“I’ve always felt like an extreme minority as a Highly Sensitive Man.”

These are comments by Matthew, Frank, Jeff Roth on the post “I Am a Highly Sensitive Man”.

Matthew said:

Thanks for writing this. I’ve always felt like I am an extreme minority. It was very nice to hear how someone shares the exact same feelings I do. When you were describing how you feel, how situations can be difficult, how you perceive things as more profound and/or deep than others, etc., this could have been written by me. Thanks again.

Frank said:

Thank you for your courage to write about an important topic that really resonates with me. While I still struggle with being hurt constantly because of my sensitivity, I have now embraced my sensitivity as a great asset which has served me well as I have responded to the hurts and needs of others.

Jeff Roth said:

I thought you should know, your article changed my life. I’d been exposed to the HSP idea before, and the book had sat on my shelf, and I did nothing with it for 2 years. Now I’ve come across understanding again, and delved into it, and it explains myself to me. No longer must I be victim and prey to allowing people who are unlike me to take advantage of me. Before I didnt know my boundaries, or my needs around boundaries, because I didn’t “get” who and what I am.

Now that I see it and know it, I’m not at conflict with it, and i can take care of myself around it effectively. I’m really looking forward to thrive. Thank you so much for posting this article. I especially was taken by the photo that accompanies the article. That drew me in in some mysterious way. Good choice. 

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    Tough leaning on somebody who isn’t a rock. And since one’s lean need can’t be predicted, the leanee has to be prepared pretty much all the time. Going all limp spaghetti might not take care of things as needed.

  2. Adrian, In her defense I’ve read some her posts and she’s pretty savvy about guys and feelings. I’m sure she was acknowledging my post.

    We all get insecure. There’s this weird expectation today that men are ‘supposed’ to be stoic, emotionless rocks. No offense to public opinion, but I wouldn’t want a date or mate a stoic emotionless rock…that doesn’t sound appealing. Personally, I expect people to have up days and down days, laugh, cry, worry, especially in this rapidly changing world. And if we can’t lean on our partners, friends, or family for emotional support who can lean on?

  3. wellokaythen says:

    There’s a stereotype about sensitive (or at least introverted) people that they are less secure somehow, more fragile in their personalities, lacking in confidence, etc.

    I think that the people who can’t stand peace and quiet, who can’t stop talking, who can’t spend time alone, and who feel the need to fill every waking minute with other people are the ones who are insecure. They seem to be afraid to be by themselves or afraid of quiet. To me there seems to be something wrong with someone who says “it’s too quiet around here.” I tend to associate extraversion with insecurity. I assume that people who are highly sociable are in constant need of external validation. I know that’s not entirely fair either; I’m just saying that insecurity expresses itself in many ways.

    • I agree with you wellokaythen, but (rhetorically-prompted by you but not directed at you) your distinction has me wondering what is so wrong with being insecure? I know it’s not especially attractive in either sex, but it’s an emotion or a combination of emotions that need validation too. Of course insecure people are often hypersensitive to criticism in general, so having that exposed often leads, at least implicitly, to more…………criticism.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Good question. I’ll have to do some thinking out loud on this one:

        Maybe I’d make a distinction between regular ol’ unavoidable human insecurity and destructive, unnecessary insecurity. For example, if someone is basically incapable of spending any time alone, I’d say that is pretty deep insecurity about something. Any sense of insecurity which really hampers your independence or your individual self is a really bad kind of insecurity.

        Similarly, I see a difference between 1) seeking out other people because you enjoy spending time with other people, and 2) compulsively seeking out other people in fear of being alone with yourself. Or, a difference between 1) liking to discuss things with other people because you enjoy the give and take of ideas, and 2) being unable to put together your own thoughts without talking to other people.

        I’m convinced that some people who are chatty, highly social extraverts are in these #2 categories. I agree that insecurity is a very common feeling and it should be validated like any other. It’s not inherently bad all by itself. Maybe one problem is that there are many forms of it that we don’t recognize or validate because we’ve convinced ourselves that it’s not insecurity at all. There are many kinds of insecurity out there actually disguised as confidence – I’d put some forms of extraversion in that category.

  4. Matthew, Frank, Jeff…Thanks for speaking out and sharing your perspectives. Quite frankly, I’d be careful labeling yourselves as HSP, pigeon-holing yourself into categories, or assuming something is wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with a man having feelings. Men and women have feelings and emotions, period. Emotions are human…women do not corner the market on emotions (although it often appears that way)

    Unfortunately men today are trying to hide feelings and trying to live up to some illusive stereotype of an ‘insensitive jerk’. Which is another stereotype and label: men are not ‘insensitive jerks’ either…

    Let’s the record straight: men have feelings and need their feelings validated too. If women aren’t giving men enough emotional support and helping men feel emotional secure, ANY man is going to feel emotionally insecure. As a woman, I feel insecure when people don’t care about my feelings. Why is it any different for men?

    • Quite frankly, I’d be careful labeling yourselves as HSP, pigeon-holing yourself into categories, or assuming something is wrong with you.

      Joan, as the author of the article to which these three men responded, I must confess to being perplexed by what you’ve said here. You seem to be equating a man’s recognition and identification of himself as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) with the conclusion or assumption that something is wrong with him, or as some sort of negative self-limitation. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I don’t know why anyone should “be careful”, as you put it, about acknowledging themselves, whether male or female, as an HSP.

      As the following information from the website of Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive when The World Overwhelms You, hopefully makes clear, being highly sensitive is not a defect, a pathology, or a disease:

      Highly Sensitive People have an uncommonly sensitive nervous system – a normal occurrence, according to Aron. “About 15 to 20 percent of the population have this trait. It means you are aware of subtleties in your surroundings, a great advantage in many situations. It also means you are more easily overwhelmed when you have been out in a highly stimulating environment for too long, bombarded by sights and sounds until you are exhausted.” An HSP herself, Aron reassures other Highly Sensitives that they are quite normal. Their trait is not a flaw or a syndrome, nor is it a reason to brag. It is an asset they can learn to use and protect.

      Many HSPs suffer because they’ve been shamed and conditioned to hide and disown their innate sensitivity and everything that goes with it. Recognition and acknowledgment of oneself as an HSP can be a wonderful and empowering first step toward greater self-acceptance, more effective self-care, and a better understanding of oneself and what one has to offer the world. I can’t imagine how this could be a negative thing for any of these men.

      My impression is that your intention in sharing your comment was to be helpful and supportive, so perhaps I’ve misunderstood what you’re trying to say.

  5. I’d like to thank these gentlemen once again, as well as everyone else who commented on my article, for sharing their thoughts, experiences, and insights. It’s been very gratifying to see that so many people have felt such a strong connection with what I wrote and found it helpful. These comments, like so many of the others, provide evidence that not only are Highly Sensitive Men all around us, but they are eager to be seen, understood, accepted, and appreciated so that they can more actively offer their unique gifts to a world that needs them.

    Folks who found my article useful may also enjoy the following short video, in which a young man speaks eloquently about being a Highly Sensitive Man:


    I’m very encouraged to see young men like this fellow recognizing and claiming themselves as highly sensitive early in adulthood. I’m hoping that means they’re going to avoid a lot of the pain and wasted time that so many men like me, who’ve come before them, have experienced in our lives.

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