I wonder how a Myers-Briggs personality analysis would overlap with HSP qualities; for example, I am a highly-sensitive introvert and empath who tests as an INFJ, meaning abstract, friendly & scheduled, in addition to introverted. My husband, highly-sensitive and moderately extroverted, tests as a more concrete temperament, I/E SFP, and his sensation-seeking makes sense in that he is a more sensory and less abstract person. For example, I will lose myself in books, while he prefers to be outside, "doing" as opposed to reading, making things, building, gardening.

I agree with Dr. Aron that the genetic mix gets very interesting. Our first child seemed to me an almost impossible mix of extraordinary sensitivity (complaining when bottled water tasted of plastic, unable to stand a trip to Costco, irritated by electricity and fluorescent lights) and sensation-seeking and high energy. In some ways, my empathy made me an ideal mother, as I could advocate for her, but in other ways, I felt myself become like a continually-drained battery, and it was necessary for my husband to step in and do the more physically-active stuff with her.

I will never forget taking her to a playground at 9 mos. old; another 9-month-old was bundled up and sleeping away in a stroller, and our kid was almost naked by comparison, in a T-shirt and shorts. "Not much for this age to do here," the other parent said, but our kid proceeded to slide down steep slides, swing, climb all over stuff and, because she was walking, tear around the playground. She slept very little, didn't nap, and basically--what hasn't killed me has made me stronger.

What I want to express is that the unusual bundling of traits has made her an almost impossible paradox for teachers and school administrators, friends & neighbors, and grandparents to understand. I've taken a lot of heat from the Principal who considers me an overprotective mom, which I'm not, because it becomes necessary to protect this exuberant, high-energy kid from overstimulation. Many people mistake signs, especially with little ones, and don't understand that hyperactivity may be a sign of overstimulation and the need to calm things way down.

My husband suffered a lot as a baby and toddler because, being extraordinarily sensitive, it was hard for him to sleep or nap; I was willing to hold my kid, to turn off the phone, to make quiet a priority, but my husband's mom took his high-energy at face value and dragged him from errand to errand, hoping to "tire him out," while he just became increasingly hyper. Because she could not understand his bundling of paradoxical traits, she labeled him "difficult," and that label has stuck well into mid-life, affecting his self-esteem. I think it's crucial to teach folks with this coupling of traits how to self-manage, self-soothe, etc., so that as adults they don't rely on television and alcohol to "bring themselves down."

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