When You Are Called Oversensitive
Graphic by G. T. Randolph
Oversensitive? Hysteric? Too emotional? Weak? Vulnerable?
Good communication with others is crucial to our well being. The way others react to us is whether lifting up or putting down. Rarely something is just neutral. It affects us in some way. People who we love, feel connected with, have a bigger influence on our mood.
Words: sensitive and oversensitive don't have a good connotation in English language. I doubt in any language that can be complementing to a person. Being called this way, it is rather insulting and detrimental. It is implying that something is wrong with you.
Often artists and people diagnosed with some sort of mental challenges hear they are too emotional. Few more explanations can follow that, for example: " considering who you are, it is normal and you should not be ASHAMED." Really? This is exactly what calling someone oversensitive is: shaming.
Another group that is called this way, although probably more often by word: hysteric, are women. If a guy is expressing himself louder, he is confidently telling his opinion and has an appropriate reaction to what is happening to him. If a woman does that, she may be called hysteric, panicky and definitely has no rights to feel the way she feels.
We do not have a control over how others will interact with us. Everyone is perceiving and responding to an environment exactly the way he was programmed. That means we shall not expect from abused women that they will leave harmful situation, because they were thought that having a husband is an honor or success and opposite is a shame and weakness.
That also means that addicted person won't be compassionate to another one, as they both were programmed that what they do, is wrong. The best they can do is judging one another, until they go through therapy.
Raising awareness and educating self and those near you is probably the best remedy I can think of now.
Sure, it is very likely you will still hear you are oversensitive or hysteric, but instead of agreeing with the label or helplessly feeling wronged, you can state what you are:
"I have an appropriate reaction to what is happening to me.
I am highly aware of the impulses/details coming from my environment.
I am aware of not only what people say, but what they body language communicates, posture, tone of voice and if their behavior matches their action.
Yes, I am loudly protesting against shaming me/wronging me/ insulting me."
These are just examples of sentences one may try to apply in such situation. If you think up your own "remedy - mantra", let me know!