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Highly sensitive people often struggle with interpersonal relationships because HSPs are different and their difference often results in relationship problems.

Social relationships can be a  challenge for highly sensitive people because cultural norms do not acknowledge and validate the highly sensitive person – male or female.

Another way to look at it is that, our social models have built in certain assumptions about people and what we can expect from them, and should be able to expect from them. That these assumptions may be wrong is rarely addressed, with the consequence that many people’s lives are made miserable because they are trying to relate based on incorrect ideas. Many of those people are highly sensitive.

Social Norms And Interpersonal Relationships

Elaine Aron in her book, The Highly Sensitive Person In Love, provides an in-depth look into the implications of social norms and how highly sensitive people function in interpersonal relationships.

Often the difficulties for highly sensitive people begin in their childhoods when they are poorly understood and made to conform to social and performance standards that do not suit them. What is strange and ironic is that the standards of highly sensitive people are among the highest you will find in a human being due to their empathetic and conscientious natures.

Unfortunately, highly sensitive people in childhood often experience rejection and are made to feel that they are wrong when they are not. What is problematic is that sensitive people are often rejected for the best of themselves which puts them in a strange place in their relationships with themselves and others.  In order to be accepted they may often feel that they have to hide their best self to survive. The natural depth of HSPs which has the potential to offer great insights, wisdom and creativity is often treated as less valuable that conformity reinforcing behaviors and pursuits. What a loss!

It is not wrong to be sensitive. An unsupportive early environment will create a highly sensitive person who doubts themselves, and result in lower self-confidence. Many HSPs wonder, as a result, how they can survive in the world.

Can Highly Sensitive People Have Happy Interpersonal Relationships?

No, HSPs are not doomed!. We simply have a challenge to know ourselves, respect and value our true natures, and find life and relationship paths that can work for us. Fortunately, more and more HSPs are recognizing themselves. Elaine Aron’s work as well as the work of other HSP pioneers is making the HSP identity acceptable and life as an HSP more enjoyable.