions to greater degrees than others, but really how can one know what the "standard" is? I've noticed in the past couple days that inhibition does help, to some degree. I visualize a spear being thrust into a desert scape with such force that the sand is blown away in all directions, and that seems to drive some sort of "control" into the middle of my emotional hurricane, if that makes sense. It doesn't last long, but there's something to this and I feel practicing this will help in the future. Not sure if that's a known technique, but I'd be interested to know if there are things like that that I could practice, especially in the midst of craziness like I just explained...

Caffeinator
08-06-11, 09:32 AM
The exact same thing happens to me and it almost seems like it's getting "worse" as I get older. The "sensing-emotions" thing feels like one step below ESP sometimes.

I used to think that it was a good thing to be sensitive and human, but it often puts me in an emotional circumstance that I can't explain to other people and it therefor isolates me. Plus it is difficult to try to keep up with the impulses to cater to those intense emotions all the time; especially when they involve other people.

However, I like it when I am able to use it for good to help other people and come out unscathed. I am just bad at looking out for #1. :)

I'm right there with you, didn't see this until after I made my last post, but yes, once I'm caught up in the hurricane, I seem to "revert" to impulsivity and instant reactions, and only when the storm has passed do I see things I could have done with quite a bit more sense, but by then it's already too late and usually no amount of explanation can really fix that, which contributes to my low self-esteem...

Also about the ESP thing, yeah I definitely have that too: the more intense the person I'm talking to, the more I really believe I feel what they are feeling, to the point that I finish their sentences and so on. I've made a lot of strong connections with people in this way, but then the storm begins and eventually the connection is broke because I seem to be a carelessly out of control emotional windbag; it's very disconcerting to be viewed in this way, especially when I'm genuinely interested in getting a handle on it...

Caffeinator
08-06-11, 09:42 AM
On the other side of things, whenever I'm angry with someone to the degree of whigging out, my body nearly quakes and the adrenaline is such that I can see my pulse in my vision. I guess there really are extremes one can go to, but when it's every single time, I'm thinking it's a bit of a problem...

addiam
08-06-11, 10:44 AM
i heard a theory of hunters and gaterers. i do believe our hyper-sensitive intuition and the physical emotions are a form of finely tuned survivor skills. an ability to read a enviorments true nature. i can read the minds of others, not consciously... coincidentlly.

after all is said and done... family and friends turn to us for as a support system and council (which is never returned), emplorers turn to us to problem solve, (which is the very thing that gets us fired). and bullys pick on us.

people can't help but know that we see through them. that must be pretty uncomfortable. (then we adhd the quick movements and smart *** comments)

What's not to love???? ~db

Caffeinator
08-06-11, 10:49 AM
i heard a theory of hunters and gaterers. i do believe our hyper-sensitive intuition and the physical emotions are a form of finely tuned survivor skills. an ability to read a enviorments true nature. i can read the minds of others, not consciously... coincidentlly.

after all is said and done... family and friends turn to us for as a support system and council (which is never returned), emplorers turn to us to problem solve, (which is the very thing that gets us fired). and bullys pick on us.

people can't help but know that we see through them. that must be pretty uncomfortable. (then we adhd the quick movements and smart *** comments)

What's not to love???? ~db

Beautifully put, I agree across the board! It's amazing how deeply we can see into people, and in a short amount of time. I've called so many people on their bs, and the natural reaction is deny deny deny, then avoid/ridicule. And yeah, it's amazing how much you'll be there for someone, let them put information in to get a return of your insight, but when you yourself need someone to lean on, it's like a ghost town.

Kunga Dorji
08-06-11, 08:14 PM
Very interesting stuff, and I see and agree with the connection between the mind and body, it does make sense! Here's my thing though, for me personally I sometimes feel very strong emotions regardless of my posture, setting or activity.

