5. Reserve your energy for those who matter the most.
Here’s something ironic. Back when I was still in people-pleasing mode, trying to fake it as a non-HSP extravert and keep up with my husband’s ideal lifestyle, the people who got the shortest end of the stick were actually my husband and kids.
I was so exhausted and irritated from the effort I was putting in to being what I thought they wanted me to be that – at the end of the day – I actually had nothing left to give them.
What I had to realize was that my family didn’t need me to be interacting with the whole world. They just needed me to be interacting with them.
What my husband needs most of all is for me to have fun with him when it’s just the two of us, to be there for him when he’s had a bad day, and to have the bandwidth to co-parent our kids.
He doesn’t need me to be friends with all the people he’s friends with. He doesn’t need me babysitting him at a party, looking bored and wishing I was somewhere else. He doesn’t need me to be going to “girls’ night out” just to seem more like the other wives.
The reason I can now happily say yes to spending quality time with my husband and kids almost every day is that I learned to say no to all the extra shit I wasn’t really enjoying and they didn’t need me to be doing anyway.
As a highly sensitive introvert, I only have so much time and energy for socializing.
And what ultimately saved my marriage and my family was my decision to:
1. Consistently prioritize self care so that I can feel well enough to be present and enjoy spending time with my family.
2. Always spend energy on my husband and kids before squandering it on other people.
6. Don’t try to talk when overstimulated or overly emotional…
Okay, this wouldn’t be a true marriage advice article if it didn’t address communication.
Communication is obviously key in any marriage, but there are a few potential communication issues that are particularly relevant in a highly sensitive person marriage that I want to mention.
One thing I have learned the hard way is that trying to talk when overstimulated or overly emotional is totally counterproductive. Why I kept doing it for years anyway is beyond me, but I’m SO happy that I finally saw the light and stopped.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m in that lovely “fired-up-but-exhausted” state, my brain is not capable of anything even closely resembling productive problem-solving.
Trying to talk in that state will only lead to one or more of the following:
- Further overstimulation and exhaustion.
- Irrationality, exaggeration, generalization.
So zip it, lock it, put it in your pocket.
When overstimulated, the only reasonable thing to do is to walk in your bedroom, close the door, go to bed, turn the lights off, and wait it out.
7. …But do talk.
With that being said, you DO want to talk. Even if you’re an introvert and don’t always feel like talking. Even if you’re a people pleaser and hate “bothering” your partner.
Just wait until you’re in a semi-calm state and then go for it.
Here is just one of the reasons why it’s important. Highly sensitive people also tend to be high on empathy. And especially when we’re close to someone (like a significant other), we can read them like an open book.
Or at least we think we can.