Valid? #SoCS

I’m not sure I’m valid. I joined some groups for highly sensitive people and empaths on Facebook. I relate to literally almost every trait associated with being an HSP/empath. Then again, I’m also autistic and this means I don’t have the cognitive ability to know what’s expected of me in social situations.

I’ve heard there’s some theory about autistics being hyperempathetic where it comes to feeling others’ emotions but less able to know what another person needs. Something with cognitive empathy being lower than emotional empathy. Or was it the other way around? I have no idea and am too lazy to google it now.

I always feel like I want to see myself as a lot more positive than I am. I mean, some people close to me have said I even have some narcissistic traits. Some people think of me as a pretty stereotypical autistic and I’ve always felt good about that, as it validates my feelings of being different and my need for support. Empath/HSP only validates my feeling different.

Yet sometimes I feel that my seeing myself as somehow highly sensitive, is a way of obscuring my negative traits. It’s not that I don’t see them, but that I label them positively in a way. I mean, 90% of empathy traits are worded at least somewhat negatively. For example, have you been told you are “too sensitive?” Do you need alone time a lot? When a friend is distraught, do you feel it too? Heck, I sense negativity a lot, but isn’t that just me being a generally negative person?

I have a feeling that part of the reason I want to see myself as unique somehow, has to do with an external locus of control. I don’t want to see my huge flaws and instead go label them as assets or blame them on my childhood trauma.

And yet most people say I have a negative self-image. My CPN from mental health wants me to do a module of cognitive behavior therapy on helping me get a better self-image. Maybe I need to learn to see myself as just the ordinary person I am without either negative or positive stuff that make me different. After all, when I say I’m a pretty good writer, people close to me often say: “Well, about average for someone with your education.” Apparently I’m quite arrogant in this respect.

So am I allowed to feel different or is that just an excuse to set myself apart from the herd? Remember, feeling like you can only be understood by certain people, usually those with high status, is a narcissism trait in the DSM. I’m not sure. I want to feel okay about myself, but doesn’t that mean seeing my negative traits too? And seeing them as well as the positive ones for what they are: just traits? I guess I’ll learn this in the module.

I’m joining in with #SoCS, for which the prompt today is “val”.

10 thoughts on “Valid? #SoCS

  1. You are being very hard on yourself ! I think the healthiest way to go, instead of “Maybe I need to learn to see myself as just the ordinary person I am without either negative or positive stuff that make me different” is to remember we ALL have BOTH negative and positive traits, and are BOTH “part of the herd” and unique/special because there are no two identical individuals 🙂 We are both special and not special 🙂
    xxx Anne

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a wonderfully honest post and it seems to me that you know yourself quite well. Nobody has the right to put you down. What is average? You do write well and you write deep stuff. Don’t let others put you down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting. Just to clarify, this comment wasn’t meant as a put-down. We were in a pretty theoretical debate about what it means to be exceptional either positive or negative and that person tried to encourage me to see myself as just ordinary, I think. So not better or less than anyone else. I was raised in a family that very much exaggerated characteristics both good and bad, so I was called a genius for being able to calendar calculate and a nutcase for twirling my hair. In this sense, it is liberating to view myself as ordinary.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I can relate to so much of what you wrote, even though I am not autistic myself.
    I don’t see why you couldn’t label yourself as an HSP or an empath if that resonates with you – it is not something like a diagnosis that labelling yourself this way could be in any way harmful – and I’ve always thought that being an HSP is quite close in some ways to some of the struggles people on the spectrum experience, and I guess most autistic people could be also called HSP’s since they have sensory hypersensitivities for example, so as I said I don’t see why there would be anything wrong with you identifying as an HSP.
    I’m not sure that trying to make yourself feel just ordinary and force that kind of self-image on yourself would be healthy, I guess even the most objectively ordinary and so called “normal” people have it kind of inprinted in their brains to some degree that they are unique and like to be unique as long as that doesn’t make them stick out too much.
    Maybe I shouldn’t feel so strange about this, but if someone has really told you something like that in response to you saying that you’re a pretty good writer and worded it like that, hmm… that sounds really harsh and rather impolite to me, though I suppose they didn’t mean it to sound like that and didn’t want to put you down, just make you have what they thought was a good objective idea about your writing skills. But it really sounds just so incredibly icky to me when you say that you’re a good writer, to respond in such a way. I do not think at all that there’s anything wrong, arrogant or narcissistic-like in admitting that you’re a pretty good writer. I think it’s too bad that our society has learnt to automatically consider that if someone says they’re good at something, they’re bragging. It’s confusing even for people without mental health issues and neurotypical, and makes people act falsely overly modest, and for us who are mentally ill and/or neurodivergent it can be awfully inhibiting, discouraging or lead to other issues. I definitely have a big problem with talking with people about my good traits/things I’m good at in a natural way, not onlyy because I have a disorder that affects my self-esteem (AVPD) but also because of that whole bragging thing and I too don’t want to come across as arrogant or something (I also think that for some reason it is easy to make such an impression on people when someone has above average inteligence, don’t know why but that’s just what I’ve noticed). You just said you’re a pretty good writer, not that you’re an excellent, outstanding, amazing one. And unless you asked them for an opinion about it, I think it’s quite rude to say that, even for a close person, but that’s maybe just my opinion and maybe I’m hypersensitive or something, haha.
    I hope the module will help you to work those things through, that sort of self-image confusion is really tricky and unpleasant to live with in my experience so I hope it can resolve for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thanks so very much for your extensive comment once again! I agree that being an empath/HSP isn’t a diagnosis but it is in some way an elite club that is used to make people feel better than others or something. Not saying I feel that way. I don’t but that’s one reason I pointed out that most empath traits I’ve read about are at least partly negative too. Then again we all have negative and positive aspects to ourselves.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. As a HSP, I can relate to you, there´s that constant feeling of having to validate myself. At the same time, I tend to underestimate myself. It´s a difficult mix, because any time some says that what I do is worthless, or average, I feel the need to prove them wrong. On the contrary, I have a hard time when people compliment me on something I consider it´s not a great deal. (as if I had a dozen people clapping at my beautifully painted canvass, while I try to explain them I just accidentally spilled my morning coffee and was asking them how to clean my mess) Have you ever had that feeling? it´s something similar to imposter síndrome, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

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