The posture/ facial expression/ interoception loop is only one of the feedback loops involved in the generation and maintenance of emotional states.
for a good discussion of "interoception" have a look at this:
http://www.stephenporges.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17:the-infants-sixth-sense-awareness-and-regulation-of-bodily-processes-&catid=5:popular-articles&Itemid=12

and this article also touches on it:

http://www.stephenporges.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9:love-an-emergent-property-of-the-mammalian-autonomic-nervous-system&catid=1:publications&Itemid=3
( Nicely titled "Love, An Emergent Property of the Mammalian Nervous System")


Sure I can sometimes overcome their power by doing something physical, like bike riding or shadow boxing, but ultimately I end up back in that pit. Especially when I'm talking to or am about to talk to someone who completely disarms me, like the woman I've been making pathetic posts about, I get uncontrollable bodily reactions: my hands shake, my heart beats like I'm running a marathon, my speech gets quicker and more nervous, I can't get a solid lock on thoughts I want to convey verbally and end up sounding like a school kid giving a weak speech in 1st grade, that sort of thing. I'm not saying that lightly either, these events are extremely pronounced, and the aftermath results in me feeling very embarrassed to the point of self-loathing, and things of that nature.


These sort of events are best understood as the outcome of several positive feedback loops interacting in a mutually reinforcing way. The same sort of thing used to happen to me when I felt challenged or threatened. It used to destroy my ability to defend the strong positions I habitually take and left me feeling frustrated and unheard.
The mindfulness practice I do has utterly changed my relationship to this sort of event.


But thinking about it now that I've written all that, I guess there are people out there who feel emotions to greater degrees than others, but really how can one know what the "standard" is?

The assessment tool used by Elaine Aron in her "Highly Sensitive Person" is not a bad guide- though I suspect there are more precise ones out there:
http://www.hsperson.com/pages/test.htm


I've noticed in the past couple days that inhibition does help, to some degree. I visualize a spear being thrust into a desert scape with such force that the sand is blown away in all directions, and that seems to drive some sort of "control" into the middle of my emotional hurricane, if that makes sense. It doesn't last long, but there's something to this and I feel practicing this will help in the future. Not sure if that's a known technique, but I'd be interested to know if there are things like that that I could practice, especially in the midst of craziness like I just explained...

What you are doing is diversion rather than repression or inhibition. You have chosen from a range of much more powerful techniques.

Repression usually backfires. It is regarded as one of the key mechanisms in PTSD.
Yo are actually doing a rather simple form of mindfulness technique. There are stronger ones available.

Caffeinator
08-06-11, 10:15 PM
What you are doing is diversion rather than repression or inhibition. You have chosen from a range of much more powerful techniques.

Repression usually backfires. It is regarded as one of the key mechanisms in PTSD.
Yo are actually doing a rather simple form of mindfulness technique. There are stronger ones available.



I haven't looked at your links yet but I very much appreciate the reference and will be checking them out soon. I'm taking a break from research today because I've been so focused on trying to locate and solve my problems in the past week. It's caused a great deal of anxiety and also the realizations I've been coming to have been so obvious, that I think back on past mistakes and the depression and sense of loss really sets in...

But, I am interested in learning more about those redirection techniques, because I definitely agree that repression does not solve anything, sweep enough dust under the rug and eventually you'll start tripping over it...

kipong
10-31-11, 11:53 PM
This is very interesting. For the record, I love movies. I hate chick flicks if you must know but steer more towards documentaries on social/political issues. I love foreign/domestic movies about the human condition. Just recently I was watching Illegal, a movie about an undocumented Belarusian living illegally in Belgium. I think it depicted quite well how much less progressive Europeans are towards any immigrants, legal or not. The movie was about this woman's time in a holding center. There's this one scene where officials try to deport her to Poland. She's struggling and shouting, and for some reason I started crying, not a few tears, but actually embarrassed to say a few sobs escaped me.

I am no immigrant, refugee, etc. I've interviewed refugees and all the immigrants including my mom are all legal. So why was I so upset? Doesn't make any sense. For some reason, I was able to tap into, albeit it brief empathy for this woman, even though there are people like that in real life, she's still a character. I thought, "Oh no, they're going to deport a Belarusian to Poland. And don't the Poles hate Belarusians? And what if they send her back to Belarus? I've heard the stories about the awful dictatorship there!"

kal2416
01-17-12, 05:20 AM
Huh. I'm halfway the opposite. Movies do nothing to me- except marley and me, but that's because I had a lab who looked like Marley, and she got hit by a truck. I saw Boy's Don't Cry, and I shed 1 single tear at the end. I tend not to emotionally react to television much at all- I think it has something to do with my inability to tell when someone's good at acting.
In real life, I can be pretty insensitive, until I realize you're upset. At which point, I am a big ball of empathy.