Picking up where The Highly Sensitive Person
left off, The Highly Sensitive Person in Love
explores the sometimes bumpy but ultimately rewarding terrain that love relationships have to offer this group of people. HSPs, as they are known, make up the estimated 15 to 20 percent of the population that have very sensitive nervous system and are prone to deep reflection and feelings of being overwhelmed by the world. These special characteristics, which tend to be misunderstood as shyness and dismissed as signs of weakness in our highly competitive society, inevitably bring interesting challenges to all kinds of love relationships for HSPs. Author Elaine Aron--who's a psychotherapist, researcher, and an HSP--delves deep to into the subject and surfaces with detailed, helpful, wise advice for HSPs and their partners, be they fellow HSPs or non-HSPs.
Aron details the positive and negative sides to such relationships, including how the HSP benefits, how both members of the relationship benefit, the typical challenges that arise, and solutions to those challenges. For instance, a relationship made up of two HSPs may engender low levels of arousal, or awareness, which means that both of you will avoid doing the same things that make you uncomfortable, such as shopping, dealing with conflict, and being in crowds. Solution? Simplify your life, see if you can hire someone to take care of the tasks neither of you wants to do--but don't forget that doing such tasks is also a way to grow personally--and divvy up the tasks according to preference. As for conflict, Aron says that having a plan of action is the best route--decide how to handle conflict in the relationship before the conflict flares up. Another reality of an HSP-HSP union is that neither person will be able to max out on work and expect to have a decent home life, so at least one of you will have to limit activities. So, plan not to have more than one child if you both work (it may be too late for some couples to put this one into action; if so, Aron advises that one parent stay at home).
Throughout the book, Aron stresses that being in a relationship is a "package deal"; neither the HSP nor the non-HSP is perfect, so she urges readers to appreciate the positive aspects of their sensitivity, be it highly sensitive or not, and not to dwell on its drawbacks. But she does urge HSPs who are unhappy with their trait to work on coming to terms with it--through inner work, counseling, or medication if needed--as its qualities, when properly appreciated, can be life enhancing and beneficial to HSPs as well as to their relationship partners. --Stefanie Durbin
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From Publishers Weekly
In her 1996 bestseller, The Highly Sensitive Person, Aron defined "HSPs" as people who "pick up on subtleties, reflect deeply and therefore are easily overwhelmed." A self-professed HSP, Aron identifies the cause of this "innate temperament" as a "strong pause-to-check system" involving the neurotransmitter serotonin. The result, she explains, is "a major, normal, inherited difference in how the entire nervous system functions [and affects] every aspect of life" for 15% to 20% of the population. Aron also identifies inherited traits of "HSSs" or "high sensation seekers," whose love for change and bold risk-taking are spurred by the neurotransmitter dopamine. (Somewhat confusingly, Aron claims that it is possible for one person to be an HSP and an HSS simultaneously, or a non-HSP and a non-HSS, or any combination thereof.) Self-tests help readers assess themselves and their partners in both areas. Based on her research as a psychotherapist, hundreds of personal interviews with individuals and couples, and some recent controlled studies done by others, Aron describes the various possible "personality combinations," reasons for their attraction to one another and potential areas of conflict. Aron offers a fresh way of perceiving the diversity and complexity of human personality that will help readers better understand themselves, their partners and the dynamics of interaction. Agent, Betsy Amster. 4-city tour.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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