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”.

Quote of the Day (July 28, 2018): No-One Makes Us Feel Inferior

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”―- Eleanor Roosevelt

This is so beautiful! It pretty much says that you’re yourself responsible for your feelings. NO-one “makes” you feel anything. I won’t go as far as to say we choose our own feelings, but we have remarkable control over our thoughts and our thoughts influence our feelings.

If someone tries to make us feel inferior, it’s our choice to rise above it and see this as something about them, not us. Another person does not define us – we define ourselves.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy owning our feelings. We struggle with this a lot. We are often told we have an external locus of control and that’s probably partly true. In oter wrods, we look to other people or circumstances to “make” us feel good. That’s not how it works and I realize this.

Of course, being a trauma survivor, I do not need to blame myself for having post-traumatic symptoms. A mental illness is not a choice. On the other hand, it’s not my abusers’ or anyone’s responsibility to make me feel better either. In our case, most of the trauma we endured was not intended as abuse. That doesn’t change its effects, of course. It doesn’t mean we don’t suffer and we are allowed to hold the people who hurt us responsible for their actions. But not for our feelings.

This does not mean the trauma we endured is not an explanation for our symptoms. It is. However, it’s not an excuse to wallow in self-pity. Enduring trauma is not a choice. Having post-traumatic symptoms is not a choice. Recovery, however, is a choice.