3 Stages of Sensitivity in Relationship

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 9.29.16 AMAnother one for the sensitive types (adding on from this post):

Sensitive beings who don’t know how to work with their sensitivity are often “over there” in their partner’s lap energetically, tracking them, noticing them, and then responding to whatever they are reading in Other.

So, here’s a quick 3-STAGE SENSITIVITY MAP to see where you are:

Stage 1 sensitivity. In other person’s lap energetically and emotionally. Person can be a healer-type or simply a shut down dude who, as a child, had to track everything about his environment in order to feel safe. They learn over time to posture over this sensitivity by putting on a thick skin, acting “fine,” etc. But as an adult (since they haven’t done anything to address it), they continue to be tracking everything, mostly unconsciously, looking for a threat. So, in adult relationships they are habitually more tuned in to the other person, than to themselves. They are dependent on their other person’s emotional state in order to regulate themselves and feel okay.

Stage 2: Taking attention off them and putting it on me. Learning how to take responsibility for my own space and experience. This begins to untangle emotional fusion and enmeshment. We learn how to communicate feelings and sensations that arise in me, that are not about you, but often in response to you. When you do X behavior, I feel Y (what’s going on with me). Non-violent communication (NVC) is a helpful tool here. If folks can’t get this one, the relationship will likely remain in a complacent, reactive, co-dependent stage. This one should be taught in grade school to every kid until they master it.

Stage 3: Advanced skill. Learning to track both them and me at the same time, for the sole purpose of deepening connection. Shuttling between what I notice about you and what I notice about me in each moment, but still talking about me and my experience of myself.  I now have choice about being “over there” in your space and I can even share things while owning them as what I’m perceiving or projecting. “I’m projecting that you are shut down or mad honey, and I’m making that about me.  I notice I feel anxious when I sense that. Is that what’s happening over there?” I’m also open to being wrong about them and coming back to me. This person has the ability to be themselves and set boundaries (another critical skill for the sensitive person) regardless of the other person’s reaction. This approach can serve to deepen and strengthen the connection if used skillfully.

Of course, you’ll also want to understand c0-depency and agency, or differentiation.

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