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curiosity

October 2014

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"Thin Skined"

So after the tea party. Barb suggested that I was "thin skinned" so I looked that up on the internet to see if it fit.

I found this page that has a review of a book called "Your Emotional Type" by Michael A. Jawer and Marc S. Micozzi, Ph.D. They use the terms "thin boundary" and "thick boundary", but it is clearly the same thing. And take a look at this:
For example, thin boundary people are highly sensitive in a variety of ways and from an early age:
*They react more strongly than do other individuals to sensory stimuli and can become agitated due to bright lights, loud sounds, particular aromas, tastes or textures.
*They respond more strongly to physical and emotional pain in themselves as well as in others.
*They can become stressed or fatigued due to an overload of sensory or emotional input.
*They are more allergic and their immune systems are seemingly more reactive.
*And they were more deeply affected — or recall being more deeply affected – by events during childhood.

In a nutshell, highly thin boundary people are like walking antennae, whose entire bodies and brains seem primed to notice what’s going on in their environment and internalize it. The chronic illnesses (including depression) they develop will reflect this “hyper” style of feeling.

Thick boundary people, on the other hand, are fairly described as stolid, rigid, implacable or thick skinned:
*They tend to brush aside emotional upset in favor of simply “handling” the situation and maintaining a calm demeanor.
*In practice, they suppress or deny strong feelings. They may experience an ongoing sense of ennui, of emptiness and detachment.

Experiments show, however, that thick boundary people don’t actually feel their feelings any less. Bodily indicators (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow, hand temperature, muscle tension) betray their considerable agitation despite surface claims of being unruffled.


What is interesting to me is that I'm both. It's my Talkative man, Mute woman issue. My Mute woman side is overwhelmed by everything and can't communicate. My Talkative man side ignores and suppresses emotions in favor of "handling things". My Talkative man side is the part that doesn't know what emotion I'm feeling. It might also be the part responsible for people thinking I'm mean. Because the Talkative man is detached and goal driven he tends to hyper focus and "go in for the kill" in arguments. "Crucial Conversations" talks about this as the point when arguments go from being about the subject to being about winning at all costs. This is just as much an adrenaline response as the shaking, crying, and not breathing response the mute woman has. It is why I don't play competitive games (because once I get started I can't stand losing).

When I'm not under the influence of adrenaline I am very calm and responsive. I am working to keep those adrenaline levels down.

Comments

That is very interesting.

By that description, I think I'm very thick boundary. I can't stand being overwhelmed by emotions, so I push them aside or redirect them to secondary targets, like my old job. Which explains why it took me over two years to get angry with Wolf.

I am sorry I made you cry. I have a lot of respect for your likes and tastes and it hurts me a little inside when I don't have the same interest. You've taught me a great deal and brought up a point after Barb left that I am taking to my counselor tomorrow. Thus, you continue to teach me and I love you.

Re: That is very interesting.

I know you care about me and don't try to hurt me. That is why I don't blame you when I feel hurt. Other people are not responsible for my emotions, unless they are being jerks or actually trying to hurt me. Even then I know there have been times people have tried to hurt me and it has just not worked. Like when Rob told me to "fuck off" I knew he was angry and lashing out at me. But the blow just didn't land. I knew that the problem was his not mine. Sometimes the problem is mine not anyone else's and I'm willing to own that, usually :)