Emotional Intensity seems to be the order of the day with covering sensual intensity in the last post. It has been really present for me over the last few days, both the benefits of being this ‘intense’ for my friends and family and also the drawbacks.
I want to start with a story. I had a friend, who for the purpose of the blog I’ll name Bobby. He and I had a fantastic connection and were best mates. The only male I was closer to was my husband. Bobby was the brother I’d never had, growing up as I did as third of four sisters. We even had the same birthday and used to joke often about how we were pretty much twins, that the universe had screwed up somewhere along the line. We maintained our friendship over travels, distance and time, clocking up ten years until last February.
He stole money from my business.
And then tried to justify it.
I was heartbroken, and felt the earth shift sideways. Not only was this my ‘brother’ he was one of very few friends in my close inner circle. As I mentioned in a previous post making friends is not easy for me and when I am friends with somebody I am incredibly loyal and really treasure those friendships.
Growing up I struggled to deal with other people who didn’t feel the same way or have the same expectations. Bobby met those expectations, we were able to be straight and clear and honest with each other about everything. Or so I thought. If he needed it I would have literally given him my last dollar and the shirt off my back – not sure how he’d go in a pink cardigan though.
There is now a Bobby shaped hole in my life where he once stood.
When he did what he did, and responded the way he responded I lost a piece of my faith in humanity and was left reeling with confusion, hurt, insult, upset, anger and tears. Many many tears. I didn’t know which way was up.
After allowing myself a day or two of indulgence, I then focused back on the real world. I called in the fraud squad at the bank, gave him a deadline and promised to call the police if the money wasn’t back in my account. Ironically I felt I owed him that much as a mark of respect for our friendship which is now dead. I have forgiven him, and understand why he did what he did, but without trust, there cannot be a basis of a relationship for me, and whilst we could try to piece together some semblance of a friendship, that trust has been tainted and stained, and we could never be the friends we once were. It is easier to just not be friends than deal with the pain and obvious lack of something we once had.
All the same, I miss my friend.
The point is many people, especially by now, would have said ‘to hell with him’ and moved on. They would have been angry, upset, furious and livid. Perhaps they would have gotten the police involved, or threatened all types of things. Perhaps they would have resorted to physical violence. What they wouldn’t be doing is still having moments where missing their friend brought them to tears for what they’d had and lost.
This is one factor of emotional intensity and the types of attachments that are formed. (mentioned in previous post https://thegiftedbear.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/standing-alone-in-the-crowd/)
I am not thick skinned, I am very sensitive and vulnerable. All the time. I have found this much easier to handle over the last two years because now I know why and where it is coming from. I can be ok with finding a comment hurtful, and deal with the fact it wasn’t meant that way. With new friends, well, any friends now, we have a discussion about how much easier I find it when they are just straight. That I am not good at getting hints and will often miss social cues, so they just need to tell me. ‘Isn’t it obvious’ is not something I relate particularly well with. As vulnerable and thin skinned as I am, this type of straight conversation is far less hurtful and upsetting than the alternative. Being careful with me, or being concerned about offending me, is not helpful.
Finding it complex and contradictory? Me too.
I also experience vicarious pain. I have heard this isn’t uncommon amongst gifted individuals. When my sister gets migraines I have a really bad headache, even when on the other side of the world. In a room full of people I am ambushed and overwhelmed with emotions and pains and will often experience sensory overwhelm. Husband, bless him, will often find me crying for no reason that we know of, only to discover a day or two later that a friends father has passed away, or another friend is struggling after fighting with her husband, or that my niece or nephew has gotten themselves into strife.
This certainly makes life interesting, but it also provides me with an extraordinary gift; enormous compassion and empathy for people, sometimes to my detriment. I wouldn’t change this, but I think some people can find it confronting and difficult to deal with, especially if it highlights what they perceive to be their own inadequacies.
I can usually always see both sides of an argument, and why people think the way they think and what is going on below the surface, but when it comes out of the blue and blindsides me I’m left gasping, as though I’ve been kicked, hard, in the stomach. I lose my confidence, I lose my solid ground, I lose my emotional balance, I lose my vitality, health and well-being, I lose a piece of my faith in humanity, I lose any sense of progress in the world and ultimately I am riddled with doubt, robbing me of my sense of self.
I wonder if I should grow a thicker skin, protect my heart more from my friends; if it is ever really safe to let my guard down. My world tips sideways and I have been robbed.