The HSP & Relationships

Submitted by on Wednesday, March 15, 20063 Comments

Speaking as an HSP – but a conscientiously aware Highly Sensitive Person at this point – I understand how difficult it may have been for people to be in relationship with me before I was fully actualized. And by actualized, all I mean to say is that prior, I walked around in confusion over why stuff hurt me easily and often.

And in gaining awareness of who I finally was all those years ago, I now understand it was not as difficult as being HSP as it was difficult in being confused over why I was “the only one” and why I seemed to be so misunderstood and why was I not like others. The Highly Sensitive Person and Relationships could also be called “Codependent Relationships” because this is really a lot of basic information for any relationship that does not accept another person ‘coming as they are.’

If you are in relationship with an HSP, maybe this written offering can help.

Definitions for Purposes of this Article

The Highly Sensitive Person and Relationships

How to Make an Unhealthy Relationship with the Highly Sensitive Person

  1. Lie or withhold pertinent information. Meet them, not with your authentic self, but with your ego, all the time.
  2. Tell her/him that her/his feelings/ perceptions/ attitude/ thoughts/ beliefs/ ideals/ ideas/ truth/ values are wrong or “unacceptable.”
  3. Make sure you tell them that how they behave is unacceptable.
  4. Tell them what to do, who to be.
  5. Keep them under a tight leash, holding them to society’s rules of propriety.
  6. Absolutely, under no circumstance, are you to allow them to take care of themselves.
  7. Tell them they are rude when they have to nap in the middle of the day when your relatives are here.
  8. Tell them they are selfish when they need to take alone time.
  9. Get mad at them often in their struggle for self.
  10. Get mad at them and make sure to tell them so, when their feelings, beliefs, or actions do not align themselves with yours.
  11. Make sure to browbeat them into your way of thinking, and often.
  12. Play loud music and keep all the lights on all over the place all the time, and to really make sure, run the washer/dryer, and keep all televisions on for total insurance.
  13. Make sure to let them know who is in charge: Tell them what you will do, with or without their consent, as it pertains to the relationship you both are engaged in.

Here is What Will Happen Next

Follow these instructions fully or partly – to the best of your ability, while simultaneously telling her/him you love her/him – and watch the HSP do one, all, or some of the following: Withdraw, get sick, isolate, shut down, quit talking, quit emoting, feign interest, look blank or vacuous, start drinking heavily [or relapse if in recovery], start using drugs [or relapse if in recovery], starve, overeat particularly sugar, self-harm [cut, mouth bite], and/or leave the relationship finally.

How to Foster a Healthy Relationship with an HSP

Talk to them and bring to the table your self. The HSP has little interest in the mask you present to the world. Just because the HSP won’t comment on it ~ due to his/her experiences in sensitivity ~ does not mean you are not the subject of talk among his/her close friendships. Yes, they talk about your ego-centricism because he/she will surround him/herself with other HSPs. Ego is a sore spot for them, often having been somewhat ill-treated by the egos of others due to their HSP-ness.

Ask if there is anything you can do and mean it.

  1. Even if you cannot understand their feelings about something, give to them the understanding that they have the right to feel anything they feel.
  2. Show you support them. Let them know they have a place in this world.
  3. Honor their need for alone time and quiet or introversion or introspection.
  4. Do not rush or hasten the Highly Sensitive. She feels your panic already.
  5. Honor their ability to know what they need or do not need; EVEN if it seems crazy to you.
  6. Honor anything about them that seems to just ‘show up.’
  7. Understand that as high maintenance as the HSP seems sometimes, it’s not true. If your HSP is having issue after issue or the same one continues repeating, it’s because there has been no sufficient resolution. [It’s a karmic thing.] It will keep being an issue if the partner interrupts the process by telling the HSP s/he is wrong, by arguing the HSP down, by trying to talk them out of or into something, by berating them, etc. In my experience this can often be resolved with one 5 to 20 minute session of sitting down, listening to the HSP tell their truth in something, and a sincere attempt for the partner to understand where they are coming from without negating.

Here is What Will Happen Next

Follow these instructions fully or partly – to the best of your ability, while simultaneously telling her/him you love her/him – and watch the HSP do one, all, or some of the following: Flourish in day to day life, become and remain optimistic, smile a lot, laugh, talk a lot, unleash their creative side, trust you, believe people are inherently good, will help you in anything you need help in, will honor and respect you, will brag about your virtues, will want to help others, will get sick less often or hardly, your luck will seem to change for the better almost magically, good feelings will become mainstays, and you’ll, as the partner, wonder how the world was never this beautiful before.



  • Vivien said:

    I just read ” The HSP & Relationships” Mar 15th. 2006. I’m married to an HSP who recently told me he started drinking 30 yrs ago when an old boyfriend of mine dropped in to see us. I had forgotten this (I still don’t remember). He’s been mad at me ever since – all of our married life!!!!! I’ve wanted OUT of the marriage for a long time but my whole life has been invested into our business – that he will destroy and be unable to run if I leave. I need help – I don’t hate him but I’m SO unhappy – I’m exhausted with him! With his withdrawl and anger and verbal abuse. Do you have any articles, info, anything on how to cope with an HSP? There’s enough material for the HSPer, but what about those of us who’s lives are being destoyed by one?

  • samsara (author) said:

    Oh sweet Vivien,

    Your life is yours and yours alone. When abuse starts, labels go out the window. Whether he’s HSP or alcoholic [or both], HIS actions are making you unhappy.

    Yes, I have suggested readings. The books in the sidebar…”Beyond Codependency” or “Codependent No More” or the “Codependent’s Guide to the Twelve Steps” are all highly suggested by me for you.

    Codependent relationships are those ties we have with people who hurt us, harm us, abuse us but, although we hurt, we stay. I think of it as giving the power of myself over to another person and then when they misuse that power and cause me harm, I still allow them to continue to have that power. “Why do they do this to me?” I used to wonder. But now, after codependent issue recovery, I get to ask “Why do I do this to me?”

    The books I have suggested; namely the “Guide through the Twelve Steps” will hopefully allow you to take back your power. Remember, you can’t take care of yourself and another person at the same time. In YOUR life, YOU are the most important person…compassion for others can only be cultivated when you have given it to yourself first. I wish you much peace Vivien.

    Love, Peace, and Light,

  • Kevin Wicker said:

    Have a strong sense of self esteem, and an ability to see the bigger picture. Love isn’t as fulfilling unless it is given away.
    Give yourself time away from your HSP partner, as well. Having quality time with yourself makes you stronger and more grounded.
    However, abuse is out of the question. You are doing the abuser (and yourself) a big favor by removing yourself from the relationship — the sooner the better.

What do you say?

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be respectful of this holy temple, please. Just Kidding. But be cool.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. Get your own globally-recognized-avatar at Gravatar.